Recording #70:

Beth Stallwood     00:00:00 > 00:01:24
Welcome to the WorkJoy Jam podcast. I'm your host, Beth Stallwood and today I'm delighted to be joined by Zoe Hill. Zoe is the Operations Director of coffee organisation Paddy & Scott’s and we talk about her career, some of the challenges that she's been through both personally and professionally, and how she's now really focused on the culture of the organisation, the people, and how she's getting her work joy right now through some purpose-led activities. I hope you enjoy this episode. I know I did.

Welcome to the WorkJoy Jam and today I am delighted to be joined by the wonderful Zoe Hill. But rather than me introduce Zoe, Zoe, I'm going to hand over to you. Could you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?

Zoe Hill  00:01:25 - 00:01:36
Hi, Beth. Very excited to be here and speaking to you today about all things WorkJoy. Yeah, I'm Zoe Hill. I'm 38, and I'm Operations Director at Paddy & Scott's Coffee.

Beth Stallwood 00:01:37 - 00:02:24
Love that. I am going to go into more of these and I understand I sound a little bit like Cilla Black on Blind Date when I ask who you are and what you do. And that also ages me as well in terms of where we're at, because there'll be a lot of people listening to this going, who is Cilla Black and what is Blind Date? But what I would love to do is to first of all, Zoe, explore a little bit about your career and the journey you took to become an Operations Director, because it's one of those things where, I don't know about you, but the term ‘Operations Director’ can mean a million and one different things. And I imagine there's 3,000,001 different things in your job that you're doing right now. But tell us a little about your career journey and then what you do in your role right now.

Zoe Hill 00:02:24 - 00:04:49
Yeah, of course. I think I probably didn't have the most typical of career journeys in getting to become Operations Director at Paddy & Scott's. I started with Paddy & Scott's in 2014 and I had worked through quite a few jobs because I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn't do my degree at university - I dropped out after a year and I always felt a massive amount of shame about that as I was getting older, but I don't anymore, I'm actually quite proud of it. I worked through various different jobs at Paddy & Scott’s. So I started off literally as a Customer Service Receptionist, speaking to all of our customers and I loved it. After about a year or so, I then went into becoming an Account Director. I also worked on the coffee machinery side and the servicing, and then I went into operations management, and that is kind of, I think, where I kind of found my true love, if you like. I just like everything about business, how it all runs, how it all operates and people - people really excite me. So, yeah, I think that's where I found my work joy. I found my love in operations I think because it is so varied and it's not just specific. Every day is different and yeah, I really enjoy it. And making director was massive for me because I think it's not something that I ever thought would be in my career path. I come from a very proud working-class background and I've always been a grafter, that's always been very important in my world. I think when I was younger I probably put more limits on myself than I ever do now. So becoming director was a really proud moment for me. It came on the back of a kind of really poignant part of my life because I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 at the age of 34, which sounds very odd, but it's actually the same year that I managed to become Operations Director at Paddy & Scott’s. So, yeah, a lot of things fell into place and then obviously in 2019 we hit the pandemic, which was another massive time of growth and rebuilding.

Beth Stallwood 00:04:49 - 00:05:59
I've got so many questions to ask you about the kind of whole career. If it's okay, I'm just going to dive in and ask some of these questions. And first of all, thank you for being so open about your career and the things that happened in your life and the challenges as well, because it's not always all perfect, is it? We don't always have this big plan around careers and sometimes we don't know what we want until we get there and find out a little bit more. I'm going to reverse back quite a few years because I'm really interested in what you said about dropping out of university and feeling some shame around that. And now having been able to kind of move past that, I work with a lot of people who either dropped out of university or didn't go and feel this sense of they're lacking something even though they've had these amazing careers and done brilliant things with their lives and there's something for me around that actually we've created this norm which doesn't need to be there, we don't all need to go to university. It's not the only thing that will get us experience and great careers. I'd love to hear a little bit more about the journey you went on from maybe feeling some shame to feeling great about where you're at.

