I have been asked to tell you a bit about myself and my work at The Staff College. I am the Deputy Associate Lead for the College, part of the Women in Leadership team, and an active member of our coaching community.
I am originally from the North of Ireland, but moved to Glasgow for university and have remained there ever since. I live with my family in a big tenement flat in a diverse and bustling community in the Southside of Glasgow – which I love.
After graduating from the University of Glasgow, I moved into the public sector, initially working for a youth health service before joining the civil service graduate programme, where I worked in a range of Scottish Government policy roles. From there I moved to a small consultancy in Glasgow, working in community engagement and regeneration. I became a Director of the consultancy in 2012. Over the next five years, I worked with my co-director to move us into national research and policy development work, with a strong focus on equality and inclusion, eventually co-founding Research Scotland. I now work on a freelance basis, which allows me more choice and control over the types of work I do – though I still work with my former colleagues at Research Scotland on an associate basis.
My work beyond The Staff College mainly focuses on equality, diversity, inclusion and equity. I also work on a range of projects focused on driving change in complex systems, or developing frameworks for evaluation and learning.
I am probably best known for my supportive and practical approach. Although my practice is founded on research and theory, I am most at home creating spaces and processes which engage people or partnerships in reflective practice, honest conversations, and support them to drive change around complex issues.
Since joining The Staff College I have been active as a coach – supporting leaders on a one-to-one basis with the challenges they face, as well as facilitating action learning sets. I am part of the Women in Leadership team, and have been actively involved in wider work around inclusion – including undertaking some research about support needs in the public sector.
In addition, I am involved in some research around support needs in the education sector, and have facilitated a series of scenario planning workshops. More recently I have been working with Kate McKenna, Nadine Boyne and Staff College staff to support the development of the Associate pool.
For me, The Staff College has allowed me to join a ‘team’ of people focused on improving public services. I have especially enjoyed working with others focused on addressing inequity – through the Women in Leadership team and with colleagues promoting anti-racist practice. Over the years I have often found equality work to feel a bit lonely at times – so working with others committed to similar goals feels good!