WM – What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
Variety. No two days are the same and as Cotswold Fayre is always pursuing new ideas, I can engage my creativity within the marketing space.
WM – Who’s inspired you most in your career?
I am humbled and inspired by many people I meet every month. Generally, those who have started with very little and achieved great things in life and business I hold in greatest admiration.
WM – If you were an item in a wholesaler’s stock list, what would you be?
A bottle of premium balsamic vinegar – a long time in the making, using the finest ingredients and perfectly aged!
WM – If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different?
Recruit better people earlier than you think you can afford them – good people will also save you far more than their extra remuneration.
WM – What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?
It’s a long story, but involved a business trip to Shanghai, over indulgence in a bar, being abducted for financial extortion, managing to escape at around 4 a.m. and then trying to find my way back to my hotel in order to catch my flight home early the next morning! Not a normal day at the office!
WM – Who or what makes you laugh?
I seem to be one of those people that ends up in bizarre situations, like the one described above, with strange things happening all too frequently in everyday life, so generally am not short of laughs and funny stories. After all, ‘laughter is the medicine to the soul’! Only yesterday we were thinking about introducing laughter yoga as part of our weekly staff meeting!
WM – Do you have any hidden talents?
I tend to show-off too much so any hidden talents I have tend not to stay hidden, but I used to play the piano and organ to a reasonable level and played in a church band for many years – something no one would know at work, until now!
WM – Who would be your favourite party guest?
Nelson Mandela. He would have the immense respect of everyone in the room and have some amazing stories to tell. Not only that I reckon he could party like the best of them – and we all need a bit of that African rhythm at a decent party.
WM – What is the greatest luxury in your life?
My car, as I spend a lot of time in it, I reason to myself I need a good one. Planning on the next car being electric so I can enjoy it and not ruin the planet!
WM – What is your favourite guilty pleasure?
It’s got to be chocolate, in all shapes, sizes and flavours. Fortunately, many samples regularly arrive at our office, so I rarely have to buy any!
WM – Do you have any secret ambitions?
I have often thought I would like to end up in politics, particularly recently in the light of Brexit, but wouldn’t be able to toe any party’s line, so would be expelled pretty quickly.
WM – What’s your dream holiday destination?
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit around 60 countries; standout amongst them (so far) are South Africa and Sri Lanka.
WM – What are your three favourite movies of all time?
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘Schindler’s List’ & ‘Dead Poet’s Society’, all of which have inspired me to be the better version of myself!
WM – What is your favourite book of all time?
‘The Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel. “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.”
WM – What’s your favourite pastime?
Playing competitive tennis, although I am getting too old to compete with the youngsters!
WM – If you won the Lottery, what would you do?
Re-build the orphanage and schools we support in Western Kenya, increase the bonus pot for my excellent team at Cotswold Fayre and visit some of the remaining 140 counties I haven’t been to.
WM – What would be your advice to someone thinking about coming into this industry (apart from “don’t do it”)?
“Go with your gut” – the times I have made mistakes have been when I have gone against my gut instinct sometimes from listening older and wiser (but risk averse) people. Life and work are far more fun when you take calculated risks.
Cotswold Fayre is the leading wholesaler of quality, artisan food and drink to independent retailers throughout the UK & Ireland. Starting as a “spare bedroom business” in South-East London in 1999, the company is now the wholesaler of choice for exciting new brands coming into the market.
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