It all started when I was ten and my Dad brought home a tiny, red transistor radio he’d been given at work. It was a game-changer: my dial had been tuned into working in broadcasting.
At the age of eighteen I got my lucky break co-presenting a show on BBC local radio. Next came a stint in music television. Soon after leaving university, I was living my teenage dream, working on Friday At The Dome for Channel 4 and then on the production team for The American Music Festival. It led to a role at Unique Broadcasting, a start-up production company.
I worked in every corner of that business, rising through the ranks to become head of special projects and managing director of its radio studio business Unique Facilities before the group floated on AIM as UBC Media plc. I started off loving what I did - but then I began working too hard and had too much on my plate. I didn’t enjoy running a business any more. I knew what made me tick, and I was no longer finding it at my desk.
The thought came to me: why couldn’t I just shape my career around who I really was? So in December 1999 I took the leap to work for myself, reframing my worklife the way I wanted it to be.
Since then, I’ve had a twenty-year adventure as an independent. Never having followed a long term plan, I’ve relied on the combination of an entrepreneurial approach and a sense of curiosity. It’s led me to wild realms and involvement in exciting and varied projects, including launching a business making websites for parliamentarians; being a digital advisor to Noel Edmonds; co-managing a rock band; launching a marketing business by accident and running ad campaigns for MTV and Benetton; writing four books on work and business; contributing to Monocle magazine; writing about work and business for the Financial Times (despite never having trained as a journalist); training BBC journalists about storytelling; working backstage for the digital media team at The World Economic Forum in Davos; giving talks at various events including South By South West Interactive in Austin, Texas, The Do Lectures and Inspire Live at Google London; running workshops for organisations such as The Development Bank of Wales, Diageo and Microsoft; interviewing Tim Ferriss in the back of a black cab, Gary Vaynerchuk in the back of a car and Billy Bragg in a cafe in Brighton; guest-lecturing at schools and colleges; presenting at General Assembly.
My mission now is to shake up the world of work and business and make it more human. I know we’d all be in a better place if we brought our real selves to work. These days I make sure I follow ‘me’: I go for summer swims, hunt out good coffee, and am around for my kids. I’ve seen from my own story that when you show up as the Real You, the good stuff follows.
I’ve worked at the Ian Sanders Company for many years as editor, writer, researcher and all round sounding board. Before that, I had an eclectic career - I've worked in boardrooms and therapy rooms; up the Sydney Harbour Bridge and over a Japanese fish shop. Wherever I’ve been and whatever I’ve done, words, ideas, stories have always been at the heart of my journey. What I’ve learned in these different disciplines and environments is distilled into my approach today. An open mind, a nose-to-the-ground appetite for the truth and hearty dose of curiosity to find the gold: these elements go into every project. I bring a bird’s eye view of the overall picture, as well as having a focused gaze on the small details. I’m a devil’s advocate, an asker of the “what if we did it this way, not that?” I’ve co-founded a back-to-work mums’ group and organised charity events; I’m active in a local Meet Up group and get involved in the local community as a school governor. Good coffee shops are my natural habitat and can usually be spotted with black Muji fineliner in hand, doing two of my favourite things - doodling and writing.