So, Leigh, tell us a bit about your job role:
I would say I play a supportive role in all of the “non-creative” elements of the company. So, I am the backbone of the company in terms of finance, HR, contracts, legal, getting systems and processes up and running, etc. Basically everything that keeps the office going! I guess I would also consider myself the office mum, as currently the only female in the office I look after everybody, making sure they get things done, helping with any admin that’s needed, being Matt’s PA and sorting everything from birthday cards to running out and buying shirts if needed, all to make sure everybody can do their jobs.
You have been at TEN6 for over a year now, how have you seen the company change?
I think we have come leaps and bounds in terms of HR and finance systems and processes – As with any young company, there is always a lot to do, but I feel we are on the right track!
And you knew Matt prior to working at TEN6 correct?
So, I left South Africa about six years ago to explore career opportunities over here, with the UK being quite central for travel I saw it as the perfect place to position myself. I then had the great fortune of being placed in Baku, Azerbaijan by a previous company where I had the pleasure of working with Matt. From day one we clicked and got on very well. We worked in the same group and forged a friendship that has lasted over time. We both then left Baku and went on to do our own things but remained in contact and stayed friends. So, when he asked me to join him in the UK, it was a very easy decision, Matt has always come across ambitious and for him to start his own company was no surprise to me, so I was very flattered and excited to join him.
Obviously, you have moved around and lived in a variety of different places, it would be fair to say you’ve had a pretty exciting life…
I have an honours degree in Psychology and Social Work but life circumstances lead me to then do a second degree in Management Accounting and had some really nice work in SA. I was a Business Manager at an all-boys private school for three years which was very interesting. I then took up a challenge to set up a finance department from scratch for a procurement and logistics company which supplied textbooks to every school in South Africa. I then went on to join one of their subsidiaries, a travel agency, as a Finance Manager. I was also there for about three years, but unfortunately the political situation got to me and with my boys leaving home, I jumped on a plane and moved to the UK. I was just hoping for a quiet finance job in England but ended up having far more of an adventure! I was the Finance Manager for venues in Baku for the first European Games and then the same company asked me to move to Shanghai for two years. This was amazing and allowed me to feed my travel bug, visiting Vietnam, the Philippines and see a lot of China at the same time. I then returned to Baku for a second time, this time for the Islamic Games. Followed by an eight week sting in Bali for a bit of an eat, pray, love month by myself and then came back to join TEN6. So, yeah, it’s been a roller-coaster but an amazing one!
If you weren’t our business manager what would you be doing?
That’s a difficult question to answer. When I was 11, I wanted to be an actress and when I was 15 I wanted to be an archaeologist. Then at 18 I wanted to save the world and be an industrial psychologist. A couple of years ago I did want to start up my own photography studio as I have always had a bit of a creative side. I think now however, if money wasn’t an issue, I would love to be teaching English somewhere, that would be good for me!
Do you have any plans for the next few weeks?
I do indeed; I am off back to SA in two weeks’ time. I normally go back once a year to see my family. I have two grown up boys Dylan and Kyle - they are very creative and arty, one is a videographer and aspiring film maker, and is going to Japan for three months to do some work. My eldest Dylan is involved in community projects, he is trying to start up his own non-profit in one of the major townships outside Johannesburg for the disadvantaged community, which I will get to hear all about when I get home.
It will be in interspersed with a little work too. I don’t think I could leave my laptop alone for more than a couple of days and with a big event coming up in January, I’ll need to be touching base. Sitting with a beach view, in the sunshine, looking at my laptop is not a bad idea at all! Then I will come back for a couple of days before heading to Vietnam, where I have just heard its 30 degrees, so I am pretty excited about that for ten days! I am basically trying to escape the inevitable London winter for as long as possible!
Favourite place visited?
Thailand. The water is warm, the people are friendly, and life is just very content and pleasant.
Johannesburg, too busy and impersonal
Desert island disk?
That’s tricky, either ACDC – “Back in Black” or Metallica – “Nothing Else Matters”
I am a good listener
One thing you wish you could do.
Something surprising about yourself?
I was a bit of an adrenalin junky when I was younger, jumping out of planes, scuba diving, bungie jumping or anything with speed!
If your life was a book what would the title be?
The life and times of a crazy wench!
Well Leigh, it has been a pleasure and thank you very much for sharing with us. I’ll let you get back to your heavy metal and numbers now.
Look out for more from our get to know the team series in the future!