British taxpayers are represented in 160 countries around the world by some 14,000 staff.As both a taxpayer and a diplomat, I am often asked about what it is we do.Because I like helping other Brits to do well abroad. The British-led campaign against sexual violence in conflict is one that makes me particularly proud.And within all of this, I've been proud to help British charities abroad find support and to give British human rights groups a platform. If moving house and job are two of the most stressful things you can do in life, somehow doing it all the time doesn't seem to make it any easier!Add to that learning the local language and culture and getting used to mortar-fire, gun-shots and earthquakes!
I've made sure that British victims of violence got the best possible care, legal advice and help getting home and practised leading my Embassy's response to a major earthquake.
Having worked in a number of conflict zones, I've been a part of international efforts to negotiate political settlements and assist long-term stability.
And as a nominee for the Women of the Future Awards, in association with Shell, I'm excited to have been given the chance to share a little more about what comes with life behind the Ferrero Rocher!
It's fair to say that diplomacy is more of a lifestyle than a career choice.
I've since collected the standard brightly coloured Ethiopian baskets and Yemeni Janbiya; a newspaper dated 12 January 1991 left under an inch of dirt (and a cat) in Baghdad's evacuated British Embassy; a chemical weapons mask issued to us in Jordan in 2003; street dogs from Ethiopia and Guatemala; and a wardrobe fit for any party with a geographic theme.During that time my work has been equally varied, covering trade, political and consular duties.