Jamie making waves in flexible workspace scene
In the spotlight this week is Jamie McCoubrey, managing director of Urban HQ, whose new design-led flexible workspace is due to open in Belfast's Eagle Star House in summer 2020
What was your first job?
Cleaning glasses in a local public house which I loved because I was surrounded by people and it was great to chat to customers while I was working.
What qualifications do you have?
I completed a course in business and finance which equipped me with basic commercial skills and knowledge. This provided me with a good starting point, but hands-on experience is what really allowed me to progress with my career.
What do you attribute your success to?
Motivation and empathy have both been key drivers in my career to date. Empathy in business dealings is vital to maintaining sustainable success - you're surrounded by stakeholders you need to understand to move forward. Motivation is important in terms of getting the job done as efficiently and effectively as possible.
How would you describe yourself to someone who had never met you?
Light-hearted and positive.
Who do you look up to in business?
Gary Vanerchuch, an American-Belarusian entrepreneur. He's worth a Google search…
How do you get the best out of the people who work for you?
If employees feel respected, valued and understood they're a lot more likely to be happy and productive at work. Motivating your team also really helps in terms of getting the job done as efficiently as possible.
What website or app could you not do without?
The Windfinder App – it provides updates and forecasts for the wind, waves, tides and weather. I enjoy surfing, paddle boarding and dinghy sailing so it is very useful.
What was the last book you read?
Street boys by Lorenzo Carcaterra.
What car do you drive?
An older Audi A4 estate – which is ideal for my water sports hobbies.
Tell us something interesting about yourself
During my time in Australia in 1998 I took a job on a commercial fishing trawler off the Great Barrier Reef. On one occasion the boat started to fill with water and very nearly (eventually) sank, which resulted in a pretty close encounter with some sharks. Another vessel came to our rescue, towing us to a nearby island where we stayed overnight, then towed us back to shore the next day.
What's your greatest passion outside work and family?
Water sports – I enjoy surfing, paddle boarding and dinghy sailing.