Stephanie’s ambition was become a professional ballet dancer. She attended primary school in Glasgow and was one of the first Scottish Ballet Junior Associates. In order to continue her training she went to a vocational school and so university was not an option. Taking the decision not to commit to dance full time meant that she had to reconsider. She applied to Cambridge because it was the best but there were hurdles to be overcome as her vocational school had not offered the breadth of qualifications usually required for Cambridge entry. She read history at Trinity College.
After graduation Stephanie joined the advertising agency, J Walter Thompson, working on accounts such as Nestlé and De Beers. After 5 years she returned to the dance world, re-trained as a Benesh choreologist and worked as Company Choreologist for English National Ballet before moving into the administrative side of the company as Director of Development. Eventually she moved back home and became Head of Development at Scottish Ballet.
Today, Stephanie is Chief Executive of Cerebral Palsy Scotland. She has led the organisation since 2012. She currently sits on the board of two Scottish Public Bodies; Creative Scotland, the national funding agency for arts, film and creative industries and the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR). She is also Chair of the Scottish Government’s National Advisory Committee for Neurological Conditions and a Trustee of the Neurological Alliance of Scotland. In February 2021 she took her seat as a Life Peer in the House of Lords.
Stephanie loved her time at Cambridge and made life-long friends from across the university, not just in college. She feels that it gave her the best possible platform from which to launch her career. She remembers the hardest part was going through the entrance tests and interviews and making the jump from learning what to say or write to do well at school to articulating an argument and justifying how you are thinking to people who were world experts in their subjects.