Gill Smith is financial director at Birchall Foodservice, a family-owned business established in 1939. Better Wholesaling enjoyed 15 minutes with Gill, as she shared details about her personal and professional life.
Better Wholesaling: What was your first job?
Gill Smith: I was a waitress at a local hotel while I was at school, college and university. It taught me that I wanted a job with more social hours, but I loved the hospitality industry and the social life that goes with it. My first ‘proper’ job was as an accounts assistant at Birchall Foodservice. I intended to go back to university the following September after travelling in Australia. Ten years later and I am still here!
BW: What does your average day involve?
GS: There is no average day here. I am always striving to move the business forward, getting involved with various projects from building moves and acquisition, to implementing new business processes. And, of course, there is payroll and management accounts.
BW: What is the best thing about working at Birchall Foodservice?
GS: No employee is a number, and the company will do everything it can to help nurture talent and develop people’s individual strengths and skills. It is a family business, and this permeates down through the company, with a sense of one big team and some key friendships made along the way.
BW: How would your colleagues describe you?
GS: Committed and focused, driven, motivated, helpful, sensitive and patient.
BW: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
GS: ‘Write your own script’.
BW: Who do you most admire?
GS: It is a cliché, but undoubtedly, my dad. From humble beginnings and real-life challenges along the way, he is the most respected person I have ever come across: successful, hard-working and intelligent.
BW: Who would play you in the film of your life?
GS: As suggested by two colleagues independently, Reese Witherspoon. Their reasoning was that I am ditzy but clever, like her character in Legally Blonde!
BW: What do you like to get up to in your spare time?
GS: Family days with my husband and little boy, Jacob. Meals and eating out, too.
BW: Who would be your four ideal dinner party guests?
GS: Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Attenborough, Paddy McGuiness and Barack Obama. Oh, and my husband, of course. It would not be fair without him!
BW: What is your favourite place?
BW: If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
GS: To be able to freeze time. I always try to pack a lot of things into the day but somehow, there is never enough time!