As a high school dropout with a PhD, I’m no stranger to forging a unique career path. I grew up in a household where my mother travelled the world selling some of the world’s first digital voice response systems and my father was a toy inventor (yes, you read that right!) From my inspiring parents I learned that there is no one ‘right’ way to do a career–there is only the right way to do YOUR career.
My PhD research on digital communities led to a career in customer insights for the largest online community of teachers in the world. I was selected for the inaugural 100+ Brilliant Women Leading in AI Ethics list. My work has been featured in publications like CEO Today, Verdict, and Computer Weekly. I’ve presented award-winning research on digital cultures and how to measure the connectedness of digital communities at conferences like the New Future of Work Symposium, Mozilla Festival and the Oxford Internet Institute’s Connected Life series. My work as a researcher is often the hinge between the people using products or services and the people building them, giving me a unique insight into culture inside and outside of technical teams. This allows me to see the massive potential AND the huge challenges for people working in the tech industry.
Digital Anthropology: Curiosity & Empathy for a World in Flux
At its simplest, anthropology is the study of people: how we behave, think and act, and most importantly, how we make meaning together. The core characteristics of an anthropologist are curiosity and empathy. Anthropologists want to know about people’s experiences, and we are delighted and humbled by being invited into people’s worlds. A key discovery of anthropology is that we all have our own version of ‘normal’: what is common practice or goes without saying in my world might be interpreted completely differently by someone else. Anthropologists learn to step outside their version of ‘normal,’ suspend judgement, and consider things from many different perspectives. Anthropology can help you make sense of a time when everyone’s ideas of ‘normal’ are constantly being shaken up. Learning to think like an anthropologist can empower you and those around you to adjust to whatever the ‘next normal’ will become. Read more about why digital anthropology is an essential skill in today’s technologically-mediated world.
I’m a committed activist for greater social and economic equality: I was a founding trustee of Ellpha, a charity that promotes gender equality through harnessing the power of AI. I’ve previously volunteered with DataKind UK, a charity that enables non-profits and social benefit organisations to use their data more effectively through volunteer data science projects. For my ‘day job’ I’ve worked with some of the most recognizable businesses in the world on developing their digital ethics strategies, thinking through the future of collaborative work, and considering how better data can drive their strategy for a sustainable future.
When I’m not doing that, I enjoy exploring novel technologies through projects that are illuminating, aesthetic, or simply whimsical. See more about my work (and play) under Techy Projects.
Working with Me
Alongside my focus on how digital technologies shape our lives and work, I use my abilities for deeply understanding people and my passion for continuous improvement to help my industry peers build careers that have choice, purpose and direction. To that end, in 2017 I completed a Professional Coaching Skills certificate through Coaching Development, an ICF-accredited training organization. I’m a member of the International Coach Federation, meaning that I’m committed to upholding the ICF’s professional and ethical standards. I’ve coached people on launching their new businesses, starting new jobs, having challenging conversations with peers, and rediscovering what really makes them tick–and how to make that a bigger part of their life.
For me as a coach the greatest success is the client’s independence and real embodiment of change in their lives and work. I work from the principle of psychological safety, providing a space where clients feel comfortable to stretch themselves by taking appropriate risks and rising to new challenges. Want to find out more?