My Alternative CV: Helen Mepham, CP Foods

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Helen Mepham, commercial general manager of CP Foods UK, on cod sperm, Butlins and her polytunnel imprisonment theory


What was your first ever job? I was a Saturday girl at Sussex Stationers in Brighton. Paper clips, envelopes and Sellotape were my forte.

You've got 25 words to describe your career to date. Ready meals for Northern Foods then some retail therapy at Tesco before heading to the pub at Wetherspoons, and then filling a factory for CP.

How do you describe your job to your mates? I like to say I eat for a living. They're usually suitably jealous.

What is the worst job you've ever had? Cleaning toilets at Butlins. It was a bit of a family institution since my parents met while they were working there.

If you could change one thing in grocery what would it be? There seems to be a huge lack of possible recruits for jobs at every level in the grocery industry. Where do they hide them? I'm thinking in a giant polytunnel somewhere in Dorset.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? I still get a kick out of seeing my products on the supermarket shelf when I'm shopping.

What is the least rewarding part? Having to let customers down when, for example, containers go missing.

If you didn't work in grocery where would you work? On stage, under the spotlight.

What's your best interview tip? Smile.

If you were allowed one dream perk what would it be? Supersonic travel. Or perhaps an office teleporter for swift trips to Thailand.

What is your motto in life? Fortune favours the brave.

What's your nickname? Meps. I've also been known as 'The Tree of Knowledge'.

What was the first music single you bought? Live Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas?

What did you want to be when you were a kid? An actress. I very nearly went to drama school but chose biochemistry at the last minute.

What's your favourite movie and why? The Shawshank Redemption. I love the dignity against injustice theme and the fact that it flopped in the cinema and triumphed later in life.

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? Anything involving dancing while sober.

If you could pick a celebrity to join your staff who would it be and why? Brad Pitt. He could make tea and keep the girls in the office amused but I'd insist he had a trim first.

What's the weirdest thing you've eaten? Cod sperm at a sushi bar in Tokyo at 5am.

What animal best reflects your personality and why? Unicorn. I'm unique.

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