Speaker 1 00:00:12 Welcome to Genuine Humans, exploring the stories behind the great marketing leaders of our time and hearing how their journeys have influenced the brand they've built, brought to you by the social element. Here are our hosts to Mara Littleton, CEO, e o and founder, and Wendy Christie, chief People Officer.
Speaker 2 00:00:43 Welcome back to Genuine Humans. And I'm joined by Wendy, my co-host, who's on a little screen at the moment, cuz we are in a studio. But hello, Wendy.
Speaker 1 00:00:52 Hello all the way from Aberdeen Share. How are you?
Speaker 2 00:00:55 <laugh> doing, doing really well. And I'm delighted to have Carol Scott, head of communications at Henkel. Welcome, Carol.
Speaker 3 00:01:02 Thank you very much. I'm looking forward to this. I should just say I'm not head of corporate communications for the entire company. Let's just be a little bit clear on
Speaker 2 00:01:11 That. <laugh>, let's be very specific.
Speaker 3 00:01:12 <laugh>. Um, so for the UK island and the Nordic region.
Speaker 2 00:01:15 Wonderful. And thank you for coming into the studio.
Speaker 3 00:01:17 Oh, it's lovely.
Speaker 2 00:01:18 It just, it's, it's, I mean we've been doing these all the way through lockdown, in fact, Wednesday and I started it in the first year of lockdown. It makes a bit of a difference. I, I've sort of loved both styles, but it's, it's good to be in the studio and get the
Speaker 3 00:01:33 Energy as well. And, you know, you're gonna get more out of me if I've got that energy of being around other people as you know me so well,
Speaker 2 00:01:38 <laugh>. Yes. Well, I think it's good to be self-aware about these things as well.
Speaker 3 00:01:42 Yeah, absolutely. It's my biggest learning from the pandemic for
Speaker 2 00:01:45 Sure. Oh, well, I'm, I'm gonna ask some questions around that, but before we get there, I wondered if you could share, how did you get to where you are now and maybe sort of just your, your early career. Just give a bit of a flavor of, of, uh, of the journey.
Speaker 3 00:02:00 Yeah, it's quite a long one. So I've had a real patch. I, I like to think of it as a patchwork quilt of a career. Love it. Uh, when I left university, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do and I was quite left leaning and I didn't want to work for a large corporate. So I saw a job in fundraising for a charity and thought, ah, that's right up my street. And so I was in fundraising for quite a few years actually. And I really didn't like it because it's like sales. It's very, very difficult. Um, but the bit I did love about it was when I went in and gave talks to sior colleges or businesses and pitched for Charity of the year. Yeah. So I realized that actually the bit I love is the storytelling bit of it. Yeah. So I then moved from fundraising into a press office when I was at, um, there's a little, uh, modern art museum in Oxford, public funded gallery space.
Speaker 3 00:02:46 And I was a fundraiser there, moved into press, and then my comms career started in earnest. Um, so I've worked in the charity sector. I then worked for a PR agency and then I fancied a bit of a change. So I worked in, in academia for a few years mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, doing communications for a research unit within the University of Oxford. And then I moved to Henkel and discovered that actually despite my early career anxieties, I love being in a big corporate. It's a brilliant company. I have a real diversity of colleagues and, you know, they're all over the world, all sorts of different disciplines and it suits me very well.
Speaker 2 00:03:22 So it was all about finding the right corporation.
Speaker 3 00:03:24 Yes, exactly. Exactly. And I think earlier in my career, it wouldn't have suited me, you know, I wouldn't have coped very well with being in a large organization. Actually, I think when I first, you know, first left university, I think I was better off in a small
Speaker 2 00:03:38 Place. Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's, it's so good. I mean, you call a, a patchwork, uh, career, but sometimes you don't know what you actually want to try and you, you have to kind of try a few different jobs on, you know, try them off for sizes. It
Speaker 3 00:03:51 Were definitely, and back, back then, it was actually very difficult to switch careers. It wasn't really recognized that there were a whole host of transferable skills between fundraising and communicating. Whereas now I don't think people would have so much of a problem switching over. I think there's more flexibility, whereas back then people were like, but you are a fundraiser. Why do you want to be a press officer or a comms officer? People just didn't get it. Mm. So it did take being in an organization where an opportunity opened up to allow me to make that move.
Speaker 2 00:04:21 So Henkel is based in Germany?
