Helen Jeremiah: Growing with the brand – Transcript

0:00:12 – Host

Welcome to the Genuine Humans, exploring the stories behind the great marketing leaders of our time and hearing how their journeys have influenced the brands they’ve built. Brought to you by The Social Element, here are our hosts Tamara Littleton, CEO and Founder, and Wendy Christie, Chief People Officer.

0:00:45 – Tamara Littleton

Welcome back to the Genuine Humans podcast. I’m here with Wendy Christie, my fabulous co-host. How are you doing, Wendy?

0:00:51 – Wendy Christie

Hi Tamara. Yeah, not bad, thank you. I think, like you, I’m getting over a cold – it’s that time of year. How are you?

0:00:57 – Tamara Littleton

Yeah, yeah, I think this is a special husky edition of the Genuine Humans podcast. We are also being joined today by Helen Jeremiah, and I’m so delighted to have Helen on the podcast today.

This is also a bit of a Genuine Humans first, as Helen is actually the first guest that we’ve had on the podcast, who started as a qualified chemist at Boots before moving into marketing, so welcome, Helen, to the podcast.

Helen Jeremiah

Thank you both so much for having me.

Tamara Littleton

So, Helen, I know that on this podcast, we like to sort of talk about how you got to where you are now. So, can you just sort of explain that early career and just give us a flavour of the path that you’ve taken?

0:01:42 – Helen Jeremiah

Thanks, Tamara.

I think my route into marketing is quite unusual. As you said, I started as a lab technician in the consumer products development division of Boots, developing skincare, cosmetics, toiletries and hair care products.

As a child, I hadn’t really thought about how products that we use every day were developed. And here I was in the labs developing products for brands such as Schwarzkopf, Body Shop, Ruby and Millie and retailers such as Boots, Tesco and Carrefour,  and I loved that role because there were many different sides to it.

There was obviously the science side, you know, understanding about skin and hair and how the products worked, you know, with our bodies, but also about technology. I’d be making things in a teeny, tiny beaker, and then we’d be transferring them to a 9-ton vessel in the factory, which meant we needed to think about dispersion technologies, you know, and how things mix together, and I used to love it, actually, when I got a call from the factory and a 9-ton batch of shampoo had gone wrong. I think it pulled on my problem-solving side, and I’d love to be able to fix it, and I think the whole lifestyle of product development is really interesting, you know, from an idea to development to stability testing, consumer testing, manufacturing and then obviously, distribution and warehousing. So, I feel like I learned a lot in that first career.

My favourite time was in hair care. I did everything from developing hair colours to working with all the famous hairdressers. Lots of them at the time wanted to launch their brands into retail and I can remember working with our account directors. On Fridays, we’d go to London to meet the brands, and then sometimes they’d come up to the labs, and they’d be in the salon trying out the products, and I’d be in the lab adding a bit more conditioning, and it just felt like a totally different world.

At the time, one of our customers was Boots, and I’d often thought, oh, that looks like fun; they seem to have quite a good time. And then a friend of mine, she was an old boss actually, she said: “Come and work with me in the insight team”. I can remember going for the interview and being asked by the head of the department, “Are you really sure you want this role? You know this is data. You sound like you’ve got a fantastic job in the labs developing products.” But I really trusted this old boss, and I’d fancied a role in retail. So, I thought, “I’ll make the move”.

So, I made the move to insights, and that felt like a totally different world. I was sat at a computer, working in an office, working with data scientists and researchers, and we’d got loads of data. You know all of the advantage card data. You know we’d have market data like Kantar and Ipsos and all of that competitive data, market research, but the business didn’t really know how to use it at that time. I can remember there were ad hoc requests and, you know, people trying to answer tiny business problems, and I think that’s the change that we made when I went into that area.

