About Simon

Simon Photo

My background is varied – here is a summary which I hope you will find useful.

Journalism

I started out as a freelance journalist, writing and editing music and sport articles and publications for Peterborough Pirates Ice Hockey Club and the rock group Electric Light Orchestra.   I also featured regularly on BBC and commercial radio as a sports commentator.   Additionally, I worked in local newspapers as a news, sports and features journalist.  More recently, I helped the pop group Red Box with their marketing, website and social media.

Ground transport, tour operating and airlines

My career in the travel industry started in planning.    I then managed the quality control and legal department of one of the most prestigious ski tour operators.   From there, I moved on to an expanded remit also covering health and safety another tour operator.   I then had a spell with a start up airline, where I set up and implemented the company’s international customer service operations.

Business Services

There followed a challenge with one of the UK’s most successful business services companies.   I led a team of over 150 customer care professionals located across the UK, handling annual sales turnover of over £80M.   We also implemented and trained everyone up for a major change in business systems and software.

Charity

I spent several years heading the operations department of a UK government funded international charity, which specialised in providing highly qualified volunteer mentors to over 600 organisations in less developed communiities worldwide every year.   My remit was later extended to cover distance learning (in order to help speed up communication opportunities and reduce the cost of sending volunteers overseas every time). More recently, I served on the senior management team of a national charity (which started out as a pioneering social enterise), leading on business development and innovation and in turn  helping people living with dementia remain connected to nature, their loved ones and themselves.

Online Travel Agents

I went on to head up the sales and marketing for a rapidly growing challenger online travel brand.   During my time with the company, sales revenue grew significantly to £20M per year, and our product range and profit margins also improved.

Media

I worked ‘agency side’ for a leading independent media agency, which specialised in helping challenger brands become market leaders through cost effective use of mass media.

Consulting

I have over many years developed a board level contact book, and have worked successfully as an independent consultant with many of these contacts.   Projects have included web design, marketing pilots, social media training programmes, environmental projects and high level government international advisory assignments.   A new service offered was a ‘pay by results’ product.   This enabled clients to get online quickly and cheaply with new websites and social media pages.

Gardening & Volunteering

One of my great passions is gardening.   I hold a diploma in garden design and have worked with private clients.   I have also volunteered as a gardener and  conservationist with Essex Wildlife Trust (Warley Place) and Friends of Cressing Temple (Cressing Temple Barns).

Memberships and Accreditations

Certified Garden Designer (Dip. GD (Inst. GD))

Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Upholders

Member of the Upholders Membership Committee

Member of the Upholders Communications Committee

Freeman of the City of London