I loved school! How many people can actually say they loved school! Even when I was unwell, I wanted to be at school. I liked learning and loved reading. I still like these activities now.
I loved college, I always thought it was a bit cool learning how to do shorthand and type! Having learned to type blindfolded, I am quite adept at using both hands for a number of tasks. I can play tennis with both hands, I can paint tight spaces or walls with my left and I spent time writing with my left hand just in case. I still use the odd short hand symbol in every day life.
My first job was a junior audio typist for an estate agent in 1985. Think shoulder pads, hairspray and matching shoes and handbags! I spent 4 years with what started out as Cobbs Estate Agent and was bought out by General Accident. I thoroughly loved my time there and enjoyed learning new skills. As the company changed, so did I. I learned about mortgages, pensions and endowments and selling houses. After 4 years, I felt it was time for a change and turned my hand to working for a magazine company... not the most glamorous of magazines, it was for tools! But I do like a challenge!
After I had given all I could to the world of commuting, I wanted to work back in Brighton. Brighton was going through bit of a rough patch economically so a tactical move was made. Who was the biggest employer that paid well – after all I was working in London! So November 1999, tapping into my secretarial skills I joined the HR team of American Express, based at their Prestamex office, Preston Park. Twelve years later a corporate life had shaped me to a certain degree, but it couldn't shake me free of being bit of a maverick. I wasn't one to be cloned. My personality is about being free – creative – meeting as many people as possible and communicating. Having gained new skills and doing my bit for good citizenship for the organisation, I thought it was high time I did something for myself. I wanted to be self employed. After floating the idea to my then supportive female boss, it was agreed that I could work part time for American Express and part time as a self employed Virtual Assistant with my own clients.
So I networked around Brighton, met some fabulous people and contacts. Joined Toastmasters and honed public speaking skills and did a few speaking stints about social media. See, social media, it had me hooked right from the start. I then left American Express fully and worked for a couple of start ups - helping them build awareness, promoting their good citizenship, organised some fabulous events involving social media.
My parents had moved to France in 2005 and that year I had met my now husband Paul. We visited my parents in June 2005 and decided that living in France would be something that we would like to aspire to. We had started to reduce our financial commitments, til only the mortgage was left. In the February of 2012, I was made redundant and we thought there is absolutely nothing stopping us. So we set a date to move to France in August 2012. In the meantime I reverted back to being a self employed freelancer and started working with a fabulous PR/Comms company. I still work with them today. However, to satisfy legalities here, I offer my social media services in the form of management and training to small businesses here in France.
I think it fair to say that I have picked up some fairly good skills along the way, and some funky hair dos too! which have helped shape what I do today. The backbone has always been excellent administrative skills and the ability to adapt to an ever changing world of communication.