Ann Keefe, Kingston Technology

clock • 4 min read

How does the UK&I regional director of this memory giant spend her day?

How do you typically start a working day?

While I'm not particularly a morning person I find that it's a good time for thinking about things I need to do - the business, my team, work in general and personal stuff - before the day starts. I usually wake up around 6.30am, listen to the Today programme, look at Twitter and my emails and occasionally do some yoga. I have some of my best thoughts and ideas at this time and often end up making notes of ideas and things to remember for later.

How long is your commute and what do you do during it?

It's a short commute, and I usually drive and listen to Radio 4. I have recently started to cycle to work and plan to do more of that over the summer.

What is your attitude to flexible working in your company?

A year ago we moved to a shorter working day on Fridays which means that we finish mid-afternoon. A shorter day forces you to be super focused to get everything done and then it's great to have that extra couple of hours to get personal chores out of the way before the weekend starts. Initiatives like this contribute towards staff retention and recruitment and offer our people a nice work/life balance. 

What would your colleagues say is your worst habit?

Probably that I'm a bit over-ambitious time-wise and am often guilty of trying to fit too many things into a day!

If there was one thing you could change about your business, what would it be?

I would like to have more time in a day to fit in everything that I want to achieve.

What do you do for the bulk of a typical day?

Being the regional director for the UK and Ireland, I like to be really involved in the business. I enjoy meeting our channel partners and customers to ensure that our growth plans are aligned, that we are giving them the support they need, and to come up with fresh ideas. I'm in touch with my team regularly by phone or IM and a typical day will also have internal meetings or conference calls - our business is dynamic and we often have to make quick decisions to make the most of an opportunity. Every couple of months the EMEA management team meets to review the business and it's good to see my fellow regional directors to share ideas and best practice.

How do you unwind in the evening?

Enjoying good food and wine with friends is always a good way to end a day. I love being outdoors so I go running and cycling a couple of times a week and I particularly enjoy my weekly evening with the Hash House Harriers as that combines two of my favourite hobbies: running and drinking beer! I try to stay in on Mondays and cook a few meals for the week and then sit down to enjoy some nice easy-viewing TV.

Where do you sit in the office?

Our offices are all open plan and I sit on a big floor with the inside sales team, the business managers, the planning team and part of the technical team. I'm based in our EMEA HQ and I'm surrounded by people of many different nationalities and I love the cultural diversity that this brings to the business and to my working day.

What's the quotation that best sums up your approach to business?

"Will it make the boat go faster?" In 1998, consistently failing to even make the final of major regattas, the GB Men's Rowing Eight decided to fundamentally change the way they worked and how they worked with each other. Their focus became purely about performance, the results they hoped would follow. They approached things differently, asking the same question with every action they took: will it make the boat go faster? And 18 months later they won an Olympic gold medal in Sydney. Our VP for EMEA told us this story in a meeting a few years back and ever since then I have asked myself this question when making a business decision.

What do you enjoy most and least about your job?

I love that my job is so varied and every day is different and that our business is dynamic and fast moving - there's always something new to learn. I least enjoy doing my monthly expenses claim!

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