Tell us about your background
I grew up in Coatbridge, just outside Glasgow.
My passions have always been theatre, TV, and music, although I was always in the background being too scared to go on stage or let anyone hear me sing or play the guitar.
I’m married and have a daughter who was born in the summer break in between my studies at RSAMD, and I have two dogs called Moz and Bella.
What made you decide to study at RSAMD?
I was at university studying politics when I applied to the RSAMD.
All my spare time was spent in youth theatres, in particular Scottish Youth Theatre, and when a couple of my friends got into other drama schools, I decided to put in a speculative application to the RSAMD and they called my bluff!
It was the only place I wanted to study due to it being local, having such a great reputation and facilities. I was delighted when I was offered a place, although it was a shock to my parents who I hadn’t even told I had made an application.
How did you go from the world of Stage Management to the Scottish Government?
I left the RSMAD to work at STV and after working in TV for a couple of years, I left to get a job that didn’t involve short-term contracts as I had a young family. It was tough being on short-term contracts and when I saw how some of my friends who were freelance were struggling, I opted for a long-term permanent job outwith the arts.
I worked in customer services in several industries including electricity, holidays and most recently water, however this led me to become a caseworker and office manager for Kaukab Stewart MSP, when she was elected in May 2021. I’m lucky enough to love my job and this has linked me back into the RCS as it is in Kaukab’s constituency. It was great to revisit the building recently and see the changes since I attended.
I’ve always tried to keep my hand in the arts, working on short films, theatre, and radio. I was producer of the feature film, Fast Romance, that I made with three friends. Fast Romance made it onto the big screen, and we won a BAFTA. It was a major achievement, everyone working on the film worked full-time, making the film on evenings and weekends. I also worked part-time at Scot FM and now present an indie radio show on Glasgow radio stations Sunny G and Radio Buena Vida. These are important outlets for my artistic side and something I love doing.
Describe a typical day
It’s difficult to describe a typical day as no two days are the same. Managing an MSP’s diary is not an easy task, and my days are spent making sure the most is made of her time and that she has time between meetings and events, rejigging appointments when things come up.
I deal with constituents and I really enjoy helping people and making a difference. I attend events and visits with Kaukab and whilst I’m based in the constituency office, I sometimes work in Parliament. It’s still strange working in Parliament and with politicians I’ve been watching on the news for years!
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Kaukab helped a constituent with a major issue that we were able to help fully resolve. When the issue was completed, we arranged for the constituent to meet with the government minister who was responsible, and to see the smile on their face at the meeting was amazing. It just showed that politicians, despite the bad press they often get, can make a difference. It’s a day I’ll never forget.
Any final points or words of wisdom?
You never know where you are headed in life. I had grand plans to work in theatre or the music industry when I left the RSMAD, but my plans changed and despite not going on to work in the arts long term, I never lost my passion and always tried to have a creative outlet, which is so important.
I never regretted my decision to leave university and pursue a life in the arts. When I look back at the last 30 years, I might not have had the career I thought I would, but I’ve had some amazing experiences and have some fantastic memories.