The team there was also really amazing. People still talk about the amazing fancy dress Christmas parties that we would do – mostly men, mostly you, know analytical, but would go absolutely out for this huge fancy dress that we did at Christmas. And even though I knew all of them really, really well, there was one that I went to, and a team had dressed up as some Star Wars characters, and I had absolutely no idea who was in those costumes like their costumes were so amazing.

So, it was a bit of a wild sort of blowout at Christmas that we used to do, and whilst I was in that team, that was when I had my two daughters. I can remember I was due to go on maternity with my second daughter, Eloise, and at that time myself and the team were all put into consultation.

The team were going to be reduced from 52 down to 19, and that was pretty scary. But two months into my maternity leave, the head of the department phoned me to say he was leaving and he wanted me to come back and lead the team. So, I returned to the team as head of customer insight into my first senior leadership role for Boots. So that was a like wow moment for me.

0:06:01 – Tamara Littleton

Also, incredible. Sadly, that’s often not the story for other women, so yeah, that’s incredible that that happened.

0:06:09 – Helen Jeremiah

Yeah, I mean, it was a really tough decision. You know, my baby was only two months old, but anyway, it worked out really well. So that’s great, and I did love my time in that role. I can remember it being really pressurised. Not only did I have a new baby, but I had this new job and new accountabilities.

But I think over time, we transformed the way the business worked. We got the executive and senior leadership team closer to customers. We held customer forums where we’d share everything that was going on. We did exact listening sessions to get them closer to customers, and I would be invited to all of the operating boards to help with the investment decisions for the brand, really putting the customers at the heart of the business. So, like a pressured time, but a really, really amazing time.

And then, about two years later, I was offered my next position and honestly, I was offered three different roles. So, I could stay as head of insight, I could go into a branded role, or I could move into marketing, and I had no idea if I could be a marketer, but I thought that was fun. So, let’s give it a go. And whilst I didn’t know marketing, I obviously understood our customers. You know who they were, what they bought if they were not our customers, why they weren’t choosing Boots.

As head of insights, I’d also been really close to marketing because we were measuring the brand health and the performance of the campaigns, and, honestly, at that time, the brand wasn’t in a great place. We’d seen brand health decline quite significantly over the years, and there’ve been lots of different marketing directors and a lack of investment in the brand. So, I don’t think it was really clear what it stood for at the time.

So, I started my role in marketing, and not long after, a new marketing director joined Boots, and that’s where I learned about marketing. Like she was incredible, like it was probably the steepest learning curve I’ve ever been on. She knew everything about media, you know, partnership. She was really close to all of the media houses. She had a fantastic eye for creative, and I think what I learned is the kind of questions to ask and what to look out for.

You know, it was just amazing, and together as a team, like we started to rebuild the brand. We built a new customer strategy. We had a new comms platform called Feel Good that we developed with Mother, an amazing agency that we worked with.

And actually, that was when Here Come the Girls was born. You know, an incredible piece of work that I worked on for many years. We could really feel the brand’s momentum growing. We’d have listening sessions with customers, and they’d tell us that the brand really got them. You know, “I can see me in that creative, like you really, as a brand get me”, and we knew we were onto something really powerful.

During my time in marketing as everything does, you know you start to take on more and more accountability. Your job grows, things change, and eventually, with the support of a new boss, I became marketing director for Boots, UK & Ireland, Boots Opticians and Hearing Care. So that was, you know, for me a real pinch me moment. Like Helen, oh my God, Helen, you’ve made it, and I think that was my favourite role. You know I love that time. The team were amazing. We had some really, really incredible marketeers at the time that were just doing incredible things. The agencies were wonderful. We used to talk about, you know, all sat around a table, sort of building on each other’s ideas, and the agencies were wonderfully well together, and we just did some incredible work. So it was, you know, I think back to that time really, really fondly, like it was an amazing part of my career.

And then things changed again in the organisation as they do, like Boots is always changing and I was offered a role to help establish a global brand business. Boots has amazing own brands, you know, licensed and licensed brands. So, we’ve got number seven, Liz Earl, Soap & Glory. We’ve also got things like Ted Baker, Mark Hill, and Champneys, and the ambition was to set up an FMCG-type business, a business that became the No.7 beauty company. This felt like a totally different business. You know nothing like Boots.

