Member of the Week - Sarah Bagg

Our latest Member of the Week is Sarah Bagg, who is an integral part of TOR Systems Ltd, as well as a keen runner in the Brighton & Hove area and creative spirit, who you may have met at Artist's Open House! A big advoctae for remote working she feels right at home in PLATF9RM, so who wouldn't be more perfect to interview!


Firstly enlighten us as to what you do for TOR Systems Ltd?

TOR Systems develops ticketing software for galleries, museums, theme parks etc, basically any type of visitor attraction. It’s a small company so my role covers many different areas but in short I manage our current client accounts, sales, as well as marketing.

Previous to this role I spent about 20 years in the Visitor Attractions and Hospitality industry, managing a bar when I was just 23, then Head of Operations at Vinopolis (which was a wine attraction and events business in London), as well as managing the Stadium Tours and Museum at Chelsea Football Club. So I’ve had a pretty varied career so far!

What are the key things you enjoy about living and working in Brighton?

I love the freedom and autonomy I have within my job. It allows me scope to try out ideas and actually see those ideas have a positive impact on the business, which is so much harder to influence in a larger company.

Because our customers are all over the UK, I get to see lots of the country that I probably wouldn’t venture to otherwise. I love travelling and meeting new people, and this job offers loads of variety, which is one thing I really need to keep me interested in any type of role.

One of the reasons why I moved back to Brighton last year, is that I felt I needed a big Brighton hug! What I mean by that is that I needed to feel part of a community, which is one of the reasons why I love being a member of PLATF9RM. As well as co working, I have joined a running club and I’m part of the artist open house community, all of which has helped me settle back into life here!

I like the fact that Brighton can’t ever be described as beige, and is accepting of anyone. I was always the black sheep of the family, so I like the fact that Brighton allows you to be who you want to be without the pressure of necessarily conforming to what everyone else is doing.

I wanted to ask you about your interest in life coaching - did you embark on a life coaching course? Have you considered becoming a coach?

Yes, I have recently started a diploma in life coaching, something that has interested me for a long time. I was first coached when I was about 24 and again the year before last and I honestly can’t tell you how helpful both times have been to my career and life.

I don’t know where the course will take me, at the moment I’m just enjoying learning something new and want to see how it naturally develops, I guess lets just watch this space!

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So you’re a keen runner, can you recommend any main clubs/events that aspiring runners can take part of in Brighton?

Yes I love the benefits of running, the physical side of things are pretty obvious, but for me it’s more than just that. A run totally sorts my head out when I’m busy with work, or if I have anything that’s troubling me.

There are lots of running clubs in the area, but when I moved back to Brighton I was looking for a club that wasn’t a serious athletics club and I heard about Hove Hornets. It’s a family run running club, which has been great for me, in terms of meeting new people, having others to run with and introducing me to areas of Brighton and the surrounding area that I didn’t know before.

Through the running club, I have been introduced to Park Run. When I can, I take part in Hove Park Run, which is such an amazing concept and Brighton is lucky enough to have 4!! (Hove Park, Hove Prom, Preston Park and Bevendean.)

For anyone thinking about starting running, Park run is a great opportunity, which is for any ability, so no one cares about how fast/slow you are. If you are thinking about starting running and don’t mind an early morning, why not give RUN 5.30 a go, which I did this week. It was great to see Brighton whilst everyone (well almost everyone) was sleeping!

Who is the person that most inspires you in your life?

On a personal level, it’s definitely my mum, she’s totally incredible. A force of nature, almost 77 and always on the go. When I managed teams in previous roles I would joke that I would have 10 of my Mum in my team if I could as she has such an amazing work ethic and is so diligent in everything she does.

There are so many people that inspire me, I don’t think I could name a just a few specifics here, but I think it’s important for me to be just as inspired by ‘real people’, not just those in the media!

What is the greatest adventure you’ve been on so far?

I definitely would say when I went travelling on my own when I was 21. Obviously it’s a totally different ball game travelling now, but when I went no-one had mobiles, and thankfully there was no social media! (wow I sound like I’m about 50 - thankfully I’m not!) Although the destination doesn’t necessarily seem that adventurous now, the fact I had booked a ticket to Australia, with a stopover in Bangkok, with no other fixed plan I was truly on my own... When I arrived in Bangkok I went to domestic departures bought an internal ticket to Koh Samui and then the adventure began!