Speaker 3 00:04:23 Well, I'm not, I mean, I'm based in the uk. We have a UK hq, but um, Henkel is a German owned multinational. So we're an 125 countries. But yeah, headquartered in
Speaker 2 00:04:34 Germany. And have you always worked in, in the UK yourself? Um,
Speaker 3 00:04:38 Almost so, um, back in anyway, whenever, you know, when I was a lot younger, I needed to run away for a little while cause I'd had a bit of a heartbreak. So I gave up my job and that was actually when I was really, really tired of working in the charity sector as well. Yeah. And my only career option to earn more money, I would've needed to rise up the ranks in the charity. And I just didn't want to do that. I knew I wanted out. So a bit of heartbreak and a bit of work on, we, uh, led to me jacking in my job and I worked as a tour leader in the Middle East for six months as a career break. Wow. So I've nearly always worked in the uk <laugh>, but not quite.
Speaker 2 00:05:14 That's, that's quite a, a jump, but presumably again, still on, on the com side in the storytelling. Right.
Speaker 3 00:05:20 Yeah. And I'm, I've always been a risk taker. Um, and so I just, I just thought I'll, I'll just do something different for a short while. And it was only ever as a career break. I was never going to be a tour leader for, for years. You know, it's not a very secure, uh, job. And I do like having security in my work. But I was very lucky because I'd already been to Jordan on holiday years before, and I got Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. So I'm very fortunate in that I was in Lebanon the year before a war happened. Yeah. And obviously we know the sad, sad, sad tale of what's happened in Syria, and I doubt tourists will be back there in my lifetime. Lifetime. So I feel very privileged and it meant I got to go to my favorite place in the world, Petra, every three weeks
Speaker 2 00:06:03 Wow.
Speaker 3 00:06:03 For six months.
Speaker 2 00:06:05 And I love that bravery of Jess sort of saying, actually, I'm gonna just try something completely different and, you know, different experience, leave the country, et cetera. I think it's, well, not everyone can do it actually.
Speaker 3 00:06:15 No. And I, I don't know what it is in me that allows me to do that, but I am very much a risk taker in that sense. And I do appreciate a lot of people prefer stability. Mm-hmm. And I'm very much, if I've been in a job for too long say, and I start repeating too much of what I've done year on year, then I, I get ready for a change. I, I, I don't think I could be somebody that worked 20 years somewhere. Sure. I couldn't deal with that much stability. <laugh>. Yeah. So I almost like change a little bit too much.
Speaker 4 00:06:45 <laugh>, has that always been the case? Ka Yeah. I mean, thinking back to when you were, were a child, is that what you were like as a kid?
Speaker 3 00:06:52 I think so. I mean, it's quite hard to sort of do that sort of analysis a as a child, but I would be very much, I was very gung-ho. I would give things a go. Absolutely. I wasn't scared to try something out. Um, and I was always very outgoing. I think my chatterbox personality was there very early on. And so I did always get stuck into things. Um, and if I didn't like them then I wouldn't keep on doing them. I mean, I was, I was very much, if I don't like something, I'll do something else. So yes, I suppose that was always there.
Speaker 4 00:07:25 And was there anyone in particular who you looked up to when you were little?
Speaker 3 00:07:29 When I was very little. I, I mean my mum, that's the obvious person. I think a lot of people would say that. But actually from a very young age, this really was thinking about this the other day, I got really as a very small child, I got very into doing impressions. And it was because of Faith Brown. Oh yes. And I was trying to work out because there was another brown and they both did impressions that Margaret Thatcher, but it was actually Faith Brown cuz she did the multiple impressions on, on a show that I watched, you know, when I was, I mean I was really tiny and, and so from a very young age I was doing impressions of Margaret Thatcher. So I loved the, this whole impersonations thing. And I remember I also used to do impressions of Dick Emery. You know, you, you are awful, but I like you <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:08:11 And so I think there was a perform, there was definitely a performer from a very young child. And so I did used to look at TV personalities and really admire the comedy. I, I don't think I ever wanted to be a comedian, but I definitely wanted to be a performer. And so I did look up to them and, but, but as I grew older, a big, big inspiration for me was when I was, um, 17, the boy I went out with, his mum was a tutor at AIC form College and she sat me down. She said, I think you should think about going to Oxford. And I just, I just laughed. I mean, it just wouldn't have occurred to me. And she said, no, but you would you, because I was doing politics as an A level and she said, you would really like the course there, I think you should apply.
Speaker 3 00:08:52 And it just wouldn't have occurred to me. And I think of, of her often actually, because she really steered my career. Cuz up until that point I thought I'd probably go to university, but I thought I'd do English. And she was like, no, this is, this is definitely the right thing for you. So, I mean, I didn't become a politician, which I never had any desire to do. I'd like to make that very clear. I never had designs in that respect. But, you know, she, she basically encouraged me to, to sort of think about what to do at university and apply to Oxford. And I'm very grateful cuz I still have very close friends from those days.
Speaker 2 00:09:26 And it's great having someone who's just prepared to sort of push you that you know, further than you think you can go.
