6 October, 2016

Getting to know... Naomi

Tell us about your biggest ambition:
I’ve recently taken up running so to finish my first half marathon would be a great achievement. Workwise, I’d like explore areas within Head Office to see what it’s like out beyond a store environment and how their decisions influence how we work.

Who was your favourite teacher at school and how did they inspire you? 
My hockey coach gifted me the chance to captain my college hockey side through the BCS championships. This allowed me to test my leadership skills early on. You learn that certain people respond differently to your leadership so, sometimes, you have to tailor it to bring the best out in people. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 
I’ve always studied sport and had aspirations to work alongside athletes through the sport psychology sector. Working with people is what makes me happiest and being able to support them through to success. 

What do you see as your major strength?  
I’m a great listener. This is really important when getting to know your team. I believe you should show an interest in people’s lives beyond M&S. Working here has made me a more confident communicator too. Having struggled with speaking in front of big groups when I was younger, I feel I’ve developed to a point where, now, I actually enjoy it. 

What is your proudest moment – in work and outside of work?
Progressing from Customer Assistant to Commercial Manager. I always found it really inspiring when I saw people move onto new jobs and fulfilled their aspirations. It gave me more confidence that I would achieve mine. Outside of work, representing both my school and college hockey teams as captain, and leading a team through all those competitions, makes me feel proud. 

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it and how have you put it to good use:
‘You are nothing without your people’.  My mum always told me this from the start of my career with M&S. It is not humanly possible to complete all the day to day tasks required alone. To do this, you have to have a strong working relationship with your team to achieve what is expected. 

Tell us something unexpected about you:
I play guitar and have done so since I was 14. I absolutely love it. It’s changed my outlook on what good music is by exploring different styles. My friends used to joke that if someone picked up my iPod by mistake they would think it belonged to someone much older than me. I love everything from Johnny Cash to The Stone Roses. 

What makes you tick?
I’m very competitive. I like to win and drive results. I think, coming from a sporting background, winning makes you feel great. That’s why I love working in a team. There’s no point in you just seeing the results, it’s important to share and celebrate them with your team. 

What would you be doing now if you hadn’t made it onto the School Leaver Programme?
I’d definitely be working in the sports sector. I love to watch and play sport. I loved studying Sport Psychology. You learn about all the different coping methods athletes use to be the best and perform consistently. I find athletes inspiring. Muhammad Ali used to say “I’m the greatest”, and he was. 

Which M&S value – Innovative, Inspiration, In Touch, Integrity – do you most identify with and why? 
May I have 2? Probably Innovation and In Touch. Why? Because I like to think outside the box for ideas. I use movie making software to make videos to engage staff on M&S messages. I respond better to visual messages and this is my motivation to spend time making the movies to deliver a message a bit differently. It’s cool to put some funky music into it as well. 

What motto do you live your life by?
Steve Jobs said: ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do’. Who can argue with that?


You’re cast adrift on a desert island: choose one song to inspire you in your solitude; one personal possession to console you in it; and one M&S product that you simply couldn’t do without:
The song to inspire me would be ‘One day like this’ by Elbow. It’s a song that resonates with success. It features on adverts for the Olympics and RBS 6 nations. Personal possession would be my guitar and phone to listen to Spotify. I’d also take the nectarine and berries fruit pot from Food on the Move. 

Think you've got what it takes to join our former school leavers? Take a look at our Level 4 Appreniceship for School Leavers here.

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