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– How are you feeling now on a scale of 1-10?
A good eight.
Fresh off the back of a four-day Easter weekend – who wouldn’t be feeling better? The sun came out, we saw a few friends in the garden and opened the first rosé of the year. However, I am hoping that my current obsession with hot cross buns and Mini Eggs will pass soon.
Food and wine related reasons to one side…more generally it feels like everything is moving in the right direction and there is momentum on all fronts.
Platform, the brand agency I set up with Justin Tindall last year has really taken off, we’ve started working with a raft of great new clients in the last few months. All very different – scale ups to global brands, all choosing wisely to invest heavily in brand as the world changes and markets become ever more disrupted.
I’m also three months into my new role as Non-Exec Chair at Onside Law, a great team of people. We have just announced a very exciting partnership with Women In Football, to be their second Corporate Member hot on the heels of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, which I’m really happy about. (obviously!)
I’ve also just completed a 100km running challenge in March and raised over £1,600 for Breast Cancer Now. I turned 49 this month, the same age my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer, so it felt like a positive way to remember her and get my running legs back in gear.
– Who was the last person you spoke to before me?
My son, most likely asking him to do one of the following: get off his screen and do some guitar practise, walk the dog or go play some basketball outside. (Ok, it might have been a shouty nag…).
– Are you working from home or the office? If both, what’s the split like?
All working from home. Home office that is. I don’t really have an office to go to anymore to be honest and it’s been that way since lockdown began last March. Justin and I work remotely and from our client’s offices when permitted.
However – as of this week I’ll be spending a few days a week back at a very cool shared work-space in the Witterings called Surf & Work; I joined last summer and love it there – a really good crowd of people and cool vibes. (and yes, there is a rack for your board)
But pretty soon I also think I’ll be going into the Onside Law offices a couple of times a month. So once this all starts, it will be a nice mix and far less solitary than it has been this last year.
– How have things changed since Covid? How has your employer adapted?
No employer – just me and my business partner. I won’t lie, at times it has been pretty solitary since lockdown started but mixing it up during the summer at Surf & Work helped a lot and I think we now see the emergence of face-to-face meetings again over time which is great.
Interestingly, like most other businesses, it hasn’t impeded our ability to operate well, do great work or grow. But I do miss it being amongst a team of people. I’m looking forward to mixing it up, the flexibility of splitting my week between home, Surf & Work, clients and Onside Law.
– Where do you work? What’s the environment like?
Upstairs office with great views over the South Downs. I’m very lucky.
– Who do you share your ‘home office’ with?
No-one, it’s just me and maybe the dog. Before the kids went back to school they each had their own place to work in the house which made it possible for us all to concentrate, do calls without worrying we will distract each other, but the office is mine.
– Who are you looking out for at the moment?
My two children, aged 12 and 14, pretty self-sufficient, but I also keep a close eye on an elderly neighbour (94) who is pretty amazing, but you never know so I pop my head round or call most days.
The kids are significantly happier now they are back at school and even more recently now that they are back playing team sport – but then aren’t we all!
Although he’s miles away in Newcastle, my elderly dad is a constant worry – I haven’t been able to see him for a whole year which is just awful; he’s been in and out of hospital and now has dementia and has had to be moved from sheltered housing to a care home. Only my brother can see him; just all a bit rubbish really, but it’s like that for so many people.
– How have you changed as a manager? As a person?
During lockdown I think we all learnt to focus far more on the positives and shorten your horizons. It has been difficult to look beyond the end of the week at times. I’m pretty much always a very positive and bouncy person but the solitary aspect of the last year has been pretty tough at times. Not sure if I’ve changed as such but I have got better at protecting time to exercise and I drink a lot less wine!
If I’m being really honest, perhaps I’m more exhausted than usual! As a single parent who works full time (and some) it’s been a pretty knackering year!
– How do you run a meeting?
On time and to time, with an agenda, but friendly, informal and efficiently. Always try and make sure everyone is heard. Finish up with clear actions and decisions made.
– How would you describe your work/life balance?
I have no idea what you are talking about. No, seriously – as long as I have dinner with the kids in the evening and get time to do fun stuff with them, plus enough time to exercise outdoors I’m happy. For the moment anyway.
I often work late when they are in bed but I do try and keep weekends free. The temptation to work when they aren’t here is what I’ve had to work on.
– What does your daily routine look like? How do you run your job and your life?
I get up pretty early most days, I have to get it all done but I’ve always been an early bird. Annoyingly so.
On a good day I’ll do yoga when I get up around 6am, then run or walk the dog so I’m back in time to make sure the kids are up, fed and at the school bus stop on time. Then I’ll try to do whichever didn’t happen before breakfast – the dog walk or a run – throw on a load of washing and then I can be at my desk by 9ish.
Justin and I have a daily 0930 call which allows for parenting and life stuff before we get stuck in to the day.
I have a to do list for Platform, Onside Law and family stuff. (I have recently left all school WhatsApp groups as they were driving me nuts. Don’t know why I didn’t do this before!)
I try and stop to eat at lunch but usually graze at my desk – the days of always taking a walk at lunchtime are long gone – but Justin and I are good at telling each other to get some fresh air / switch off if we’ve been on calls all day.
I usually work till around 6, stop to make supper for us all then if I need to, work later.
Now we’re back in sport – two or three evenings a week will involve playing taxi between rugby, football and netball training. Joy.
Once summer comes, evenings towards the end of the week will hopefully be more focused towards the beach and getting on to the water. I grew up by the sea and it’s one of the reasons I moved closer to the sea.
– Early mornings or late nights?
– How do you focus?
Turn off all notifications and make sure the house is empty.
– How do you cope with stress?
– How do you unwind?
I’m a bit crap at that if I’m honest – but usually involves either a long walk with the dog; paddle-boarding, or a girls zoom catch up, or long lunch with friends…when allowed.
– Who do you consider your mentor to be?
I’ve had various mentors throughout my career, from all different sectors – I couldn’t name just one but there are people without whose guidance and counsel I never would have made some of the big decisions I have – about work and life.
– If we started this year again, what one thing would you change?
More time with friends.
– What one thing will you take with you into the ‘new normal’?
Less booze. I’ve drunk far less this past year and feel loads better for it. That’ll stay.
– Who are you speaking to next?
Justin. (unless the estate agent rings).