Speaker 3 00:09:31 Absolutely. Absolutely. Because it wouldn't have occurred to me, you know, I was at a normal school. I wasn't upper class, you know, I'd gone to comprehensive school all my life, so it wouldn't have occurred to me to apply to somewhere like Oxford. So mm-hmm. I'm very glad I did.
Speaker 4 00:09:46 What did you want to do? Was there any particular childhood dream that you had before you were steered in that
Speaker 3 00:09:52 Direction? Yeah, I mean, I definitely wanted to perform. Um, there was a stage at which I thought, oh, I want to, I remember watching fame on tv, <laugh>, I wanted my parents to send me to like a, a performing arts school. You know, I imagined that I was gonna do all that. So I definitely, I definitely wanted to do some sort of performance and that, that lasted till I was picking my A levels actually. And then I, you know, people said, look, if you still think you want to do drama, do it after university. Don't, don't narrow your options now. And I realized actually once I got to university that I loved acting, but I wasn't actually that great. You know, I was okay, but I wasn't ever gonna make it. So at that point I thought, well, I really do like performing and I wanted to go into radio and I really messed it up.
Speaker 3 00:10:34 And I'd moved to London at the start of 91 in my first week in my first job, flat hunting, all of that stress that you have. I was sleeping on a friend's floor and I got an interview for the bbc. They used to have a, a graduate training scheme Oh wow. Where you'd go to a local radio station and so on. And I'd done a nice tape that I had to send in and the interview went quite well. And then they started asking me about current affairs and what was in the papers that day. And because I was so busy in my first week in my first ever job and flat hunting, I hadn't read the papers that morning and I hadn't listened to the radio and I couldn't answer the current affairs questions. And there's
Speaker 2 00:11:10 No way to wing that. Is
Speaker 3 00:11:11 There <laugh>? There's no way to wing it. And so, you know, if it wasn't for that, yes I would be, you know, Jane Garvey or, or Fee Glover, you know, but that was, that was, that was that career opportunity shot. But you can't look back and regret it, so
Speaker 2 00:11:23 It's never too
Speaker 3 00:11:24 Late either. Oh, it's definitely too late for that. I think <laugh>
Speaker 4 00:11:27 I know and what the, what our listening audience can't see is what I can see, which is you there with the microphone and the headphones and uh, uh, looking very natural. So I think tomorrow's right. It's never too late. And, um, so thinking back to that, that advice that you had about applying to Oxford and, and obviously that's had an impact on you and, and you still think about that, um, that, that boyfriend's mom. Yes. Is there anyone else that you've known either, you know, in your, your own life or in your work and life, who, who has, who has influenced your career? Who or who's given you that lift?
Speaker 3 00:11:59 Yeah. My first ever manager is now one of my closest friends. So we were in a, in a charity together and she was my boss head of fundraising. And I was just the little fundraiser. And, um, it was, it was a difficult working environment. It was quite a stressful place and we just got each other through it. And so she taught me very early on about that resilience you need to have in the working world. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that it isn't always going to be nice. You know, sometimes it is gonna be stressful and difficult and you won't always have exactly the right working conditions. And like I say, we're, we are really close friends and I'm godmother to her middle child. So, you know, I think that's shaped me a lot because I think you can have really great friends that come out of work and, and we quite often joke and say, you know, we always know there was a reason we were together.
Speaker 3 00:12:49 Yeah. At that charity. It's so that we could end up lifelong friends, but, but it was, it was really her work ethic and her resilience that, that I really admired. She's one of the hardest working people I know, but I've got to be honest actually that the most inspiring people even in a career sense are, are some of my close friends. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I have amazing, amazing friends and they are doing amazing work. And I look at them and just think, my God, the way they just carry on and carry on and innovate and do great things. You know, I've, I've got a handful of of women that really, really inspire me and, but they're all my friends rather than work relationships from me enough.
Speaker 2 00:13:29 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> that's great. You mentioned at the beginning about the, the pandemic and I'd love to know more about your leadership style. So bringing you back up to date again, has your leadership style changed over the pandemic and, and if so, how?
Speaker 3 00:13:44 I'm not sure that my leadership style has, but I learnt an awful lot about me, which I think pertains to, to a lot of us. Mm-hmm. I learnt that I, I really don't like working remotely.
