I grew up in North Somerset and was educated at my excellent local school, Nailsea Comprehensive. In 1982 I went to Brasenose College Oxford and left with a degree in Geography in 1985. I was the first person in my family to stay on at school beyond the age of 16 and as a result I am passionately committed to ensuring all children receive the best possible education that can be provided. At Oxford I was also awarded two rowing Blues.
After University I worked for Bank of America for three years and then went to Harvard Business School where I received a Masters in Business Administration in 1990. I then had a business career in the United States and Britain working for McKinsey and Company and Credit Suisse and I also started my own small company offering financial advice for women. I moved with my family to Wiltshire in 2000 when I stopped paid work to bring up our (then) small children but remained actively involved in fundraising for local schools, theatres and hospitals. In 2007 I began working for George Osborne, now Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a Political Adviser and continued in that role until May 2010 when I was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Devizes Constituency with a majority of more than 13,000 and over 55 per cent of the vote.
In the period since coming to Westminster, I have been a member of the Justice Select Committee, represented Britain at the Council of Europe and in October 2011 I was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Defence. I have also led a Parliamentary Inquiry conducting a review of Online Child Protection, and in December 2012, I was appointed Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Preventing the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood.
I also currently chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Connecting Communities and am Vice-Chair of the APPG for Penal Reform as well as a member of many other APPGs including for the Armed Forces, Child Protection, International Development, Churches and Historic Places of Worship, Rural Affairs, Beer and Save the Pub. Locally, I am a Governor both of St. Johns school in Marlborough and the Wellington Academy in Ludgershall.
In my free time, I read, walk and cycle with my family.