How does the managing director of this emerging-tech distributor spend her day?
How do you typically start a working day?
My alarm goes off at 5.30am. After looking through emails that come in overnight, I start my day by walking my dog Ted. I love this time of day, when the air is fresh, my head is clear and I can think through my day ahead. Once back, I do a quick HIIT session then rally my three children up and out of bed, give them breakfast and drop them off early at school before heading to the office.
What is your attitude to flexible working at your firm?
Distology represents a growing base of vendors from across the world, so we need to be available and respond quickly - for that, flexibility in the team is essential. Most of the team are in before me, ready for the day, and depending on the contracts they are managing, they may need to work late, especially end of month and quarter. Although we often Skype with customers or suppliers, as we are a growing team, you can't beat face time in the office. It helps us be tight, and not miss any opportunity.
"I don't think it's fair to leave people in the dark and it is rude not to acknowledge receipt of an email at the very least"
What would your colleagues say is your worst habit?
Probably being over excited about everything in the business, from deals in, to the new coffee machine we have just bought. I am a very positive person and see that as a motivator, but I know it does wind them up if they need a good moan now and again.
The Distology team is made up of young graduates and they do like their takeaway foods. I, however like to eat healthily and the team get annoyed when I don't partake in their junk fest. They ridicule me for being too healthy, which I know is boring but I do eat a lot of cheese and drink wine on the weekend, they just don't see it!
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I am very impatient. We are growing fast and have an exciting business plan, but I want to be two years ahead of where we are today now. I can't wait another 730 days to get there.
What do you do for the bulk of a typical day?
I am very hands on with the team, our vendors and the resellers we work with. Most of the day is usually helping the sales guys look at how they can do things differently or better to gain greater successes. Every day is a school day in this industry. We have a good deal of resellers and vendors coming in to see the team and hotdesk. We are seen as the vendor channel team, so streamlined working is crucial.
I also spend time horizon gazing with my tech manager, spotting what new security challenges organisations face and what emerging technologies look exciting that could be brought to UK. There are so many new security vendors and while it is exciting times, it is also getting harder to spot the ‘next big thing', so dedicating time to research is critical for us.
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
I spend the majority of the day on the phone, so not having to talk on my drive home is a little slice of peace for me, when I can reflect on the day. Then it's straight to my second job, as a taxi driver, ferrying my children to lacrosse, hockey and netball. My husband and I both run businesses, so we tag team these activities. I usually manage to catch the news headlines before I collapse at night.
Phone call, email, or face-to-face meeting?
I prefer a face-to-face meeting. You can't beat seeing the whites of people's eyes and getting to know them individually. Emails are great, but never as a cold introduction.
How good are you at replying to emails?
I aim to reply ASAP to all my emails. Not only is this encouraged in the team, it is essential in our business. I don't think it's fair to leave people in the dark and it is rude not to acknowledge receipt of an email at the very least.
Do you ever have a proper day or week off with no contact with the office?
In my own business? Not a chance! And I wouldn't have it any other way!
What's the quotation that best sums up your approach to business?
The most basic one I run with is ‘Put nothing in, expect nothing out'. It perfectly sums up the hardworking and driven culture we have at Distology.
How many hours do you typically work?
I work at least 50 hours each week and when I'm travelling I regularly work 12-hour days. But if I'm honest, I never really switch off!