Speaker 2 00:13:56 <laugh> <laugh>,
Speaker 3 00:13:57 I am an absolute classic e on the Meyers Brigg Yes. Scale mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I like being with my team, I like being with colleagues and I got to a stage where working through a screen, I, I really, really hated it. Yeah. But I think it actually, what the pandemic did was reinforce my leadership style rather than make me change it. So I'm very collaborative in my leadership style and I think the pandemic really emphasized that because, you know, I have a very small team and obviously we were working remotely and so it was that thing of having the regular coffees together, just a chance not to talk about work but just to be ourselves. And it did emphasize that aspect that that genuine humans aspect actually of, of leadership has become ever more important to me. And I think it's why I'm, I'm a big believer I think in, if you weren't already a fully remote company mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so if you were more office based, then switching now to being fully remote probably isn't the best thing. Culturally I think that hybrid model Yeah. Is really good because I absolutely appreciate that for so many people. Not having the commute anymore is brilliant and I would never go as far as Malcolm Gladwell
Speaker 2 00:15:14 Yes.
Speaker 3 00:15:15 You know, saying that we should all be back in the office. I think that's completely
Speaker 2 00:15:18 Wrong. Yeah. It's the other side isn't it?
Speaker 3 00:15:19 Yeah. Yeah. But I think, but I do think, you know, even if you are a very introverted person who gets their energy from being on their own and likes to work things out on their own, I think you gain a lot from being with other people and as extroverts I think there's an awful lot we can gain from being quieter. And I think if you don't have that mixture of the two, I do think it's harder to rebuild the culture. Whereas if you are a fully remote com company before the pandemic, you had that in place and you were used to getting to know your colleagues Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:15:49 In a remote way. Whereas at Henkel, one of the joys of, of being at Henkel was that we had, you know, 200 or so people in an office of really diverse types. And so you've got to know people who weren't in your immediate team. And we had 150 people join during the pandemic who only knew their own tiny team. And I felt they really, you know, they've really missed out. So I think for me it's about reinforcing about what I believe about leadership, which is about being collaborative and being very team based. And I think, you know, it gets back to that earlier thing that I said about fundraising. I could never work in sales because I couldn't bear to be in competition with other people. <laugh>, I just, it absolutely. I just can't do it. I like working with rather than competing against. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:16:34 It's so interesting about the um, uh, about the hybrid working cuz obviously a lot of people have been discussing it and figuring out their way of doing things and, and we did. It's true that we did have an advantage because I started the company remote first, you know, 20 years ago. So we've been through this, uh, the experience of, of tweaking things and making it different so that people can adapt and communication style and technology and all of that fun stuff. But, uh, I'm such a fan of in-person meetings. Absolutely. So even if the hybrid is not a version where you have an office and you are in and out the office and sometimes at home, sometimes in the office, I think hybrid there's this sort of flexible model of if you did have a completely remote model and no office, it's still so important to meet with people. It
Speaker 3 00:17:22 Really is. And I think you create and innovate in a different way Yes. When you are actually physically in the room together. I really do. But I do think that what, what we extroverts can learn from all of that is that we need to give space to the people who are Yeah. Introverted and don't like contributing in big meetings, making sure that they have the space and the f the forum in which to contribute their ideas. And I think that is something that people really do need to learn because you know, when I worked in PR agency, you know, you have a lot of extroverts in a PR consultancy. Yeah. I would imagine you have a lot of extroverts in your agency. We do. Yes. Yeah. And so if you've got, the majority of people are extroverts and you've got one or two introverts, they are not going to join in, in the, you know, in the creative chat when you're putting a pitch together for example, or coming up with a new PR strategy. So you need to make sure that you get their ideas some other way that they have that, that they have that space. And I think that is a key bit of learning that people need to do mm-hmm. <affirmative> because I think the world is run by extroverts in the sense that we take up the space and we have to make sure we allow space for, for much more diversity in that sense.
Speaker 2 00:18:30 Yeah. And I love that people are now talking about this kind of thing. Yeah, I was, cuz we experimented with something called, uh, silent meetings. Okay. Where, uh, because you know, Wendy and I are on the sort of same side of the, the disk profile that we're, I'm an SI and, uh, Wendy's an s and so when we're having the executive meetings, having a bit of time to just read a document altogether silently just for like five minutes and make notes and then come back together is actually really great for us. But when I've talked to other colleagues, that's their idea of hell, you know, just, you know, it's like, but I I I need to, I it's that I think out loud. Yes. I thinking out loud. And so the thoughts come from discussions and everything. Yes. But so, you know, I think, do you know what if if the pandemic has allowed people to be more aware of people's learning style and definitely collaboration style, then that's, that's perhaps a positive.
Speaker 3 00:19:22 Yeah. And, and we have to take positives. That's the thing. I think we have to learn from it. And I think that's where, you know, when you get to somebody like Malcolm Gladwell, it does become unhelpful to take such a hard line as he's done. Yeah. Because that's, that excludes people and we're all desperately trying to be more inclusive. And I think actually it's interesting that technique you are using. I I'm gonna try that at some point because I think that also helps people who, particularly in senior management meetings or you know, where they're, where they're trying to get leadership positions that will help people who are underrepresented. Definitely. Because it means that the same old people aren't just occupying the space. Um, so yeah. I'm gonna try that out. I'll, I'll I'll tap you up for some actual techniques later.
