Tell us about your career journey to the University of Huddersfield
I think my working life to date can best be divide into two distinct parts, as they have been quite different!
I originally trained and worked as a classical musician (a violinist), studying at the Royal Northern College of Music and then in the USA. I then worked in the USA and UK as an orchestral musician until I was 37 when I contracted a virus, which left me with a type of arthritis affecting my hands. As you can perhaps imagine, this was catastrophic for a violinist and it ended my playing career of over 20 years.
I had to that point never earned a living from anything other than music, and so had to reconsider what I could do next, as 37 seemed a little early to retire! A more transferable skill set I had was from my experience of being self-employed, and I wondered if there was an opportunity to help others considering self-employment. Some initial work helping people with various health conditions return to work, led to a position as a Business Advisor at Business Link Yorkshire, and then a role as a Business Advisor at the University of Huddersfield.
Ten years later, I now manage a fantastic team of colleagues (the Enterprise Team), assisting our own students and recent graduates to develop their enterprising skills and attributes, and where appropriate, to explore self-employment, freelancing and business start-up.
Describe a typical day at work:
The great thing about working with the Enterprise Team is that there is no ‘typical day’, as the role is so varied. It may involve supporting a student or graduate in business start-up, or teaching enterprise related curriculum within the university. It may be working externally to raise the profile of enterprise and entrepreneurship education, or it may be working with colleagues across the university on collaborative opportunities. I also work externally in a variety of related areas, including being a Small Business Charter Assessor, an external examiner for the University of the Arts (London), and I am currently the Vice-President of Enterprise Educators UK. Whatever the activity, there is always a sense of satisfaction from the work the Enterprise Team does,
What keeps you motivated at work?
I think this relates to the answer to the previous question, in that the role and the work we do is so varied, and so there are always new challenges and opportunities to explore. However, the most rewarding aspect is when we see the positive impact the work we do has on our students, graduates and colleagues.
The most exciting thing about your job?
As a musician, I had the opportunity to travel extensively with work and I thought that this would end when I had to change careers. However, I have been fortunate to continue to travel with work since being at the university to both learn about, and contribute to, best practice in enterprise and entrepreneurship education. This has expanded further in recent years, with the opportunity to share my doctoral research in social enterprise start-up interventions. The destinations and experiences have been varied and included, Brazil, the USA, Bahrain, Russia and Europe.
Proudest career moment?
Definitely the award of my Doctor of Enterprise PhD in 2021.
Out of the office…?
Away from work I enjoy cooking, travel (sadly, more local than international these days), and I have been known to put on a pair of running shoes for the occasional 5k.