The fourth in a series of occasional articles about our employees in 2021.
Please tell us about your professional background before you joined GWS
I was a professional writer, mainly of literary biographies - I also contributed to a corporate history of Castrol and a book about achievements by land, air and sea over the last century. I co-founded GWS in 2000.
Please take us through the kinds of things you do in your job at GWS in a typical week
I liaise with clients and suppliers; most of the work I do is on the financial side. I used to take part in most meetings with potential clients when I was working full-time at GWS, and I was involved in networking and business development until 2018.
Which aspects of the job you enjoy the most?
I most enjoy meeting people face to face - for many years I've loved doing networking on behalf of the company and over 20 years I've had the privilege of meeting many people in business in Bristol, from start-ups and sole-traders through to large organisations.
My favourite meeting was with Colin Pillinger, the unsung genius who sent a probe to Mars (sadly it did not work properly after landing), but who was spurned by the establishment, perhaps because of his Bristolian accent. I persuaded him to speak at the Institute of Directors in Bristol.
What has been your biggest achievement / something you are really proud of?
It's a close tie between making a living as an author for 30 years, and setting up a successful business which is still going strong after 20 years.... Do I have to choose?
Websites and Digital marketing are constantly evolving. What changes do you see happening lately that affect the work you do in your role (be it design, development, SEO, copywriting or social media)?
Websites have become a core part of the marketing activities of all businesses and organisations since GWS was founded - I still keep in touch with what is going on in this area, but other members of the team are better placed to answer this question.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside work?
Outside of work I enjoy going to the Clifton Club, and watching classic films and musicals. I am also an inveterate reader (as most writers are) and very interested in politics - I once served as a Borough Councillor in Shropshire and sat on a Community Health Council.
How have you found adapting to a different way of working during the lock-down?
Since we moved to our current premises in 2019, avoiding the commute into the centre of Bristol has been a godsend - so from that point of view lockdown has not made a significant difference. I am not a big fan of Zoom calls - I much prefer to meet face-to-face.
Have you got any work hacks you could share?
I prefer to work with printed copies of documents and invoices where possible - it's ultimately much easier than working on a screen for long periods.
Where do you look for inspiration: a person, a blog, a brand?
Book reviews, and the culture section of the papers.
Quick fire round:
Tea or coffee?
Omnivore or vegetarian?
Mac or Windows?
Windows 2000 - I still miss it.
Favourite genres of music (e.g. classical, jazz, blues, folk, country, pop, rock, metal, disco, house, rap, trance, EDM)?
Classical and Pop.
5 musical artists you enjoy listening to?
Wagner, Vaughan Williams, Kate Bush, the Carpenters and Bonnie Tyler.
All-time favourite song?
Morning or night person?
Favourite subject(s) at school?
Cereal or toast?
Toast and Egg.
Item you couldn’t live without?
Work-life balance or workaholic?
The England of the 1950s and 60s.
Thing you’ve missed most in lock-down?
Visiting friends and relatives.