What are you doing now?
I am currently working for Team Sky (cycling) and Sky (TV) on a new project that will bring together people from across numerous domains in sport, music, art, education and business to learn from one another on how to develop human performance. As part of this project I help support the cycling team in solving problems through science, medicine and technology.
What route did you take up to this point?
I studied at university right from undergraduate to completing a PhD at Loughborough. I studied in the area of Sports Science. After my studies I went to work in British Olympic sport – I happened to be in the right place at the right time in a growing industry leading into London 2012. I then moved into a leadership role with England Rugby with a particular focus on player development but still overseeing teams of people across sports science and sports medicine. From here I was attracted into this new role to make a dent in society through the power of sport.
Any significant crossroads?
I have certainly faced major decision points throughout my studies and even now in my career. There are many things you cannot control so whatever decision you do make at these crossroads (there is no right or wrong) – you have just got to give it the best chance of succeeding through hard work and endeavour.
I did not do as well as I should have in my A levels because I took my foot off the gas post GCSEs (in fact I think I took my foot off the gas during the later years of my GCSEs). When I got to university (not the one I wanted to go) the realisation that you need to quickly become self-aware, self-organising and self-driven really hit home and that’s where I believe I changed my attitude to work and learning. That experience has kept me in good stead since.
What have you learnt most about yourself?
Hard work is the number one ingredient to being successful. It does not matter how much talent or intelligence you may have – it will not compete with anyone in life when you come up with someone who has work ethic, passion and desire for what they believe in. This is replicated throughout life consistently. The other really crucial learning has been to recognise that you will need to constantly adapt as circumstances change around you. Your ability to change mindset and adapt quicker than anyone else will be crucial for long term success.
What words of wisdom would you give to a student joining DHSB in Year 7?
You cannot predict the future. The decisions you make about subjects to study and follow should be based on what you enjoy and what you have a passion for. What the world looks like now will not be the same in 10 years time. Enjoy your time at school – if it is not fun and you don’t find something you fall in love with – find something that you do. The amazing opportunities at DHSB mean you can seek out multiple experiences and opportunities in and out of school to find your passion.
And for a Sixth Former leaving DHSB?
The advice to Year 7 is the same advice to those leaving. You will be exposed to an ever wide of opportunities when you leave school and either go to an apprenticeship or the workplace, university or a gap year. Experience as much as you can – don’t specialise too early – and be nice to everyone you meet. As you progress through your studies and into the work place the things that will differentiate you will be your ability to connect with others, build trust and demonstrate creativity through problem solving.
Any fond memories of school you can share?
I loved sport and had the opportunity to follow my passion by studying the science of sport. I had no idea it would take me to where I have because the jobs did not exist in this domain. The environment provided a wide, varied and fun development experience that only now I understand! Without it, I would not have been in a place to take the opportunities as they arose. My memories are shaped around the people I met.
Do you have a message for any of your teachers?
Keep doing what you’re doing. Continue to support the students in following their passion and let them enjoy as much of the moment as they can. Development is not a linear process – it’s about having the skills to adapt to what changes in front of you. If the students leave school having enjoyed their experience, found their passion – you have done a brilliant job in creating the environment that allowed that to happen.