What are the main aspects of your role?
I am the Executive Assistant to Richard Hodgson, the CEO and Andy Pellington, CFO of PizzaExpress Ltd. I’ve been working with Richard and Andy for a short period of time, however since joining and working with them both I’ve learnt a lot about the business and our investors. This helps me understand how Richard and Andy are planning to grow the business and how I can deliver the right support in order to help them and their teams.
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
I’m a yoga junkie. A Hot Yoga junkie actually. I try to practice every day if I can. My alarm goes off at 5:45am to the sweet soft sound of BBC Radio 2. I sadly drift off to sleep. I am clever though, as I set it to go off at an obscene decibel again at 6:10am to KISS radio which most definitely makes me jump out of bed and panic that I need to get up, get dressed and get in the car NOW!
Despite the abrupt start, I find starting my day with yoga calms my mind and gets me focused for the day ahead. It’s my own 60 minutes where I don’t have to think or worry. I get home, have a peppermint tea, shower change and head off to the tube. I read my emails on the way in so I’m aware of anything urgent that has come in that morning or from the night before.
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
This really depends on what is going on during the day or if we have any projects looming. Usually I am in for around 8:50am but if there is a call with China or a Board Meeting I’ll be in around 8am. I’m really lucky that I have good working hours and I tend to leave between 5:30pm – 6pm, however I am always contactable after hours so I find I am checking my phone till at least 8:30pm.
What does an average look like?
Usually, I will scan through emails whilst drinking my tea (possibly with a biscuit), plan the day ahead, print supporting documents for meetings and have separate catch up’s with Richard and Andy to confirm what is happening and if there are any changes I need to be aware of. I’ll have a read of trade press online and make Richard aware of what our competitors are up to and sometimes do a little more investigation into our competitors. However, my day does vary dramatically. I’ll have everything sorted, planned and prepped and I’ll think ‘how clever am I being so organised’. Then all of a sudden Richard or Andy will need to fly to China last minute for a two week trip – it’s then manic with finding flights, sorting hotels, itineraries, transport and re-scheduling the diaries in London, as well as confirming meetings in China.
What do you have for lunch?
I like to make my own lunch. I know that sounds terribly dull but I am unbelievably naughty when it comes to little treats. I started to make myself yummy chicken or tuna salads and I really like the recipes from ‘Lean-in-15’ so I just try to vary it all up really. However, when I fail at being little miss organised with my own life, I really love a hot soup from Eat. (Hello chicken pot-pie)
What is the hardest part of your day?
I really need to think about this as I don’t think I have one. Aren’t I lucky? I try to embrace all aspects of my day with positivity and if I can’t find any, it’s time to go for a walk and get some fresh air or scan through dogsofinstagram.
What do you enjoy about your role?
Not only do I get 50% off Pizza, both my CEO and CFO are really great to work with and I enjoy learning about the brand and how we plan to grow as a business. I would say this is the added value part of my role, allowing me to put on my business development hat on and research opportunities for my CEO.
What has been your career highlight?
I’ve been fortunate to have lots of great experiences, however to name a few they would be, meeting celebrities, organising events and hosting dinners for the Commissioner of Transport for London and planning corporate events in Paris, arranging film viewings at BAFTA, working on global pitches – the list is endless.
In my current role, I have the opportunity to go out and work in Pizza Express restaurants and meet our guests. I have to admit I really enjoy a day in the life of our waiting staff. It allows me to understand our brand better and work with our CEO to build our brand.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
How I spend my spare time really varies. If it’s sunny, you will find me at Parliament Hill Lido (only in the summer months of course). However, I do like to head to my yoga school most evenings but if I found that I am all namasted out, I’ll catch up with friends over dinner. Sometimes I will force myself to go on that Tinder date and hope for the best or I’ll get myself hooked on a Netflix box set, in which case it is game over and no-one sees me till it’s finished. (Unless you are the pizza delivery man that is!)
What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self at the start of your career?
Take every opportunity that comes your way. Even if you aren’t sure, take it and work it out later. Don’t regret the things you don’t do.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants
I would say, never assume! Once you even think the word ‘assume’, start asking questions because assumption is the mother of all f*ck ups.
AND, be nice to everyone.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
Once upon a time I was flight crew for Virgin Atlantic Airways. I would go back to wearing red and be that jet setting International Air Hostess again.
What is your favourite app or piece of technology that you could not without your job?
I would say my iPhone. It’s brilliant as it allows me to have flexible working hours. With access to outlook and the internet I can plan and arrange anything last minute anywhere, nothing can stop me! (unless I am somewhere that doesn’t give me access to 4G of course)