Job Title: Head of Strategy and Operations
Pets: Ayla, a German Shepherd
What were you doing before Mad Paws?
I was working for ExxonMobil, a large petrochemical company. I started as a business analyst, then progressed to a few different roles within corporate finance and internal auditing. After a while I decided I wanted to try something different, so I moved to Australia. As it turns out, I found something completely different in Mad Paws!
What do you love most about working at Mad Paws?
There are a number of things I love. From a work-related perspective, I most enjoy the variety of my role. Being in Operations, it’s always difficult to explain to people what I do – especially because every company defines “Operations” differently. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to tell people what I don’t do, because that list is shorter!
No two days are ever the same, and priorities changes. That can be challenging at times, but it also keeps the wheel turning.
From a culture perspective, my favourite thing is the people. I’m a passionate people leader, and everything I do in my leadership position is very much focused on developing my team, and making sure they’re happy.
Tell me about something special you have on your desk
I have a toy that I received in a Happy Meal a few years ago. It’s Bob the Minion, from the Despicable Me films, and I keep it on my desk for a few reasons. Firstly, I love McDonald’s AND minions. Secondly, the toy has a functionality through which its tongue sticks out when you press it. Whenever I’m having a stressful day, I like to press Bob. It’s as if he’s sticking his tongue out at my problems.
What do you spend your weekends doing?
You know, I have a scratch map of the world that hangs in my bathroom. Every morning when I’m brushing my teeth I like to look at the map and ask myself: “Where to next?” International travel has become a big part of my life.
Whenever I return from a trip, I scratch the most recent destination off my map. It gives me a real sense of achievement. It can obviously be hard to fit in travel around full-time work, so I need to be organised. I try to leverage long weekends and public holidays as much as possible.
When I’m in Sydney and not working, I love to live the beach life. I recently moved to Bondi, so I spend a lot of time running around on the sand.
What do you have as the background image on your phone?
It’s a photo from my recent trip to the Maldives. My mother lives in Belgium, so for my 30th birthday, we met in the Maldives for a holiday. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, I just take a look at my phone screen, and I return to that holiday. Blue sky, clear water – it’s just a beautiful place.
If you could Pet Sit any animal, what would it be?
A lion, purely because I’m a Leo myself.
I’d also love to Pet Sit a cheetah, because I have a history with them. When I lived in South Africa as a child, we used to visit a safari lodge owned by family friends. At some point, they had baby cheetahs living in the house. One day, during feeding time, one of the cheetah cubs mistook me for food, and they attacked me. They scratched me in the mouth before realising I wasn’t dinner, and I needed more than a few stitches. It’s still a story that emerges at family gatherings!
Chocolate or French Fries?
Pop music or jazz?
Tropical holiday or arctic adventure?
Living in Paris in the 1920s or a colony on the moon in the 22nd century?
Colony on the moon
Dogs or cats?
100% dogs, despite my love of big cats