Zoe Hill 00:05:59 - 00:07:13
Yeah, I think back and like I said, my parents are from the north, and they moved down to Suffolk for better opportunities. My Dad was so proud when I applied for university to do my business degree and I would have been the first in the family to go to university. So, I think the day that I said - Dad, I can't do this anymore, it doesn't excite me and it's just not for me - that was a really hard day. That was a really hard day in my sort of past, but now I've achieved more than I ever thought I could and my Dad's incredibly proud of me. I think there's this pressure on kids to have to go to university and make their parents proud, or you can't not go to university because otherwise you're not going to get too far in life. I'm so proud that I can sit here now as a director of a successful company and say, well, I didn't go and I've done all right. I'm really proud of that actually now and it'll be the first thing I mention rather than the thing I hide behind.

Beth Stallwood 00:07:14 - 00:07:25
Yeah, it's a really interesting one, the pressure versus what you want to do. And it sounds like to me you had a big knowing that that wasn't your pathway, that you just knew it's not the thing for me.

Zoe Hill 00:07:25 - 00:07:51
I always enjoyed school. I was one of those students that tried to have the fine balance between working hard and trying to sort of be cool. Everyone tried to find that balance at school, so I kind of scraped through, actually I did pretty well. Could I have done better? Probably. But did I have fun whilst I was there? Yes, I did. It's an interesting one.

Beth Stallwood 00:07:51 - 00:07:57
I never made it to anywhere near cool, so you are way above me!

Zoe Hill 00:07:57 - 00:08:00
Didn't make it, Beth. I just tried!

Beth Stallwood 00:08:00 - 00:08:03
I gave up trying because there was no way it was ever going to happen for me.

Zoe Hill 00:08:04 - 00:08:04

Beth Stallwood 00:08:04 - 00:08:34
I think this is really interesting. You are the operations director. You've made it to kind of that point in your career where people who did things like business degrees want to get to, and you've done it without having to do that and you found your own route through life. I love the story and it's such a great one about starting in that kind of customer service role and then moving through and upwards through the organisation. I'd love to know what were some of the things that you did that helped you on that journey through the organisation?

Zoe Hill 00:08:35 - 00:09:57
Oh, that's a good question, to be honest. It has to be. I can't discount the graft and also the yearning to learn. So I didn't just kind of do the customer service role and come in at nine and leave at five and just do what I needed to do. I immediately took that job and wanted to make it better. I didn't realize, I suppose, that I kind of presumed everyone had that instinct. Well, everyone has that, surely. And it's only as you actually realize and you go through life that they actually really don't. So I took every job within the company and wanted to make it better and look at the ways that that could be done either via process or how we did things. I took a real thrill from improving process, which sounds really sad, Beth, I know, but it's operations, eh? But, yeah, that's how I kind of did it. I just took each job and looked at it and thought, well, actually, I think we could probably do that a little bit better. I worked with some brilliant people who really believed in me. I've had some great managers over the years who've nurtured that and also teased it out of me and made me realize that it doesn't have to just sit within that job. And that's really important.

Beth Stallwood 00:09:58 - 00:10:23
I think that's really interesting as well, isn't it? We all have things inside of us and kind of gifts inside of us that we think everyone else has as well, because they're just part of who we are, so they feel quite normal to us. And then you suddenly realize, oh, but not everyone does think like this. And my special thing is…and that whole doesn't sound very exciting part of it, actually, in the operations world, making things better is like 90 something percent of your job.

Zoe Hill 00:10:23 - 00:10:24

Beth Stallwood 00:10:24 - 00:10:30
It kind of fits. And this is where what you're good at, what you enjoy, bringing it together with the job, can create that workjoy

Zoe Hill 00:10:30 - 00:10:46
It gets the results as well because if you enjoy it, you literally wake up and you want to look at the way to do things better. It really is the difference between the results as well. If you believe in it and you love it, you will get the results.

Beth Stallwood 00:10:46 - 00:10:56
Definitely. And also for me, what your story also tells is the power of having great people around you who support, nurture, engage and want you to do really well.