Culturally, it was really different, and to me, it felt like I needed to pull on everything I’d learned over all of my career. You know everything from how you do the brand development, how you can build a brand strategy using the market data and insights and, you know, a customer development strategy as well, and then, of course, marketing, because once we’d got that placement, we needed to launch the brands really well in the new distribution.

And the pace was also really different in this role. For me, I felt like I needed to slow down slightly and have a sort of a longer view. You know we were no longer trading daily, and the pressure of that retail. We were building a three-year pipeline for new product development, and so at that time, I also felt like I got a slightly better work-life balance, which was wonderful because that was the first time in my career that I don’t think I worked every Sunday. So that was nice, and it was a commercial role, you know, understanding how to grow a business, keeping development costs low, trying to secure a new distribution for the brands. And it was a global role with an international team. So, a totally different way of working and a wonderful way of learning something new for myself.

0:12:02 – Tamara Littleton

Was it sort of a startup feeling, or was it still a big corporation?

0:12:07 – Helen Jeremiah

No, it definitely had that startup feeling.

You know, much smaller teams, accountability to driver sales. You know, like, the book stuck with us so, and I really loved that, like, it felt very different.

And I did that for about two and a half years and then I was asked to go back to Boots as interim CMO. So, just to set a little bit of context on that, Pete had been recruited by our global CMO. He wasn’t joining for six months, so I had been asked to cover the role. I didn’t even know the current marketing director was leaving. I hadn’t applied for the role, but they’d approached me and asked me to return as an interim, and I can remember my international boss at the time saying to me, “Don’t do it, Helen, like it’s mad, it’s six months, you won’t achieve a lot, won’t look great on your CV”, but for me, it was my dream job and there were loads of reasons that I wanted to return, you know, the first being I love the brand. You know Boots is a phenomenal brand, and I just loved it. But also, it was CMO for Boots. You know, sat on the executive. I couldn’t believe that you know, 16-year-old me, who joined as an apprentice, had made it to CMO of Boots, which was just amazing. That’s incredible.

But, more importantly, whilst I’ve been in the global role, I’d seen many of my old team, who were great marketers, leave the business. You know, budgets had been cut, agencies had changed, and the teams had been through many organisational changes, and so there was lots to do, and I wanted to help get the brand back on track. And so back to Boots, I went.

But going back in, I think I felt different, you know, I think I was a different leader now.

I had a different confidence. I felt like I knew what I needed to do. No longer I was learning from someone else. I felt like I got the brand, and I knew how, the team, you know, what we needed to do together, and the focus, of course, was on business performance and marketing results. But I also wanted to bring empowerment back to the teams, get them value in the work they were doing, getting them to put the customer and the brand purpose and marketing excellence at the heart of all of the activity. I’d often do this by just reminding them of the purpose of Boots because I think you know that really works, doesn’t it? You know, if you can set that sort of…

Tamara Littleton

Vision and the purpose, yeah.

00:14:50Helen Jeremiah

And Jesse Boot and his wife, Florence, were amazing entrepreneurs. You know, they grew herbs to develop medicines for soldiers when their feet were rotten in the trenches, and their ambition was always to provide accessible health solutions to the masses.

And so, whenever I was with the team, I think I’d encourage them to answer. You know, why do customers want to choose Boots? Why choose us? What is it that we do differently and that really helped, I think, you know, galvanize the team into wanting to really make a difference. But I knew that that alone wouldn’t drive the results that we needed. We also needed to embrace all of the new technologies and marketing. You know, data-driven marketing, mass personalisation, to work with our media agencies on the new opportunities and to get close to the business areas and understand what challenges they had, where we could drive value and where we could build really strong customer commercial plans. You know we traded the business hard every single day. You know, I can just imagine what they’re doing today. You know, post Black Friday, but we were also building long-term campaigns and marketing activity with our agency partners and in-house teams.

