What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
The ability to learn and evolve as a business, which has helped us thrive through the pandemic.
Our customers needed us to support them in different ways, so as a result we completely changed our business model to enable us to react to what was required. This included supplying PPE and supporting people with homeworking as they all came to terms with lockdown and the new normal.
We took on new customers and provided new products. Our team learned new skills, especially in the safe supply and delivery of compliant PPE. We even flew two planes full of PPE in from China.
This agile way of working, coupled with other business-critical decisions means we are in the strongest financial position ever and aligned as a group to support our customers with very different needs.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
Sir David Attenborough, Elon Musk and Freddie Mercury. All three have inspired me in different ways and all three are completely unique. They all have a massive passion for what they do, yet are able to make it relatable.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
Wine. Lashings of wine!
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
Bill Gates is someone who took a lot of fierce criticism when he prophesied a global pandemic and the effects that it would have on our lives. When it occurred, he remained dignified and continues to try to help the world recover from the pandemic and that is incredibly inspiring.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Microsoft Teams. I didn't use conference-calling facilities before lockdown but it's been a lifeline to our business. Anyone who is running a business would have been lost without it.
We have all committed to a leadership meeting via videoconference every day and it has brought our team closer together. Importantly, it has been fundamental to us being able to evolve at breakneck speed.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
God, that's a tough one...I'll probably say God, actually! There are many things I would love to do, but the first thing I would do is eradicate the coronavirus and make humans realise that we caused this and have the ability to put it right.
Do you miss face-to-face events?
Yes, sometimes there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting or event.
Videoconferencing has a place and moving forward we won't spend as much time in cars unnecessarily travelling to meetings when a video call will do.
But there will always be a place for a one-on-one, a small meeting or a large gathering. Being together creates an energy and communication that you just can't replicate.
Lockdown has taught us to be more selective in how we interact, which is a really good thing. The pandemic has made us think outside the box and to try other ways of connecting. It has, in the main, been incredibly positive.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
I think technology has been the biggest winner to come out of the pandemic. People realise the vital role that tech plays to run an organisation efficiently. They realise the importance of security and of being equipped and able to work in an agile way from any location.
Technology has the answers to give us all a better quality of life if it is used correctly. That is a lesson we are learning and it will stand us in good stead when we come out the other side of the pandemic.
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