What does your role consist of and what is a typical day?

I lead a team of over 5,000 people with the aim of providing a better railway for our customers every day.  We are the largest train operator in the UK and carry 25% of UK passengers.

A typical day comprises overseeing operations, meeting stakeholders (MPs, Ministers), suppliers and doing strong governance.  I also try to schedule thinking time, it is easy to become reactive in this role and it is important that senior leaders focus on the future as well as today.

What is it about the industry that you love?

Change and people. I’ve been in the industry for 30 years and I love the fact that you have the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life, be they a customer or colleagues

Who inspired you during your career and why?

Barbara Cassani. I heard her speak when she was part of the Olympic 2012 bid team.  It was very inspiring – she explained why she had stepped down from leading the bid: because she was American and felt it would be detrimental to the UK’s chances.   It was a great example of someone putting the wider needs first, ahead of personal gratification – very humbling.

What advice would you give to young women and other women working in rail?

Stay with it – work hard, network and challenge yourselves every day.  Be prepared to work in all parts of the industry.  TOC, infrastructure, ROSCO – they all make up the fantastic system of rail.


Interviewed August 2016 – updated September 2017