Zoe Hill 00:10:57 - 00:11:46
Oh I cannot stress enough to everyone listening that mentors and champions - everyone needs them, whether they're the same person or not. My husband was my champion probably from the age of about 25 to 35. He still is, don't get me wrong but when I really needed it, when I really needed that confidence boost, he was the person who made me believe that I could do anything. And now John, our CEO at Paddy & Scott’s, he's great, he really is. He will again make me believe that I can do whatever. There's no boundaries as to where we can go with it or what we can do, and we're more than capable of doing it. Mentors and champions, everyone needs them.

Beth Stallwood 00:11:46 - 00:11:51
So seek out the people who really believe in you and allow them to help you.

Zoe Hill 00:11:52 - 00:12:06
And not even just in a superficial way because I've got lots of people and I’m lucky enough to have lots of family and friends that believe in me, but really nurture it and tease it out of you. That's the difference.

Stallwood 00:12:06 - 00:12:23
Maybe sometimes even challenge you and put you in those uncomfortable positions where you are doing something new or something different and pressing up outside your comfort zone and helping you to practically do some of those things rather than just saying, yeah, you're really great at everything.

Zoe Hill 00:12:23 - 00:12:50
I mean, the irony that I'm sat here doing a podcast with you, Beth, is not lost on me. This me firmly out of my comfort zone. I don’t mean speaking to wonderful people such as yourself, of course, but just putting myself out there. I've always kind of struggled with that and John has certainly been, in the last few years, my kind of champion in that direction to push me and take me out of my comfort zone.

Beth Stallwood 00:12:50 - 00:13:23
How wonderful to have you here. I'm so glad he encouraged you to do it because your story is amazing. Let's go to a difficult bit of your story now. I think really interestingly when you were talking about the year you made it to the operations director role, was also the year that you unfortunately found out you had breast cancer at a really young age. That must have been terrifying and gosh, what a challenging situation to go through. Are you able to tell us a little bit more about that situation and how you worked through it?

Zoe Hill 00:13:24 - 00:14:13
Of course. I will bore everyone who will listen, Beth, mainly because I want everyone to check for lumps and bumps as regularly as they can. If this podcast and someone listening to me today, hears the story, and it's the difference between them being diagnosed early, it really is the difference between a good outcome or not. I was 34 and I was at work funnily enough. I was in a hotel room in Manchester and just got out of the shower and felt a lump where one should not be and did the classic that no one should do, but we all do it anyway - we go on Google!

Beth Stallwood 00:14:13 - 00:14:14
Oh, yeah.

Zoe Hill 00:14:18 - 00:17:55
To be honest, initially I was like well, I'm 34, so this is clearly not anything other than a cyst or just some weird little lump that I found. But there was still a little bit of a pit in my stomach because I suppose there would be. So, anyway I got myself home and got a doctor's appointment and they were great. They're very quick at referring you when there's anything like that, even though they also put my mind at ease and said to me, you're 34 the chances of this happening or it being anything that we need to worry about is very slim. 4% of women are diagnosed under the age of 40 with breast cancer, so it is quite rare. I was that chilled about it I went on holiday for two weeks to Norway on a lovely cruise with my husband and I put off the hospital appointment by a few days because I was still on my holidays. But then we came back and we went to the hospital and, they told me I had grade three invasive ductal carcinoma and I had to do something about it. Initially I was told that it would potentially just be some radiotherapy and an operation, but also the little lump got sent to America for testing and it was found that it was actually really rather aggressive. So they wanted to do the full sweep and have me do some chemotherapy as well, and some extra radiotherapy sessions. I think that was probably the point where I was like, oh, shoot, this is really serious. I'm a woman so let's be honest, the first thing when they said chemotherapy was, oh my God, I'm going to lose my hair, which I did. But I rocked a pink wig throughout my entire treatment and almost became a different person, I almost had to sort of enter a character to get me through. I had to work all the way through because I had to try to make my life as the same as it always was, as much as I could. I mean, obviously I was going through treatment and there were times when I could barely get myself out of bed and spent a couple of evenings in courtesy of Ipswich Hospital after all my white blood cells had given up on me, but still working from my hospital bed. There's literally a picture of me with my bald head, in my pyjamas, with all my paperwork surrounding me because that's just how I had to get through it. We’re here now and next year is the big one because then I'll be five years clear so all touch wood for me, please. I don't like to make it my life. Some people do and they go on to do amazing things. I'm now a trustee of a fabulous charity called Little Lifts who do care packages for people going through radiotherapy and chemotherapy and also about to go through surgery. They're a fabulous charity and I'm really proud to be a trustee so I can still give back and help out but I really also consciously tried to not make it a massive part of my life. So I think you can go down a rabbit hole that I'm not convinced I'd want to go down.

