I’ll start at the beginning I suppose?
Born on 23 November 1967 in North Manchester to working-class parents, Ivy & Terry Manton. Married 12 years before my sister, Jane, came along in 1966 a 2nd child seemed fairly unlikely. However, 21 months later I arrived by C-Section, 2 weeks early & not in the mood for socialising!
Dad’s first words when he saw me were ‘blimey, she looks like Churchill!’. I decided to open my eyes, feed & interact with the world 2 weeks later……….not that I’m stubborn.
Growing up in Whitefield, Manchester I felt I had a happy family & school life. I was sporty, horsey & did well academically. The horsey thing came to an abrupt ending at the age of 14 when, on a 2 week pony trekking holiday in South Wales, I developed a severe allergy to horses, something I have to this day. Nowadays, thanks to Nigel’s horseracing passion, I get to watch them race rather than ride.
I wouldn’t say I was musical as a kid but at age 7 I came home from school declaring that I wanted to play the violin. Not easy for the rest of the family but actually by 14 I was taking my grade 7 so I did alright! However, when you become a teenager carrying a violin case around is not cool so I repeatedly left it on the school bus only to have it intercepted at Bury Interchange. I’d then be sent to pick it up at lunchtime & so the cycle continued. I was persistent if nothing else & eventually stopped playing, much to my Dad’s disappointment.
Mum & Dad were the best, their goal in life, as is the case for most parents, was to give us opportunities they never had….school trips, a good education, university was all available to us although they worked hard to afford these things. Dad worked night shifts for a lot of my childhood & missed out on so much. He did it for us & I feel blessed to have been his daughter. He died in 2003, just 10 weeks after Hannah was born. I miss him every day. He was the kindest man, a true Gent & he’d do anything for his girls.
One thing Mum & Dad did for us that at the time we absolutely hated was ELOCUTION LESSONS!!! We started young, like 7/8 years old, with a scary lady called Sybil Neville……she reminded me of the bad witch in The Wizard of Oz & so we lived in fear of our weekly lessons. In hindsight, yes she was strict but she was good & now I have kids of my own I totally appreciate what a gift this was from my parents.
Not only did it teach us how to speak properly, it helped with vocabulary, spelling & perhaps most importantly confidence. Taking public speaking exams from a young age definitely helped as I was kind of shy until I got to know you. I’ll never say I enjoy presenting to groups or doing facebook live broadcasts but those years under Sybil Neville’s tutelage helped!
I look back on my High School years with fondness. I made some good friends, a couple of whom are still in my life 40 years on. I was lucky in a way, I could mess about & get involved in mischief (always discretely of course so as not to get caught) but I also knew when to knuckle down to get results.
I remember going to pick up my O’level results with my mate, Suey & her asking how come she had a handful of CSE’s & I had 9 O’levels, all A’s & B’s. The thing is Suey was great at the mischief but forget about the work. I am happy to say though that today Suey has a very successful career in television so it’s not all about study!!
Growing up, my Mum was a great role model. She raised us girls to believe that we could do anything we wanted to in life, the same thing I have drummed into my own kids. From an early age, I wanted to be a vet, such was my love of animals. A serious chat from my parents about rabies at the age of 11 promptly put paid to that so I decided I’d be a doctor instead. I’ve always loved helping people so this made sense, however, things didn’t quite go to plan. Although I was offered a place at King’s College in London to study medicine, a tour of the Dissection Room at Manchester University saw me lose my bottle & change my Uni application to Accountancy overnight!
So that’s me……3 years at Salford University studying Accountancy & Finance followed by another 3 years training with KPMG in London so that by the age of 23 I was a fully-fledged Chartered Accountant……then real life kicked in!
I suppose I’ve always felt that whatever I do I want to do it the best I can, be that in my career, in my fitness or in my passions, I’m sure Nigel would agree when I say it’s all or nothing with me!!
“Whatever I decide to do I put 100% into it, failure is not an option!”
In order to get back to the North West during the recession of the early ’90’s I moved around the Big 6 Accountancy firms eventually landing in Manchester with Price Waterhouse. Out of the blue in May 1996 a recruitment consultant called & asked if I’d I go & talk to McDonald’s…….my immediate reaction was no given that I had been a vegetarian for 10 years! I’d never had a McDonald’s in my life! However, he was so insistent that I would be a great fit for the company & the culture that curiosity got the better of me. The rest, as they say, is history! 23 years on my life is so entwined with McDonald’s that I can’t imagine a time when my McFamily won’t play a part.
I love this business for so many reasons & that is a story for another day but without it, I wouldn’t have met my soulmate, had a varied, exciting & well travelled career, met some amazing people & been part of the journey that has made McDonald’s the globally loved brand it is today. Through McDonald’s, I have had a number of roles which include an opportunity to live in Chicago for 3 years where I had responsibility as a Director of Finance for supporting Eastern Europe & Northern Europe, Finance & Purchasing Director of Aroma Cafes (brand acquired by McDonald’s in 1999 which a view to expanding market share) & Innovation Pipeline Director for McDonald’s Europe. All of these roles contributed to the Businesswoman I am today & for that, I am proud & grateful.
Between us my husband Nigel & I have 62 years of experience in McDonald’s, with Nigel due to celebrate his 40th anniversary in 2020. I couldn’t be prouder of him. Our combined strengths & experience made it a no brainer when, in 2006 we decided that, with a young family in tow, it was the right time for Nigel to become a franchisee. I was his Finance partner & since taking on 5 stores in November 2006 we have grown to 14 across Preston & Blackpool.
‘Be the change you want to see in this world’ Ghandi