What is your favorite travel memory?
Just as some people collect stamps, coins, and maps, I like to collect places. That sounds a little weird, but I like my travels to have a sort of congruence, and my favorite travel memories revolve around ‘tidiness’ of dates, places and time, particularly if fiction and fact merge. Some examples include: being in Agincourt, France on the anniversary of the famous Battle, in the field upon which it was fought. I loved reading Cannery Row in Cannery Row, after a visit to Doc’s Lab. I read about Leonardo da Vinci in Vinci, drank Chianti in Chianti, ate Roquefort in… Roquefort
Lastly, I gasped in surprise at sitting on Sigmund Freud’s couch in London on the anniversary day of his death! Is that very nerdy? I have witnessed beautiful sunrises and sunsets in Australia, the Gambia, Malaysia, the Alps…but there is something particularly satisfying about my collection of places!
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Creativity is a massive factor in success. The formation of something original and valuable is massively underestimated. The ability to take something and make it better, bigger, brighter is the key to success. It is natural human instinct to fear change, but the company who employs creative individuals who identify problems, create solutions and devise strategies is successful. At work and in life generally, we often have to write our own endings to stories. If it doesn’t exist – make it happen!
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I love languages (my PhD was on the brain and bilingualism) so have enjoyed learning about different words in other languages. I have also become more knowledgeable about how different nationalities view the world.
Culturally-specific behaviors reveal so much about psychology of individuals.
For example, one of my Chinese students pointed out that in his home region, people tend not to ask “How are you?” but “Have you eaten yet?” How wonderful to consider the physical wellbeing of the body! Also, through having Dutch students, I have visited the Netherlands and noticed its art. I now discuss the painting of ‘The Extraction of the Stone of Folly’ by Hieronymus Bosch in my lectures on sanity vs. insanity, and I was allowed to lie down in Rembrandt’s bed in Amsterdam. There is so much to learn from one’s students!
Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.
There are two instances. First, I always feel proud of my students when I hear of the amazing things that they achieve after our programs, or about some skill that they have mastered. It’s great to watch them progress. Second, we have had a number of successful inspections at St Clare’s, and I always feel a glow of pride for being part of the team during preparation for these. There is something infectious about success, and whilst inspections require energy and focus, they also give us the opportunity to identify methods of good practice, to evaluate what we do, and to enjoy the fruits of our teamwork.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
No one story, but it is always flattering to receive an email from a past student, or to see a student return. Those cases always provide proof that my work motto has worked: “Always leave them wanting more”!