1201 days ago
Joined Sodexo: January 2014
Lives in: Winchester, Hampshire
Q. What was your first job?
When I was really young, my first job involved riding racehorses. I’ve always had horses and grew up in the industry. I started off riding out racehorses and then I went on to do professional horse riding. I played professional polo in America for three years. My mum bought me my first pony when I was four years old. His name was Guzzle.
Q. Tell us about your Sodexo role and what you do every day.
I run the grounds maintenance contract for Thames Water’s 900+ sites in the south east of England. It’s actually one of Sodexo’s biggest horticultural contracts. My contracts are anywhere south of the M25, so I work everywhere from Dartford to Heathrow. It’s a very big area.
Q. What key skills do you need?
You don’t have to go into my job knowing what every flower or every tree is. You just have to be operational. You have to know your finances and be good at programming. You also have to be an excellent multi-tasker and also willing to adapt.
Q. How do you find working in a traditionally male-dominated environment?
I’m the only operational female manager out of about 15 Managers in Sodexo’s Horticultural Services, but it never crosses my mind. I came to Sodexo after working in forestry and for various utility companies. All the industries I’ve worked in have been male-dominated because the women tend to go into the environmental side of the business rather than the operational.
Q. Do you enjoy it and if so, why?
It’s a very challenging job and very fast paced. No week is the same and I’m on the road quite a lot. I can’t sit behind a desk 9am till 5pm – it just doesn’t suit me. You’ve got to know how to use the machines, so it’s really useful I started off in forestry. I used to manager the tree teams on the railways, so I had to know how to check a filter or change a spark plug.
Q. If you could pick any other job what would it be?
I have absolutely no idea. To be honest, I’d just love to have a big house in Dorset close to the river. It’d be great to be able to Kayak, take the dogs out and do something out in the countryside.
Q. How would you describe Sodexo as an employer?
I’ve worked for two previous companies and each aren’t as big as Sodexo. What I do like about this company is that, although they ask a lot from you, they reward you.
Q. Who is your greatest inspiration and why?
My uncle is my greatest inspiration. He studied to be a surgeon in the 1970s and found it boring! He ended up doing a variety of different things such as Formula One and he’s taught me that if you want something, you have to go and get it.
Q. What would be your perfect day off?
A few hours of mountain biking, followed by a run with my dogs.
Q. What can’t you live without?
My two dogs – Woody and Maccy. One is a spaniel and the other is a border terrier cross.
Q. What’s your favorite gardening program?
I’m not really a lover of gardening – I don’t have the patience for it! But I must admit, I do like watching Monty Don.
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