I was born in Moss Side, Manchester in 1953, went to University in Liverpool and have lived in Milton Keynes since 1986. I love all three cities! I am currently Chair of The Scout Association - the first woman to be elected as Chair of Trustees in the movement's 108 year history www.scouts.org.uk
I am also Chair of the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) www.semlep.com one of 39 private - sector led economic development partnerships (LEPs) set up in 2010 by the Coalition Government to stimulate innovation, inward investment, economic growth and job creation. SEMLEP is the 7th largest LEP and comprises eleven local authority areas across Aylesbury Vale, Bedfordshire, Cherwell, Northamptonshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes. As former Group Chief Executive and main board director of the University for Industry (Ufi Ltd), I was responsible, as a senior civil servant, for the successful implementation of the UK government’s flagship e-learning initiative learndirect www.learndirect.co.uk as well as the development of other nationwide e-services UK on line www.ukonlinecentres.co.uk and Directgov www.gov.uk
From 2004 to 2010, I worked as Senior Vice President for the international strategic management consultancy Citizen Service Transformation www.cstransform.com as well as working as a government adviser both in the UK and overseas. In this capacity, I worked with the former Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat the Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, when he was an MEP; During that period, I was also an independent member of the current Prime Minister's, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Education Committee which was part of his Public Services Improvement Policy Group. I had been a member of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s, Digital Inclusion Panel between 2000 and 2005. Between 2010-15, I also sat on the Labour Party's independent Skills Task Force and on the Coalition government's Service Transformation Challenge Panel.
I hold a number of public and private sector non-executive directorships and am Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Buckinghamshire, where I have lived since 1986.In the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, I was appointed OBE for public service and services to education; In the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, I was awrded a CBE for public and political services.