Victoria Brownlie
May 8, 2024

1.    What has been your proudest career moment?

Most recently it has to be securing £500 million of support for the industry to reopen after the second lockdown of COVID. We went from the lowest grant support and last to reopen after the first lockdown to the first to reopen and the highest band of funding support. It involved working through the night, providing data upon data, building relationships with government officials all whilst juggling looking after my young sons and homeschooling in the day. I never worked so hard but the payoff was life changing for so many.  

2.    Who has been/is your biggest mentor?

There are many people I consider to be mentors for all different parts of my life. My parents have a strong work ethic but always have time for anyone, my best friend went back to school as a single parent in adulthood and retrained and now absolutely bosses life, my cousin had a life-limiting condition but was always unapologetically herself and an absolute tour de force. It’s more than one person – they’re my village.

3.    What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?

Stop holding yourself to standards you would never expect of others. As hands-on working mothers we hold ourselves to such an unrealistic standard of success. But ultimately sometimes the plates we’re spinning will fall and smash and that’s ok.

4.    Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?

I did politics and sociology at university which I loved but equally volunteering with your local party or MP helps you learn so much about how politics really works.

5.    How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?

I just try and be authentic. Too many times in life I’ve tried to be someone I’m not and it’s not long until you’re found out. Be friendly, be the helping hand that person needs that day. When someone’s kind to you, pay it forward. It’s done me well so far.

6.    If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?

Self-belief is important but make sure you have your village. You will never work so hard, think so much and challenge yourself – so make sure you have a good network of people both professionally and personally to support you. Whether that’s for school pick-ups, mentoring, reminding you to feed the cat or checking in to make sure you’re actually taking care of yourself – we can’t succeed without these people propping us up.

7.    What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?

The hardest bit is patience! Often effecting change takes time but people (understandably) want it now! Presenting a persuasive argument, making something challenging seem like the best option takes time to craft, tons of data, collaboration, noise and diplomacy. But when you get there, achieve change, make people’s lives better, there’s honestly no feeling like it.  

8.    How do you switch off after a difficult day?

I’m lucky enough to live a stones throw from the beach. So some days when it really does just get too much I like to go and watch the sea, ground myself and remember I’m just a tiny pebble in the ocean.

9.    Desert island 3 course meal?

It’s got to be smoked salmon, cream cheese and lemon blinis to start, a full-on Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for main and the illusive EVERYTHING Tony’s chocolate bar for dessert. DREAM!  

10.  Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?

The comedian Greg Davies, Alistair Campbell, House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, Peter Falk (Columbo) and Michelle Obama.



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