Describe your career progression.
I worked as a public health consultant in the NHS for 20 years before deciding to leave that career to become an entrepreneur. I had no idea what an entrepreneur was, but it sounded good! I accidentally got involved in a Startup Weekend and became part of my local entrepreneurial/startup/technology community. It couldn’t have been further from what I had done before, but I found I really enjoyed it and had a knack for coming up with ideas to solve problems.
What inspired you to change careers at the time that you did?
I was introduced to a number of inspirational entrepreneurs and thought leaders through podcasts and blogs. Learning about the big careers moves and high-impact companies that others had created planted the seed with me that I might like to do the same. I was ready for something different and I wanted to be my own boss. I had a lot of ideas and I wanted to see if I could make them happen.
I had been through lots of organisational changes in the NHS over the span of my career and I had just finished leading my department through one of the biggest. Having completed that monumental task, it seemed like that was a good time to take the skills and experience I had from that and apply it to something new.
Does your new career reflect your passions and talents better than your previous career?
There were some things in my previous career that I really enjoyed, and that I had a real talent for! I do miss some of those. But my new career lets me use my creativity and penchant for innovation much more. Now I am able to put my energy behind my passion rather than behind a corporate mandate. I am grateful for the transferable skills I honed over those years, but it is amazing how talents flourish when aligned with an idea you feel passionate about!
What advice would you give to people over the age of 40 looking to change careers?
Do it now! I spent too many years thinking about doing it, then planning to do it. I wish I had done it much sooner. By the time you are 40 you have amassed a portfolio of skills and experience that is transferable across industries and situations. So don’t let fear of failure or fear of being unemployable stop you from doing it today. Don’t underestimate what you can take to another career or opportunity, and don’t undersell yourself.
I’ve recently been chosen as part of Vauxhall Motors and Management Today’s 40 over 40 and it feels great. If you had said this was a possibility for me even three short years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I feel proud of what i have achieved and I hope more than anything to inspire others. Being a part of this allows me to do that.
To coincide with the launch of the new Insignia Grand Sport, Vauxhall Motors has partnered with Management Today to produce Changing Lanes – a report looking at trends of the UK workforce, find the hub at http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/changinglanes. Visit www.vauxhall.co.uk/insignia to discover the stylish new flagship vehicle. More information on The House Crowd can be found on the website https://www.thehousecrowd.com/.