“I ENDED up going into finance, which was not what I had planned.

“It just kind of happened.”

Sam Hackett chuckles as she describes her early days.

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Finance might not have been a path the Northumbria University graduate had expected to follow, but it nevertheless provided some real highs.

A spell in the region with Wise Speke, since taken on by Brewin Dolphin, was followed by time in the City, which included founding investment management company Saltus with brother Simon Armstrong and equity partners.

That firm continues today, with Mr Armstrong still at the helm, and has further offices in Manchester and the outskirts of Portsmouth.

However, for Ms Hackett, born in Whitley Bay, her time in finance has been replaced by a venture into the healthcare market, specifically home care.

“You hear stories about people not getting a cup of tea and carers not spending proper time with them,” she says, her voice dropping away in disappointment.

That’s where HMS Care comes in.

Based in Newcastle, it offers a range of domiciliary services, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s care, as well as support for those with physical and learning disabilities.

It also provides general assistance, with carers helping people to wash and dress, take medicines, prepare meals, go shopping and do the laundry.

The motivation is simple; tailor services to meet customers’ exact needs.

At the moment, HMS Care, which was founded in September 2015 and employs about 40 staff, is concentrating on North Tyneside and central Newcastle, but Ms Hackett says her ambition is to expand across the North-East.

Such growth, she said, will be fuelled partly by the desire of those needing care to look after their families in future years.

In other words, they would rather spend money on care services, and leave a nest egg for others, than spend it all on a care home.

She said: “The idea is to cover the whole of the North-East and fill in the gaps.

“People are very aware they may lose their home if they go into a care home and have worked hard for their money too.

“It’s nice to help these people and it’s also nice to help their families, who have been taking on the burden of care.

“They get a bit of relief and get their lives back.

“The feedback we get is really rewarding and people are very forthcoming with their comments.

“It’s a massive boost for the staff too, especially when they’re getting up at 5am on a cold, winter’s morning.”

It might seem a world away from finance, but Ms Hackett says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She said: “I did 20 years in finance and I really enjoyed it, but I was probably ready for a new challenge.

“I love going into work.”

Five minutes with… Sam Hackett

Favourite North-East building and why? The Sage Gateshead. It is so stunning the way it catches and reflects the light. The contrast with the older buildings is beautiful.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? My first full-time job was at an advertising agency in London. I earned £11,000 per year, which barely covered my rent.

What is the worst job you've had? I have been extremely lucky, I’ve enjoyed all my jobs from Saturday work in a jewellers, to temporary secretarial work, to advertising, finance and now running my own business in the care industry.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? My ‘go-to’ would probably be a rich beef casserole with green vegetables and some lovely roasties. I love tasty, traditional homemade food. I grew up on it (thanks Mum).

What would your superpower be? Teleportation – that way I could fit far more into my days.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Adele, Ed Sheeran, Peter Sellers and Hugh Laurie.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? Does a university education for my daughters count? At £9,000 per year just for the fees, this will definitely be the most expensive.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? I like Phillip Schofield. He makes me giggle and lightens up the day.

Favourite book? Darkside, by Belinda Bauer.

When did you last cry? Recently, when watching Nashville.

What is your greatest achievement? Having my two beautiful children.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? Don’t waste time on negativity, move on and think positively.

Favourite animal and why? Giraffe – incredible pattern and most bizarre form.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? My daughter Millie. She is an actor and is performing in Romeo and Juliet and Hairspray over the coming months.

What was the last band you saw live? Texas, at Proms in the Park. They were amazing.

Describe your perfect night in: Candles lit, Indian takeaway ordered for delivery and a good few hours of catching up on the TV dramas that I’ve missed.

In another life I would be... Naturally slim.

Who would play you in a film of your life? I can’t see anyone wanting to watch a film of my life, so maybe some unknown with a few aspirations to succeed?

What irritates you? More things the older I get. Impoliteness for sure.

What's your secret talent? I have been called The Baby Whisperer.