Beth Stallwood 00:17:56 - 00:18:40
Number one, it's amazing how you worked your way through that and the amazing work of Little Lifts. I think this is a big call out to all of our listeners to check yourself, to please do that. We have both male and female listeners, but we have a lot of female listeners and I would love it if all of you could encourage your friends to do it as well. Spread the word. They always say, you know what your normal feels like so if there is anything that doesn't quite feel right, you can get to the doctor and get some stuff caught. From what you're saying, you going to the doctor that quickly and sorting it out was a really good thing.

Zoe Hill  00:18:41 - 00:19:21
That was completely the difference between potential secondary diagnosis, it really is. With secondary diagnosis, you can lead a fabulous life, of course you can, but you are on treatment for life. It's a very different story. The difference is going to the doctors. It's simple as that. It's early diagnosis, so I really do encourage everyone. I post regularly on my socials and I have beautiful friends and family who always say to me, I haven't seen your reminder this month. I look for your reminder because that's what makes me go in the shower that night and have a good rummage.
Beth Stallwood00:19:21 - 00:19:24
Yeah, I love that. Have a good rummage.

Zoe Hill  00:19:24 - 00:19:28
I know. So, yeah, please, everyone shower tonight and rummage.

Beth Stallwood  00:19:29 - 00:20:24
We're all about how do we make it easy to build these things as a habit. Chuck it in your diary, put it in your calendar, have a rummage day once a month or something, just find a way of making that happen regularly. So, a massive, big shout out to everybody and to the Little Lifts charity who do that amazing work in helping people going through one of the scariest times of their life, right? It's terrifying. So it's amazing that you're a trustee there. What I'm really interested about, though, and I think this is an interesting part of your story, there are some people who would want to disengage from work completely and just focus here. I'm really interested in how you were working and I've got in my mind this image of you in a hospital bed, with a bald head, in your pyjamas, with your laptop doing the work and everyone else kind of going, why is she working? What's she doing? Tell us a bit about why that was important for you.

Zoe Hill 00:20:26 - 00:21:47
I mean, let's be honest, it probably was distraction to a certain degree. I knew that for me, to keep my sanity and my mental health in check, I had to continue with as much of my life as I could physically carry on with, and mentally. Trying to get through every day as if I would without having a cancer diagnosis. That is not easy. I am now very into exercise. I play netball, I cycle, I go to the gym, I like yoga, it's a very big part of my life because I know how much it affects my mental health if I don't do it. It was very important to me to carry on with the exercise and also the work because I think it gave structure to my days. I'm an Operations Director, of course I love structure! So I think that's the first thing I did, I moved to where I could structure and put that in place as quick as possible. And the way I did that was by carrying on as much as I could. And there were days when, yes, that was much harder than others, don't get me wrong, but I really do think it got me through it.

Beth Stallwood 00:21:47 - 00:21:52
And then going through all of that and then the pandemic hitting, wow.

Zoe Hill 00:21:53 - 00:22:23
I look back and laugh, because it was New Year's Eve of 2018 and I wrote this fabulous post about how I had battled cancer and I got through the other end and how 2019 was going to be my year and look out for the comeback everyone. And then it was like, maybe not. We’re all going to sit indoors and not see each other for God knows how long, but it was a good opportunity to grow my hair back.

Beth Stallwood 00:22:24 - 00:22:26
Every cloud has a silver lining!

Zoe Hill 00:22:26 - 00:22:28
Exactly. Every cloud.

Beth Stallwood 00:22:28 - 00:22:57
As an Operations Director and from a business perspective, with the work that you do, that must have been a massive challenge on how do you actually make this shutdown/furlough/business operations run? What do you do? That must have been a really big challenge for you.

