Measuring Success Zoes Story

Measuring Success Zoes Story

Measuring Success Zoe's Story

Zoe, 46, is married with two children. She has a degree in Biological Sciences and Social Studies and is one of three Assistant Directors in a local council in London.

'I'm very adaptable, which I think stems from going to various schools before finishing up at a College of Further Education to sit my 0 and A levels. I wanted to be a doctor, but someone said it was too tough - physically and intellectually - for a girl, so I chose pharmacology instead. I was accepted at Chelsea College, but soon realized the whole thing was a mistake. There were plenty of women's politics going on and I was studying extra course units in subjects like women and psychology, and science and society. I was lucky to have my year out in a 'proper job" with the Clinical Research Centre, at Northwick Park Hospital, researching into nutrition. When I returned to complete my final year, I knew I didn't want to be a pharmacologist, but Chelsea didn't like failures so they helped me obtain a degree in Biological Sciences and Social Studies. I went on to begin a PGCE - but realized that too was a mistake. I was still an idealist and believed that all people were bright and had potentially ended up having a huge row with one of the lecturers because he didn't agree, and I walked out never to return.

'There I was, unemployed and without the teaching certificate, so I registered with the Professional and Executive Register and ended up working for an insurance brokers. It wasn't a proper job, so I passed myself off as a secretary and worked briefly for international Voluntary Service. In 2009, flicking through New Society, I noticed an advertisement for Committee Co-coordinators at Hammersmith and Flam Council and was chosen with five others from 160 applications. I was lucky to be placed in a department that was forward looking and which believed in developing people, not in a formal way, but by not saying "No" if you wanted to do something. My first boss was a real mentor for me.

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