And then Pete joined. He and the exec asked me to stay, and while it felt like it was a slight step back in my career. I really loved the brand and the team, and I wanted to continue with the momentum we had started, and that was three years ago. We’ve had loads of fun. We’ve seen 10 quarters of consecutive growth. The business now really values the results that marketing is providing, and the team are in a wonderful place.

Me, I’m now looking for a new role. I have left Boots and so there’s another massive change ahead, so I’m looking forward to that.

0:16:35 – Tamara Littleton

It must feel incredible to have that sort of that you didn’t stay just the six months that you did see out that period to be able to sort of leave on a high, with it in a great position and the team in a good position. I think that that’s that must feel like a good place to be.

0:16:54 – Helen Jeremiah

Yeah, it feels good. I feel like I’ve left the brand in amazing hands, you know, and it’s in a wonderful place. But it also feels quite scary. I’m a little apprehensive, and people keep telling me the market’s quite quiet, so we’ll see. But I’ve also had the most amazing summer. You know. I’ve never had a summer like it with my family, so that’s been really wonderful. I’ve treasured every moment of that.

0:17:18 – Tamara Littleton

I look forward to the next adventure.

0:17:20 – Wendy Christie

So, Helen, you mentioned briefly your 16-year-old self there. I’d love to hear a little bit more about maybe the 8, 10, 12-year-old self that you were and maybe consider how you were as a child has influenced where you’ve ended up so far in your career. So, what were you like as a child?

0:17:38 – Helen Jeremiah

Yeah, oh wow. I mean, I can remember being really happy as a child.

I loved primary school. You know we had a fantastic music teacher who I really looked up to, and I was also part of the swimming club. We lived on a street with just six houses, and we all went to the same swimming club. You know I had amazing neighbours. We’d always be in and out of each other’s houses, we’d play on our bikes together, we’d do like perform shows in the back gardens, and all the parents would come along and watch us, and it was just wonderful. You know I used to love Saturdays. We’d all head off to a swimming gala together, and it was just amazing.

My dad was a coach for the swimming club. He was always really kind. Everyone always tells me how wonderful he was as a person, but he died when I was 12. And so, a lot changed for us after that. My mum was incredibly strong. She became my dad as well as my mum, you know, and whilst I always tried to help as much as I could and my sister, you know, we did everything we could possibly do to help. I think I really learned my independence from her. She was an incredibly strong woman and lived on her own until the day that she died. You know, she was amazing, and I think because I loved primary school, I grew up wanting to be a teacher.

That was like my dream. I think because I loved them, and they had such an impact on me. But I can remember a career advisor saying to me oh, it will take you eight years; you’ll need to do this at college and this at uni. And I can remember thinking, oh, eight years, that’s a long time. You know I need to help Mum, so I’m going to go and get a job. And that’s really how I ended up in the lab at Boots. You know, little did I know I would do another eight years of study in chemistry, doing an ONC, HNC and degree. But you know, I suppose that’s how life plays out.

0:19:36 – Wendy Christie

And other than your parents, were there other people that you particularly looked up to when you were a child?

0:19:43 – Helen Jeremiah

I think you learn from everyone you meet, don’t you? Like I said, my music teacher was amazing, my auntie, she was just like the kindest, bubbliest, fun person to be with. Often, I say to my sister my girls treat you as our auntie more, you know, because she’s just like the fun one who takes them shopping, and all of that I used to when I was at the swimming club, you know, I was one of the youngest, and there were a lot of older people who were swimmers, who would be much better than me and who, would you know, seem to be different. So, I think you just I feel like I learn from everyone I met, you know, when I was little.

0:20:19 – Wendy Christie

And other than wanting to be a teacher, did you have any other sort of dreams as a child about what you wanted to be when you grew up, or did you have your sights firmly set on teaching?