Zoe Hill 00:22:57 - 00:23:46
Hands down, without question the hardest time in my career. Everyone was in the same boat, don't get me wrong, but with the business there was nothing overnight. We've got employees, we need to save this, what can we do? I think I did come into my own a bit there, where we did everything that we could do. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was really hard because I had to let go of some people who I really would class as friends, and I'm still friends with them today, which I hope is a testament to how I dealt with the situation. But it was incredibly tough because we had to do whatever we had to do to have a business to come back to at the end of it.

Beth Stallwood 00:23:47 - 00:23:57
Just for people who don't know, can you tell us a little bit about the Paddy & Scott operation and what you actually deliver so we can get the image of what you might have had to be dealing with?

Zoe Hill 00:23:57 - 00:24:19
Yeah, so our main business is supplying coffee and ancillary products to hotels and restaurants UK wide. We also have two cafes that we operate ourselves, but we also help other businesses operate a Paddy & Scott's concession within their businesses.

Beth Stallwood 00:24:19 - 00:24:26
So lockdown happens and nobody's going to hotels and nobody's going to restaurants or cafes.

Zoe Hill 00:24:26 - 00:25:30
So we went from a very successful business to no business overnight. No one was ringing the phone, no one wanted any coffee. However, what we did do is very quickly pivot to our, at the time, very sad and lonely and neglected retail website, because there was a lot of people sat at home wanting coffee. We look back now and we were almost ashamed and embarrassed that we hadn't done anything with this website. We just hadn't really put much focus on it at all and then all of a sudden, it was the thing that was going to keep us alive. It was like, all hands on deck to rejuvenate this very sad website and now it's a masterpiece and a thing of beauty. Trying to pivot the business completely from supplying wholesale to people, to trying to develop a website to reach out to people sat at home who are drinking coffee – it was interesting.

Beth Stallwood  00:25:31 - 00:25:44
It’s an entire change of business model, right, from like B2B wholesale to B2C to individuals in their home buying coffee. That's a very different product and it's a very different beast, isn't it? It's a whole different way of thinking.

Zoe Hill  00:25:45 - 00:26:51
Completely and not my bag I have to say. Not my area of expertise. We were up at all hours researching and doing what we needed to be done to get as much coffee out the door as we could to try to save or salvage. I think the key part of our survival, was the relationships we had with our customers. So rather than everyone going into panic mode and picking up the phone and saying, you owe me this much, send me the money, because we need our bank account filled as quickly as possible to try and survive, we actually had very practical conversations with both our suppliers and our customers. We said, look, what's the situation? What can you do? What can we do? Show a bit of willing and that really made the difference between coming out the other end on what customers you had to work with, because we kept all of our customers and we maintained all of our supplier relationships and I think that really was because we picked up the phone and we had honest conversations. We're all in the same boat here, no one has a clue what's going to happen, so let's just be sensible and help each other.

Beth Stallwood  00:27:07 - 00:27:17
That's amazing to come out the other end, isn't it? With all of your suppliers and customers in place, kind of ready to pick up almost where you left off.

Zoe Hill  00:27:17 - 00:28:22
The interesting part about it, all of it, was it gave us a big opportunity. We completely changed the culture of the business coming out of the pandemic, because we moved offices and there were people that left the business and we took it as a clean slate. It was like a rebirth, for want of a better word. So we took that opportunity to really sit and look at the business and go, right, what do we want to be? What do we want to stand for? And to keep coming back to people and values and culture, a credit to John he should be a culture specialist. The the transformation in the culture of Paddy & Scott's coming out of the pandemic is nothing short of amazing - a real big transformation and a complete joy to work for.

Beth Stallwood 00:28:23 - 00:28:57
Tell me now, we've gone through kind of your career, all the amazing things you've done there, getting to that point of having your diagnosis, working through your illness and your treatment and working through the pandemic. We're now on the other side of the pandemic - what's bringing you some joy at work now? I always find there's loads of joy in working through the tough stuff when you all pull together and you make some stuff happen. Even though it's tough, it's amazing. How are you keeping that joy now you're maybe more into your ‘business as usual’ world?

