I live near Oxford in an old house that needs a lot of love and attention, so I’ve had to get good at DIY over the years.
I grew up in Bradford and went to university there, then moved to London and worked in a casino for a couple of years, which was great fun. I have four (reasonably grown-up) childen, two boys, two girls. I really like cars and driving (which is good because I work up in Lancaster, which is over two hundred miles away).
My pronouns are:
I’m the course director on the Psychology of Advertising MSc at Lancaster University, and also work in advertising, in the UK and in North America.
I’m really lucky to have a career working in companies and charities that has allowed me to use what I learned in my psychology degree in a very direct way, trying to understand what customers (and people who make charity donations) want, and how to design advertising that can communicate with them effectively.
For the past ten years, I’ve also been able to teach Masters students what I’ve learned from this work, so that they can get jobs in advertising and marketing using their knowledge of psychology.
My Typical Day:
I wake up late (around 8) and have a strong coffee and a shower, then stagger to my upstairs office hit the social media. Driving to Lancaster a couple of days a week takes a long time, but then I have an amazing time teaching my students, who are all pretty amazing too.
I discovered late in life that I really, really love teaching, and so every day I do this is great. My other work as a consultant is very rewarding too – I get to travel a lot (America, Europe, Japan…I’m hoping for a trips to Australia and China one day!) and ask questions of people all over the world, about their lives, their hopes and their dreams…
What I'd do with the prize money:
You can’t beat a party! So, I’d organise one around Christmas for schools local to Lancaster, on campus (I might get the uni to chip in too!) and rope my colleagues from the Faculty of Science to give introductory talks about the most exciting developments in their areas (and maybe they could have a mince pie as well).
I was lucky enough to go to St Bedes, in Bradford, which (although I really did not appreciate it at the time) was a massive turning point for me, because they were so generous with their time and gave me space to become myself (still a work-in-progress!).
I stayed in Bradford and went to uni there (psychology) which was a bit of a shock – all the things I’d read were about Freud and Jung, but Bradford taught the science of psychology – which, it turned out, suited me much better.
‘O’ levels – six, reasonable grades in sciences, not so much in arts
‘A’ levels – B, C & D, Chemistry, Biology, Physics (I think – it’s a very long time ago now!), although it took me three attempts to get these
Technical order exec., Bradford Glass Company. (For a year while I did my re-sits – inspired by my friends’ reports of university life!)
Playboy Casino, Park Lane, London. (A two-year party after graduation, and a way to move south.)
Social research exec, Research Surveys of GB
Qualitative research exec, Questel Qualitative Studies
Qualitative Director, BJM Research
Freelance Consultant, working with London ad agencies
TNS Research, consumer technology division
Freelance (again!) – Tangent Partnership
Course Director, Psychology of Advertising Masters (MSc)
Freelance (consultancy), and The University of Lancaster
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Asks interesting questions
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes - big trouble
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Writing magical novels
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Haddock and chips
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Be rich; be healthy; be wise (in that order please!)
Tell us a joke.
how many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to sincerely want to change...