"When it came to the English language, I hit the road running. As a child I quickly became used to spelling and pronouncing my surname, at least several times. Neither did it help having a “th” and “ph” next to each other. My name wasn’t easy, even for me to say it!."
According to a school report age 8, I had the reading age of a 16-year-old. That’s because I read everything. I read to escape. Favourite books were adventure stories, and in my teens, psychological thrillers, especially Agatha Christie. I also loved to write. I chose English, took an extra A level in Creative Writing, and had my work performed at the Derby Playhouse Studio before I'd left school.
I read English at Lancaster University. There I combined two great passions –literature and drama. Between them, for me they expressed all of humanity –psychology, philosophy, history and human emotion. I found meaning and purpose from the words on the page. And on stage and screen, these concepts came to life. Directing was my thing. Pulling it all together.
Then I was out in the world to build a career. London life in 1990. The Gulf War was in full force. The UK was in recession. The PC revolution had begun. I became part of a tech revolution, at the leading edge. From DOS toWindows 1.0 in a matter of months, I developed software training programmes and educated corporate employees in the City. I moved into Sales and Marketing, because what I enjoyed most was to communicate new concepts and effect massive change. For London Underground, Eurotunnel, the BBC... Speak. Write. Present. I did all three.
At the same time, I gave service to the AIDS community, who suffered many blows. I was a Terrence Higgins Trust buddy and I trained buddies too. It was advocacy work. Helping to overcome prejudice and stigma around the disease. Supporting ordinary families who were affected the most. Befriending young men whose lives were cut brutally short.
And then came – the Internet...
As Sales and Marketing Director for an early start-up Internet provider I was responsible for introducing the new world to the UK business community. We did well and a NAS-DAQ listed company purchased the company in 1998. I earned Dot.com stripes before I was 30. The work involved concept communication. Bringing the Internet to a sceptical public who had no idea what it was, where it came from and what it would become…
From there I founded an early new media agency – Hyper Digital. Here, I combined technology with creative. We took traditional brand communication online – for Polaroid, Capital Radio, HolidayRentals.com, MyVillage.com. These were fun days. Web 1.0 days. I developed strategy and messaging for a variety of brands and wrote web friendly content with technology principles in mind. I spoke at conferences. We won awards.
A Canadian based tech company purchased Hyper in 2004, and for a while I travelled trans-Atlantic as COO – helping to develop business across North America and Europe. Larger contracts called me back to the UK. I worked in Government for a while, leading comms for a Driving Standards Public Consultation and helping to articulate NHS Strategy for World Class Commissioning. From there I consulted for large brand communication agencies – in design, TV and film.
And then… another passion called…
A healthier way of life for me, involved finding natural alternatives to handle day-to-day stress, which had always been magnified by the underlying PTSD. I started to meditate every day, and then I took up Astanga Yoga. I found a 12 Step programme to help break addictive behaviour. I ate whole food, free from additives and I chose drug-free healing, wherever possible. I also spent many years in therapy, counselling, and trauma recovery. I embraced this kind of life for so long that it became the norm.
In 2013, just as I finished a retail brand project for the audio tech company, Audio Lounge, childhood trauma was revisited when police involved in the Operation Yew Tree investigation came to ask about my childhood abuser. The case eventually went to trial, a difficult process that took more than two years to make its way to court. During this time, I stepped back from the commercial world to change the focus and pace.
In the meantime, I stumbled upon a relatively undiscovered natural health solution called Photobiomodulation (PMBT), also known as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or Red Light Therapy (RLT). I trained for a Diploma in Therapeutic Laser with an industry pioneer, became a member of the Complementary Medical Association and eventually developed professional training courses, which are now approved by the British Medical Laser Association. At the same time, I returned to the academic world to study for a master’s degree in Yoga and Meditation at SOAS (University of London). I wanted to explore in depth, the age-old relationship between mind, body and spirit. I took a Counselling qualification too, so that I could help other survivors share their trauma and recover.
I wrote the novel, Dragon King’s Daughter, which is about surviving my own childhood abuse. I always said I would write a book when I had a good story to tell. When the case came to trial, I was given the perfect ending. Spoiler alert. The perpetrator went to prison to serve a 10-year sentence (40 years after the events).
The healing continues.
"And I still write."
In the commercial world, I continue to develop the Laser Medicine, Harley Street brand. This echoes back to the early Internet days as I now educate the public and healthcare professionals (both increasingly dependent on pharma), to a natural alternative for pain relief, trauma, youthful ageing and tissue repair. Laser Therapy uses infrared (IR) and near infrared (NIR) light at specific wavelengths and power, to heal. It’s a wonderful thing that everyone should know. I envision for the future – a Red Light Therapy (RLT) device in every home and a Therapeutic Laser clinic on every high street. Well, it happened for the Internet, why not for Low Level Laser?
In the creative world there’s a documentary film in the pipeline. Bringing words to life, from book to screen, just like the plays and films I was trained to direct, decades ago. Another book simmers on the back boiler. I take commissions for online content. I write blogs too.
And the surname? Well that never changed! You never know what’s around the next corner, though. They say that life is a game of two halves. And the second half has just begun…