My parents are actually from Edinburgh. They migrated to Australia before I was born. In early 1970 there was a strong push from state governments to recruit more teachers from the UK, and my parents are both teachers. They initially went out there just for a couple of years, but they stayed although my dad still has a real longing for Scotland. Throughout my childhood we travelled to Scotland now and then, so being Scottish was part of my identity growing up.
I graduated in Law and Asian Studies degree in Australia, then spent some time in Japan teaching English. I worked as a lawyer for a short time, before moving into the Australian civil service, working for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. My job was focused on issues around women in work and industrial relations. I realised that I can only work on issues that I believe in - my day to day work has to fit with my personal values.
Having decided to work overseas for a little while, I responded to an advertisement for a post in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire in 2005. I took up the two year post with Oxfam working on issues around gender and poverty, and I wasn't really expecting to stay any longer in Scotland. But then I met my husband...
I then worked in the legal research team at the Scottish Parliament, before moving to my current post with the Glasgow City Council. I work for the Leader of the Council, providing policy support, with a focus on health, social work and communities.
The council has committed to developing an anti-poverty strategy for the city. My job has been to figure out the priorities, make sure the right people are talking to each other and that we involve people with direct experience of poverty to inform us on how to take the work forward.
I think Glasgow’s museums and parks are something to be really proud of, and the fact that they are free is really important. It makes a clear statement that public facilities are for everybody, which is admirable, because most cities don’t do that.
One place I love in Glasgow is Linn Park, just around the corner from me. I’ve taken my two boys there almost every week since they were tiny babies - now they are two and four. We go in every season – to pick brambles, to have snow fights or just to feed the ducks. They can run wild and burn off some of their unrelenting energy!