0:20:35 – Helen Jeremiah

I always thought I would be a teacher. Honestly, I’d always thought I would be a teacher. I think it was slightly different when I went to secondary school because that’s obviously a lot less fun. So, I can remember thinking oh no, it’s definitely primary school children. I want to teach. But yeah, that was my dream.

0:20:53 – Wendy Christie

And thinking about the career you’ve had so far, are there any particular people who’ve really influenced you or supported you that you want to name-check while we’re on the podcast?

0:21:04 – Helen Jeremiah

Gosh, so many, so many people. I mean, I think, when I was just talking about the time in hair care and the account directors, there was one particular guy, Andrew Clay, who used to take us to London to meet with the brands, and I feel like he didn’t really need to do that, but he did that because he valued our contribution. But also, he knew that getting out into London, having a day in London, was going to be really good fun, so it sort of showed us a different part of working life.

And then Elizabeth Fagan was the lady that came in as marketing director that I learned a lot from. You know, I feel like every day was a steep learning curve working with her, and I feel like I’m a better marketer for that.

Andy Ferguson was the guy that gave me the break, that made me VP, you know, marketing director, and he also had a look at my salary and sorted out things like that. So, he was incredibly supportive of me, and I think it’s always wonderful, isn’t it? Have someone in your corner who will help you with your career, and that’s just something that I think I’ve always tried to do as well for my team because I think you know everyone works incredibly hard, but also, it’s always wonderful to have someone supporting you by your side. Yeah, so many people, probably. You know, I could spend the whole podcast talking about all the different people that have helped me.

0:22:35 – Wendy Christie

It’s so important to have those genuine humans in your life, isn’t it? And then to be able to pay that forward yourself feels really, really good.

0:22:43 – Tamara Littleton

And actually, thinking about teams. That was something that has really come through with how you describe in your career and the importance of working with a great team and leading a team. What is it that you particularly enjoy about leading teams?

0:22:58 – Helen Jeremiah

You know I love teams. I think that’s my thing. I think I’ve always been lucky because Boots has incredible people. You know, if you hear anybody talk about Boots, they always talk about the people are wonderful and I have had teams full of amazing, talented individuals that do fantastic work.

From a leadership perspective, I love seeing people grow and develop. You know those moments where they look at you as if to say I can’t do that, Helen, and then you know, six months later, they’re like can I do that again? I want to do another one, and I absolutely love all of that. So, seeing people grow and develop individually.

But what I also love about teams is seeing them encourage each other and support each other and, you know, share their learnings and get everyone to be a better team, everyone to be overall, better, like this team that I’ve just left.

We had this session called Creative Connect, and we’d clear a day, and we’d just have the day as drop-in sessions for anybody who wanted to come and share work, for people to build on the ideas, and you know we’d encourage people to try something new and what you’d see there is how people would really grow in confidence. You know they’d try something, take a risk, and then that would work. And then they’d go again and want to do something bigger and better, and they’d become, you know, better leaders themselves. But what would also happen is the business performance just follows. You know, people were doing this incredible stuff, and I think, as a leader, I’ve always loved to give people that opportunity to be there to support, to guide, to catch if needed, but to give them their freedom to fly, because you know we can learn so much can’t wait from our teams. So that’s why I love I just love working with teams.

0:24:57 – Tamara Littleton

Such an interesting area around that. There’s been a lot more research around the sort of psychological safety in teams and the impact on business by allowing a space where, if people feel safe to challenge and share ideas, they are more likely to take safe risks, which then pushes the business forward. So, I think that psychological safety is so critical for teams and also I know that you and I have talked about the importance of leaders sharing their vulnerability as well. I know that’s something that we’ve sort of chatted separately about, but would you mind expanding on why you think that’s important?

