I've always had a thing for interacting with people, an inquisitive mind with an eagerness to know 'why?' As well as 'how?'more
What’s your background?
Talking to people. I learnt from a very early age that I was good at listening, understanding and then explaining to people why we are doing something - why we often have to change. I have worked on market stalls, in a fish factory and as a freelance journalist. Taking all of that experience and moulding it in to, what was once described by a recruitment consultant, as the worst CV for them to pitch.
I have lead teams, programmes of work and most recently a directorate of staff. This includes positions such as the European Consumer Services Manager for Sega, responsibility for ensuring that Finding Nemo made it on to the shelves in France for Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Disney), and then as the Deputy Chief Information Officer at the National Institute for Health Research. No one knows what a Deputy CIO does or is meant to do, but I am told I was quite good at it.
No matter what the role, the basis was always the same. Take things on, own them and share out the successes at the end.
Describe your role at Difrent
It's early days, but the phrase most commonly used is that I am "on the hook" for delivering the new NHS Jobs service, with the NHS Business Services Authority up in Newcastle. I am very much going into the early days with two ears and one mouth and striking that balance accordingly. I have inherited what looks to be a great team. So to start with, we will take the learnings and approach from Alpha and work as a team, under my leadership, to deliver an outcome the client needs as per the definition of done.
I will be the ringmaster of the MVP!
Who are you outside of Difrent?
This is where we use the labels handed to us in middle-age. I am a husband or minority partner, depending on your view on such things. I have two children, one of each - a saint and a sinner - girl (9) and boy (5). They are my world until 8.35pm. Outside of being a parent, I like to follow recipes in cookbooks, blog about the dullest of subjects that pop into my head and drink natural or low intervention wine. It's not a phase or a fad, it's a lifestyle choice - as in, the cost of the bottle renders any lifestyle I might want unobtainable. That and we don't always get the babysitters on the nights we want to go out.
I am a DJ in my own Nightclub for one in my kitchen in Leeds. I used to write reviews of nightclubs for magazines sold in WH Smiths, though that feels like a lifetime ago. I drink a lot of coffee, often with beans ground by hand and made in equipment that gets the odd funny look when going through customs at airports. I used to play bowls - the old person's sport. I was alright at it, representing both Yorkshire and Lancashire. I retired when the kids came along. I used to play as I have psoriatic arthritis, which ended my football and cricket careers. You'll barely notice the arthritis other than if I have been drinking cheap white wine. Then I might limp a little more the next day.
Who would you invite to dinner, dead or alive?
I am not sure I have a controversial answer here. There's nothing worse than going to dinner where people have nothing in common or don't get on, so I think I would like to have a few "normal" famous people to keep the night bubbling along simply. Food writers such as Rachel Roddy, Diana Henry and Felicity Cloake to make a dish or two; wine writes such as Victoria Moore and Fiona Beckett, or a wine producer like Arianna Occhipinti to keep us "topped up". Possibly add a couple of historians like Tom Holland and Mary Beard for debate - with either Francois Kevorkian or the Beastie Boys, full line up, to soundtrack the night. No despots or troublemakers - just folk who might become more animated after a sherry or two.
At the recent #AgileP event, we discussed the need for a two-way learning journey — involving Digital AND Procurement.more
I was asked ‘Why does my approach to coaching work?’ I have overcome many personal and professional challenges; struggling from one job to another, unfulfilled, undervalued, unknowing how to find the right place to contribute and make a difference;more