I am a proud Londoner from Leyton, in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. I attended St Joseph’s primary school in Leyton and Walthamstow School for Girls in Walthamstow.
My mother came to England in 1973, having emigrated from the Caribbean island of Dominica, via New York and France. Mum was (and remains) a teacher and formidable local activist. She instilled in me the importance of civic duty and public service. As a result, I became active in my local community as a school governor, got involved in the Leyton & Whipps Cross Community Council – becoming Community Vice Chair – and I also sat on the board of Leyton ward’s Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder as the resident ‘Community Champion’ for Jobs.
On the 4th of May 2006, despite ‘verdicts’ and media reports to the contrary, I was fairly and successfully elected a Leyton ward councillor for the Labour party, overturning a 600+ Liberal Democrat majority and beating both the Liberal Democrat councillor with responsibility for policing, and the Liberal Democrat borough election agent and longest serving councillor, in the poll.
As a Local Councillor, I sat on the Children & Young People’s Scrutiny Committee, the Tenants’ Council, the Performance & Improvement Scrutiny Committee and chaired the Leyton and Whipps Cross Community Council. I was honoured to serve as a school governor of George Mitchell school, in the Leyton ward, from July 2005 until late January 2008.
Academically, I have a First Class Honours Degree in European Studies with Modern Languages from the University of Manchester and a Master’s degree in Employment Relations from the London School of Economics. I also hold a Graduate Diploma in Law and successfully completed the Bar Professional Training Course in 2014.
In November 2014, I was Called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. I was deeply honoured to have my Call proposed by former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley, who is also a Master of the Bench at the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.
Professionally, before becoming a pupil barrister, I worked as a Senior Policy Advisor to the conciliation service Acas; at the Trades Union Congress as a research assistant in its EU & International Relations department; at the European Commission in Brussels, as a trainee speechwriter to Anna Diamantopoulou, then the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs; as a Research Assistant for Nicky Gavron, Labour Deputy Mayor of London 2000-2008; and as Business Development Manager and Legal Caseworker at the Hackney Community Law Centre.
In November 2014, the Law Centres Network awarded me its Reita Clarke Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of my “award winning initiatives, (my) dynamism and creativity, and for (my) commitment to justice for the people of Hackney”.
In my spare time, I am a trustee of the Bernie Grant Trust, a charity set up to celebrate the life and work of the late Bernie Grant, former Member of Parliament for Tottenham. I am also a Commissioning Editor for the award-winning www.thejusticegap.com
Away from work and volunteering duties, I love music (especially UK garage, classical and opera), the theatre, books, art, the cinema, restaurants, swimming, travelling and sleeping.