Zoe Hill 00:28:58 - 00:31:00
It's been really interesting for me because I've had to learn over the past few years to be a leader rather than a manager. I get easily too involved in wanting to control the day to day. I think that's just nature of the beast when you're in operations. So coming out of that and then having to become a leader, not a manager, that's been a big learning for me. It's people, it's culture, it's purpose. We did a leadership meeting a few weeks ago at Yboston Lakes. We do it every year and we all get together and tell each other how wonderful we are and it's great. We do some business stuff as well! People had to do a presentation and everyone had worked so hard on it and there was a bit at the end where I asked everyone, really off the cuff as I hadn't thought about it at all, if I gave them a million pounds today, would you leave Paddy & Scott's. This is coming from me and if you'd asked me 18 months or at least definitely five years ago, I would have ran out of the door. But every single one of them were adamant in they absolutely would not. And I was just like, my gosh. We've got Chrissy, who works in our finance department and she's worked at Paddy & Scott's longer than me and I've been there 9 years now and she turned around and said she is more proud of working for Paddy & Scott’s today than she ever has been. That's it for me. That's my work joy Beth. If my team are saying that they won't go out the door for a million pounds and they're more proud of the business they work for now than they ever have been, I'm the happiest girl alive.

Beth Stallwood 00:31:00 - 00:31:41
That really shows the results of all your hard work on actually resetting and relooking at what does this look like and how do we want it to be and how do we lead it. I totally get it and I'm sure there's lots of people listening who work in operational or specialist roles who are there going, yeah. The call to control everything is big in me. It's really big. And allowing other people to do those things in their own way, that's different to how I would do it is really hard. But actually, the results of stepping properly into a leadership role and being able to allow the culture to be the thing that you focus on and the bigger picture stuff, it does make a difference, doesn't it?

Zoe Hill 00:31:41 - 00:31:54
Yeah, completely. Like realizing other people are actually better at things than you are. Here's an idea, let them get on with it and you'll actually get even better results.

Beth Stallwood 00:31:54 - 00:31:58
It's funny that, isn't it? Allowing people to be great at what they're great at.

Zoe Hill 00:31:59 - 00:32:39
Sounds crazy, I know. Mental idea. It's hilarious, actually. I was literally in the car with John just yesterday and I said, I don't think I've worked hard for about a year, John, and he was laughing. And then I was like, at the same time we're doing some really transformational stuff at the moment. John and I want to set up a charity. We've just had a visit over in Kenya that has provided so much fuel in our bellies for want to do more things and we're going to have the biggest year in the company's history. And I'm sat there saying, I haven't worked that hard for a year. So I've nailed it. Beth yeah. I've decided I've nailed it.

Beth Stallwood  00:32:39 - 00:33:40
I think that's a really interesting thing and it happens to a lot of people. And I don't have any evidence for this apart from the conversations I have, which is with a lot of people. When you get to the point you are in your career when you step into those roles, people go, I'm not working as hard as I did before, and it feels weird and am I doing something wrong? And actually, you are working hard, but you're working differently and you're in a different role and you're in a different context. What you have to do is you're inspiring the next kind of generation of people who are working hard and working through their careers. I think it's something where we're not taught about this at any point really in our careers and we need to reset our success factors and what good looks like now and how we get what we're excited about. So seeing the transformation and people saying, yeah, they would stay is probably way bigger for you now than whether you've got your operation sorted because the operation is being sorted by other people. So it's how do you reset that? I hear this story probably three or four times a week, like I'm not working as hard, what's going on?

Zoe Hill  00:33:41 - 00:34:15
It is a bizarre feeling but you're right, it's not like you're not working hard, you're working differently and it's really been a kind of epiphany for me that you can enjoy work. I always kind of felt that I know it sounds bizarre but I suppose I was raised that work was graft, you worked hard and that always came with connotations of not as much smiling and joy and actually you can have both and you should have both because you're working a long time.

