Will Work For Love: Rob Brinklow, Symon Dacon, Hemel Hempstead, U.K.
Gail Chiasson, North American Editor
Rob Brinklow is Hospitality Channel Manager at Symon Dacon, in Hemel Hempstead, near London, where he is responsible for sales and channel development of the hospitality vertical.
- Describe your personal work space.
The Symon Dacon office is a new modern building, very light and open plan with pods of desks for the office-based team. It’s a great space to work in, as you can see the majority of the team wherever you are. My desk is pretty simple and straightforward as my role involves a large amount of travel, so there’s a laptop, demo kit and paperwork which leaves when I do. The best thing about my work space is the people working around me. I have marketing, design, operations and project management team members within earshot, so you really get a cross department buzz and a sense of what’s happening in the business.
- How do you get to work?
When I’m in the office, I drive. I have a young family and my wife also works a full time job, so mornings are totally manic in our house. I’d love to say I ride or walk into the office once the morning rush is over, but I simply don’t have the time. Maybe that’s something for the New Year’s resolution list, although I’m sure it was on there for the past five years or so already!
- What is an average day like?
Most of my time is spent away from the office meeting with clients, so it’s very difficult to describe an ‘average day’ – I rarely have one. That’s one of the main things I love about my job, it’s always different, with a new challenge every day. However, most days will include a mixture of presenting to clients, preparing or delivering proposals, and handling requests from our partner companies.
- What is essential to you being able to work happily?
I have my own style and approach to work and achieving my goals; I like to be creative and am a real details person. I need this to be understood and embraced to be happy and, in turn, to get the best from me. My boss I have a really good relationship in this way. I think he understands these aspects and what’s important to me, but also keeps me really focused on our goals. I also love feeling part of a team, which is why I feel lucky to be able to work from the office when I’m not traveling.
- How flexible are your working conditions?
Very. My role sometimes means long trips, early starts and late finishes. My boss understands this and is flexible in return when I need him to be, which is very important to me. I enjoy this way of working, but I’d probably say differently at 4.30 a.m. waiting for the first flight out of Heathrow!
- What do you think your employer looks for in its staff?
I think Symon Dacon looks for us to handle our responsibilities the same way we would if it was our own business: to be committed to our goals, be creative and strive to deliver a great experience to our clients every time they deal with Symon.
- What suggestions do you have for your company?
Stay ahead of the pack wherever possible and continue to be a thought leader. I think Symon is doing a pretty good job with that at the moment. We should strive to be the best in every aspect of what we do. That will make us stand out from the crowd.
- Do you have any frustrations you would like to share with us?
My frustrations, I’m sure, are very similar to so many other people. The old cliché of ‘not enough hours in the day’ is so true for me. I also struggle to keep on top of the work/life balance continuously.
- What do you like best about your job?
Two things really, first. the people I work with. Within the Symon Dacon team, our partners and our clients there are some fantastic (and very different) characters. I love the experience of working with them all. Second is the challenge of trying to make Symon Dacon a leader in my market across EMEA. Hospitality is a tough market for anyone, no matter what you sell. That challenge keeps me motivated – if, also, often awake at night!
- How open is your company to new ideas and suggestions?
Symon Dacon encourages this amongst all the team. I’m a firm believer that sometimes the best ideas can come from within the business across all levels. I think our senior team believes that as well.
- How much responsibility have you been given?
Enough to keep me happy! I like to be responsible for my own areas and decisions related to it. I’m a vertical specialist, which is something specific I bring to the business. We’ve worked hard to define our proposition and strategy for the EMEA market, build our channel presence and market our brand. I’d like to think I’ve played a big part in that.
- How green are you and your company?
Greener that I used to be! My wife has beaten recycling into me over the last few years, especially now to set a good example for the children. I think that’s important.
Symon, too, has a strong recycling policy, promoting a paperless working environment and that we keep our carbon footprint down where we can with virtual meetings and so on.