Client Advisor, Equalture
1. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?
Mr Clark, he was my music teacher in secondary school. I learnt the value of having fun and that everyone has potential. He would host music clubs every week and when I reflect back I realize that the students that were there were able to express themselves through music. I played the piano and the saxophone so I always enjoyed getting involved.
2. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?
I grew up on a farm, so quite simply working on the land with my Mum was some of the happiest times I remember. It was the normal tasks of each day, but, at the same time, every day was different. Whether it be shearing the sheep, or collecting the eggs from the 7000 hens we had, it was always the care and appreciation of what we owned was the joy, not to have more but to care for what we had.
3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?
A recent behaviour I have aquired is the focus on choosing peace. Coming from a military background, peace was not the first thing I went to, however I have realized that in peace there is creativity, empathy and appreciation for others. Gratitude is an extremely vital focus to have, especially with everything that is going on.
From taking a step back, a big deep breath and recognizing that in a noisy world (especially when I spend A LOT of time on LinkedIn), that what I want to bring is that appreciation, that listening ear, to share founder’s stories, celebrate when they are and care when they are going through struggles, as we all do. As Manager in Business Development I believe that business is about people, their stories and community.
4. Name a well-known person you admire and explain why you hold them high esteem?
CS Lewis, an exceptional author, growing up I loved the book the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. I think his authenticity and his candid journey with faith really shows the real tangibility and reality of our human condition, which should be appreciated for what it is right now, rather than the demand of becoming something ‘better’. It is not about performance in life, it is about relationships. One of my favorite quotes-
“Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.”
One story that shows these juxtapositions and tensions is when I was in Afghanistan, I had just finished in a firefight with the Taliban in the green zone of Helmand province. Next minute, I am sitting with tribal leaders drinking Chai Tea building those relationships. I had faith for a stronger, unified country, despite the circumstances that were ongoing.
5. What personality trait has got you in the most trouble? What kind of trouble does it get you in?
Being a thinker! I now have a strong habit in making a list, and a clear diary. Without these I would be lost- the main trouble is with my wife when I forget to get something from the supermarket. My mind is always thinking about the next task, or new ideas for work/ life. Which means that my current tasks can be lost in translation a little!
6. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?
That they do not realise that my main priority is to always learn and observe. I want to ensure I remain humble by never underestimating what is out there to learn about others. I believe the greatest key as a leader is to be a student first. Many people do not realize that I am listening, learning and taking in, even when they do not realize it. I know more than I let on!
7. On what topic would you never make a joke?
Quite a few! I realized, especially living in The Netherlands, that I am quite prudent haha. I cannot stand toilet humor!
8. When was the last time you felt like an outsider in a group? What/How did you learn?
Being an english guy living in the Netherlands this happens a lot. One of the main points I have learnt is to ask questions. To be empathetic to an outside group is key, I am the outsider therefore it is my responsibility to engage in their conversation, language and understanding of the world. Does not mean I may agree with everything but only through relationships can I share my story.
9. Cheese or Chocolate?
Cheese everytime! One day I aspire to own my local cheese shop back in Dorset where I come from!
10. What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?
A shameless plug of Equalture here! I started with the company in March 2020. And the tech product is a team composition tool. I love it because over the years I have experienced working in bad and good teams. To me, after a career in the military I have seen the impact of high-impact, agile teams.
11. Which fictional villain do you find yourself sympathising with most? Why?
Darth Vadar! He should have never been made a jedi knight in the first place. Obi- Wan felt guilt after the death of Qui-Gon Jinn to train him up!
12. If you were a giant mega Monster what city would you rampage first? Why?
Dubai! No offence to anyone who lives there. I just think it would be cool to knock down the tallest building in the world- the Burj Khalifa.
13. Can you give a work example of a lesson you had to learn the hard way?
Absolutely, I learnt very early on by the age of 11 the importance of responsibility and ownership. Every morning at 6am I would walk around and check the farm animals, we had roughly 80 sheep, one morning I was running late, got up out of bed too late so did not make it until about an hour later. When I got there I found a sheep had fallen in the river, it was on its last legs, hanging onto the side of a grass ledge, soaking wet, exhausted and ready to give up. Clearly she had been there for a long time. I jumped straight in the water and was able to haul her out. After that I owned the responsibility of those I cared for very seriously!
14. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?
“It is not about the mistakes you make, it is how you deal with them after that truly counts”
15. What’s the one bad quality you wouldn’t mind in a colleague? Why?
Being stubborn, I appreciate other employees’ opinions, does not mean I will agree straight away though.
16. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?
Affinity Bias, again as I live in the Netherlands if someone applied for a role on the team and they were from the UK, specifically Dorset I would want them straight away! As I do not meet many people here from my part of the world!
17. Who will be the winners & losers in our industry in the post-Covid19 world?
Those that can operate fully remote and be able to innovate new ways to build, maintain and strengthen relationships. I said before that it was important but in the HR industry people are the most important part. Communication is key, so how do we increase the connections between remote and physical connections to improve collaboration and communication.
18. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?
Bad hires! As I have experienced this in the past and I spend a lot of time speaking with founders about the impact that bad hires have had on their company and team I really believe in the importance of valuing the company who is making the hire to have all the information they need to make the right decision.
19. .Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?
Listen, learn, stay humble and improve how you ask questions. There is always someone who knows more than you, does not mean that you give up, but you just learn to ask the right questions.
20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?
Definitely Charlotte Melkert, one of the Founders of Equalture.
Thank you to Gregory Poole for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune