I’m Alex, and this is the long version of my story. If you’re looking for more concise information about my professional background, click here. Otherwise, read on…
I was born in Toronto, but have lived in the UK for most of my life and in London for the past 15 years. The experience of growing up in two countries has had a big impact on my life and work. After studying international history at the London School of Economics and international relations and diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies, I started my career with a research internship at the Institute for Public Policy Research, a leading think tank. I spent more than eight years there in total, working on many different international policy projects.
My experience at IPPR gave me a real passion for exploring and better understanding the big issues that matter to people, and communicating about them in clear and compelling ways. I did this through researching, writing and speaking on topics that included political Islamism, the future of globalisation, public attitudes to international development, and migration and integration policies in the UK.
In 2015 I shifted gears to work on international innovation at Nesta, a UK-based foundation and research organisation. My current role there involves working with governments around the world to support their ability to design and implement innovation policies in creative and experimental ways.
I’ve learned a huge amount as a researcher, and am grateful for the opportunities my career has given me so far to grow and develop my skills. But until a few years ago, it still felt like something fundamental was missing.
Whenever I thought about the work that I was most proud of and that got to the core of who I was, my research wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. Instead it was experiences like the mentoring I did through the 50 Foot Women programme, and the voluntary work I do for the homeless charity Crisis.
Prompted by a great question from a friend in the summer of 2016, I realised that I do my best and most authentic work when I am partnering with people in a way that supports them to achieve their goals. At that time a series of nudges from the universe led me to the Coaching School, and from 2016-17 I took their brilliant Foundation Course. This gave me the tools and the confidence to start working as a freelance coach and, most importantly, introduced me to an inspirational network of people who shared my values. The deeper I go into this community, the more opportunities I see for doing great work with extraordinary people.
I now divide my life into ‘before coaching’ and ‘after coaching’. It prompted me to make some big changes in my own life, including reducing my hours at Nesta at to make space for coaching and other projects I wanted to pursue. For example, it gave me the time and space to co-found a community storytelling project called Odyssey Stories, with my friend and colleague Alice Sachrajda.
It has opened me up to other exciting potential future paths, and overturned a lot of assumptions and beliefs I held about myself which turned out to either be unhelpful or untrue. I love operating from this space of possibility.
I know firsthand how important it is to have structured support when making these kinds of changes, which is why I am passionate about sharing this approach with others and accompanying them on their journey. For more about my coaching, click here.