So, to start, what do you all do in your roles? What does an average week look like for you?
Debbie: Lots and lots and lots of meetings (Sales, Workplace, GDPR, Finance). Every day I like to spend some time on Workplace Wellbeing, GDPR, looking at card orders, Health and Safety, Insurances, HR, answering ad hoc questions, catching up with my team, authorising payments etc. I am always busy and I’m often moving my to-do list. Having lists is a massive help as I need to tick things off!
Lisa: My role is split between being William’s PA and office administration, so it is usually quite varied depending on workflow and which areas I need to focus on each week. My main priority is managing William’s diary and emails, which can involve a lot of organisation, being proactive and, of course, a lot of confidentiality. I am involved in everything from health and safety, taking minutes at board meetings, starters and leavers process, booking in meetings, event organising, hotel and travel booking, maintaining office supplies (the all-important tea and coffee!), organising catering and ordering birthday gifts.
Iris: Attending project kick-off meetings. Calculating cards allocated to each BTS project assigned to youme for the materials orders. Calculating and completing print matrixes, and sharing these with the supplier on time. Supporting clients in selecting good Distribution Points. Escalating risks and issues to the Project Manager, creating prize plans for checking, telephoning and emailing schools and Distribution Points (DPs) to introduce, and encourage engagement with the game, booking assemblies and checking materials have been delivered. Responding to player queries by email, social media, and occasionally on the phone – a significant amount of time is spent on this during live game phases. My week really depends on which part of the game phase we are tackling. According to that, there will be more prep for the game, set up or answering player queries, etc.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Debbie: I really like the variety, it’s a cliche but no two days are the same. I also like catching up with my team and problem-solving.
Lisa: I enjoy planning events and receiving positive feedback from them. Also, sadly I really like organising things, so managing William’s diary and inbox is an enjoyable challenge!
Iris: I enjoy player queries and game support the most. I like experiencing the excitement of the players, solving their issues, and being an active part of their journey. One of my favourite aspects of my role is developing relationships with fellow staff members. It is nice and not to be taken for granted, having nice people to work alongside.
What drew you to Intelligent Health/ Beat the Street?
Debbie: I worked with William in another company and was attracted to working for a start-up with 4 staff members. This meant the role was really varied, anything from drawing up HR contracts to school assemblies, Beat Box installation, Mapping, and fob counting. It was a sharp learning curve! But it’s been great to be able to help shape the direction.
Lisa: At the time I joined the company, I had been through a tough time personally and had not really enjoyed the last jobs I had because the culture was terrible. What drew me to IH was how approachable everyone seemed, the positive ethos and the fact that they understood the challenges people can face in life and offer positive solutions. Compared to where I was, it felt like a breath of fresh air and matched a lot of my own values.
Iris: I was looking for a job that would fit in our family life and that offered flexibility. A plus was to find out BTS games link with my passion and experience for events, and social engagement. Finally, it is also connected to the constant search for motivation and inspiration to have a healthier life.
What advice would you give to someone entering the industry?
Debbie: In my role, I would say be organised and be prepared to help wherever is needed!
Lisa: I would probably say the same for any industry you go in to, which is to keep an open mind, listen to your gut instinct and know your worth.
Who inspires you?
Debbie: Hmmm, er no one really, just people who are kind, polite, considerate, healthy, fit and have a good work-life balance, lots of friends, lovely families and lots of money……… Do these people exist?
Lisa: I am going to give a very predictable answer if you know me…Dave Grohl.
Here is a man who taught himself to play the drums using pillows as a teenager, dropped out of college to pursue his dream of being a musician, has been in two of the greatest bands of all time, and advocates for women and girls to be more present in a very male-dominated music industry, has endured multiple tragic loses and feeds the homeless for free in his spare time. He is the true meaning of life is what you make it and to never give up.
