Who I Am
"Just wanted to say thank you so much for being a fabulous coach and leaving me every time
absolutely brimming with ideas, things that I know will come back to me in the days, weeks and years to come.
Thank you for all your encouragement and probing but gently delivered questions!”
As a teenager, I wanted to be an artist and took a one year Foundation Course in Art, specialising in graphic design. During the year, I discovered that although I wanted to be an artist, I didn't need to be one - I was never someone who would always have their sketchbook on them and be drawing come what may.
However, I have remained passionate about the arts which have always been vital to me - I always say that most of what I know of life and the world comes from consuming the arts in some way, whether through books, films, art, music. (See my blog on 'Why the Arts Matter To Me'). So if, as I saw it, I couldn't create, I would use the skills I did have to support creators. Because of this, my whole career, either professionally or voluntarily, has always had a strong arts focus.
I have worked for over 30 years supporting creative individuals and organisations including English National Opera, Cameron Mackintosh, Siobhan Davies Dance, Society of West End Theatre (where I was the first Administrator for the Theatre Tokens scheme) and Chester Gateway Theatre. I managed the Oxford Concert Party (a music group and charity) for 7 years. I have a thorough grounding in marketing, sales, fundraising, administration and people management. I have worked with small businesses to global charities, and done everything from selling tickets in a local box office to managing international conferences.
As a volunteer, I was a founder and board member of the Cheshire Development Education Centre, a charity which has been running for 20 years. I was the Administrator of the Chester Literature Festival for a year; board member of Studio Voltaire (including Chair) for 4 years; co-curator of an exhibition of Shona sculpture at the Commonwealth Institute; and for the Chester Gateway Theatre, which received high levels of unsolicited manuscripts, I was part of the play reading team, suggesting plays for staging. I have also raised £3million for charity.
Whatever my role, my way of working has always been to ask questions and help people find solutions. Now I am using the coaching skills and experience gained over my whole career to help creative people to find their own answers through my business, Catching Fireworks, which I set up in January 2009.
As well as my professional experience, I have also had my own coaching journey which changed my life and continues to this day. I know what it is like to be stuck in what seemed to be a creative cul-de-sac and need the support of someone to help me see the way out. (See the video at the top of the page.)
I also understand the thrills and frustrations of the creative process from personal experience. One day you are brimming with ideas and can barely keep up with yourself. Then suddenly, you hit a moment where despite all skills and techniques, inspiration, like Elvis, has left the building. As well as my writing and creating of workshops, I am a dancer, studying and developing my practice of the Argentine Tango, an improvised dance which enhances and contributes to my coaching style.