20 years later it’s one of the best decisions I ever made, travelling solo was ace!

Having read your article on flexible working it seems like coworking is working well for you. Do you think more and more businesses will be inclined to offer a more flexible approach to working because of the benefits it can have for employees?

Definitely, so much progress is being made. Just this week it was debated in Parliament.

I think it has real benefits for employees and employers, but I think it’s important if you’re offered the option to work from home to consider how it might impact on your mental health and ensure you make changes to support this.

Are you attending any of our events this summer?

I would have liked to attend the event on WordPress at Tower Point, but I had to be in London for meetings, so it would be great if some of these events were scheduled again at Hove.

I’m sure I’ll be at the Social, but i’m not so sure my volley skills are up to much!

If you were to imagine your ideal coworking set up, money no object (out-there ideas welcome) what would it include?

Considering PLATF9RM is such a young company, I think it’s doing a great job.

I think community is really important to me, so as much as the way it looks and feels is important to me, I think the people are at the heart of a good co working space, just as it is in a good company. But if I could add anything to enhance it would probably be to build on the social side, as it’s so much easier to get to know members when you’re not in work mode!

So how about old school things like a pinball machine, pool table, table tennis, juke box, regular pub style quizzes, local sussex wine tastings, cocktail masterclasses etc etc.

Thank you Sarah!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.

How Local Businesses and Charities Can Work Together

How Local Businesses And Charities Can Work Together


Brand activism is one of the most overused corporate buzz phrases of recent times. As the public becomes evermore likely to spend their money with companies proclaiming a social conscience, so big businesses are tripping over each other to align themselves with a deserving cause. But consumers are increasingly savvy and can sniff a cynical marketing ploy long before they’ve even opened up their Instagram.

Fortunately, living and working in Brighton, we at PLATF9RM see businesses reaching out to charities for all the right reasons: the city is a hotbed for community projects and company owners doing their best to support them.

We spoke to a couple of PLATF9RM members about their work with local organizations, how they’ve made it a part of company culture, and got some advice for businesses looking to do the same.

 

Brighton has a thriving community spirit, so we spoke with Vicki from @FuguPR and @Emma_Betty about how local businesses and charities can work together. 🙌

Viki Hughes - Fugu PR


Fugu’s emphasis on community is something that’s very visible. Where has that come from?

Having a positive impact has become a central part of our company culture – it’s a team thing. As we have grown, we’ve taken the time to look at things that are important to us. We want to look after each other and help build local communities.


How have you put that into practice?

We try to make sure our values inform our decisions and we look at ways of helping where we can. Sometimes this can be hard when faced with the pressures of the day to day, so we provide allocated time to work on some of the things we feel passionate about. These have included projects for charities, such as Same Sky, Little Green Pig and Brighton Housing Trust. Our support can either come in the form of pro-bono work – offering our communications expertise and network – or as an advisor trustee, and sometimes it’s a more straightforward cash donation.


How do you decide on your method of support?

By listening to what people need and thinking about how best we can help. For instance: with Brighton Housing Trust we helped create a Christmas fundraising video because they really needed donations at that time. We were also thinking of taking hot drinks to homeless people in winter but they suggested we help fund the supplies they need at First Base – their drop-in centre in Seven Dials - so we now make a regular donation to pay for their coffee supplies year-round.


Surely time is an issue? You have a business to run…

We want to run a healthy and sustainable business, but there are more ways to measure success than just profit. We have developed a model that hopefully allows us to stay true to our values whilst keeping things rolling along!


How should local companies get involved with charities?

Just get out there and do it! There are lots of gatherings and meet-ups where there will be people crying out for help. Or just reach out in an email.

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Emma Lewis-Griffiths (aka Betty) – [The Social Club][1]


[1]: http://www.jointhesocialclub.co.uk/

Can you detail some of the pro-bono projects you’ve helped, and what the work entailed?

