Meet the Team: Louise Wafer
Hi Louise. You have worked every job in Speakers Corner and have been here for over eight years. Can you tell us a bit about your different roles and what day-to-day looks like now?
When I first started, I worked in the Account Management team, but it looked very different then to how it does now. That was for the two years before I had my first son Harrison, when it was a much smaller team: just me, Tim and Nick. I had found out about Speakers Corner from a friend of a friend, it was an ideal situation as it was just up the road from me, but little did I know how great it would turn out to be.
So, then I went on maternity leave, by which time we had grown, so I came back for a position in the Logistics team, but I was actually already pregnant when I came back to work, so I had a short 6-month shelf life in the Logistics team.
Louise spent 6 months booking trains, planes and automobiles
When I started work for the third time, I joined the marketing team to run a Q&A project which lasted about two years. As this project was coming to an end it became apparent Nick needed someone to help organise his daily life and the businesses he’s involved in. As I’d worked here a long time and am one of the only people who can be in the same room as Nick without getting annoyed, it was a natural fit! Only joking, Nick approached me with the proposal, and I was very excited about it as the role suited my skills.
So now I manage the day-to-day running of the office, I look after Nick’s diary, our in-house speaker visits, the speaker programme, all HR enquiries, and I have spent my last year here helping build our new database.
A very eclectic career. Do you have some highlights to share with us from your years of working here, and can you tell us what you love about working here?
A real highlight for me has been seeing Speakers Corner grow from very small operation in an office with an outside toilet into an established brand. When I look at our trendy offices now, it is hard to believe we’ve come such a long way. It is always a pleasure to see the Speakers Corner family become bigger than what was once just family, and I love watching the team grow. It makes me really proud, and it is a really nice place to work.
What I like about working here is having the contact with everyone else in the office. I have the freedom to work across all the divisions. I particularly love organising fun activities for the team here and watching the excitement unfold in the office.
We love the activities too, don’t stop organising them! But, onto more serious matters, you have had the chance to see loads of incredible speakers - has anyone stuck out for you and why?
Louise organises our team activities, including the Away Days - as pictured above
I saw Gordon Brown last year. I like him anyway but he was really great in action - he was surprisingly very entertaining! I thought Kirsty Young at the China Exchange was also excellent. I am a big fan of Desert Island Discs, so I knew I’d love her.
So, when you aren’t seeing speakers, what are you up to? Can you tell us a bit about your life outside of Speakers Corner?
Well, as I mentioned before, I have two boys ages 6 and 5, so I spend most of my life avoiding spending time with them! Again, joking, I spend my time with them and my husband. The four of us spend a lot of time in the park playing football, tennis, climbing trees... well, they do most of that and I’m happy just watching. I also enjoy a spa and feel that you can’t beat going out for a nice meal with a group of good friends. If I had to only eat at one restaurant for the rest of my life, it would be Hakkasan.
So, anyone looking to get Lou a present, a Hakkasan credit note will do! We also know you are partial to being in sunnier climes - can you tell us about your most recent getaway?
Yes, I can. We took our boys to Disneyland Paris, and spent three days with the Mickeys. I think I was more excited than they were, I spent the whole time with my Minnie Mouse ears on that I gave myself a headache and subsequently had bruises all over my scalp. But it was all so worth it to see their faces when they saw their favourite characters - Woody, Buzz and Lighting McQueen. Then we went for a week in the sun, which was the adult part of the trip.
Louise spent three days with the Mickeys
Sounds fabulous - where is next on your travel hit list?
We are going to Dubai in half term which will be lovely, to a Thai-themed resort for a week in the sun!
We are jealous. Last question, as a Speakers Corner veteran, what is your best piece of advice for newbies coming into the business?
I would say to get involved in everything you can. The benefit of working in a small business is that you can to try your hand at lots of different things, so take all the opportunities you get, as you never know where they will lead. Also, always bring biscuits.