Can you tell us a bit about you and your career?
I trained as a teacher and simultaneously studied to be an embalmer.
My interest had been kindled by my interest in anatomy and physiology fuelled by my father who was, at that time, MD at our family funeral service which, in those days was a much smaller concern.
What does a typical day in your career look like?
Each day is different, my primary duties now involve the hands-on conducting of funerals.
As time goes by I find that I am dealing with the same families that I have dealt with in the past and with my contemporaries from school days.
What made you choose this career/industry/line of work?
I was brought up by a family of Funeral Directors as my maternal grandfather and great-grandfather founded our business in 1907.
However, our company was much smaller when I was at school and whilst I was interested in the nature of the industry, I did not initially consider it as a career.
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
I studied for the embalming and funeral directing qualifications before I entered the profession full-time and had to “bring something to the table” so I worked for a number of years for a multi-national funeral company.
It was challenging initially because I was the only female (and the youngest) and highest qualified but least experienced in what was then a very male-dominated profession.
If any, can you tell us more about how you overcame those setbacks?
It was just necessary for me to demonstrate that I was just as capable despite my youth and gender.
Humility and humour helped.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
To be kind.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
I believe that female qualities and sensitivity are particularly important, that is not to say that males do not have those qualities, but women (in my opinion) are more natural.
What do you think gave you the drive and determination to succeed?
Pride in the service we provided and our innovative approach that still maintained the tradition.
What is your biggest achievement in life?
Just being part of the growth of our family business.
What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learnt along the way?
Get on with it and prove that you can.
Outside your work, what are your favourite hobbies and pastimes?
I learned to fly and gained my private pilot’s licence in 1998, flying regularly for 20+yrs, I now get pleasure from travelling.
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given and by who?
By my father and mother to – ‘believe in myself.’
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
Margaret Thatcher (love her or loath her). She was incredible.
What are your key motivators?
To provide a service to the bereaved that they will remember with positivity.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
One step at a time.
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Believe in yourself and channel your ability.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Yes, you can make a difference.
If you could do anything differently in your career, what would it be?
Nothing, I have just loved it all!