Why did you choose to join Mott MacDonald?
I had spent nearly 20 years working in a small educational charity, the International Extension College (IEC) based in Cambridge and London where we specialised in open and distance learning for development. The last few years there were as the executive director and it was during that time that I got to know Cambridge Education (CE) well when we partnered with them to run the Voices for Change conference and on the Bangladesh Open University project. Both were successful ventures and when the opportunity came to join CE I knew that I would be happy moving from the Non-governmental organisation(s) (NGO) sector into the commercial world of Mott MacDonald. I was especially attracted by the prospect of working with dedicated people who are very knowledgeable about education and development.
What is the best thing about your role?
One of the things I love about my work is that I never know quite what the day will bring – I have had the opportunity to travel extensively and though most of my experience prior to joining CE was in Africa I was given the chance to develop business in Turkey. Following European Union and United States Agency for International Aid (USAID) business development I now spend my time split between the project principal role and staff development. This can be challenging in a division such as ours where we are growing all the time, but it is also very rewarding.
How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?
Mott MacDonald aims to provide service of the highest quality for a fair price and though we live in a very competitive world the organisation takes its corporate social responsibilities seriously. I believe I am very lucky to be in the international development services (IDS) team – my colleagues are the best.
What has been your most memorable project?
There have been many memorable projects over the years, and recently two great ones came to an end. It’s always sad when they are complete – we will not see so much of our new friends and colleagues – but very fulfilling to know we have risen to the occasion once more and CE can add another success to its name. Both were funded by the EU and therefore suffered from horrendous bureaucracy. This was offset however by excellent partners in country and very hard working project staff. The proof of this has come recently when we were awarded the follow on project in Turkey. The new project picks up where the old one finished and is all about lifelong learning (LLL); we will provide guidance on the policy and legal frameworks for LLL and awareness raising across further regions of Turkey - the challenges are many but we have some of the old team as well as some new faces so we shall get off to a running start.
When you’re not in the office where can you be found?
I love live music – a pretty wide range really but in particular rocky folk and country – so a favourite relaxation activity is a weekend at one of the many folk festivals. I particularly like the Cambridge Folk Festival but also some of the smaller ones where it is always possible to find a gem or two.
If you could go on a road trip with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and where would you go?
A road trip would definitely have to be in the States – I quite fancy a trip through Nashville but if I had to choose it would be Route 66 with my man; with Jack Kerouac and my sister in the back.