What do you want to be when you grow up? It's the age-old question that parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and other family friends or relatives who you see once a year around Christmas ask you as you're growing up.

I never had a solid answer for that question. I flirted with the idea of being a vet or marine biologist, but I'm allergic to fur and I can't bear the thought of being out at sea, so really they were terrible career choices for me! As the years went by, the pressure to have more clarity on what I wanted to do became more intense – making decisions at GCSE, choosing what I wanted to study at college and university all centred around (ideally) having a clear career plan - which I didn't have!

At school I was a jack of all trades. I was pretty good at most subjects which made it even harder to know what to specialise in, so I kept making choices that would keep my focus broad – studying the International Baccalaureate at college so I could study several subjects at 16-18, and then deciding to go to the University of Birmingham to study Business.

At 18, all I knew is that I wanted to be successful and had decided to set myself the goal of having a job that would pay me £50K because I had once overheard my mum saying that someone she knew earning that much was successful and in a really good job…

At Birmingham, I was able to study Business Management and decided to have a year in industry in my third year so I could earn money. I joined HSBC managing a team in a credit card call centre. As I got to grips with my day job, I realised there was a huge opportunity to improve how people could engage with each other and the business. It's a busy environment answering calls and having your time monitored closely, so I wanted people to have an opportunity to share more about themselves and have a bit of fun. I decided to start a newsletter to curate the content from across the business and share it so people could read it between calls. That newsletter then bloomed into climate change and other CSR activity which got employees involved with a bigger mission.

After I graduated, a role for a 'Best Place to Work Manager' came up, focusing on internal communication and the employee engagement survey ownership. After the initiatives I'd started out of passion, I was naturally in my leadership team's mind for that role and went for it! I went full whack in my interview, sharing a communications strategy and putting in groundwork (being just speaking to people to understand what they wanted to hear and how!) It was as simple as just speaking to people and caring about what they wanted! I got the job and started my first in-house IC role.

My entry into IC clearly sits on the IoIC profession map – I have a deep-rooted passion for Understanding People and Cultures, which led me to create channels and content to support that.

I haven't looked back since starting my IC journey – it's just continued to blossom and flow into other areas of passion like employee engagement, employee experience and inclusion & diversity. And – it appears that I am successful - in 2018, the CIPR awarded me with a Mark of Excellence as Outstanding Young Communicator. And, as I'm sure you're wondering – I also hit my £50K target while working an in-house internal comms role.

Now I'm a decade into my working life, and I've been able to learn so much from experiences working in-house to consulting across a range of clients. It's a great time for reflection and reminds me that I'm still very much passionate about understanding people and cultures and that I absolutely want to continue in this area – I continue to choose IC.