Remember March, before we went into lockdown? Does that feel like five hundred years ago to anyone else? Well, we welcomed some new staff members into the fold, who have had the unique experience of joining a company right around the time we shut the office and went completely remote. Now that the dust is settling a little bit and Delib is transitioning out of crisis comms, it's high time we introduce you! Say hello to Tom, our newest commercial consultant.

What’s your name and where are you from?

Hello! I’m Tom and I’m from Liverpool. The accent has long gone I’m afraid but if you catch me at the right moment, I’ll do you an impression. I arrived in Bristol a few years back after fifteen fun but hectic years living in London.

What did you do before you started with us?

I spent longer than I care to mention working in the advertising industry, starting out at my local newspaper, The Northampton Chronicle & Echo. After 4 years there I knew everything there was to know about producing and printing a daily paper, coinciding nicely with the exact moment they became defunct. My next notable post was on the commercial partnerships team at the Guardian & Observer, I spent many happy years there. For the last five or so I’ve been a commercial director with an AdTech business, launching and running digital marketing campaigns for ad agencies and brands.

What drew you to Delib?

Ben Fowkes' copywriting skills, the job description he wrote was something else, summarised; ‘do you want to come and help us save democracy?’ I had been aware of Delib for a while before seeing Ben’s finest work, I knew it to be an organisation with a strong sense of purpose and a mission; to build digital tools and platforms that improve the interaction between publicly accountable organisations and citizens. This role lets me use the skills I’ve picked up over the years and put them to much better use.

What’s your favourite film? (Or top three, if you can’t pick just one)

Speed, Speed 2 Cruise Control, the next Speed movie, which I hope is in production?!? I’m joking. I don’t know about favourites but off the top of my head: the 1998 remake of Great Expectations, which I don’t think many people know about, perhaps it didn’t do so well? But it’s a joy to watch, De Niro plays the baddie. Parasite absolutely bowled me over last year and I can also recommend two excellent documentary films; Maiden – which is about the first all-female crew to take part in the Whitbread Round the World Race and Marianne & Leonard, the story of Leonard Cohen and his muse, Marianne Ihlen.

What’s it been like starting mid-pandemic, and what do you hope we (as a society) learn from COVID?

It’s been odd, I started as lockdown took hold which was unnerving, a new job is tricky at the best of times so to not meet any colleagues has been tough. Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of remote working in the past, so the discipline was there. Given the circumstances, I think the onboarding process at Delib has been really good. I am looking forward to a proper knees up with you all though, when we can. As for COVID, focusing on the positives, I think the impact it’s had on our environment globally but also locally too is significant, less air and noise pollution, less fuel consumption. Hopefully it’ll prompt us to quickly change some of our consumer habits and rethink the frequency with which we travel and use energy. 

What are the best and worst pieces of advice you’ve ever received?

It’s not particularly profound but it’s bloody useful and that is to always sleep on it, I’ve made decisions in the moment that I’ve been unhappy with later. Sleep on it. Sleep on it a few times if you need to. Worst? ‘Follow your passion’ is unhelpful as presupposes everyone has one, I prefer the idea of following your values as best you can, that’ll get you where you want to be.   

Anything more to add?

Yes, if you donated to either Dementia UK or Mind UK you would be doing a good, good thing.

You can follow Tom on Twitter.