This week I’m talking about bringing new people on board, including staff, suppliers and celebrities…

Highlight of the week

Site traffic and sales are increasing rapidly, so this week I’ve been focusing my efforts on building a world class customer service team. I’ve spent a long time interviewing (we’re recruiting for two roles, a Customer Service Manager and a Customer Service Executive), and I’m determined to find people who not only understand our customer’s needs by having personal experience of dementia, but who also understand how to offer constructive help.

Monday

The day started with an email at 6.30am from a guy at Barclay’s bank who had been following us on Twitter, to say he’d just seen an article about me in his morning newspaper. What a great start to the week! I spoke to journalist Harriet Green last week from the newspaper City AM and was so excited to see the piece she did. It was given a full page and was really well written. It was also great fun coming to work on the tube and seeing other commuters reading it too!

Tuesday

I spent most of the day interviewing for our customers service team – it’s so important we get this right. I also spoke to Sandy Savell who wrote Dear Clueless: A Daughter’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s Caregiving. We had a really good chat (and you can read her own blog post here) and it made me think about the possibility of writing my own story…watch this space!

I finished the day finalising our agreement with charity Dementia UK and with Rompa, a new supplier we’re hoping to bring on board. Then I went home to set up the party table for our team Christmas party tomorrow and 18 guests.

Wednesday

I started the day with our chairman Maurice Helfgott discussing the challenges ahead of us and the next board meeting. Maurice is a fantastic chairman with immense experience – he runs clothes shop Long Tall Sally amongst others. We’re so lucky to have him.

I spent time in the afternoon talking to people about getting celebrities on board. One of them was a friend of mine Alistair Appleton, who’s also a daytime TV presenter (you might have seen him on Cash in the Attic) and he gave me some very valuable advice.

At 5pm we all stopped working and had our Secret Santa before heading off to my house for our party (thank you to David for the special hot chocolate!). We had a brilliant evening, eating delicious food (everyone brought a dish) and playing games – the highlight was undoubtedly Alex splitting his trousers playing the cereal box game (Google it to find out what it is). It was weird to remember how far we’ve come in a year – last Christmas it was only David and I – and to wonder where we might be in another 12 months.

Thursday

We did more interviews for the Customer Service roles and found a couple of really good people who we’ve called back for a second interview. I also spent time looking at our weekly newsletter and preparing it for release on Monday.

Later, I met a fascinating guy called Srin Madipalli who co-edits a magazine called Disability Horizon which is the UK’s fastest growing disability lifestyle publication. We didn’t get off to a good start though because Srin couldn’t even get inside our office building in his wheelchair and was left waiting outside. It made me see immediately how frustrating life in a wheelchair could be and how much more we need to do. Srin is starting a business which helps disabled people find suitable accommodation when they go on holiday. I think we can learn a lot from each other and will be staying in touch regularly.

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