Iris: Hhhm, I have always liked Michelle Obama, she is a high achiever, and she is an ambassador of healthy living ( Let’s Move! And BTS have something in common 😊), she has successfully blended and managed family, work and personal life. Finally, I love the fact she is herself.
What was your very first job?
Debbie: I cleaned my Mum’s offices while at school and then left my A levels and went to work at Prudential Assurance – yawn.
Lisa: My first proper job was working at a civil engineering company, mainly as a receptionist, but occasionally I got to go out of the office and tag along with the engineers doing motorway inspections which was more fun than it sounds. Before that, I applied to work for the Civil Service not knowing what role I would be assigned until I arrived on my first day. I ended up working in a department that dealt with dead cattle! This involved processing paperwork covered in what I hoped was mud (it wasn’t) and working out the differences in weight between a live cow and a dead one. Being a vegetarian, it was not exactly my ideal job, and I lasted just a few weeks.
Iris: I worked at the reception of a Camping resort during the summer school break, I was only 13.
Did you go to University? If so, what did you study and where? If not, what did you do instead?
Debbie: I left school for work at Prudential, (which was meant to be temporary before studying media at college) but the lure of cash and going out kept me at the Pru for 17 years! I have since picked up studies and have become not a TV presenter but a qualified Counsellor.
Lisa: After finishing A Levels in Sociology, Art and English Literature, I decided I’d had enough of being academic and didn’t want to go to university. The call of having my own money, buying lots of make-up and clothes, getting a car and driving to as many gigs as I could was too strong, so I chose the path of leopard print, eyeliner and loud music instead. I don’t regret it!
Iris: I graduated from Federico II University of Naples in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature. Then I have a postgraduate certificate from Henley Business School at Reading University in Applied Management.
What is your decision-making process at work? How do you face challenges?
Debbie: I am initially a glass half full but very quickly and logically seem to be able to come up with a solution. I LOVE PROBLEM SOLVING!! I can be quick at decisions after a bit of methodical thinking.
Lisa: I am a list maker, and I much prefer to write things down, so I usually make lots of lists and notes and work my way through my priorities. I am the calm one in a crisis, so I usually take challenges in my stride at work, but if I am feeling overwhelmed or lost with what direction I need to take, Debbie W is my go-to (sorry Debbie!). Debbie will always provide such good guidance and reassurance, so I know that between us we can always resolve any work challenges and work as a team.
How do you motivate yourself? How do you motivate your colleagues?
Debbie: My motivation comes from within, I always feel that unless I am doing something, or am busy then I am being lazy. It’s a blessing and a curse! (a bit like a treadmill that you can’t get off of). To motivate colleagues, hmm, well I like to keep in touch and find out how people are feeling, I like to work with my team to problem solve which hopefully removes barriers and makes life easier. Portraying a can-do attitude I think helps to motivate and of course, making people feel listened to.
Lisa: Chocolate and coffee! Things always feel easier to face if you have a little incentive. Music helps me lose myself in a task and has a huge influence on my mood and energy levels. Motivating my colleagues as a group isn’t something I am called on to do very often, but my work directly impacts William on a daily basis, so wanting to do my best to help him definitely motivates me, and in turn, I think this motivates him to tick things off the never-ending task list.
Iris: I motivate myself by setting small steps towards a bigger goal. I always put some energy into lifting my peers’ moods because I am a firm believer that we replicate and mirror who is around us. I accept my limits and imperfections and I ask for help.
What does health mean to you?
Debbie: Everything, what do we have without our health and our loved ones?
Lisa: Mental and physical health definitely go hand in hand, and my own experiences have taught me that life can change in a moment, so never take good mental and physical health for granted. I also strongly believe that how you look is the least interesting thing about you, and being healthy comes from within. It has nothing to do with what size pants you wear!
Iris: Priceless values: Health and Time mean everything to me.
What has been your proudest moment working here?
Debbie: I do like it when we win awards, but working in Caversham as one of the first community games and seeing the high street shops and libraries covered in Beat the Street posters and artwork designed by children in local schools. The place was alive with BTS!
