Our Harlow-based Head Office is a hidden gem in the organisational structure of our company. Without our office team our 250-odd auditors around the UK would be in dire straits. That’s why we consider them the glue that helps our auditors and our customers to always work together towards positive results.
As head of the operations department, Stuart May is the guy to talk to. So…here goes…a little informal introduction to give you a taster of what goes on behind the scenes and who heads it all up.
How long have you been with Venners and what’s your current role?
“I joined Venners as a Trainee Stocktaker in July 2007, so this will be my eleventh year! I am now Director of Office Operations and oversee the Work Planning and Client Services Departments, which we call the Operations Department.”
What’s the best part of your role?
“Definitely overseeing the departments I just mentioned! I have two great teams who work so well together. It makes my time in the office very enjoyable. They constantly go above and beyond for me and Venners and without them I wouldn’t have risen to my current position.”
What’s the most challenging part of your role?
“Bridging the gap between the office and the field. My remit this year is for us all to have a better understanding of the daily challenges both sides of the company face when working towards producing positive results for Venners and its customers.”
What was your background before joining Venners?
“I ran pubs for many years for companies including Marstons, JD Wetherspoons & Eldridge Pope.
How did your education or past experiences prepare you for this job?
“I sort of fell into the retail leisure industry. Whilst at school I had a weekend job washing pots in a restaurant. When I was asked to leave school earlier than my parents expected, I continued at the restaurant full time and over a 6 year period worked my way through the ranks to eventually become the manager.”
Finish this sentence: The ideal way to start my day is…
“…a hassle free journey into work with no traffic jams or delays!”
Describe a typical day on the job
“There really isn’t a typical day on the job anymore. Since my promotion last November, my time is split between the office and attending various meetings, which could be anywhere in the country. One phone call or email in the morning can change the way day my goes in an instant. I suppose what is typical is that no two days are the same.”
Why do you like working for Venners?
“Mainly because of the variety of tasks I can get involved with. I also like the fact that Venners have given me the opportunity to progress from a Trainee Stocktaker to a Director. I feel valued at Venners, which is important to me.”
What would your colleagues say about what it’s like to work with you?
“I dread to think what they’d say! The majority of my team have been with me for over 7 years and counting, so I would hope that whatever they think is not all bad!”
What’s your proudest accomplishment at your job?
“Probably bringing the two departments together a couple of years ago whilst I was the Office Operations Manager. They were in separate offices at the time and there was a real divide between the departments with a bit of a them-vs-us attitude. We took some walls down so we are all in one office now and the teamwork and camaraderie in the department is very humbling. I really believe it has been of great benefit to Venners and has resulted in an improved company output and workflow.”
Tell us a little bit about your life outside of work?
“I have a very active 3 year old boy who wants to try new activities all the time. We live in the countryside and he loves the outdoors, so weekends are pretty busy. I am also an avid Liverpool supporter so will go to a match whenever my little boy isn’t running me ragged. I do also like to go Clay shooting, but rarely get the chance these days.”
What was the first drink you ever had and what’s your favourite drink?
“Southern Comfort or cans of Hansa Lager, though I’m not sure which I drank first. I don’t drink either of them now – Hansa Lager they no longer do and I was so ill after drinking Southern Comfort on one occasion that I can’t stand the smell of it anymore. My favourite drink now is dependent on where I am. If I’m up north visiting family I like real ale, otherwise I will drink Guinness. I’m also partial to a glass of red wine or a long gin & tonic with a slice of lime.”