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GILLIAN LACEY-SOLYMAR

Gillian Lacey-Solymar has never enjoyed standing still for very long. She likes change and there has been change aplenty in her life.


She kept her studies as wide as possible for as long as possible, studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford and following this with an MBA from INSEAD in France. Her working life has been another attempt to keep things broad and wide for as long as possible, with four different careers (so far!). She started as a management consultant at McKinsey and then spent 15 years at BBC Television as a Correspondent focused on (at various times) Consumer Affairs, Business and Economics. In parallel she held a part time post at UCL as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management and this continued until she was forced to give up because of her Parkinson’s Disease in 2019 (ie a total of 25+ years).  She has taught entrepreneurship on the 10,000 Small Businesses Programme, leading the London cohorts for Goldman Sachs. She is an entrepreneur in her own right, having founded a business which focuses on luxury wedding venues in historic buildings. Bizarrely, the business is in the north of Scotland whereas Gillian lives in London.


Gillian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012 and after years of not talking about it (useless advice from useless doctors at the time) she is now thrilled to be part of Movers and Shakers and to be able to discuss her experiences and to share those with her fellow podcasters. Together with the others, she is excited that the podcast has become a serious (and not so serious) voice of Parkinson’s.


Her Parkinson’s deteriorated at a rapid rate and Gillian was faced with having to make a decision as to whether to have Deep Brain Stimulation four years ago. She is very glad that she made the choice in favour of DBS as it stopped the unbearable pain and the quasi-unbearable tremors.


The disease has had two silver linings. The first is being part of Movers and Shakers and the second is that the medication causes a burst of creativity in some people, and Gillian is fortunate to be among them. She paints (badly), writes poetry (populist – shock horror) and is proud to have written a musical, IrrePRESSible, which she took to the Edinburgh Fringe last summer to sell-out audiences. Gillian hopes to bring a longer version of the musical to London one day…


A personal note for the end. I cannot write this part in the third person. It somehow doesn't seem correct. Of all the six of us I have the most dramatic version of Parkinson’s. Whereas when I am well I’m very well, the converse is also true. That means my wonderful carer and husband Mike (or should I say husband and carer) comes with me everywhere. We are joined at the hip, but then we always have been, even without the Parkinson’s. In addition, we have three wonderful children, who are all grown up but whom we see very frequently, especially on holiday!

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