"I have been very fortunate to work with likeminded people driven by quality and the desire to make a difference in people lives. I am proud to be part of an organisation that lives by and promotes these values.
I joined Cornerstone in September 2000 as an internal verifier for SVQ qualifications. I had previously attended Robert Gordon University (RGU) studying social care while working with Aberdeenshire Council supporting people with learning disabilities. I completed my SVQ in social care and qualified as an assessor. Cornerstone then supported me through my verifier qualification, which allowed me to complete my level 4 SVQ in management and level 5 in leadership. I worked in the post of SVQ manager and then learning & development (L&D) manager, leading on training and qualifications.
In 2015, I moved from L&D to become an operational manager coving North Aberdeenshire. While carrying out an operational support role, I continued to work to the same principals of quality.
In January 2018, I was offered the opportunity to cover the maternity leave of the branch leader in Moray. I really enjoy being in Moray as I already know quite a few colleagues and people we support from my years in L&D. Even that could not prepare me for how welcome I have been made to feel. We recently celebrated 30 years of Cornerstone in Moray with an evening attended by people we support, their friends and family, colleagues and dignitaries’. The event was put together by a great team including colleagues, people we support, and their family members. The evening itself was opened by the very first service manager in Moray. It was an excellent showcase for the area and very effectively highlighted the pride we have in all that we do here. To be a part of that is very worthwhile for me. I am happy to add that I am now a permanent Moray branch leader and still enjoying my role.
Marcus Childs, a keynote speaker at our recent colleague conference, spoke about holding a picture in your mind from an early age of what you want to do with your life. My picture lived in my mind from the age of seven. My friend was born in the same year as myself. We lived in the same street a few houses apart. We played together, but, sometimes her parents would worry about her doing the same things as me – riding a bike, needless to say, I shared my bike with her. We lived in a coastal village where we spent all summer at the beach, my friend wasn’t supposed to go in the water, but we swam together. It wasn’t until I heard other people’s views on my friend that I became aware she was labelled as “different” - she had Down's Syndrome. The picture I held in my mind from childhood was that life should not be any less worth living, risking or enjoying, because people think you are different. I was 38 years old before I went to university because I followed my culture and socialisation of getting married at a young age and having a family. Which has been absolutely wonderful. However, I never lost sight of my mind's picture and working out, how to bring my picture to life."