Current Employer/Organisation Name
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
After Exeter I became an intern at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) which is a think tank for defence and security before becoming an employee there. From RUSI I worked for Cyber Security companies and moved to the Middle East for three years where I worked on a number of exceptionally interesting projects. After the Middle East I moved to Accenture prior to joining NHS Digital where I ran the first national Cyber Security Programme for the NHS in the wake of the WannaCry attack. During my tenure at NHS Digital I led the Cyber response during the first two phases of COVID19 ahead of starting as the CISO at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) where I was accountable for the security of the Blood and Transplantation services across the NHS and the four home nations. During my time at NHSBT I was made Deputy CIO where I ran Live Services, Infrastructure, and Architecture alongside Cyber and Data privacy. In June 2023 I joined Daintta as Managing Director where we aim to strengthen society’s ability to harness the opportunity of a complex and uncertain digital world. In addition, I became a Cyber Lecturer at the University of Lancaster in 2023 teaching Cyber and Law for their NCSC Accredited MSc programme and Cyber Technologies and Leadership on their NCSC Accredited Cyber MBA programme.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I have always been interested in understanding and solving complex problems that matter and this has been the guiding principle throughout my academic and professional career. I left Accenture not for the money, not for the career enhancement opportunities, but for the challenge of delivering meaningful change across the NHS at a time when it was most needed. And it is this desire to solve complex and important problems that has spurred me on to Daintta.
Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?
Hockey, Bracton Law Society
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
I thoroughly enjoyed all the academic aspects of both my MA and LLB at Exeter and while I did not pursue a career in Law the debating, analytical, and reasoning skills have been invaluable throughout my career. The MA not only gave me a second language in the way of Arabic but it also provided me with an ability to absorb, distill, and understand large volumes of complex information in a very swift and efficient manner.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
I loved the city, the campus, and the people that I met. I also found that the academic staff also really cared about their students and largely went above and beyond to make sure that they reached their potential! It was such a fantastically rounded experience and I’ve made life long friends from the University.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
Continuous learning and development – never stand still or rest on past successes and never, ever underestimate your own potential!!
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
Don’t chase the money – chase the experience and do something that’s phenomenal, something that leaves positive change, and something that 30 years from now you can be truly proud to have been a part of!
Do you have a piece of wisdom or general advice you’d like to offer?
Regardless of the career you pursue remember this: the analytical skills you obtain, the knowledge you accrue, and the approach to reasoning you develop through your Legal studies at Exeter will form the cornerstone of you realising your potential – never forget that! If you remember that while also being true to yourself then success and fulfilment are firmly in your grasp. And when things look daunting, when the enormity of what you have to too feels overwhelming, or when you feel like you can’t affect the positive difference you know is just, right, and equitable try to remember what Margaret Mead said – “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
What are your plans for the future?
I am helping to build out this phenomenal company so that we can play our part in helping the Public Sector truly harness the potential of the digital world through cyber security.