How did you get to where you are today?
I began with Budgens as a shelf-stacker in 1995, at 16, and worked my way up to store manager. I have run four stores, two from opening. I recently made the transition to the independent side of MBL and am a regional sales manager looking after independent Budgens retailers in the London region.
What was the best decision you have made in your career and why?
To accept the role of RSM within MBL's independent division. I feel I have gained invaluable experience in how to run a business as an individual entity while bringing with me the experiences I gained from my time in corporate stores.
What is the most important piece of information you have ever been told?
That the key to running a successful business is all about its people: "If you look after your people they look after you."
If you could change one thing in the grocery industry what would it be?
It's tough for independents in the current market. Multiples are increasing their market share within the convenience sector, making trading ever more competitive. It is important high streets do not lose their distinct identities and that independent stores add choice and diversity. Tougher regulations should be brought in to prevent this creeping homogeneity.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A thank you from a retailer, knowing the advice you have given has made a difference to their business, which is ultimately their livelihood.
What is the one thing that you could not do your job without?
It is imperative to have enthusiasm and belief, without which you will struggle to succeed.
If you could start your career again, what would you do differently and why?
I wish I had learnt at a younger age to listen to advice and feedback rather than always try to do it my way. Other people's experience is often better than anything in a textbook.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry today?
Talk and listen to as many people as you can, helping to build a network early in your career. You never know when you might need them.
What do you like doing when you are not working?
Golf and cricket, and whenever possible I go to see my beloved Everton football club play live.
Where do you hope to be in five years' time?
I am keen to continue to develop myself both personally and professionally, gaining exposure to as many experiences as possible in order to put me in good stead for my next career move.