0:25:39 – Helen Jeremiah

I mean, I think, as a leader, we’ve got so much to learn from others, and I think it’s all. It’s so important to create an environment where people have got freedom to deliver, and I think you know if you are a vulnerable leader when you say I don’t have all the answers. Help me build the right solution. I think it encourages people to come forward with their ideas, to try new things, to learn from others and, ultimately, to make mistakes. I often used to say to my team it’s all right, we’re not heart surgeons; it doesn’t matter if it goes wrong.

You know, we would always try and put some money aside to try new things. You know,10% of our budget was always for innovation, and I think, you know, there were definitely some people who were still nervous about being as open about it. You know, can I really come without a presentation and just share my ideas? I think it takes a long time to build that trust, but for those who really embraced that way of working, I could just see them fly. I could see them growing, developing, and delivering things that they never thought possible, and I think I just learned so much from those individuals, and I think you end up with a situation where you’ve got really strong trust.

As you said, Tamara increased innovation in the business, ultimately, happier teams, much, much happier teams, and loyalty. I think you end up with teams that are a team you know more like a family. I’ll often talk about teams that I’ve worked with. You know, some of my best friends are teams that I’ve worked with because it becomes more than a job.

0:27:32 – Tamara Littleton

And I know also something that was very important to you was setting up the Baby Loss Support group at Boots. Could you share a bit more about that?

0:27:43 – Helen Jeremiah

Yes, gosh, the Baby Loss Support group came from two individuals who I built that trust, as we talked about before, and they inspired me really to do something different. Over the years, I’ve managed teams, hundreds of people, mostly women, but you know, men also experience baby loss, don’t they? And one of the things I’d experienced is that baby loss is really quite common.

It’s such a personal and painful thing and often goes unknown because a lot of people lose their babies at such an early point, but it’s also obviously one of the most painful, horrific things to happen to anybody. But there were a couple of team members who had lost their babies later, and it was very visible to everybody. You know, one girl lost one of her premature twins, and then another girl at work buried her son, and we went to his funeral.

This was all at the time when, you know, our DE&I activity was all happening, and we’d got like a women’s support group within the business, and I thought, “We really need to do something that means something makes a difference to everybody”.

We had been doing big campaigns as a brand on women’s health. You know, menopause and period pain, but I felt like we needed to do something for our teams, you know, to be there to support them. So, I approached the two team members, who were incredible and asked them if they would be up for doing a listening session with a smaller group of the DE&I working group for women’s health. They pulled in someone else.

She’d not had a great experience at work. I think someone, her line manager, just didn’t really know how to deal with it, and I think that’s fair enough. You know, we’re not…we weren’t given training as to how to deal with these situations really, and they did a listening session to a really small group of our task force and sharing their stories, sharing their experience and sharing what they thought we as a business could do to support people like them, and I think it was the most moving, incredible piece of work I’ve ever been part of.

Like we’ve tried to change everything. Like I never change everything, I was still working on policy, but you know we’ve provided just simple things like a memorial tree for people to go leave messages. Have a moment.

Our property director found a space in the office where people could go and have quiet contemplation because Boots is a tricky place to work, you know, and we’re talking about babies all the time. We have baby events that we run. You know, every month, we talk about women’s health and support for fertility, so people bring their new babies into the office. You know, we’re like a big family, so wanted somewhere that they could just go and escape and have a moment and keep all their memories and that there.

So, Stuart was wonderful at helping us find the room for that. But we also then tried to raise awareness on training and how to support team members and individuals, raising awareness of the baby loss group. So now we’ve got many, many more members that have joined, and they’re even that amazing that they run a pavilion. You know, once a quarter, they’ll stand in the middle of Boots.

We run these pavilions, and we have brands come and talk about, you know, their latest launches, and they run a pavilion on baby loss talking about the support that’s there, how they dealt with it, encouraging people to join who want support.

So, you know, they, as individuals, have just blown me away. They’re incredible, and it’s still every time I think about it, I still get really moved by the strengths and the courage of those individuals who step forward to share their stories, to offer help and support, to help me understand what support we could provide as a brand. It’s just so, so inspiring and made me think, you know, we should do this for lots of other things, not just baby loss.

