What gets me out of bed in the morning
Usually one of my four children, and at a painfully uncivilised hour! Whether it’s the kids or the alarm clock dragging me out of bed, I’m someone who greets every day with a sense of excitement and anticipation about what might come next. I’m not talking about BIG things here, rather the many brief moments of happiness that each day (even a bad one) has to offer. It could be an impromptu hug from my son, a few moments of banter at the school gates, the smell of freshly brewed coffee at the station or a juicy new Services Agreement to sink my teeth into (I’m a lawyer – I can’t help myself). These pockets of joy are what fuel me through the day, and make me feel excited about what the next day has in store.
An entrepreneur I admire
Dame Anita Roddick: founder of The Body Shop. Roddick first came onto my radar when I was 13 years old. In those days, in my small Welsh town, it was mandatory to emerge from a fog of The Body Shop’s ‘Dewberry’ body spray before hitting the Community Centre Youth Club with a vengeance.
Roddick opened her first store in Brighton in 1976 and built up her empire over 30 years. In 2006, when The Body Shop boasted almost 2,000 stores worldwide, Roddick sold it to cosmetics giant L’Oreal for £652 million. These stellar figures aside, she was a courageous woman who harnessed her deep environmental and ethical consciousness to differentiate her products from those of her competitors, and to use The Body Shop as a force for social good. She said of her ethos: “There is no more powerful institution in society than business, which is why I believe it is important for businesses to assume a moral leadership”.
The Body Shop offered refillable containers for its products from the outset and was one of the first cosmetics companies to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals. The Body Shop led the way in promoting fair trade with developing countries and set up countless charitable foundations to help disadvantaged children in these regions. In 1997 The Body Shop created the edgy ‘Ruby’ campaign, which railed against the era of the supermodel by promoting body positivity for all. ‘Ruby’ was a size 16 version of a Barbie doll who appeared above the slogan: “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do”. I was 16 when that campaign was launched, and it had a profound, positive impact on me and my friends.
What would you put on your Ignition Law playlist or bookshelf?
If I wanted to impress, I would dust off my copy of “The Institutes of Gaius and Justinian” from the Roman Law module at university. It’s a weighty tome, so the shelf would probably need to be reinforced, and it has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to modern legal practice. Still, it would make an excellent doorstop if we wanted to create a through-draught in the office. In my extremely limited free time (did I mention my four children?) I enjoy reading anything written by Ian McEwan or Gabriel Garcia Márquez and my favourite book is ‘The Hours’ by Michael Cunningham. In terms of music, I have extremely eclectic tastes that range from Coldplay to Stormzy, with a generous smattering of 90s Brit Pop thrown in for good measure.
A social cause I care about is…
I have been a Governor at a state primary school for many years, so the role that Governors have to play in providing strategic leadership and accountability to schools is something that I am passionate about. School Governors form one of the largest volunteer groups in the UK, with over 250,000 of us being recorded at the last count. We come from all walks of life, we don’t get paid (although we do have the privilege of wearing a snazzy neon orange lanyard when visiting school) and most of us are juggling work and childcare commitments with our governing duties. We are responsible for ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school; overseeing the financial performance of the school; and holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and for safeguarding.