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The phone call that changed my life

I was chopping an onion when I got a phone call that changed my life!

It was the phone call that changed my life.

I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was in my kitchen preparing dinner – I seem to think I was chopping an onion – when my husband called.

He said, ‘I’ve just been asked by my boss if we would consider moving to the USA for two years, what do you think?’

I didn’t hesitate – I said YES let’s do it!

Our kids were aged 7 and 9 at the time –  old enough that they would remember the experience for the rest of their lives, and young enough that it wouldn’t mess up their education too much.

I was working at a Sixth Form College, and I’d just started a project to create a ‘Career Academy’ – making links between the college and local employers to find mentors and work experience placements for our students. It was my baby at the time and if we went to America I would have to leave it to someone else…

It was several months before everything was actually put in place to enable us to go, and we flew out to Baltimore the day after Boxing Day 2011. Not an ideal time to move and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it!

However we soon settled in – my husband to his new job, and the kids to the local elementary school. But what was I going to do?

I went to a coffee morning for ex-pat ladies – most of whose husbands worked for the same company as mine – and one of them handed me a prospectus for the Community College of Baltimore County. She said she had attended several courses there and she thought I might find something interesting to fill my time.

Flicking through I came across the performing arts department which offered courses in acting (something I’d been doing on an amateur level for several years), and I decided it would be great to have some proper training so I signed up.

Over the next couple of years I attended college two days a week, studying acting, taking singing lessons and singing with the college chorus. It was great fun. I was the oldest student in the acting class, but it didn’t matter, we all worked together brilliantly. I performed in several concerts during my time there, and a play too (‘Our Town’ by Thornton Wilder).

Then I saw a course advertised called ‘You’re on the Air’ which was a one-day course at a local college about getting started in voiceover. I loved it and it definitely whetted my appetite.

Shortly after this I spotted another course called ‘Acting for the Camera’ which sounded fun, and I signed up. It was an evening class held at a local high school, and on the first night only 4 people showed up. The tutor said that as there were only a few of us she was happy to tailor the course to us and cover whatever we wanted to know. I explained that I was interested in voice over but had no idea how to take the next step. It turned out that she did some voice over work herself and so she was able to point me in the right direction. She put me in touch with a friend of hers who runs a recording studio, and not long after he asked me to come in and record an e-learning project for which a British accent was required.

My voice over career had begun!

I did lots more training after this, mostly with Edge Studio, and my business was building up nicely by the time we moved back to the UK in July 2014.

When we went to America I had no idea that I would come home with a new career – that phone call definitely changed the course of my life for the better!