I think as companies, you know, we’ve got a right, like a responsibility, haven’t we to like be there and support our team members. I’ve got another friend who was also in my team. She’s going through cancer, and if I was still at Boots, I’d be thinking, what can we do as a brand? You know, again, we do wonderful things as a brand with boots Macmillan information, pharmacists and beauty advisors, but I would want to bring it in-house and really help people internally. So and I think that’s what I said before about being a different leader like I came in thinking what’s the impact I can have on my team as well as on the business performance, and, yeah, it was just an amazing thing to be part of thank you for sharing that it was.

0:33:15 – Tamara Littleton

That’s an incredible initiative, and I think that kind of change is something that can be done more in the industry as well. I mean, if we sort of think about, you know, sort of getting cancer is one thing, but thinking about the marketing industry sort of as a whole, what else do you think that we need to change?

0:33:35 – Helen Jeremiah

I mean, I think initiatives like that all of us in marketing can do that, can’t we? Because you know, we put the customer at the heart of everything we do, so we should put the team at the heart of the way we lead and manage and support.

0:33:49 – Tamara Littleton

So I think that’s a massive opportunity. There are so many initiatives, and I’m sort of talking about sort of diversity, equity, inclusion and, but you know, what do we? What still needs to change in our industry? It’s a big question, Helen, sorry. I feel like we can have a whole podcast on that.

0:34:09 – Helen Jeremiah

I think it’s important as marketers that we reflect real life, isn’t it? You know, we have the opportunity to say we understand what’s happening in your lives, and this is how we, as brands, can help. And I think as long as we keep reflecting true life, what’s really relevant to everybody, then I think we’ll get it right. I’ve also got a teeny tiny little thing that I think is like a bit bonkers, but, um, you know, I said before, like I used to say to my team, we’re not heart surgeons; it doesn’t matter.

But I think, as marketers, like we work really hard, don’t we like really, really hard.

I don’t think we ever have a moment off. We’re always on, always looking at brands, you know, listening to podcasts like we are always on, and I just think, you know, there’s always more that can be done, there’s more channels to learn.

Marketing is just becoming this massive, massive ecosystem. Isn’t it everywhere that we can place messages and offers and everything? But it doesn’t really matter, does it, if we don’t get that extra post out on a Sunday night at 10 o’clock? So I would also love us, as marketers, to slow down slightly, to reflect, to learn to think about, you know, what’s the most important thing that we could do that could have an impact because, whilst I describe it often as a treadmill that just gets faster and faster and you have to keep running or you fall off, I do think it’s important, having had the summer and lifted my head, and even when I went into global brands and had a bit more time to breathe, I think that time is important to just lift our heads every now and then and have a moment and have a think about what we might want to do differently.

0:36:00 – Wendy Christie

Thank you for that, Helen. We’re going to move on to the bit of the podcast now, where we maybe get a little bit more frivolous if that’s the right word to use. So, we’ve got some quickfire questions for you, so let’s start with what’s your idea of a perfect weekend?

0:36:14 – Helen Jeremiah

Oh, my perfect weekend is spending a bit of time outside in the sunshine, like I love being in the garden. But also, this weekend was pretty perfect. My daughter and I spent the entire day cooking tapas. We’ve got some friends over. She was practising some Christmas cocktails for a party that we’re going to, so, yeah, having time with friends and family is just my idea of a perfect weekend.

0:36:44 – Wendy Christie

Lovely, if you could time travel to any period with no consequence, where and when would you go to?

0:36:47 – Helen Jeremiah

Oh, this one’s probably less frivolous for me because I would probably just go back to where my mum and dad were here and just have a little bit more time with them, you know?

Tamara Littleton

Yeah, I totally understand that as well. What’s one activity that grants you pure escapism?

