Business Engagement Executive, Interface
Q. What is your current business role?
CAA: I joined Interface on 30th March this year as a Business Engagement Executive. Using our extensive database of information and contacts, I will help businesses or individuals define their technical problem or business requirement and then source and facilitate introductions to the appropriate academic partner.
Projects can be anything from identifying a student group to research history for a website; to build and test a prototype; develop an app or extend shelf life on food items; through to the manufacturing process or packaging of a product.
I will also be involved in attending and presenting at networking events and roadshows to increase the profile of our organisation. Our free and impartial service has helped hundreds of organisations to create and improve products, streamline services and develop processes which have enabled them to increase profits, maximise export potential and ultimately become more sustainable.
Q. How many people work at Interface?
CAA: Interface has 22 members of staff. I am part of a small team based in our Inverness office, covering the Highlands and Islands region.
Q. What would a typical day involve?
CAA: The majority of my time will be spent speaking with clients either on the phone, by email, or visiting their premises, to assist in identifying matchmaking opportunities within each of the 23 Scottish University and Research Institutions we have at our disposal.
Q. What is your previous experience?
CAA: Having recently relocated to the Highlands, I worked for just under a year with Highlands and Islands Enterprise’ Inward Investment Team in Inverness. That’s given me a fantastic breadth of knowledge of the whole region in a relatively short space of time.
Prior to relocating, I had worked for 29 years in Lloyds Bank. I undertook a variety of roles, latterly working in Edinburgh as a Product Manager for Client Accounts, within the Corporate Markets division.
Q. What type of projects do you get involved in?
CAA: We can deal with any size of company in any sector, ranging from developing prototypes to shelf life of products. The development of new products and services is something we would also be very keen to become involved in.
Q. Innovation is a buzz word heard regularly – how would you describe what it means?
CA: I would describe it as an original idea or invention that introduces a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. Ultimately it’s about offering something that you haven’t offered before.
Q. What would you recommend others do in business?
CAA: Always treat others as you would wish treated yourself, and importantly, if you leave an organisation or role, do so in a manner that means they would welcome you back, as you never know what the future can hold.
Q. What do you have a knack for?
CAA: Turns out I can spot spelling mistakes at 20 paces! Much to the dismay of my colleagues over the years.
Q. If you hadn’t gone into banking, what would you have done?
CAA: I would have set up my own business as a painter and decorator, perhaps venturing into interior design too. I am a dab hand at wallpapering!
Q. What do you do to relax?
CAA: My favourite way is to have a long walk on the beach. The sound of the waves can sooth any troubled mind. Oh, and perhaps a chilled, crisp white at the end wouldn’t go amiss.