Have you always been interested in plants?
I have always been into nature as well as human culture. At one time, I intended to become an archaeologist (I even did a year of this at Uni), but there was always something in the back of my mind telling me that the world was changing rapidly, and plant scientists would be needed. I studied Agriculture, which was amazing and taught me so much about natural and man-made environmental systems and how they interact.
How have you seen positive gains in your industry to increase a gender balance?
Things have improved over the years for women generally, but there is still a long way to go. The Botanic Gardens has always kept pace or been ahead of the rest of society.
My team currently has way more women in it than men. We always employ on merit so this is just how it is and will likely change through time as people come and go. I am very proud of the women in my team and how some of them have battled great odds to get there.
How do you think gender-balance drives a better work environment in your industry?
I have been very well supported as a woman in this workplace, especially when I was bringing my children into the world. I try to pay this support forward by helping staff with work-life balance whenever possible.
I think that, over time, this leads to greater productivity and creativity as people are happier and more confident.