Meet... Thomas

Profession: B2B management 

 

1) Tell us a bit about your career to date. 

I come from a background in business to business management, mostly in the hospitality industry but latterly with American Express. Throughout my career, I’ve worked in roles that have involved driving efficiencies including business mentoring, looking at streamlining work flows and mitigating risk. 

In my earlier career, I worked with two large hotel groups and through that time developed lots of experience of client and account management. I’ve mostly worked with large corporates operating in a transitional world. Because of this I think I have a strong sense of best practice that I’ve been able to translate across to smaller organisations through my freelance career to date. 

2) Tell us about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you rectify it?

While I was working with American Express, I was overseeing a big project to evaluate efficiencies in the payment process. Partway through the project, the parameters changed completely and we didn’t have the right experts in place to cope with the new direction. It taught me a lot about sharing workloads in the workplace: you have to surround yourself with a team able to fill in for areas you’re not so strong in, and vice versa. 

3) What has surprised you most since you started freelancing? 

It’s been a bit of a shock to leave the comfort zone of working in a big corporate organisation with systems in place for everything from HR to finance, but the biggest surprise has been having to go out and find work myself! 

I’ve spent quite a lot of time building up local networks, but in the beginning I think I was definitely spreading myself too thin. That’s been a big learning for me: you have to get out there, but within reason! I now regularly attend events run by maybe just three or four networking groups. 

4) What kinds of organisations would you most like to work with, and why? 

I find working for charities most satisfying. I am the trustee of a local Housing Association charity which provides mental health support, and I do lots of work in the third sector in my freelance life too. I really enjoy the feeling of giving back and helping vulnerable people. I also act as a business enterprise mentor and offer start-up support including advice on securing finance. 

Whether an organisation is a charity or a corporate, at the end of the day it’s all about stakeholder or people relationships. There are so many learnings that can be transferred between the two business models. 

5) How would you describe yourself in three words?

Reliable, committed, focused 

6) What might someone be surprised to learn about you? 

I think I possibly often give the wrong impression when I first meet people! Physically, I am a very tall person and I think there are real preconceptions about tall people being brave or strong. I’m actually very sensitive and emotionally intelligent. I actually think emotional intelligence is key to being a good manager: people generally don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.

7) What did you want to be when you were a child? 

When I was very young I wanted to be a river boat cruise man, then when I grew up a bit my first job was on a fish farm. For a very long time I thought I might be a trout farmer!

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