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Welcome to our first FP Blog which showcases our wonderful FPs and documents their memories of school, career journeys and personal/professional successes since leaving Lauriston Place.
We hope you enjoy reading and please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.
What is your current role?
I am the Managing Director of Goose’s Quizzes and coordinate a team of 5 full time staff members and 12 part time quiz hosts. Prior to Covid-19, we ran around 45 quizzes per week at venues across Edinburgh and Glasgow but now things are a little different as we adhere to government recommendations of social distancing and implement more online options. As an MD, I now focus on the intricacies of the business as opposed to hosting – monitoring our annual budget and ensuring that revenue/sales targets are met, managing all corporate resources, maintaining the strategic direction of the business and also ensuring the effective implementation of the marketing strategy in line with the relevant staff. The teachers at Heriot’s would laugh if they saw me now as I wasn’t the most academic when I was at school!
How did you get there?
After studying Product Design Engineering for 4 years at Edinburgh Napier University I decided to focus more on design and enrolled on a Masters programme in Interaction Design. It was early in the Masters year I had to stop working behind the bar at The Golf Tavern (where I had worked throughout my undergraduate studies) and start running the weekly quiz, due to course workload. Little did I know that the small-scale quiz I had started would become a proper business. A large part was the understanding I was gaining from my studies, which helped not only guide the small decisions about how to format the quiz to best suit people but how to direct the business towards sustainable growth. Coronavirus has been our biggest hurdle, but it’s also proved that the hard work from the team to build a good following has paid off, especially in a time when feeling connected is hard. I have a love for helping people have a good time, weather that be at a quiz for the quizzers or in business for my employees, my focus is to help people enjoy their time.
What are your most notable achievements?
My achievements are both professional and personal. I was featured in Question Time: A Journey Round Britain’s Quizzes – a book about Britain and one of its most cherished institutions – the quiz. I was honoured that author, Mark Mason dedicated a whole chapter to the Goose’s Quizzes franchise as it made me reflect on my journey as business developer with a great deal of pride.
More personally, I was touched when the team were invited to host a quiz at a long-standing quiz goer’s wake. It was the gentleman’s friends (and also quiz team) that asked Goose’s Quizzes do a ‘stint’ because the quizzes had been such a key part of his life. That was quite a reaffirming, poignant moment for me as a founder and managing director. It made me realise just how important the community element of our quizzes can be for people.
As a company, we were also mentioned in youth community focussed UK news and entertainment network Ladbible – that was a bit of a ‘jackpot’ moment as Ladbible champion “everyday heroes for amazing acts of kindness, humour and bravery” so it was quite the accolade to achieve such recognition!
What are your memories of Heriot’s?
Heriot’s allowed me to find my ‘niche’ in both Craft and Design and Music, primarily because it was more relaxed than academia. The teaching staff nurtured those interests and encouraged me to pursue both paths. As such, my recollections are predominantly focussed in the Craft and Design and Music departments. I played drums for various bands and have vivid memories of playing in the Jazz Quartet at the Queens Hall and also at Hollyrood Palace. I still think my favourite piece to play was the Pirates of the Caribbean theme – the drum part will always be pretty epic!
Tell us your two ‘takeaways’ from your Heriot’s days:
The main ‘takeaway’ is the school motto – ‘I distribute chearfullie’; something I have always endeavoured to implement into Goose’s Quizzes. We do a lot of work for various charities and don’t charge any fees so that the organisation can make the most of their fundraising. That is incredibly important to me as a MD and I thank Heriot’s for instilling those values at a young age. The school teaches many ‘life lessons’ and that’s down to the enthusiasm of the staff – pupils can be the best version of themselves without any boundaries. That’s a key value you carry with you for the rest of your life.
Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?
Good question! My top ‘pearl of wisdom’ would be ‘do what you love’, because it is much more rewarding and you’ll gain a great deal of work satisfaction if you are passionate about the cause. Always apply yourself and work hard. Your education at Heriot’s is a gift for the rest of your life – relish it.
You can view the answers to the quiz here.