People profiles

I’ve specialised in writing ‘people profiles’ since the mid-90s, for both the media and in-house magazines.

I have recently written about such diverse individuals as Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, Argent Group’s Gary Taylor, and Paul Kehoe, the CEO of Birmingham International Airport.

Below is the opening to a profile of Birmingham City Council’s housing director, Elaine Elkington, published in the Birmingham Post, in December 2008.

It takes only moments in Elaine Elkington’s effervescent presence to realise that her life has long been guided by grand passions.

She most certainly is not the public sector apparatchik one might expect. Even her appearance is rather unexpected.

A tailored pin-stripe suit, casually-expensive blouse, and antique silver jewellery would be de rigeur in the private sector, but not amid the dreary and dated surroundings of Louisa Ryland House, where her department is based.

"Unfortunately, females are judged by how they look and dress, which I learned at a young age and which hasn‘t changed," admits Elaine.

"Men can pretty much wear anything, but some will always judge a woman’s appearance before they listen to her, and if that‘s what it takes to get your thoughts across, you have to present yourself with care."

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