The member of the month for June is Jo, our current Secretary!
Tell us your origin story: where are you from and what made you the person you are today?
I grew up in Romsey, Hampshire. My younger brother and I were fortunate to have a very happy childhood. Growing up near the coast and the New Forest we spent lots of family time outside on walks, having picnics and playing games in the forest.
I’ve been married to Andrew for almost four years. We have a beagle named Deffa and a VW campervan. I’m currently pregnant, the result of several years of trying and six rounds of IVF. We almost stopped after round 5, now we’re both really glad that we didn’t!
I spent my gap year working as an au pair in America, living in Falls Church near Washington DC and looking after two boys aged 5 and 7. It was a fantastic year, I met so many people, grew in confidence and loved travelling extensively across America. I’m still in contact with the family and my host parents came over for my wedding!
After graduating from University, I moved to Bristol for 10 years and worked in environmental management. I moved to Cambridge about 5 years ago when my husband got a job here and then spent 6 months commuting back to Bristol each week before I found a job in Cambridge. I work as Head of Environment and Energy at the University of Cambridge. My team is responsible for reducing the University’s environmental impact. The people I work with, the challenges it provides and the feeling of making an impact all contribute to me loving my job.
I enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures. Highlights include walking the Inca Trail, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and seeing orangutans in Borneo. I went on a work trip to Tokyo and loved the food there – I really want to go back!
How long have you been a Cambridge Ladybird and what brought you here?
I joined at the beginning of 2016, my first meeting was circus skills – a great session to break the ice and get talking to new people. That’s why I joined the WI, I wanted to meet more people in Cambridge and Ladybirds is fantastic for that!
What’s a typical day in your life lately?
Being seven months pregnant, my typical day at the moment involves trying to get through a day at work without needing a nap in the first aid room! Luckily, my husband is brilliant and does most of the cooking and household chores at the moment so I get to put my feet up regularly! Around that, I’m spending a lot of time sorting stuff out ready for the baby’s arrival. I enjoy sewing and have projects on the go to make bunting and other soft furnishings for the nursery. My big question at the moment is which type of reuseable nappy to go for.
Someone gives you a million pounds to spend on yourself. You can’t give it to charity or spend it on friends or family; it all has to be for you. What do you do with it?
I think I’d use it to enable my family to take the campervan to Europe for a 3 month trip. We’re planning to take a shorter trip down to the Italian Lakes, but it would be great to be able to go for longer and cover more of Europe. That wouldn’t take a million pounds so I’d also do stuff like pay off debts and build a home office type shed in the garden to use for hobbies.
What are your most passionate community or activist goals?
I’m passionate about a whole range of environmental goals, particularly around climate change, microbeads and food waste.
At the moment, I’m also concerned with the current consultation by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group on a proposal to stop routinely commissioning specialist fertility treatment. I’m so eternally grateful to the NHS and the specialists at Cambridge IVF and Oxford Fertility Unit for helping me fall pregnant. I know that the NHS has to make savings but I don’t feel that the ability to have children should be based on the ability to pay for private treatment.
In a thousand years when future generations unearth your tomb, what are the wise words you have left behind to inspire them?
Not so much wise words, but a poem. A handwritten copy of this was found in my Grandad’s house when he passed away and it’s meant a lot to me ever since.
A Smile by Anonymous
It costs nothing, but creates much
It enriches those who receive,
Without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it
And none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home,
Fosters good will in a business,
And is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged,
Sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen,
For it is something that is no earthly good to anybody
Till it is given away.
If someone is too tired to give you a smile,
Leave one of yours.
For, nobody needs a smile so much
As those who have none to give.
Cake, pie, or biscuits?
Cake, but it has to be lactose free! I’m particularly partial to a piece of flapjack!
Do you have a personal or business website you’d like posted as a link?
I’m a Director for Consort Strategy Ltd. It’s a family business set up my husband who does all the work. I provide advice and intend to help out with the book keeping! http://yourconsort.com
Thank you Jo for all of your answers and your work on the committee!