Though I was born in Manchester and brought up in Stockport, I have lived in Birmingham for the last 25 years and am proud to call this city my home.
In addition to my role as Leader of Birmingham City Council, I am Labour councillor for the Quinton Ward, where I have lived for the last 25 years. Prior to that I represented Hodge Hill ward from 2002-2006.
I have been a teacher for most of the last 30 years in comprehensive schools in areas of poverty. I am an English examiner for AQA exam board.
A Law & English graduate (Keele University), I went to Law School at Manchester Metropolitan University and practised as a solicitor in Birmingham in the early 1990s, specialising in commercial and venture capital law.
I was a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham Business School from 2009-14.
I was the lead member for regeneration on the city council’s Labour Group 2005-06 and served on Education and Regeneration Scrutiny Committees 2002-2006, the Public Protection Committee 2005 and the Governance and Resources co-ordinating Scrutiny Committee 2013-14.
More recently I have served on the City Council Planning Committee from 2004-2006 and from 2011 to date.
At a community level I serve on the Quinton Meadows Consultative Committee and the Woodgate Valley Country Park Consultative Committee.
I have published two books: Blogs from the Blackstuff (2010) with Prof. David Bailey and The Secret Wealth Garden (2014). I write a monthly column for the Birmingham Post newspaper on business matters.