Interim Head of Resourcing Transformation, Thames Water
1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?
Mr McCallion, PE Teacher. I won’t lie, I did not go to the best school and you had to be tough to get through, He taught the importance of resilience, self-control and competing to win. In life you need a determination to survive and you also need to realise that a “win” means different things to different people. Learn how to take the hits, control your emotions and come back for the win.
2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?
First scrap as a teenager. Responsibility. Outcome. That’s all I will say about that.
3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?
Self-care – i have always been a bastard to myself in terms of feedback and standards. Lockdown has been hard on everyone and I have learnt to look after myself more in terms of looking for the little signals/triggers that you might be going through a blue patch. None of us are made of titanium.
4. Name a well-known person you admire and explain why you hold them high esteem?
Nigel Owens, Welsh Rugby ref. Absolute mountain of a human being in terms of respect earned and given through both his actions on and off the pitch.
5. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the top three things they should know?
Respect me, value me and be yourself when around me. Nowt else.
6. If we were to go and speak to people who don't think very highly of you, what would they say?
I would simply say fair enough. Life is too short. If you back me, great. If not, crack on. I have been through far too much to worry about a small percentage. I am 37 and surrounded by people who genuinely care for me and what I am doing. That makes me one of the richest people in the world.
7. In the last few days, what news has given you most cause for alarm? In the last few days, what news has given you most cause for celebration?
Leeds United getting promoted. We will never hear the last of it #bigclub
8. When was the last time you felt like an outsider in a group? What did you learn from the experience?
First big job in London. I was told to soften my Northern accent. Imagine if that was now?
9. What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?
USB candle lighter (yes I love Jo Malone candles; arsed). Literally the greatest thing on Amazon.
10. What is your most prized possession? What’s the story behind it?
Framed picture of my Grandma and Grandad just before one of them passed. True definition of till death us do part.
11. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?
I’d try and get a bar going with some home brew. Everyone needs a pint from time to time.
12. Which fictional villain do you find yourself sympathising with most? Why?
May Day in A View To A Kill. Good lass at heart, corrupted by Zorin. Gutted when she died.
13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
Never get involved in office gossip. Always ends in tears. Simply swerve.
14. Can you give a work example of a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
First ever exec presentation to get a business case for TA investment agreed and approved. Full of emotion rather than facts and figures. I absolutely fell on my arse.
15. What’s the one bad quality you wouldn’t mind in a colleague? Why?
Aggression. I don’t mind it. Passion is what keeps us going. As long as it can be tempered give me someone who wears their heart on their sleeve every day of the week. People like that will fight for you. Can’t buy that.
16. Who is the best co-workers or collaborator you’ve ever worked with? Now is the moment to give them a shout out - who were they and why were they so good?
Split between Chris Brady and Julie Griggs. Both previous leaders. Simply knew how to get the best out of me.
17. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?
The obsession with awards over getting the basics right.
18. What’s one industry challenge you don’t actually think will ever get solved?
Candidate experience; we still don’t really understand or even care about it to be honest which is really sad.
19. Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?
Sounds random, but before a big meeting or presentation, nip to the loo even if you don’t need to “go”. Simply calm down, gather your thoughts and get in the zone. Works every time.
20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With ... ?
Thank you to Ben Gledhill for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune