This page is actually less about me specifically and more about how and why I got into resilience and the twists and turns along the way to today.
I enthusiastically embarked on a career in emergency management after 9/11. I’d recently returned from New York and was overwhelmed by how different agencies, communities and groups rallied together to respond and support each other in recovery.
I chose a degree subject which allowed me to take modules in natural hazards, and was fortunate to benefit from volunteer work with the Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England). On graduating I found my first employment with one of the largest hospital Trusts in England supporting a radical and wide-ranging review of Major Incident procedures across all clinical and non-clinical areas.
From this position, I was invited to join the Capacity Management and Emergency Planning Team at West Midlands Ambulance Service where my role involved ensuring the ability of the NHS system to be able to respond to real-time, forecast and unplanned changes in demand. In 2009/10 my personal resilience was tested as the lead for pandemic flu preparedness and response.
In 2011 I took the decision to relocate to London to take advantage of an opportunity to join the Mayor of London’s team putting in place the emergency management and resilience arrangements required for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. My role was coordinating the work of 200+ organisations and providing assurance to the Mayor and Cabinet Office that London had a capability in place to respond to any incident.
Highlights since joining London Resilience include, training with European Union Civil Protection Mechanism and specifically being invited to join the training faculty in 2018, leading the coordination of the UK’s largest ever emergency services Exercise ‘Unified Response’, and developing an internationally recognised methodology for understanding complex interdependencies between infrastructure systems.
I’ve been involved in the strategic response to a wide range of incident types, but none more challenging than the Grenfell Fire in June 2017. This incident has taught me more than I could ever hope to know about the importance of placing communities and disaster-affected people at the centre of response and recovery.
I started this blog in 2012 as an attempt to demystify emergency management and resilience. At times I’ve felt like I’ve had lots to say, about the nature of the resilience profession or the hot topic in the office. Other times I’ve had less to say. It’s a personal blog; my own thoughts, which are sometimes deliberately provocative. My aim for the blog is to hold a mirror up to what we do in search of improvements and ultimately better outcomes for the communities we serve.
I’d love to take to you about resilience! Get in touch!
Oh, and I also got obsessed with Japan during a trip there in 2015, so work posts since then have been interspersed with reviews of ramen noodles!