Speaker 2 00:20:06 <laugh> and anonymous feedback sometimes as well, you know? Absolutely. So as well as talking about the sort of collaboration styles and what we are doing to, to help teams communicate better. Can I just ask what else is exciting you in the industry at the moment?
Speaker 3 00:20:20 I think it's the, the full range of communications channels and formats that we now have. So, you know, when we started our careers, I mean, I'm a bit older than you, you know, I was sending out news releases by facts for heaven's sake. Yeah. <laugh>, you know, I worked in, I worked in an art gallery. I was trying to get critics to come outta London and I had to stand by the fax machine and feed it through, you know, multiple times. And that was the only way. And picking up the phone was the only way that we could reach journalists to then Yeah. Get in the media now at, at Henkel, I, I almost don't do any media relations. Not cause I don't want to, I love doing media relations, but we don't actually have that many purely local stories. So, you know, pure editorial coverage is, is quite difficult.
Speaker 3 00:21:04 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but it doesn't matter because there's so many other channels. You know, we, we really genuinely do have a paid, earned, shared, known way of working now. And I think that's really exciting. The big change that I've seen, I remember just before I left or round about the time that I left the PR agency, my big thing because we were, we were really heavily into social media and, and getting our clients to use social media. And I had this real thing that we should have a division where we got PR teams or communications teams working with customer service because I saw that real gap and it, it can sometimes still exist where if you've got PR people running social media, they'll get problems sorted really quickly. Yes. They're very responsive, but customer service was still thinking in their old models. If you've got your ticket, if you're not first in line yes.
Speaker 3 00:21:53 You've got to wait for your response. And I now look at the way, like at Henkel, the way we operate, our customer service team have got, you know, a completely online it's a community management Yeah, yeah. Aspect and, and you know, just 10 years ago that would've sat in pr Yes. And now it sits firmly across both. And I, I think that is a really exciting change because it does mean that more organizations are thinking about their communications as a whole. Yeah. You know, you're not just separating off customer service over here, HR over here, you know, PR here and, and marketing there. I think there is much more of a, a a, a sort of holistic way of working. And I see that very much at the moment. Um, I'm, I'm doing more and more projects with HR Yeah. Jointly on our internal communications. And I think that's a really exciting change because I think you can only improve your communication and your reputation and your employer branding if you're all working together if you're not siloed.
Speaker 2 00:22:50 Absolutely. And that tone of voice for brands is just, it's becoming so critical. And, and you know, as, as you know, we are, we are always banging on about genuine humans. Yes. But it's something I'm so passionate about. Absolutely. Brands, you know, helping their customer service teams to be able to have, you know, a two-way conversation. Definitely. Like copy and paste style
Speaker 3 00:23:10 Approach. Absolutely. It's so important. And I think the, just the recognition of that I think is, is really essential. I mean, you've been banging that drum for decades. Yeah. But now people are waking up and really realizing that. Yeah. Um, and I think that's why when you get a really bad PR example Yes. Or a really bad customer service example, we now really notice it. Yeah. We do. Because actually people are doing really well. Yeah. I think on the whole
Speaker 2 00:23:34 Yeah, absolutely. And what can we still do better in the industry? Oh,
Speaker 3 00:23:38 Everything. I mean, we can always do everything better. Of course. I think particularly for the PR side of things, I think less so for social media. I think PR and corporate communications generally, I think, I think it's genuinely still quite hard to be truly strategic if I'm honest. Because I think it is much more challenging for people in PR and communications to, to really look at stakeholder groups. I think it is easier in marketing where you're working with consumer audiences where there's loads and loads of research mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's lots of resources and they tend to have really big budgets, you know, on PR and communications you tend to have smaller budgets. So it's harder to do that research mm-hmm. <affirmative> into your stakeholders and what they really need from you. And, and so I think that does hold us back sometimes from being really a strategic Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:24:24 As I would, as I would like the PR industry to be. You know, I I will, I will hold my hands up and there are some times where I've talked about strategy and really what I mean is enhanced tactics. Yeah. Right. But we still talk about strategy and, and I would love to see that change. Yeah. I'd love, I mean, in essence it would be about having bigger budgets so you can do more of that research so that you can really up the strategic elements. Yes. So that you, because the more strategic you can be, the more you can measure the impact of what you're doing. Yes. Because you can then go back and re research your stakeholder groups and see how the dial has shifted.
