career biography
For the potted version of my career highlights and more formal CV,more...
awards and achievements
During my career, I have received a number of commendations and awards. To find out more, read on. The clues for my failures are to be found elsewhere! ,more...
skills portfolio

For a summary of the skills in my portfolio, more...


During my varied working life, I have had three sabbaticals. You can read about my motives for these, and how I planned and made them happen, more...
life interests
You can read about some of my current interests beyond work here, more...


about helen > sabbaticals

1994 - sabbatical from the BBC

In 1994, Helen took her first sabbatical from her career as a BBC news and current affairs TV producer to help build capacity at the think tank Demos. Her motives were varied and ranged from the personal to the political. In terms of personal development, she wanted to take stock of her career in TV and broadcasting and to explore her other interests in politics. At the time, the BBC did not have a formal sabbaticals policy, but she was graced with a far sighted and forward thinking boss who agreed to the sabbatical. She extended it for a few years until she realised that the sabbatical had proved to be the platform for a shift in career orientation and that although she foresaw that broadcasting would always remain a part of her work portfolio, she was more interested in pursuing a career as an ideas entrepreneur, and moving between the worlds of journalism, broadcasting, policy and communications.

Helen now provides speeches and workshops on how to plan for, organise and even finance your own sabbatical - as she is now an experienced sabbatical taker. She is currently on her third! She has also researched and explored these issues from a policy and organisational perspective, and so her speeches - and associated workshops and consultancy can address diverse perspectives - from the personal to the organisational. If you would like to ask Helen to speak or run a workshop about these themes, or do some consultancy on this, please contact her. She also coaches individuals interested in exploring whether to take a sabbatical.

1997 - sabbatical from the think tank Demos

Harkness Fellowship (August 1997-August 1998) and then a self-financed six month sabbatical from September 1998-March 1999) from the think tank Demos

In Summer 1997, Helen embarked on her second major sabbatical. She successfully applied for a Harkness Fellowship in the late Autumn 1996, a fellowship which encourages cross cultural exchange and enables opinion formers and leaders to live , study and work in the USA. She left for the States on a financed 12 month sabbatical from Demos in August 1997, with an innovative, and pioneering research project, which focussed on innovative policies and practice for promoting responsible fatherhood, with a particular focus on exploring the health impact on non-resident fathers and their children from this separation. Helen was based in New York and was an associate of the Families and Work Institute, an American think tank which she had already had contact with. She travelled widely during her time there, and visited a number of states to explore the innovative approaches they were taking to this issue. In August 1998, Helen extended her sabbatical from Demos, and moved from New York to San Francisco for a self financed six month sabbatical designed to allow her time for personal development and to explore a writing projects.

2004 - sabbatical from Genderquake Limited

After a challenging and successful year of providing interim management services to 4Children, (formerly Kids Clubs Network) Helen decided to take stock of this work, and Genderquake's development more generally, and explore some personal pet projects in her fortieth year. These pet projects include: taking time out to explore creative writing projects, getting fit, and developing ideas around creativity to build into Genderquake's offer in years to come.

This sabbatical has been self-financed through savings and income earned from the previous year and will finish in April 2005 when Helen will return to Genderquake Limited with renewed vigour energised from the ideas, experiences and new routes she has been developing in her time out.

This sabbatical has also been enabled because Laura Wilkinson, Helen's sister, joined Genderquake Limited in Spring 2004 as a Director. Laura has been acting as managing director during this period, as well as overseeing the development of Genderquake's new corporate site, associated websites (this one and and developing our creative services offer.

On her return, Helen will begin to develop the strategy consultancy side of Genderquake's offer to complement our creative services.


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Live like there is no tomorrow. Learn like you've got forever
Mahatma Ghandi
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