Councillor

What do you do for a living?

I'm a Councillor

How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?

I have been interested in politics all my life, and was active in Liberal Youth when at college in London.  When I moved to Peebles I became involved in a couple of local issues, and decided the best way to get something done about them was to stand for election to the Council.  There was support from the local Liberal Democrat party and also Scottish Borders Council ran a course called "Preparing for Elected Office" which allowed prospective candidates get a better understanding of how the Council operates and the role of a CouBe prepared for a lot of highs and lows if you want a career in politics ncillor.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

My career following school was in the Hotel and Tourism industry (10 years), so I was not a "career" politician. There are degree courses available in politics but the main qualification is a strong desire to serve and represent the public, and a commitment to a political belief of how to improve services.

Talk us through a day in your life.

No day is the same.  About 3 days per week I will attend meetings at Scottish Borders Council HQ.  Some are formal Council committee meetings where decisions are required on services or policies.  Other meetings are with individual officers.  There is a lot of paperwork and reports to read ahead of these meetings.  During the day I will also answer queries from constituents and ususally try to reserve one day per week to meet constituents or answer correspondence.  Around 3 evenings per week are spent attending community meetings in the ward.  These range from Community Councils to local action groups.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?

No - to be honest I have never "planned" a career, and having enjoyed 10 years in the Hotel and Tourism industry, 5 years as a stay at home Mum, and now 10 years as a Councillor, I am lucky to have had a variety of interesting and enjoyable challenges in my working life

What did your parents want you to do?

Law

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

Be prepared for a lot of highs and lows if you want a career in politics - it is not always easy to firstly get elected and secondly deliver on some of the policies you hold dear so you have to able to handle failure as well as you handle success.  You also have to be prepared to see other people's point of view even if you don't agree with it.  It is a very flexible type of work pattern so you need to be adaptable.

What other career directions could you go in?

 I could try to be elected to Parliament, either Holyrood or Westminster.