5 questions with... Catherine Stihler
Dame Anne Begg, the Bible and working towards an MBA.
Catherine Stihler | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
1. Which person you have worked with has most inspired you in your career, and how?
Working with the first wheelchair-using member of the British Parliament, Dame Anne Begg. I was Anne's researcher and carer and she taught me so much about being positive in the most trying of circumstances. These skills are certainly helping as I deal with the aftermath of Brexit representing Scotland, a nation which voted to remain in the EU.
2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
Gaining my MBA, while being an MEP, and having my second son, Andrew. The Open University gave me the possibility of working full-time, while studying. Although it was hard work getting up at 4.30am to study, graduating with a merit was an extremely satisfying experience.
3. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
The Bible - it guides and supports me in the most testing of times. Currently the words from Philippians 2 vs 3&4, which were written when Paul was in prison: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but to the interests of others."
4. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
Admitting that activity can be an excuse for effectiveness, and the need to make time for reflection. I think by ensuring that the actions you do are actually having a positive effect on those you represent, you can be a more able and capable representative.
5. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
Being approached by a student to stand as Rector of the University of St Andrews and being elected unopposed to serve as the 52nd Rector of the university, and the second female to hold the position.