- What was your first job?
My first job was in Debenhams in Leeds. I experienced all departments, and worked across the UK, including head office. I worked my way up to senior management in the business and relocated to Debenhams Belfast in 1995.
- What do you attribute your success to?
A can-do attitude, taking opportunities when they arise, always pushing yourself and gaining knowledge from experienced people around you.
- How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
If I met myself, I would say, he is a decent person, some interesting stories to tell, respectful and wouldn’t mind catching up with him again. I would always buy the first drink if we were out!
- Who do you look up to in business?
The Boulevard has a wider external team that has skills in their own sectors, whom have been very successful. These are they people that I currently respect a lot, knowing I can rely and share their skills and networking contacts.
- How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
Encouraging my staff to play to their individual strengths. I try to help and guide them, making sure to communicate well to ensure everyone is on the same page and empower them.
- If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
As a retailing business, I think Sunday trading laws need to be reviewed, bringing in line with the rest of the UK region and the south of Ireland trading times. Why should the government get to decide when you can go shopping? More importantly why would they care? It’s a law introduced in 1997 and it’s time to move on with the times.
- What was the last book you read?
Bob Mortimer’s autobiography “And Away….”. It was great to read about someone who did well for themselves, he is just a normal guy who achieved great things.
- What car do you drive?
A decent car, that makes me nervous when it goes in for a service.
- Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I entered the London Marathon, but fell ill before the event. Someone I knew took my place and came in the top 100! My name was in the newspaper, I was embarrassed and kept quiet. No, I didn’t do the London Marathon and if I did, I definitely wouldn’t have finished in the top 100.
- What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I really enjoy rugby. I’ve played at a few clubs in Northern Ireland, and now my son plays. Next season I will be president of Banbridge Rugby Club and I am really looking forward to helping the club in anyway I can.