ND diagnosis or self-identify as:
Dyslexia – not formally diagnosed.
Current job title and roles:
Current role CEO (founder) Habitat learn.
Director of Assistive Technology Industry Association and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology.
What does your job involve?
Entrepreneur in software and services businesses, Founding partner of Baring Venture partners, a venture capital group which invested in software, hardware and technology ventures across europe. Managing Partner of Tufton Capital a venture fund specialising in turnarounds of companies that had lost their way.
Managing Partner of Bulldog Partners a venture fund investing in technology company turnarounds.
Purchased Conversor from Bulldog partners in 2003. Conversor is an assistive listening device company for individuals who are hard of hearing. Re-designed and sold into 30 countries worldwide. Sold to the technology developer in 2018.
Founded Habitat Learn Group in 2018 to provide note taking support for students with learning disabilities at university and college. Established with an international presence with over 300 Higher education customers in UK and North America. Creating innovative software and learning tools for individuals with learning, hearing and language differences.
Degree/apprenticeship or route to current job:
A Level subjects – Maths, Physics and Chemistry ; Magdalen College Oxford – MA(Oxon) Chemistry; FCA accountancy qualification and training with Coopers and Lybrand; Trained as an accountant after Oxford and then joined an investment bank after qualification in Mergers and acquisitions and Corporate Finance.
What were your challenges in school?
Revising for exams was almost impossible particularly with text heavy subjects. Maths and Chemistry with highly visual numbers and formulae were easy. Physics was a nightmare and took 100% of my focus to get the third A grade. Cannot remember the meaning of many words and even now have to look them up. Was in line for a 3rd class degree at Oxford but decided to create a summary notes matrix for revision- learning by rote with text heavy content was not easy. University unilaterally changed the format of the exam paper to a problem solving exercise. I ended up 37 out of 250 narrowly missing a 1st class degree.
What strategies/assistive technology do you use to help you in your work?
Spreadsheets, powerpoint and GoogleDrive are amazing.
What ND skills have allowed you to succeed (or progress) in your STEM career?
Highly entrepreneurial and a risk taker. I was adopted aged 6 and was in a middle-class straight-jacket which drove me to the classical public school, Oxford, City accountant and financier route. As I have aged I have become more entrepreneurial and risk oriented. I met my biological father when he was 98 to learn he had been an entrepreneur into his 80’s. Think outside the box and don’t take no for an answer.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be such a stuffed shirt. Be more entrepreneurial and take risks, you only pass this way once. Treat others fairly and don’t be afraid to speak out about perceived injustices. Create a pathway to your legacy. What do you want to be remembered for when you are gone.