Speaker 2 00:24:56 Yeah. And it takes that investment, I guess.
Speaker 3 00:24:58 It does. You take the investment because you know, you're not talking about sort of easy social media metrics. You're talking about proper, what people think of your brand. Yeah. What people think of your corporation, what people think of your senior leaders. And you only get that by, by tracking and surveying. And that does that all costs money. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:25:17 Yeah. So what have you been most proud of, either inside work or
Speaker 3 00:25:21 Outside work? I'm going to have to pick an outside work example. Go for it. Um, so actually getting back, it's back, going back to your question, Wendy, I've forgotten something that I really wanted to do when I was little. I always wanted to be a writer and my mum had a, a typewriter and I, I did write stories and I bound them. You know, I actually sort of really am had them on the typewriting paper and I put a little cardboard cover on it. So I always knew I wanted to write and I always struggled to think of an idea for a novel. And I think the problem for me was, I was thinking I had to write something of literary merit. Mm-hmm. Yes. And I had this major breakthrough, I can't remember what year it was, let's say it's 2010, something like that. And I was coming back from a, an activity weekend in Wales and I just had this complete light bulb moment, which is, oh for goodness sake, Carol, just write what you know, it doesn't have to be a literary work, it just has to be a novel.
Speaker 3 00:26:10 Just tell a story. You spend your whole life telling stories. Just anyway. So I did what an awful lot of people do and I used an awful lot of my own personal experience to write a novel. And I just published it myself because I always thought it was my training novel. I could see the flaws in it, uh, but I just wanted it out there in the world. But I still hold a whole, a whole lot of pride about the fact I have actually written a complete novel. That's amazing. I know. And I am writing another at the moment. Oh wow. It's, it's why I went down to four days a week a few years ago so that I could have Mondays to concentrate on writing. It's happening quite slowly, but it is a lovely process. So I do feel quite proud that I am allowing space for that creative side of me. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:26:52 Well given that you are in PR and comms, can we share the title of the
Speaker 3 00:26:56 First novel? Oh, the first, oh yes. Oh please do. It's called the Broken Heart Repair Plan and it's about a young woman who jacks in her job and goes and works as a tour leader in the Middle East for a while. So it's set in Jordan. And one of the things I remain very proud of is I do genuinely think my descriptions of Jordan and Petra in particular are very good. And I would urge anybody to go on holiday to Jordan and get to Petra cuz it really is the most fantastic place. So yes.
Speaker 2 00:27:21 Brilliant. Well good luck with that second one as well.
Speaker 4 00:27:24 Absolutely.
Speaker 3 00:27:25 It's, it's, I'm, I'm not very far in but I'm enjoying the process.
Speaker 4 00:27:28 Brilliant. Well I think it might be time to move on to the, the bit of the podcast where we say we get a bit more personal, but actually we've already probably covered quite a lot of personal stuff. Yeah. Um, but the questions might get a little more, uh, left field and lighthearted. So I'm gonna start with a nice easy one. What's your idea of a perfect weekend and does it involve any guilty pleasures?
Speaker 3 00:27:51 Not so many guilty pleasures, but actually it's, it's very relevant to being in the, I'm going to say post pandemic era. I know we're not post pandemic but let's just call it that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what's been such a joy for me this year is getting back to going to live music that Oh yeah. Live music absolutely plays a part in my perfect weekend. So I would, Friday night would be round at a friend's house, having dinner and playing cards and having a good catch up. And then Saturday night would be, yeah, live music somewhere like really, really happy dancing. Just that, that feeling of feeling so alive because you are properly in the moment when live music is on. And then Sunday would be complete chill out Sunday lunch at my friend Rachel's with somebody else cooking the, the nut roast. Not me having to cook cuz I'm an okay cook, but I spent so much time in the pandemic cooking for myself that I don't enjoy it anymore. Yeah, yeah. So yeah. So it's that mixture of chilling with friends but then having the live music and I have had some awesome weekends this year, being back at live music.
Speaker 4 00:28:50 Who have you seen this year? Oh,
Speaker 3 00:28:52 Who haven't I seen <laugh>. Um, we actually got a new festival just very near me in Oxfordshire called the Kite Festival. And me and my friends all booked tickets cuz we couldn't believe it. Grace Jones headlined at this tiny little festival. Wow. So I saw Grace Jones in a, a relatively small festival tent. So that was amazing. I mean that was a once in a lifetime thing. Um, but I also went back to WO madd, which is um, a world music festival. Yes. And it was its 40th anniversary. It had been away for two years. I hadn't been for three years. And the feeling of joy at Woad, I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it. <laugh> fantastic. And it was really heavily slanted towards African music, which is my sweet spot when it comes to music from all around the world. So that was, that was just pure joy.
