Current positions: Board member of Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Tourism Association (Director) and co-chair.
Brief experience: I grew up on a country estate learning first-hand from game keepers how land should be managed, equilibrium achieved and how the land and its food can have a place in the world of business.
I worked in Horticulture for 16 years gaining extensive plant knowledge, the associations with food and applied my knowledge within the corporate world. I secured the contract for supply of floral decorations to Number 10 Downing Street, Houses of Parliament and all the major UK airports with a portfolio value of £1.2million. I have run market stalls, sold top quality coffee, owned my own crew catering business for festivals and have run an award winning Organic Farm shop with Cafe and Deli.
I support adults with learning difficulties, have taught independent cooking skills in the community since 2006 and have developed a community café to offer these adults jobs and training opportunities.
I opened the Cookery School in 2011 and have, through recession, developed a thriving business offering cookery and dining experiences and developed ‘A Taste of the Forest’ – a cuisine based on ingredients from local suppliers and natural products (wild boar, wild garlic and more).
I am particularly proud of rescuing ‘Speech House Pudding’ from obscurity and presenting it on main stream ITV Countrywise programme (see our website for a video).
I have assisted in putting the Forest of Dean on a National and International food map bringing groups, families, TV/film crews, Chefs and individuals to the Forest for the first time.
Key skills: I have developed many skills on my journey including marketing, finance, branding, business improvement, product development and innovation as well as an extensive knowledge of food and drink.
I also have a working knowledge of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)
Recognised as Forester Business Person of the Year 2015 with Harts Barn Cookery School winning Small Business of the Year in 2016.
Finalist in 2015 Woman of the Year (Gloucestershire Women in Business Awards).
Reasons for being a board member: I have been an active member of the Tourism Association for many years now and have enjoyed being part of a vibrant, active organisation that has bought benefit to me personally, my business and the Forest of Dean.
As I have experienced first-hand the benefit, collaboration amongst members can bring, as a board member I would support and encourage greater interaction between members and actively encourage new members to join.
I am already a passionate ambassador for the region, not just for its food but also the history, nature (I am also a trained Horticulturist) and its geography.
I believe I would be a good representative on the board for the region’s local produce and have many ideas that I would like to bring to the association to create new events and initiatives that I believe could really enhance the profile of the region.
I hold a very good and current knowledge of the region, the businesses within it and understand the value of marketing/PR for the association and the region as a whole.