Last year I worked with the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. They were launching their Community Kitchen and their goal to reduce loneliness and isolation could only be achieved with the success of their paid-for cookery classes. We developed ideas and I helped bring in some of the city’s best chefs for masterclasses. Together we developed a week of launch events and they got some great exposure. It’s amazing how they’re doing a year on.


You’ve been building The Social Club from the ground up over the last three years. How/why did you make the decision to divert some of your time and energy to community projects?

Once of the main reasons I went freelance was because I wanted to work with some smaller, under-resourced organisations that can’t afford a normal PR day rate. A lot of the best projects come from people that are passionate about things but don’t have the money behind their idea to really make it work. I have a network of amazing people in Brighton and I wanted to be able to offer the right people access to it.


Do you think there’s been a tangibly positive effect on your business as a result of your pro-bono work??

The best thing about doing pro-bono work is you’re doing it because you’re passionate about the project. You obviously need to set expectations and agree on how you can support, but ultimately any opportunities to meet new people and make new connections has a positive impact on the work that you do. It’s a great opportunity to get a really positive case study too!


What must companies do to ensure that consumers don’t see through company charity work and/or activism as some cynical attempt to “appeal to millennials”?

The most important thing is to choose the project or charity that means the most to you. You have to be passionate about the cause, believe in the work, and be true to yourself.


What would you suggest to any Brighton businesses looking to get involved with community projects?

Do it! There are so many amazing initiatives happening in the city that I hear about daily. Smaller organisations often don’t have time to even think about areas of work that they aren’t experts in. If you’re not sure about getting started, The Social Society is a great way of sharing your skills with local charities that need it.

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Thank you Viki and Emma!

9 Minutes With - Jessica Samson

It’s likely you’ve seen her walking the hallways of both Tower Point and Hove, usually accompanied by prospective PLATF9RM members. As far as roles go, Community Lead is a significantly impressive game of juggling multiple tasks at any one given moment, and there is no one that does it better and with such verve, than our very own Jessica Samson. We caught up with her to find out a little more about her and just how she does it!


Jess, we normally see you scampering between Tower Point and Hove Town Hall as Community Lead but what are you getting up to?

I’m really lucky and have quite a mix in my job role. I get to spend time with our members, making sure that they’re having a wonderful PLATF9RM experience. I also look after sales, keeping our offices full and bringing more great people into the community. Plus I get to work with The Drop Digital to oversee our social media.

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How long have you been at PLATF9RM, there must be a number of highlights, but what’s been the biggest?

I’ve been at PLATF9RM for 2 years next month! There are more highlights than I can count but for me Hove Town Hall Ground Floor was massive! Watching how people use this entirely new space that has been created and filling it with life has been a delight. It also meant I got to wear high vis for 12 weeks of the build which is my favourite thing.


Now, is there a certain skill one must acquire to be able to remember all the 700 plus members? Or is it a superpower?

I’m not going to lie - 500 names was just about manageable, but the influx we got at Hove when we opened the Ground Floor was the real struggle, I’m just about getting there. I think the trick is to talk to people regularly and make a LOT of cups of tea.


We’ve got quite the eclectic mix of members here at PLATF9RM, don’t worry we won’t ask you to name favourites but what are the top five industries in our member make up?

We do have such a mix! I find it fascinating that you can have a room of people in different fields sat next to each other, bouncing ideas and being supportive. We have a lot of creatives; photographers, graphic designers, writers and another field that you’d sort of expect is tech; developers, web designers, UX designers but I really enjoy that so many different people can utilise the space - electricians, yoga instructors, doctors, clowns — you name it - we’re home to them!



Not many people know that you’re not a thorough bred Brightonian, how did you end up here?

I’m a Yorkshire girl at heart - I came down here to do a degree in Graphic Design and fell in LOVE with Brighton and it’s huge array of pubs, dogs, the sea and the most wonderful people.


Did you always want to go down the route of Graphic Design?

No not at all, I actually didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. I’m a creative person and I love beautiful ‘things’ so going in the Graphic Design direction sort of made sense - didn’t stop me getting cold feet the night before I moved to Brighton and thinking ‘Oh God what am I doing, I want to be a vet’. As it turns out it all led me to the right spot and I feel so lucky to have found a job I adore doing.


You’re known for having quite a distinctive laugh, what’s brought about the biggest laugh since being at PLATF9RM?

