I was always building things and creating small ‘hacks’ that made life easier...
Joining the dots and making things simple have always been enjoyable and I feel come naturally to me. My Dad constantly used to tell me that I’d be an engineer because I was always building things and creating small ‘hacks’ that made life easier or made the organisation of things better. What he didn’t factor in is that I realised I liked things that may not have a definitive answer and involve more fluid and creative learning you get from meeting people and being a bit too nosy.
This led me to doing my degree in French and Spanish. I loved the fact that you can never stop learning when you study a language, it’s alive and it’s shaped by you and everyone you meet and speak with, you can be truly innovative, even creating a new version of yourself. I also really wanted an excuse to spend time abroad, which I was fortunate enough to do – spending a year living in Mexico City leading English conversational classes and improving my Spanish.
The start of my ESG journey
Whilst in Mexico I had time to reflect upon the differences it had from the UK, as well as the similarities. I realised just how precious and finite natural resources were, how much burning fossil fuels can impact the planet and how lucky we were to have a seemingly plentiful and potable water supply to our homes. Sustainability has always been a passion of mine and my time in Mexico helped keep this in my mind. Because of this, some years later I helped found a water sustainability social action campaign. Our aim was to help spread information about how businesses and individuals can use their water more sustainably as well as to reduce their overall usage.
I started off my working life post university in a rather unusual job finding sites for charity clothing banks, which involved me approaching businesses that had land on which to place a bank and getting the owners to agree to it. I became good at thinking on my feet, coming up with innovative solutions to practical problems and gained a very random knowledge of corner shops and pubs that have car parks attached to them, not useful in a pub quiz unfortunately!
Joining Mills & Reeve as a project and innovation trainee
I then moved onto a job working with data at a property management firm which appealed to my inner geek, and I could indulge in my slightly embarrassing passion for Excel and doing some SQL reporting. I knew this was something that excited me and led me to applying in 2019 for the two-year project and innovation trainee graduate programme here at Mills & Reeve, combining technical skills with coming up with new ideas or ways of doing things.
Both the scheme and the firm appealed to me in many ways, from the strong culture of togetherness at Mills & Reeve to how dynamic the programme seemed. It has allowed me to learn about all aspects of the business, develop my project management skills and play with innovative technology.
It’s not all coding and Excel documents...
Throughout my time at Mills & Reeve I have been encouraged to get involved in more than just my day job. I am a part of our internal LGBTQIA+ and Allies network Spectrum, the CSR committee and am a Wellbeing Champion.
Being part of the queer community myself and giving my time volunteering for a listening charity, it’s important to me to be at a firm that cares about its people, creates an inclusive environment for all, and allows me to bring my whole self to work.
I now help with Mills & Reeve’s ESG initiatives which I love, ensuring we are questioning and improving how we operate effectively as an organisation to positively impact our people, our communities and our planet. It allows me to work towards something I truly believe in and have a positive influence every day.
Mills & Reeve believes in people as they find them rather than how they may appear on paper
When applying for this role I was worried that I didn’t have the right type of degree nor the ability to do the job, I doubted myself at every step of the process. But when I luckily managed to get through to the assessment centre and met some of my now colleagues, I felt at home immediately. Mills & Reeve believes in people as it finds them rather than how they may appear on paper, meaning that even though I didn’t have a STEM degree, they trusted my passion for the work. The main lesson I took from this is to be yourself, the right fit becomes apparent and sometimes it isn’t all the things you’ve done or achieved that’s important but it’s what you have within you.