Beth Stallwood 00:34:15 - 00:34:40
I've got a whole podcast and book based on the idea that you can actually have both so I am with you. I am with you. Graft can also be joyful, right. The process of working through hard things can be a joyful thing and the results of working through it. So it's about finding that. Tell me more about this trip to Kenya because I think it's been for you a big point in your career right, and thinking about the charity and the work that you're doing. Tell me more about that.

Zoe Hill 00:34:40 - 00:35:42
Yeah, I mean we've worked with the Machumba family over in Maru for a long time now, for six or seven years and I kept meaning to go out to the farm but you know, cancer and pandemics, they really got in the way. So this year I got to go for the first time. Scott has been out there a few times, quite a lot of people at work have. David and John have been out before and they come back and they're telling you all about it and its fabulous how their face changes and their faces light up which is great, don't get me wrong, but there is nothing compared to being out there. I mean, if I could bottle that feeling that I had out there and bring it home to our entire company. John and I did a presentation when we got back to the team so they could see what we'd been doing out there but it's not the same.

Beth Stallwood  00:35:42 - 00:35:44
Not the same as the experience.

Zoe Hill  00:35:44 - 00:37:48
No, it's really not. To go out there and actually travel. I enjoy traveling. My husband travels quite a lot. But it beats any holiday because you're in the culture. We were welcomed with such open arms by the Mutumba family, and we were dancing with the kids. We were running up and down on the washing tables where the coffee is all dried and singing songs with them and watching what they do, and I loved every minute of it. I really did love every minute of it and it just put so much more purpose behind it. And I think that was what I was missing a little bit. I was like, what's my purpose here? And that was like, all right, okay, well, here we go. Now I found it. It was a phenomenal trip. Game changer. So lots of fire in the belly to start doing even more amazing things over there. I think the key for John and I was that we'd done a lot of infrastructure work out know, we've built schools, we've built classrooms, we've put windows in classrooms, we put roofs on classrooms, we put water feeds in, we've put washing facilities in toilets, all this great stuff but to see it actually with my own eyes rather than on a picture was just something else. However, we really learned over there that it all comes back to people. What do these people actually need? Not why are we but let's start with the fundamentals, shall we? Because there's girls here that can't go to school for five days of the month because they don't have access to sanitary wear. So why don't we look at those problems before we build a school hall or whatever it is that we choose to do? Let's do both. Let's not do one for the other, but let's do both. Let's see how we can actually get these kids to the buildings we've built and look at those challenges and how we can help there. So that's our next challenge, if you like.

Beth Stallwood 00:37:49 - 00:38:26
I'm really fascinated by the whole kind of story, You've done the work, you've got the culture right, your operation is working well, your business is doing fantastically, the results are there, and then there's a gap, isn't there? You've done all this work, you've done the transformational stuff. It's like, actually, what's next? And I love the fact that you're getting to think about purpose and something kind of almost bigger than the operation in the UK. It's more about that. How do you support your suppliers? How do you enable this kind of better life for people? Which is much, much bigger than what you think about when you think about being an ops director of a coffee company.

Zoe Hill 00:38:27 - 00:39:05
Yeah, completely. It's quite scary and intimidating because there's a lot to learn because you're talking about completely different cultures, countries, religions, and we don't want to go out there and tell anyone what to do – we want them to be able to do whatever they want and help fulfill that in any way that they need. Not go out there and go, well, this is how we do it, so we're fabulous so why don't you just do that? That's not the idea at all and there's lots of learnings to be had out there, but if we can do anything to help, I'm here for it.

Beth Stallwood 00:39:05 - 00:39:35
It sounds like you're going to be getting a lot more learning and it comes right back to your beginning part about kind of that yearning for learning stuff. You're finding your next thing to learn about, to understand, to be able to make better, to be able to help people. So for me, your whole story really links together around those themes and about learning and grafting and finding solutions and making things better.

Zoe Hill 00:39:37 - 00:39:55
I think I've decided that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. Thirst for learning and improving and people. I think people always comes back to people and community and how can we do things better together? Can't do it alone, together.

Beth Stallwood 00:39:55 - 00:40:07
Love that. Wow. Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and all the things that are kind of bringing you some work joy. I have got some quick-fire questions. Are you ready?

