10 In 10. Laura Bouttell, Managing Director at Harrogate-based Quarterdeck
In this new and exclusive feature for The Yorkshire Times, we put a regional business professional in the hot seat and give them 10 minutes to answer our 10 burning questions. Here, we hear from Laura Bouttell, Managing Director at Harrogate-based Quarterdeck.
What does a typical working day for you involve?
I get up at 5.30am and do a couple of hours of intense work before breakfasting with my little girl – unless I’m out delivering training, in which case I’ve usually left before she gets up. I then arrive at the office for around 9am after the school drop off.
My day is then a mixture of the usual business admin – coaching by phone as well as in person, meeting with potential clients and sometimes brainstorming about new training we’re planning.
What makes your company special?
Our mission is to increase the happiness of everyone with whom we come into contact with – whether you’re a team member, a customer, a supplier or a person we pass on the street. We become a part of our customers’ lives and often receive a big hug when we meet, which makes us feel like one of the family – it’s fantastic!
Our programmes really do help people transform their lives long term, and I think that’s why we get so close to people.
Do you have any business rules that you swear by?
We all individually have very strong personal values, and our mission is so ingrained in our business that we don’t have a set of rules as such. If I had to pick one thing that we always stick to though, it’s that we must walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
I see and hear about a lot of personal coaches and trainers who spin a good line, but don’t really live their advice. We are authentic and hold ourselves to the high standards that we demand from our customers.
Do you dress up or down for work?
Up, definitely! We can go from a digital start-up to a bank or a finance house in one day, so we have to look the part. Business dress fits every scenario.
Having said that, not long ago I had to divert from the school run to fill in for a team member who’d got stuck in the snow, so I turned up and started the training session in jeans and snow boots! That was a bit more casual than usual, but we’re authentically us – human through and through – so it was fine.
What piece of advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Spend as much time as you can with your brother. My brother, Gary, was killed in a motorbike accident when I was 19. We were very close, but I hadn’t seen that much of him for the previous 6 months as I’d just started uni.
Life is precious and fragile. Love those you hold dear, actively and fully, on a daily basis.
What’s your favourite Yorkshire venue for an event or team away day?
We run all our courses at Rudding House and I love it there. In fact, we all do. It’s a special place, made all the more exceptional by the amazing people who work there and who look after us so well, day in day out.
How do you prefer to travel for business?
I love driving – I often talk about it with my customers too. I’ve just got a new car and I’m getting used to all the controls, but it is a lovely space from which I can relax and enjoy the scenery.
What’s your favourite place in Yorkshire to relax?
I know I’ve said Rudding already, but the new spa is amazing. I often pop in on my own for a quick hour in the hydrotherapy pool, looking out at the trees and shrubs – it’s just beautiful. That or Harlow Carr with the family!
Where is your favourite place to eat in Yorkshire, and what dish do you recommend?
I’m vegan so I’m a bit difficult when we go out. I’m often disappointed in the food on offer that I can have, especially from big restaurants, but one place we really enjoy as a family is the Royal Baths Chinese. The seaweed is a firm favourite and the tofu dishes are amazing!
What do you miss most about Yorkshire when you are away?
The countryside most definitely. But in terms of everyday life, probably the greenness of Harrogate town itself. It’s such a beautiful place with the Stray, the flowers and the lights in the trees – we are very lucky to live here!