What’s your background?
I studied Archaeology and Art History at the University of Edinburgh, before completing a Retail Management Graduate programme with Argos in the mid-1990s. After a few years working in Retail Management I moved into Retail Internal Audit and then into Internal Audit in local Government. Whilst there I studied my professional Accountancy qualification and became a CIPFA Member (Chartered Accountant).
I left local Government to work with the Government Internal Audit Agency in Westminster for a couple of years, where I was privileged to be the Head of Internal Audit for both HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office. I left both the Civil Service and Internal Audit when I joined NML as Executive Director of Business Resources, during national lockdown in May 2020.
Can you describe a typical week in your job?
I lead the teams that deliver support services – Finance & Procurement, Risk & Governance, HR, Estates and Information Systems – across the NML Group. I started this role during lockdown, so I am not sure I can describe a “typical” week, as we have not been working in a typical way for the last 12 months – in fact the Museums and Galleries have been closed for significant periods during this time.
However, by its nature my job is varied because the activities that my teams deliver engage with all aspects of the business, supporting them in achieving our objectives and creating memorable experiences for our visitors.
As a member of our Executive Leadership Team I contribute to decisions about the business. We are accountable to a Board of Trustees and to our sponsor, DCMS, so I also attend Board and Committee meetings and engage regularly with DCMS colleagues.
What are your favourite parts of the job?
I like the variation of the role. I enjoy working with people, and am thrilled to be working in the sector as it has always been an ambition of mine, since studying Archaeology and Art History 25 years ago. It is very rewarding seeing the buildings full of visitors, enjoying themselves and knowing that you have contributed to that experience, even in a “behind the scenes” way.
I used to work in Internal Audit, so I have an interest in making sure that there are good processes and procedures in place that support effective working and help the business succeed and achieve. A significant element of my job is about putting procedures in place and trying to make sure that everyone understands and applies them, so I work with colleagues across the Business.
What style of leadership have you found most effective?
I’m a people person: talking to people and listening and being respectful is so important. I always try to take the time to say thank you to colleagues for their contributions, or well done for completing a task or achieving something. We should never be too busy to say thanks.
It’s important to empower colleagues to get on with their roles and responsibilities and delegation should be used carefully – I would never ask someone to do something that I would not be prepared to do myself. I always take a turn at making the tea when working in the office!
Everyone in the team is critical to how successful we are as an organisation, regardless of what roles we all do. It’s part of my role to inspire and motivate and develop others to be the best they can be in their roles and support them when they need it.