Member Of The Week - Sonia Hawkes

One of the most remarkable aspects about the community we have built here at PLATF9RM is that there are so many vibrant, diverse and interesting members! You never truly know who you'll end up sitting next to, and all the amazing things they do!

This week we took the time to better know Sonia Hawkes, who has been co-working with us since February, and we're so glad we did! Here we discuss her numerous (and believe us! There are numerous!) jobs and businesses, how to calmly handle a zombie apocalypse and discovering that Sonia is your go-to for financial and investment advice!

Hello Sonia! To say you have an interesting job would be a serious understatement! Can you talk us through what it is you do, and how on earth did you get into it?

In my mid-twenties I ran a paintball site in Dorking in Surrey, and then after doing that for a while it lead me to getting more into outdoor activities and events. From there I ended up taking over the UK’s toughest army assault course!


For a breakdown, Action Days is my sole business and that runs activities, mainly based in and around London, like running assault courses, raft building, and team challenges that are all based outdoors.
I’m also part-owner of The Nuts Challenge which is a mud run. It’s the UK’s version of 'Tough Mudder' so that has thousands of people taking part twice a year. In March we do a Winter Run which is freezing and is part of the World Championships, so contestants have to qualify at our Winter one to further take part.

I also run London Youth Action which is based around schools doing activity. Taking the kids away from PE lessons in their school and coming to do something more physically challenging.
It’s mostly assault course based activities but we also do den and camp building in the woods, learning how to build a fire, and cooking over an open fire. It’s just totally geared at encouraging kids to enjoy an outdoorsy life.
Lastly I also part-own Bunker 51 which offers Zombie Laser Quest experiences! There's a massive team that run our zombie events, which include paintball, laser and recently we've just gotten involved in the escape rooms.

(Sorry...In the what?!)

So you're trapped in the room with the zombie for an hour as a team and you have to try and work out how to get out the room without the zombie getting you - it's usually chained under the desk! 

WE'll have to keep you in mind for next years Halloween Social!
What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? 

It has to be the TV work! We film lots of TV shows and movie at our assault course in Dorking, recently we have had the new Fitbit advert filmed there and the WW2 Playstation launch with UniLad.

A lot of your activities encourage teamwork, what do you think the most important aspect of working in a team is?

I think it’s vital that a team get along together. That way they can work together, and most importantly play together!

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever been challenged with?

Resigning as a Director of my business The Nuts Challenge, and passing it over to the rest of my team to run. I resigned in July so I could move on to newer projects, as it was taking up a lot of my time. I’m still a 50% owner but have relinquished myself of the responsibilities of running it - it was a big decision to make.

One of your companies Bunker 51, offers Zombie Laser Quest Experiences! If the dead did really start to rise, what would your plan of action be?

Get to Bunker 51, collect my gun and take down the zombies! 

You’ve been with at PLATF9RM for a while now, what was it that attracted you to working here?

It was ideal, as I really wanted somewhere where my team and I could brainstorm and work together. It can be a lot of work to juggle the businesses. Most of them are run by ex-military personnel - we recruit military staff that are mostly retired from the army. 

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for a 100 years?

Where’s the coffee?!

(We couldn't agree more!)

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

I would just want a villa in the south of France with fantastic views - it would be all about the views for me!

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Usually it’s financial advice as I’m quite savvy with my money and investments.


Thanks for your time Sonia - we're all eager beavers to come down and try out the course!

If you want to be a part of PLATF9RM - come try a free co-working day.