Speaker 3 00:29:36 But my ultimate, ultimate band are uh, uh, a band from Leeds, a funk band. I used to farm my CDs funk first back in the day when I had CDs <laugh>. Um, they're called the New Master Sounds and they're amazing. And they're back in the UK cuz some of them are based abroad and they're playing up in Leeds in October. And I'm so excited about seeing my boys as I like to think of them. I feel very, not maternal, but I feel very auntie ish towards them cuz I've been seeing them for nearly 20 years now. <laugh>.
Speaker 4 00:30:03 Oh, that's fantastic. And are there any other bands that would consistently make it to your
Speaker 3 00:30:07 Playlists? Uh, prince always Prince, always David Bowie. And I was very, very lucky a few years ago cause I got to see the Kate Bush, uh, concert at Oh wow. You know, with her run of concerts Wow. At the Hammersmith Apollo. So I do love a little bit of Kate Bush. So I do have my lovely retro things, but I'm always on the lookout for new music. And so I'm always discovering new funk stuff that I haven't heard before. I listen to Craig Charles every week on Radio six because that funk and soul show is just ace.
Speaker 2 00:30:33 Fabulous. And picking up on, on food. So you said that you like to be fed by other people, but Yes. Restaurants. So I've got a philosophy at the social element. I know that Wendy joins me in this mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we think that, uh, meetings are done better with food. Oh, have you got,
Speaker 3 00:30:48 You See, if you weren't such a remote company, I'd want to work for you
Speaker 5 00:30:51 Guys. <laugh>, I love Food <laugh>. I really love food.
Speaker 2 00:30:55 <laugh>. Have you got any go-to restaurants that at the moment or, or any sort of from the past that you,
Speaker 3 00:31:00 Well actually funnily enough, this weekend just gone, um, I went to some to dance on Friday night and me and my friends went to the new, well it's not new, opened in February, the new branch of Mildred's on Charing Cross Road or St. Martins Lane. No, St Martins Lane. Yeah. Yeah. I'm vegan. Yes. So, um, and they're now fully vegan and the service was amazing and the food was incredible. It was really, really good. And the other restaurant I discovered recently, well I didn't discover it. I'd wanted to go for ages and I'd never managed to get a booking. It was Hoppers, the Sri Lankan restaurant. Oh wow. They have one in Soho, but they also have one in Merril Bone. And I went to the Merril Bone one and my God, that food was amazing. Yeah. I mean, mind blowing. But in terms of go-to type of food, do you know, I think my favorite is Lebanese. Mm-hmm. Really good Lebanese food. You can't beat it. But yeah. Hoppers for Sri Lankan, Mildred's for all sorts. That's vegan. And actually my two easy ones are Waam mama and Far faux far first. Yes. Because they're, you know, incredibly reliable. Particularly if you've got a mixed group of friends. So some people who want to eat meat and fish and some people who don't always reliable.
Speaker 2 00:32:08 I think there's something about, uh, both of those actually that are really good when I've been by myself. Yes. Just, they're so easy to go and eat Absolut. Absolutely. And um, you know, not that I particularly worry too much about going to a restaurant by myself, but there's something, the way it's set up is
Speaker 3 00:32:22 It's Yes. Cause they're informal. So I think yeah, it's harder to eat in a formal restaurant on your own. It's not as nice and experienced, but no, they are very reliable places. So, yeah. God, I'm hungry now.
Speaker 2 00:32:33 Yeah. <laugh>
Speaker 5 00:32:33 That's coming up.
Speaker 3 00:32:35 Hang on. Meetings are better with food. Can I just say audience? I'm sorry. Nobody has provided any nice snacks for this podcast. I, I get it. You know, you once, you don't want crunching themselves.
Speaker 2 00:32:45 <laugh> there will be, there will be vegan biscuits afterwards. <laugh> <laugh>. So let me ask you, Carol. Yes. Um, what's the bravest thing that you've ever
Speaker 3 00:32:56 Done? Um, it was surprisingly enough, it wasn't jacking in my job to work as a tour leader. It was earlier on my, when my mum died, I was very young. I was only 27 and, you know, properly, properly broken by that mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I had a real Carpe DM moment and I gave up my job, which actually I was enjoying, but I just had to get away and I traveled around Central and South America on my own for six months. Wow. And I still look back and think that was incredibly brave mm-hmm. <affirmative> because it was pre-internet. So, you know, I wasn't booking anything. I was just rocking up to places, <laugh> and yeah. I still look back on it and, and think, wow, that was a really brave thing to do. Just head off with none of the mobile phones and the stuff we have now.
Speaker 2 00:33:40 Yeah. No safety net with you.