Helen Jeremiah

Do you know what I really love? Going to a show. You know, like musical theatre, I feel like I immersed myself in that. I have a secret wish to you know once I’ve done it. So yes, I loved that. That gives me pure escapism, and obviously, I don’t get to a show very often. So, if not that, then I’ll just binge on some series on Netflix and, you know, take myself to Sunset Boulevard or wherever just to lose myself in that.

00:37:41 Tamara Littleton

Would you be a kind of sing-along with the musicals as well, or just sort of immerse yourself?

00:37:45 Helen Jeremiah

I love singing along to musicals; yes, I do.

0:37:49 – Tamara Littleton

How can you not exactly? And how would you fare in a zombie apocalypse?

0:37:55 – Helen Jeremiah

Oh, do you know…the first response to this is I probably lie down and think just eat me, you know. But then I’ve reflected on this, and my husband is really resourceful. My sister often says if she was in The Hunger Games, she’d want to be on Roger’s team, and like my girls, are all also really practical. So I would follow Roge, do exactly what he told me to do and I think, together with the girls, would have a pretty good chance of surviving.

00:38:25 Wendy Christie

How would your friends describe you?

00:38: 26 Helen Jeremiah

My friends, I think, say I’m caring, probably care too much sometimes, try and fix everything, throw a really good party, like you know, like we had this big event when I left Boots with friends and family, and it was just I enjoyed putting it together. But they will also say I’m really rubbish at text messages. You know, someone might send me two or three sentences about going out at the weekend, and I just respond with, “Yep, love to”.

00:39:00 Tamara Littleton

What’s your favourite restaurant or food experience?

00:39:03 Helen Jeremiah

Oh, I love food, and I love eating out, and as a family, we’ve got a favourite Chinese that we’ve always gone to since we were little, called Chung’s. But my favourite food experience was having completed the Inca trail in Peru and not eating anything or drinking anything for days. And then we came down into Cusco. We went to this Irish bar, I think it’s the tallest Irish bar in the world, and they cooked pizza, and it was the most amazing pizza I’ve ever tasted. I think probably because we’d not eaten for days and days, but…

0:39:27 – Tamara Littleton

I was going to say, how long were you on that, on the Inca trail?

00:39:42 – Helen Jeremiah

It was a four-day trek we’d done because we’d done some practice walks and then did it. Yeah, incredible.

00:39:51 – Tamara Littleton

So best pizza ever after that. Karaoke go-to song? So I think we may have answered this, is it? Is it a musical theatre one, or have you got some others up your sleeve? I’m going to presume that you like a bit of karaoke, you know?

0:39:55 – Helen Jeremiah

Having listened to your podcast, I love the fact you love karaoke. I think people either love it or hate it, don’t they? My sister ran a karaoke bar in Cyprus, and I used to love seeing her saying she, you know, she would kick it off and often pull us up to get the party going, and we’ve sort of carried that on since. You know, coming home and having parties.

 Um, so with my sister, I’d probably sing something like All Saints, ‘Never, Ever’ because we like to do a bit of a brilliant, fantastic but with my girls, because they always want to get the party going and probably be more like flow ride alone, which is a bit sad to admit, but we love a bit of that not at all, it’s all good.

0:40:37 – Tamara Littleton

It’s all good. There’s no, no bad karaoke. Thank you so much for coming to the show today. Helen and um. Before we leave, I just want to check if there is anything that we haven’t covered that you wanted to share particularly, or have you got any closing thoughts?

0:40:54 – Helen Jeremiah

Yes, so thank you ever so much for having me. I wanted to just share one final thought, and it’s around your podcast and the fact it’s about genuine humans. Um, over the years, I have met amazing people, friends, teams, and agency partners, and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of them for just making my work in life fun. They’re incredible. You know, when people ask me what I love about my roles, I’ve always loved the work, but I’ve loved the work because of the people. You know, I’ve met the most amazing, talented people who I’ve learned from, admired, coached, and just really enjoyed working with. So, I’d like to thank all of them and thank you for having me.