Lisa: I find it really hard to say I’ve done a good job, so choosing something I am proud of is quite tricky for me! Probably receiving good feedback from events I have organised, as this is something I enjoy doing and brings a nice sense of achievement seeing others enjoying themselves.
Do you have any hobbies?
Debbie: I run and enjoy keeping fit, I have qualified as a counsellor so I like keeping up to speed with information on psychology and health in general and I have an interest in property, so pretty busy. To wind down though, I really enjoy a woodland walk and a coffee or a good film or drama with a twist!
Lisa: No specific hobbies as such, but I love anything related to music, art and fashion. I have taught myself to knit and crochet if that counts!
Iris: I don’t have a specific consistent hobby as such but I love walking my dog Luna and playing with her. I am a big fan of cinema nights with loved ones. I help people with travel arrangements.
Tell me a fact about you that no one will know…
Debbie: If I wanted anyone to know it, they would!
Lisa: I have twelve tattoos and I got one of them done in a Harley Davidson shop.
Iris: I am Italian and I don’t eat tomatoes.
If you were a biscuit… which, would you be?
Debbie: One of those M&S or Fox’s wheels with loads of thick chocolate on. They are a bit luxurious and who doesn’t love one of those?
Lisa: A Jammie Dodger because why not!
Iris: A lemon biscuit homemade with lemons from Sorrento, my hometown. Simple and heartwarming.
If they made a movie about your life, who would you want to play the lead role?
Debbie: Got to be Kate Beckinsale (I have always admired her look), or perhaps Cameron Diaz (a bit too kooky maybe). Perhaps I should have gone for someone intellectual to be an actual representation of me ha!
Lisa: On this one, I am torn between fantasy (Christina Hendricks) and reality (Kat Slater from Eastenders), but ultimately I think I would like it to be Stephen Graham or Michael Sheen because they are my favourite actors (I can choose a man right?!).
Iris: Luisa Ranieri (she even has a similar Family Name)!
What 3 items would you take to a desert island?
Debbie: Blusher, (I need a bit of “colour”), a water purifier and some sort of knife for cutting string and chopping vegetables! If I could have a number 4, I’d have some music! Actually, scrap that… A boat would be number 1!
Lisa: Everyone always says practical things or ways to help them get off of the desert island for this question. Why would you want to leave?! Being left alone on your own island with no way of anyone contacting you sounds great to me!
I would take…
1) My dog Lola
2) A tattoo machine so I can do my own tattoos
3) A drumkit because I have always wanted to learn to play the drums, and it wouldn’t matter how much noise I made (I am assuming I can also add Dave Grohl to this item so he can teach me?!) (We’ll allow this, Lisa).
Iris: Maybe a knife, rope and seeds. Hoping that desert means no people and not no water. ( My desert island has vegetation, fruit, fresh water, and animals 😊).
Anything to recommend – whether it’s a good podcast, book, film, or app you’ve loved recently?
Debbie: Harlen Coben’s – Fool Me Once! (available on Netflix), I do love a twist! Or Truelove on Channel 4, (another twist).
Books… My most recent read was Dolly Parton – Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones. The biggest, heaviest book I have ever owned, full of nearly every outfit Dolly has worn during her career. It’s fascinating!
Films…The last film I watched was maybe a controversial choice…Saltburn! I loved it! Would highly recommend it. (Available on Prime)
Iris: Film… I’ve not seen it yet, but One Life with A. Hopkins.
Podcast… The Diary of A CEO with Steven Bartlett.
How do you keep active?
Debbie: I run 3 times per week, walk twice a day with the dogs and I am trying to introduce weights but it’s soooooo boring! Oh, and I’ve started Pilates recently!
Lisa: One of the highlights of my day is going for a walk with my dog Lola. Even if it’s just 20 minutes around my local area, I always appreciate the time I get to spend with her.
Iris: Walking is my thing. I walk everywhere!