A bit of background
I grew up living close to the ocean, and my love for the water has never left me. Born on the South Coast, and grew up in Devon, very close to the Cornish border.
Bath was a natural place to settle for work. In easy reach of London and the coast, surrounded by beautiful countryside and steeped in history; it’s now known for its festivals, food scene and of course the rugby. What was a university town and world heritage site, now has a flow of new restaurant openings, gigs or match weekends to keep the place bristling with people and energy.
We live in the countryside on the outskirts of the city, which definitely gives us the best of both worlds. Together with my twins, Daisy and Alfie, and my partner Phil, we tend to make the most of it paddle boarding on the river, or walking the dogs. If we’re at home, you can often find us exploring on an adventure that inevitably leads to a good pub for refreshments! Phil is a Golf Pro at Bath GC, but having descended from Devon he thankfully shares our passion for the big blue, so often our weekends are spent at the coast.
Why we launched VANA
Working for a corporate FTSE 100 business was great training ground. I was Operations Director with P&L accountability, managed a multi-site business and led a high performing team of talented consultants. It was excellent exposure to leaders in a broad spectrum of sectors across the UK, but it was difficult to influence corporate culture.
Leaving in 2004 was a huge step, but Jo and I instinctively knew it was the right thing to do. VANA is our creation, and it has been incredibly rewarding building a business that is a leader in our industry, whilst staying true to our values.
We are a great team. Our different styles really complement each other, we have a great work ethic and a huge network of colleagues, associates and friends amassed over 16 years of VANA and over 20 years in the industry.
The most rewarding thing about running VANA
I have always been a risk taker. I believe that life is a gift and we live in a world of endless possibilities. Every day offers a new learning of some kind, and opportunities to fulfil your potential.
Specialising in HR means you get to work with people who have an inherent understanding of how the right talent can shape an organisation. We get to build long-standing relationships with our clients and candidates, which feeds off my genuine interest in people, enthusiasm for change and love of new experiences.
Because VANA has always been about honesty, authenticity and accessibility, our clients reflect those strong values, giving us long-lasting relationships that prove that what we are doing, we are doing right.
What I’d do if we hadn’t set up VANA
I was intent on setting up Vana, so maybe the question for me is more about what next? Perhaps one day running a small boutique hotel or coastal café somewhere in Devon or Cornwall.
I persuaded Jo to invest and work with me on another project in 2019, alongside Vana. We secured a mortgage to buy an old coastal cottage in Mortehoe on the North Devon coast that was in need of some love. To be truthful, it needed a lot of love, a full renovation. Working on the design and interiors was a stimulating project and we launched the cottage as a holiday let in May 2019 – please take a look here: www.seascapehideaways.co.uk It’s been so lovely to welcome so many Vana clients as guests.