These are the things I've done in my life that have meant the most to me:

  • CEO of international development organisation One World Action for 10 years

  • Lived for 2 years in a Manila squatter area with a Filipino family,

  • Overcame cancer - I had a brain tumour in 2009 (I will always be deaf in my right ear; sit to my left...!)

  • Worked and lived in Sierra Leone, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines

  • Travelled across the Sahara desert independently with two friends, from London to Ghana in a Land Rover

  • Successfully changed career to become a qualified coachand consultant

  • Went to India alone in 1984, my first time outside Europe - still remember the family living in a sewage pipe

  • Was first from my family to go to university, and went on to get a Masters degree 

  • Held - briefly - the junior 400m record at my school (68.1 seconds, since you ask...)

  • Slept on a park bench in Paris - until the tramps reclaimed their regular place

  • Chaired Walthamstow School for Girls, with 80% non-white students - a truly inspiring place

  • Worked at Amnesty International with difficult, challenging, brilliant and wonderful people

  • Rode the Trans Siberian train from Beijing to Moscow in Soviet era

  • Seen Machu Pichu, the Kremlin, the Taj Mahal, Tiananmen Square and many wonderful places

  • Took the Orient Express from Beijing via Moscow to Berlin (and hid under a table at Warsaw station to avoid a mass brawl.....) 

  • Gained GCSE Mandarin after travelling in pre-Tiananmen China and being unable even to read the street signs

  • Stood in front of the tanks with many Filipinos in the EDSA Revolution to overthrow Marcos. Alas, Yellow Ribbon democracy wasn't quite what we hoped for! 

  • In Cambodia, sat quietly at the Killing Fields, and cried at the photos in Tuol Sleng, the S21 torture prison - how can we do such things to each other? 

  • Sat down to eat with Dalits - the "untouchables" - in Bangladesh

  • Met the Dalai Lama - and Yes, he does have an aura

  • Took my twins, then under two years, to experience the Philippines and Japan in 2014


I am proud of these achievements, and I have worked hard. But I'm not exceptional by any means, I know that, and many people leave me in awe with what they have done. I hope more's to come - I still want a sea view, and I haven't given up on overcoming war, poverty and injustice....

So what have you achieved so far in your life; and what strengths can you draw on from the past to succeed now?