What are the main aspects of your role?
As First Mate to the Captain, my primary responsibility is to maximise his efficiency. If James isn’t working at full capacity, then the business isn’t being driven at full capacity. I think one of the reasons that BrewDog is so successful is because it operates at light speed. There aren’t the bureaucratic layers. Coming from a corporate background, I was amazed at the compressed timeframes and the resulting consequence: that a vast amount can be accomplished when there is a real expectation to work smart and fast. My role is fairly wide ranging as his PA and blends personal and business duties. James is incredibly busy with overseeing strategic growth, filming the BrewDogs TV show, promoting his book Business for Punks and all with the overriding mission to make other people just as passionate about great craft beer. It is a bit of everything – exciting and exhausting, varied and rewarding. #execPA
What is your morning routine before you get in to the office?
I’m not a morning person, so my routine is fairly strict in order to maximise sleep and be out the door on time. I’ve always operated with the ethos to ‘put your best face forward’, so I never leave the house without being completely done. You never know what will happen, who you’ll bump into, or what opportunity will arise. I like to be prepared for it all. #readyformycloseupMrDeMille
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
The published work day is 9 – 5 with a half hour for lunch. I usually get in a bit before 9am and keep going until I feel comfortable with where I’ve left things, usually between 6 – 7pm with a few follow ups when I get home to wrap up by 8pm. #itsawrap
What does an average day look like?
SO not average! No matter what sort of idea I have in my mind of how I think I need to carve out my day, or what I’ve prepared and outlined from the previous day, each day is its own animal and rarely goes the way I’ve envisioned. So it becomes all about not only working quickly, but thinking quickly. Along with task management, analytical approach and strategic positioning are key to ensuring getting done what needs to get done whilst building in a bit of risk mitigation. #safetyfirst
What do you have for lunch?
Lunch?! Lunch is a beautiful myth, a thing of wonder, an aspiration, a silky unicorn with a champagne filled horn sprinkling sandwiches and artisan chocolates around in a field of sun-kissed lettuce and marshmallow clouds. If I manage to bring something in for lunch, it will usually be high protein snacks like almonds or protein bars that are quick fix and help keep my brain going. My vices are baked crisps and diet coke. #sorrynotsorry
What is the hardest part of your day?
The hardest part of my day is honestly when the work day ends. I am so driven to tick things off the list that I hate to leave until I can see some wins. The nature of my role is multi-tasking, but the nature of this business is incredibly fast-paced, so it is all about being a super speedy octopus extraordinaire! #fierce
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The diversity of tasks! Nothing is ever the same, and that makes each day exciting and scary. Like the moment before the roller coaster takes off. So while it’s a challenge for my Type A personality to not always have order or control, it is also a great way to stretch myself personally and push myself to achieve things outside of my comfort zone. #buckleup
What has been your career highlight?
My highlights have come out of my lows. So for example, when I was made redundant in the real estate industry, I had to figure out how to begin again. It wasn’t easy, but you quickly learn your ‘hustle’. I’ve had the best learning experiences and surprised myself at the things I could do if I put my mind to it. In addition, I would say a career highlight has been working with really bright brains. Being in the daily mix with incredibly clever people is an amazing education that I wouldn’t trade for anything. #survivalskillz
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
My evenings are cherished. It’s all about relaxing, settling down my brain and spending quality time with fam. Seeing a band play, enjoying a nice dinner or watching trash TV are all acceptable activities. #releaserelaxrelate
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Build a network! Some of my most challenging moments would have quickly spiralled into disaster if I did not have pals in loads of places.
From my buddy in IT, to other PAs, to the invaluable receptionists, to a friend in each department of the business. Choose carefully and then spread the love. Far and wide. And most importantly, be sure to return the favour. #squadgoals
What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self at the start of your career?
Everything works out in the end – no need to get worked up over the small stuff. Communicate more and freak out less. Laugh off the stress. #dontpanic
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
Back in the day I was a flight attendant and absolutely loved it, but even further back I was a musician. So to blend travel with writing, recording and playing shows would be amazing. #ifonly
What is your favourite app or piece of technology that you could not do your job without?
Tough to choose! I rely on so many things for quick research, bookings and information. Google is my best friend, but I also really like the Addison Lee executive car booking app. Easy to use and SO helpful no matter the time of day or night. If I had to choose a single piece of technology, that would be my iPhone for research, music and comms. #bethanyslittlehelper