Without a doubt it’s the variety of challenges. Since I joined the industry, 15 years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever been bored. We’ve just got a really difficult challenge to solve as demand for rail travel continues to grow and our network is at, or is reaching, full capacity in many areas. That’s why I like it, because I like being involved in trying to solve that problem.
My confidence. When I joined the industry, I was daunted by how much everybody knew and how much experience they had. I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other people and doubting whether I had any value to add. I’m still a worrier, but I’ve learned that being inquisitive is a good thing. Ask a lot of questions, even if you think they are stupid ones. That’s the only way you’re going to form your own opinion and help improve things.
It’s about enjoying it. If you find something you enjoy you’re going to be far more likely to do it well. I’m really lucky, I’ve got a job that’s challenging, about finding solutions and thinking about how to make things better, but I also get to lead a team and support and help people develop. I enjoy doing both. I’ve worked in some amazing teams and the best ones are formed where people know what they need to do and are trusted to deliver and work together to achieve a common goal.
I think everyone leads in a different way, and it’s not necessarily about gender. I believe having a diversity of approaches in leadership is massively important. Great leaders give people the freedom to be themselves. That’s when you get the best out of them.
Interviewed August 2016