A bit of background
I’ve always lived close to the ocean. Born in Bournemouth, I then spent most of my childhood exploring the beautiful Devon and Cornish coastline.
Bath was a natural place to settle. In easy reach of the sea, 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 a village on the outskirts, which definitely gives us the best of both worlds. Together with my twins, Daisy and Alfie, we tend to make the most of it with cycling, paddle boarding or walking. You can often find us exploring the cycle tracks, canals or footpaths on an adventure that inevitably leads to a good pub for refreshments!
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 14 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. If you don’t push yourself you’ll never 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 by the sea. I love being in the presence of the ocean. So although I might long for the challenge and creativity that I get from running VANA, I could try to persuade Jo to set up a coastal outpost, and I could combine the best of both…