Briefly outline your career to date
I graduated with a degree in Business from the University of the West of England, Bristol in 2004, having spent a year on a marketing internship in Chicago, USA. I started my career managing a small marketing agency for one year and following this I was accepted onto a sales graduate scheme with Associated British Foods (ABF). I held various roles in ABF, such as regional account manager, before being promoted into my current position as Brand Manager of Nambarrie Tea.
What does your current role involve and what is a typical working day for you?
My role is very diverse, covering everything from PR, advertising, events management, packaging development and design as well as researching the market and consumer behaviour. With such a broad remit there isn’t a typical day in the office – I could be briefing a communications campaign one day and crunching numbers at my desk the next.
What professional and personal qualities does it take to do your job effectively?
Professional qualifications are very important to a person’s career – for example, I couldn’t have applied for my training programme at ABF without a degree. However I feel that just getting out there and gaining as much experience as possible and being really up for a challenge is the key to ensuring you progress in business. As well as experience, being able to quickly prove that you can deliver for the company and having the ability to prioritise the important tasks are absolute essentials.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment to date?
I am very proud of Nambarrie’s new environmentally friendly packaging, which was rolled out across Northern Ireland last month. The new packaging will incorporate a biodegradable wrap, which was developed using wood pulp by Nambarrie’s parent company, Twinings, and is the first of its kind in the UK tea industry. Each pack is also now produced using at least 45 per cent recycled material, with the remainder being sourced from sustainable forests that are approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – an international organisation established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
You must have a balance between personal and working life. I’ve also learned that you don’t have to have the best qualifications, as a lot of the time it is your ability to work with others and your interpersonal skills that get you a long way.
Whom do you most admire and why?
Laura Fowles, a very talented saxophonist and vocalist. She plays up-tempo jazz and is the worldwide resident for one of the biggest house brands around, Hed Kandi. I admire her ability to bring jazz music into the mainstream and she inspires me as I am currently learning to play the saxophone myself.
Where is your favourite place and why?
Chicago – I lived there for a year and I have very fond memories of the city. It has a beautiful skyline and a lot of charm.
What makes you laugh … and cry?
I really like the clean observational humour of Michael McIntyre and, as for crying, stubbing my toe, only because it happened to me just before I filled out this questionnaire – ouch!
Whom would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Well, Daniel Craig as James Bond – for obvious reasons! David Attenborough, because I find him really interesting and, of course, Michael McIntrye to provide some humour. I think that would be a good mix of people to get the conversation flowing.
Your biggest fault is … and your redeeming feature?
My biggest fault would be my love of red wine. As for my redeeming feature…I consider myself a sharing person – I always share my red wine with friends!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the diversity of my job and the fact that I need to constantly keep on my toes and learn new things. The people I work with also give me job satisfaction – they are smart and committed but can have a laugh as well. It’s important to have a good working relationship with your colleagues, as you spend the best part of your week with them.