It is not unusual for alternative dispute resolution practitioners to enter this field after years of working in other areas, and I am no exception. Even as a teenager I was interested in the concept of bringing people in dispute into dialogue. My initial university studies (BA in Comparative Religious Studies) reflected my interest in other cultures, and I revived that interest by working as a volunteer English as a Second Language (ESOL) home tutor to refugee families and new migrant families.
Much of my working life has been spent in commercial areas, including having marketing responsibility in a manufacturing/wholesaling company, undertaking profitability analysis for a large UK retail chain, and setting up and running a small, leading-edge communications company with my partner. The combination of my commitment to the potential of mediation, with my experience in various commercial enterprises in a variety of roles (from employee to company director) prompted me to train as a mediator. I studied through Massey University's Dispute Resolution Centre to gain a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies (Dispute Resolution).