Distinctive, ha! I generally find myself the funniest human on the planet. Also, the more I laugh the bigger my laugh gets. The biggest laugh was possibly the time I had a dream about Leanne dressed up as an (angry) carrot for a Harvest Festival and when I saw her and tried to explain it I completely lost the plot.


It’s also no big secret that you’re a dog fanatic, so who’s your favourite PLATF9RM Pup?

Clarence Hillier's the Original PLATF9RM Pup for me, he has stolen my heart in a way I never expected a yappy / sassy / hilarious terrier to. I have a tendency to keep hold of him for days longer than I need to. Good job David (the dog Dad) knows where I live!

Other PLATF9RM Pup Ultimate Babes include Oscar Cornelius belonging to our Sparkly Fairy Queen Amy Brown, Monty who belongs to the legend that is Emma Croman and Kipper - hero dog of Lizzie Hodgson. Also Shelby who Jason Rhahi brought in when she was just weeks old and is now a fully grown well behaved pupper. Oh, but then there’s Benji Lamb’s rescue dog, Amber, who is an extra special clever girl with just 3 legs!

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You know what, they’re all just brilliant! Hove’s had some extra dogs join recently and I know our Front of House team over in Brighton have been getting jealous - we have dog treats and so much love to give them! This was NEVER going to be a short answer, was it.



What do you bring to make work wonderful?

We have an incredible team who support and cheerlead each other in every aspect of life - they make everyday fun and being part of a powerhouse of a team really makes it simple to make work wonderful. I’d also like to think I bring an overall constant enthusiasm, it makes my days at PLATF9RM so much more fulfilled knowing that I can help take care of people, from anyone’s very first tour, all the way to their signing up — either in cups of teas, a friendly chat or yes, my often heard “distinctive” laugh.







Thank you so much for answering these. Hopefully we've shone a little light onto the world of Jess and your invaluable role in making things work like clockwork.

Member of the Week - Steven Fisher

Introducing Steven Fisher, Managing Director of Kingfisher Electrics, PLATF9RM's in-house electrician and one of our newest members. Hello Steven!

So Steven, you’ve been an electrician for 17 years now. What made you pursue it as a career and when did you decide to run your own company?


After returning back from 12 months of backpacking around Australia, New Zealand and Thailand I decided to get a trade with the idea that it would allow me to travel more and work wherever I went.

5 years later I was qualified but working abroad was no longer an ambition of mine but I did enjoy the work. No day is the same and that keeps things interesting.

I'd always been too scared to take the leap and run my own business but when the company I worked for went into liquidation I was presented with a fantastic opportunity.

Jobs and customers were already there plus my ex boss helped introduce me to some great contacts.

Having just become a father of two; myself and my fiance Victoria thought it was worth a shot. If it went well it would be brilliant for us as a family for obvious reasons. Thankfully everything has gone well so far!

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Do you have any disaster stories from your career that you’re allowed to share?

When I was an apprentice, I managed to put my foot through a customers ceiling. He was a 6′4″ policeman. Luckily he was very understanding and didn’t thump or arrest me!

I see you work with your brother as your second hand man. How is employing a sibling?

He was my apprentice for a short period of time but he has actually changed careers since. We definitely had some difficult moments but are still on good terms!

What is your favourite outside of work past-time?

If it's a nice sunny day then playing golf with a few of the chaps can be extremely pleasurable!

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

The sunshine! Everything seems better in the Summer. And if I can get childcare; Pride is always a fun weekend.

How long have you been in Brighton and how does it compare to other places you’ve lived?

Originally I'm a South Londoner, I've lived in Isleworth, Clapham Junction and Haywards Heath. Nothing compares to Hove for me, I love it. I even drink Earl Grey these days. I'm proper posh now.

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When did you join PLATF9RM?

About 4 months ago.

What motivated you to Cowork?

I needed somewhere local with good parking at a reasonable price. It’s healthy to not bring my work home with me. The PLATF9RM offices are gorgeous and everyone is really friendly. It was a no brainer.

Are you attending any of our events over the next few weeks?

If I'm honest I haven't planned to but am always open to a bit of networking.

Thank you Steven!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.