Hi, Alan let’s start with work; what does a ‘normal’ day constitute for you?
This is probably going to sound like a cliché but my workload varies daily. One day I could be working on a new brochure or planning the development of a new website, the following day, I could be engrossed in data and reports. All major projects are planned out months in advance and the correct team will be assembled to deliver the project. I am currently working on 7 projects; it’s always busy, and always interesting – which is just how I like it.
How long have you been with the company?
It feels like I joined only yesterday. However, in reality, I have been working at Newell Palmer for almost 11 years.
When you were a child, what job did you want to do?
I wanted to be a chef. I used to cook (and make a mess) at every opportunity. My gran was a fantastic traditional cook and she taught me so much. In my teens, I worked in several pub kitchens; I started as a pot wash and worked my way up. However, I eventually moved away from cooking and ended up in marketing.
Work in silence or with music, background chatter and noise?
A bit of both. If I really need to focus then I lock myself away in a quiet room and I cannot have any distractions. However, most of the time I like a little background noise and music. I love music and I have very eclectic taste! Swing jazz to dance.
What’s your greatest moment working here so far?
Probably when I was made a Director. I worked very hard to prove I was good at what I do and that I was proactively helping develop and grow the business.
What’s your drink of choice while you’re working?
Skinny vanilla latte. I drink far too much coffee. I think I may be addicted.
And when you’re not working?
Without a doubt, a good old gin and tonic. I enjoy gin so much I am part of a gin club and I love trying new gins from around the world. My favorite gin at the moment is a Spanish gin called Larios 12. My ‘go to’ gin is Tanqueray which is a great British gin.
Name the best place you’ve ever visited.
I love to travel; anywhere and everywhere! I tend to go away for a long holiday over Christmas, while the office is closed. Over Christmas (just gone) I went to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali and then on to Sydney for New Year’s Eve. I had an amazing trip and I met some lovely people from all around the world.
Two years ago I went to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the famous carnival. I went to experience it as a ‘local’ courtesy of some Brazilian people I met traveling the previous year – both the Brazil trip and my holiday over Christmas were fantastic. I’m already planning my holiday this Christmas, which will be island hopping in the Philippines.
And how about the place that’s currently top of your ‘to visit’ list?
I am hearing great things about the Five ‘Stans of Central Asia. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan. I think I want to give these places a go in 2021.
If you have the choice between staying in and going out, which do you normally choose and what do you normally do?
Going out. A nice meal and a few cocktails with friends, or just a walk around Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. I love doing things.
What’s the one talent you have that people in your office are unaware of?
I can bend my thumbs downwards and press then flat against my wrists! Pointless – and I do not know how I ever realised I could do this.
What would your ‘Desert Island’ disc, film and book be?
I love the 1980’s classic films. Flight of the navigator, Goonies and Pretty Woman ( although technically Pretty Woman was the 90’s).
Do you prepare well in advance or are you a ‘last minute’ person?
I’m somewhere in the middle. I do try to be well organised and plan ahead… but sometimes I fail, and I fail miserably. Other times I’m really good and plan months in advance.
Who’d play you in the film of your life?
I have no idea!
DIY or call an expert?
Call an expert. That’s why they work in the industry they do, and I work in my industry.
If you had to compete at the Olympics, in any event, real or fake, what would you choose?
Cooking! I am quite decent at it… I make some great dishes. French cooking is my ‘go to’. It’s rich and very satisfying. Although the calorie count tends to be off the scale.
Do you ‘do’ Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Are they useful?
I use both and they have their place in my opinion. LinkedIn is a more professional platform, in my opinion, and Twitter is good for finding things out quickly! It’s also good for direct engagement with customers and it’s a great way to pass on feedback. For example, when I was on a Virgin Train to London a few weeks back, the heating in my carriage was unbearable. I tweeted Virgin Trains and I got a response in about 4 minutes. Then a few minutes later an announcement was made on the train to say that following a tweet they had turned off the heading in carriage H. Amazing customer service (well done Virgin Trains).
Physical book or e-book? Do you still buy paper? Which one?
Physical paper! I love paper books and magazines. There is something about turning the pages that I find satisfying.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being ‘not at all’, how clued up on technology do you feel you are?
I am about an 8 out of 10. I have always had a passion for technology from a young age. I was the first person on my street to have a Windows PC with dial-up internet! In addition, I was the first person to have a mobile phone out of my group of friends (Motorola MR30 – it was like a brick). Now technology plays a big part in my life. I have Alexa and she is integrated through my home – lighting, heating, hot water, Sonos speakers and even my washing machine!