Zoe Hill 00:40:08 - 00:40:09
Go on.

Beth Stallwood 00:40:09 - 00:40:18
They're not complicated. I think you'll be okay. Question one is: what is always guaranteed to bring you personally a little bit of work joy?

Zoe Hill 00:40:18 - 00:40:37
I am going to have to come back to the people, I think, when I sit in meetings and hear about the million pound story and someone who's worked there for ten years being more proud now. Joe, our Commercial Director, he put us in for Suffolk Business of the Year Award and he'd only been with us a month.

Beth Stallwood 00:40:38 - 00:40:38

Zoe Hill 00:40:38 - 00:41:17
And we have a company WhatsApp group that we all chip in with various bits and pieces. Literally this morning, one of the GMs at one of our accounts had messaged Jonathan on LinkedIn to tell him how fabulous Neil is at our warehouse and that he's just the happiest friendliest person that he's ever met and that he enjoys it when his team are too late to order their coffee because he gets to go down to see Neil and just be in his infectious happiness. That was put on our chat this morning and I just love it.

Beth Stallwood 00:41:17 - 00:41:21
I know the question was quick but the answer wasn’t.

Beth Stallwood 00:41:24 - 00:41:26
Question two: What book are you currently reading?

Zoe Hill 00:41:28 - 00:41:35
Well, I have a funny relationship with books I kind of delve in and out of. I come obsessed, read loads, then don't at all. But I'm very obsessed with podcasts at the moment.

Beth Stallwood 00:41:35 - 00:41:37
Okay, so just podcast instead.

Zoe Hill 00:41:37 - 00:41:57
Diary of a CEO, Happy Place and High Performance. They're my top three that I listen to very regularly. Also started reading a book, actually. Professor Stephen Peters; Pass Through the Jungle. He was on Diary of a CEO and I'm very into finding out what makes me tick. Very self indulgent, I know, but, yeah, I'm loving it.

Beth Stallwood 00:41:58 - 00:42:25
I've actually got that book on my to read pile which is an ever increasing read pile. So, yeah, it might just get me onto that one because I loved the Chimp Paradox book, so I was like, oh, this is the next stage, so let's see what we can do with this one. Right, question three. What's one bit of advice that somebody has given you in your life that you always find yourself coming back to?

Zoe Hill 00:42:28 - 00:42:38
Don't be scared to fail. I really struggle with failing and that then puts me in a comfort zone. And there's no growth in the comfort zone.

Beth Stallwood 00:42:39 - 00:42:41
It's annoying that, but it is true.

Zoe Hill 00:42:41 - 00:42:48
I know, it really is. Take risks and don't put a limit on your ambition. That's advice I've been given.

Beth Stallwood 00:42:49 - 00:42:59
Love it. What is one super practical bit of advice that you would recommend our listeners could go and do today or tomorrow or the next day that you think would help bring them a little bit of work joy?

Zoe Hill 00:43:01 - 00:43:15
I think this has to go back to the mentor champion. I think it has to be, go and find yourself a mentor and/or a champion. Yeah, preferably both.

Beth Stallwood 00:43:15 - 00:43:24
Yeah. Brilliant. And then finally, where can people find out more about you and your work and your business?

Zoe Hill 00:43:25 - 00:43:55
Well, you can find me on LinkedIn, Zoe Hill, but also Paddy & Scott’s shop. We're on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, all under paddyandscotts - they're very easy to find. Do check out Little Lifts, they're doing amazing work. Please everyone check, have a rummage and also look out for Ambition Unlocked, because that's our kind of working title for the charity that we are hopefully going to be creating.

Beth Stallwood 00:43:55 - 00:44:13
Brilliant. What we'll do is we'll make sure all of those links are in the show notes so that people can click straight through and come and find out all about you and your wonderful business and Little Lifts and the Ambition Unlocked charity. I can't wait to hear more about where that heads in the future. Zoe, thank you so much for being a guest today on The WorkJoy Jam.

Zoe Hill 00:44:14 - 00:44:15
Thank you, Beth. Pleasure.

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