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About me, my life and my career

If I was to choose one word to describe my life then it would be 'fascinating'. From college in the mid-80s to writing Steffi/CMS, it's been one hell of a journey.

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In the beginning

Born and raised on The Wirral with a number of years living in Lancashire, I gained my BTEC OND in the mid-80s and was all set to go to Lancaster to study Computer Science.

But then I was offered a job with a small Apricot Computer dealership and they trained me up in all aspects of computers of the time. I spent the first year or so shuttling equipment all over The Wirral, Merseyside and beyond, installing both computers and peripherals and learning on the job.

Eventually Windows 1.0c came out (I was at the launch at Microsoft HQ in Reading) and being able to run a clock, a game and a notepad - all at the same time - completely blew me away.

Flying the nest and moving on

Following redundancy from the worlds best little computer dealership, I settled in Milton Keynes and worked for a national computer distributor before going self-employed and ending up at The Open University.

I contracted as a software trainer for academic staff, teaching day courses on Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and eventually, on how to use the Internet, which completely blew me away and changed the entire direction of my career.

My training manager moved to the Maths and Computing Faculty and, always willing to give a girl a break, contracted me to develop internal systems and I eventually published my first website in 1994 for a course called 'MU120 - Seeing Through Mathematics', about complex numbers and infinity.

My journey through the VC world

In 1997, I started my first web design company which worked very well until I got distracted by the whole eCommerce and dot.com bubble that was growing around the turn of the Millenium.

Throwing my hat in, I was awarded £10 million by venture capitalists which was withdrawn just a week before the launch of my self-developed shopping network, when the bubble suddenly burst and all the big investors panicked.

That was the end of my plans for global domination for a while and I ended up contracting for BT, writing systems that would use 4-dimensional data to track engineer movements and inefficiencies.

It was a top secret project for the Board. I could tell you which engineer had the lowest fix record (and who had the best!) and we knew the unions would freak out if we could identify people like that. The project was eventually scrapped due to these privacy concerns.

And now for something completely different

Photography is my second passion and in 2005 I moved to the USA, working as an event photographer in Los Angeles and I had the most amazing time! I was offered a full-time job and a green card, but sadly had to come home for family reasons so missed out on what would have been an amazing change of direction.

On my return to the UK, I worked as a vision mixer for a late-night TV channel based in studios in the south of Milton Keynes. I got promoted to channel producer, but working six nights a week from 8pm until 5am was murderous on my body and after two years - and a doctor recommendation about stress - I quit and went to work for a business news clipping service creating their video delivery platform.

I really enjoyed my time with this small company. I was working with Adobe Flash as well as my beloved database-driven websites and created a number of players which could be embedded in client's websites to stream their CEO on Bloomberg, CNN and a range of other global business TV channels.

The project came to a natural conclusion in 2011 and I left to create Steffi/CMS which is the platform this website is running on it right now.

Aneurysms, cancer and the shock of my life

Between 2012 and 2015, I had two stress induced, life-threatening brain Aneurysms and fought off Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (a rare cancerous tumour) with Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. My treatment was completely successful, but it was a brutal journey.

But I'm a survivor! A felt more ill after treatment that before, though it was totally worth it. Although the aneurysms were quick fixes, cancer recovery took around twelve months and I was able to keep editing for my clients every day, although even that exhausted me. I sometimes wonder how I did it especially with all the painkillers I was on!

I'm grateful to the Neurosciences team at Oxford John Ratcliffe Hospital for saving my life in 2012 when my Aneurysms nearly exploded, and I'm thankful to Northampton General Hospital Oncology for saving my life in 2014 when Cancer struck me down.

People knock the NHS all the time, but I certainly wouldn't be here without it. Every doctor and nurse I met during my treatments were totally dedicated professionals who just want to help their patients get better.

Onwards and upwards

My attitude towards life changed a lot during my illnesses and subsequent recovery. I came to the conclusion that stress is a total killer and that we need not sweat the small stuff. What's the point in worrying about things we have no control over?

It's better to live in a state of gratitude and work on the principle that you can have whatever you want as long as you work towards it, but in a smart way rather than just throwing yourself into it like I used to.

That's what I'm doing right now. I've set myself an ambitious yet achievable goal and a reasonable timescale to reach it in. Once I've reached my goal, I will know that everything else in my life will have fallen into place.

I used to want global domination, with offices around the world, though for now, I'm happy working from my beautiful, tranquil cottage in the countryside, offering my amazing services to future looking small business owners who want to prosper.

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