• Strong interest in technology, digital and open data and how these intersect with democracy
  • Background working for NGOs and charities
  • Trained scientist, subsequently experienced working in science policy.
  • Worked to increase conversations between academics and policy-makers to develop better policy, then choose to focus on amplifying citizens’ voices and involvement more broadly.

3 things I’m good at or enjoy

  • I love learning and acquiring knowledge, as well as sharing what I’ve learned with people I meet. I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions which helps us to test everyone’s assumptions, and unpick problems.
  • While I enjoy building connections between seemingly disparate topics and talking big ideas – I’m also pretty detail oriented.
  • Outside of work, I’m learning to play the piano, which I adore, and trying to find more time to go outdoor swimming. I’m also usually up for an adventure, and l love disappearing into both city and rural landscapes with little more than a map, phone and some food…

Something I’ve achieved/proud of

Coming from a poor background in rural Cornwall, going to university as a mature student, being bisexual, and living with an invisible disability, makes me incredibly passionate about challenging inequality wherever I can.

During my time at Demsoc we’ve improved the diversity of our team with small changes that I’ve driven, from no longer requiring people to hold degrees when applying for roles with us, to developing a statement that we welcome applications from ex-offenders. We’re still not as diverse as a team as I’d like us to be, but it’s a work in progress!

3 things I’m not so good at

  • I’m not so great at asking for help from people (although I am trying to be better at this – and my colleagues are great at helping me here). I tend to just forget it’s an option until someone specifically asks/offers.
  • While I love travelling, I have learnt at Demsoc that I do struggle if I have to move on to multiple places too quickly and work at the same time – so I try not to do more than 2-3 days in a row of this if I can help it.
  • Singing. I am genuinely, utterly terrible at singing.
  • I don’t always stick to rules, if I think better outcomes can be achieved by finding an alternative path (she says on bullet point 4….)

What I’m currently working on in Demsoc

I’m based out of our Manchester office, and one of our senior team – so I spend far more time in meetings and thinking about operational issues than I’d always like.

However, when I can escape that I’m leading our new ‘digital and data’ strand of work alongside Namita. I’m really keen to understand more about how digital technologies (in their broadest sense) impact our understanding of democracy, and how our democracies need to evolve to respond. We’re keen to explore a whole range of topics from digital tools to enable democratic conversations, through to smart cities. You can find me talking about such things (and more mundane conversations) on twitter at @MLBrook.