Speaker 3 00:33:41 No safety net at all. And it was great. I still have some of my closest friends are from, from that trip, so. Wow. You know, I think it does prove that it's always good to, to do those things. I'm a big believer actually. And sometimes you do actually just need to run away. I don't think there's any shame in that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, it did take me a long time to get back on track once I was back in the UK because it was just at that point, late twenties, people were settling down into jobs. People were getting married, people were getting houses, and there was me off. And then trying to work out what on earth I was going to do when I came back. But I'm still very glad I did it. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:34:16 Build's resilience, I'm sure as well. Build's resilience.
Speaker 3 00:34:18 And I just saw some incredible things. You know, I went to the gala, silence, I went into the Amazon. Wow. You know, I camped, I camped in the jungle in the Amazon basin for heaven's sake. Yeah. You know, I mean, it was, it really was amazing. So yeah, I feel very, very glad that I did do that.
Speaker 2 00:34:33 And lots of content for your storytelling, for your novels as well.
Speaker 3 00:34:36 Yes. Although, although it was so long ago that I'd be very wary of setting anything, particularly in, in any of the countries I went to because they've changed a lot Yeah. Since, so I'd have to go
Speaker 2 00:34:47 Back. You are? Yeah. There you go. It's research, research <laugh>. Yes.
Speaker 3 00:34:51 Yes.
Speaker 4 00:34:52 And I think actually those experiences might, might be, um, a helpful guide to answer to the next question, which is a, a bit out there, but how would you fare in a zombie apocalypse?
Speaker 3 00:35:02 Oh, I'd be disastrous. I, I can't cope with violence. So even if I had a shovel or a cricket back to hand, I wouldn't be able to lock off their heads like, you know, the boys did in, um, Sean of the Dead and I, I mean, I could outrun them maybe. But you can only do that for so long because there's loads coming in every direction. I, I'd be hopeless, I'd be crying within, within minutes, to be honest. Begging them to spare me. Yeah. I, no, I would not. Yeah. I wouldn't cope. And also I looked it up online. The Winchester Tavern is no more. It's now a block of flat. So where the heck do any of us go? I know. We can't just go there and sit it out. Oh,
Speaker 4 00:35:37 That's devastating. Yes.
Speaker 3 00:35:39 Look at heaven's
Speaker 4 00:35:41 Sake, <laugh>. It was just awful. How would your friends describe you?
Speaker 3 00:35:46 Intelligent, definitely. And loyal. And my friend Rachel is always urging me to show more of my humor on my dating profiles because she says you're very, very funny. And that doesn't come across <laugh>. So I do make them laugh. But I'm, I'm a very loyal friend. I, I put an awful lot of care and love into my friendships. They matter an awful lot to me. I have a very small family and some of them live abroad, so Yeah. I think loyal, kind, caring but funny. I'm funny. I can still have that career in standup <laugh>. Yes, you can
Speaker 2 00:36:20 Definitely. Come on, you
Speaker 3 00:36:21 Too late. Come on news Chris. Come on Miles. Invite me on <laugh>.
Speaker 4 00:36:24 <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:36:26 So, I don't know if you are into karaoke, but I always like to ask people what their karaoke go-to song is.
Speaker 3 00:36:31 Well, you see, I, I'm quite proud of my go-to karaoke because I do love Shaq and I do both Nice. Fred's part and the girls' part. Nice. I can do the whole thing. Oh, nice. Hi. And low.
Speaker 2 00:36:41 Fantastic. You don't need any backing singers at all?
Speaker 3 00:36:43 Nope. Got the whole thing down.
Speaker 2 00:36:45 I love that. Okay. Well we are definitely doing that. We
Speaker 3 00:36:48 Must, we really must do karaoke. It's so true. And the other I do also, I have a, another one, which is Wild Thing. Just go very
Speaker 4 00:36:55 Fun.
Speaker 2 00:36:56 Nice. But
Speaker 3 00:36:57 You know, if it's only one, it's got to be. Yeah. Love
Speaker 2 00:36:59 Shaq. Carol, this has been such a delight to, to actually speak to you in person and, and see you. So nice to be here, have a conversation and next time we'll get Wendy down from Aberdeen to be part of it as well. Sure. I just wanna give you the, the platform. Is there anything that we haven't asked you that you wanted to talk about? Or, or any last thoughts from you?
Speaker 3 00:37:18 I don't think so. I just think it's, it's lovely to do this in person actually. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it really is because I think, you know, what you do with this podcast and with your whole ethos with your company, I think is so, it's so important. And I do think sometimes in communications people forget that. Yeah. That it is about telling the stories. Whatever, whatever the aim is, whatever the impact you want to achieve. If you don't do it through really lively storytelling, then it's not gonna work.
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