A shameless rip-off of Jukesie’s post and part 2 in my ‘working with me’ series.
Location: London. The only places I’d leave her for are Barcelona, Dublin, and maybe somewhere in Canada/Australia.
Current Gig: Acting Deputy Director of the MOJ’s Data Driven Department and Culture Change team.
Current mobile device: iPhone 6s. I choose not to have a work phone.
Current computer: MacBook Air
One word that best describes how you work: Openly. But as Matt already said that, I’ll nab Authentically.
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I was born in London, and I live about 10 minutes from my parents house and my primary and secondary school. I didn’t move away to go to University (attending at Kingston) and lots of people joke that I’ve never left London — I have, and particularly adore Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Brighton, and spend most of my childhood summers in the US [thus that slightly strange twang I have, especially when I’ve had a tipple].
I struggled at school. I was bullied so badly that I would sometimes walk home for an hour rather than get on the bus with those who would talk about me, or throw things at me. I couldn’t wait to leave, and it was a shock that I did well in my GCSEs and that I passed my A-levels and made my grades to go to Kingston University. I was the first one in my family to have the opportunity to go, and we my mum and I sobbed with joy. Once I found Criminology, I flourished academically.
My plan (since the age of 3) was to be a police officer, but once I graduated with my degree, police forces started their recruitment freeze. So instead I joined the National Policing Improvement Agency and worked on Neighbourhood Policing and crime mapping (which became police.uk and data.police.uk) and I put my passion for data, transparency and engagement into practice. I then led Police Transparency in the Home Office and took a 1-year career break to join the ODI (which ended up being four years of fun). I came back to the Civil Service in November 2017. I don’t have a career plan, I’m just focusing on working hard, having fun, always learning, making things better and always doing the best for the public.
Take us through a recent workday.
On a typical office day it looks something like this →
I get up at 07:00.
Walk to the station. Tube to Charing Cross. Walk to St James Park. Listen to podcasts or music — anything from glam rock, drum & bass, classical, 80s cheese. Something to fire me up for the day and put a huge smile on my face.
Get into work between 08:00–08:30. Have a natter with whichever guard is in reception, or barista in our Benugos. Eat overnight oats at my desk with a large coffee.
Then it’s team time, workshops, training, meetings, etc.
Lunch is nearly always the exact same salad from Vital Ingredient. (I’m a total creature of habit). I tend to eat at my desk. I always vow to take a proper lunch and never get round to it — I’m determined to change that in 2019!
More of the same, and then I tend to leave around 17:30–18:00. Get home by 19:00, check emails again and switch off by 20:00. Then get super productive around 20:00–22:00 so do some cooking, journaling, etc.
However, at the moment, my office days haven’t been too typical as Sarah and I have been up and down the country delivering Forward Leadership training, so those start/end times have been longer, and lunch is whatever I can grab in Boots, and dinner is our treat time.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
Nothing out of the ordinary: Twitter, Google docs, Whatsapp, Slack, CityMapper, Spotify, YouTube, Lastpass.
My Kindle, my journal, sharpies, post-it notes, stickers.
What’s your best shortcut or life hack?
I loved Matt’s response to this question. Mine are definitely more dull, but I’ll come back to this. For now I’ll say: standing meetings (with the exception of those who can’t stand) to keep things punchy, or better yet, google docs instead of meetings wherever possible.
Take us through an interesting, unusual, or finicky process you have in place at work.
Hmm. I’m going to have to come back to this one!
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
I use Trello and notepads for work tasks I have to do.
I keep track of how far I’ve come with my journals.
What’s your favourite side project?
I spend my spare time mentoring and coaching young women and girls, and definitely want to take on more side projects. We’re also planning GovCamp 2019, which will be held back at MOJ in January.
What are you currently reading, or what do you recommend?
I’m reading the lectures of Michael Foucault at the moment, and pondering which book (out of my shelf of 45 unread books) to start next.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
‘Always be unapologetically you’.