Livewire - On the Wire - Issue 9 : May 2011




I’m a very ‘can-do’ person with a strong sense of ethical values. My number one skill is writing and I continue to actively contribute to projects, as well as running Livewire. Perhaps one of Livewire’s greatest talents is team building. We build great project teams, matching up people with complementary strengths to produce the exact client interface required for any specific project.

I studied English and drama at Goldsmiths College in London and became involved early on in business journalism. That led on to a successful and varied career in communications, mostly in the pharmaceutical sector. Now, Livewire does also work in other business sectors – which I’m delighted about.

Livewire provides the ‘can do’ element to projects. We’re not hampered by the politics that frequently beset large companies, and the processes and controls we have in place are to facilitate speedy delivery of a high quality service, not to hold up or otherwise complicate things.

Maintaining standards is important to me. Of course, to be a successful company, we must be profitable. But if I felt that we were in any way short changing clients to make money, I would shut up shop tomorrow.

Livewire’s business model is unusual, in that we employ people on a freelance rather than a full-time contract basis. Interestingly, this results in great stability amongst our project teams – quite the reverse of what you might expect. It also leads to very high performing teams because our individual reputations rest on our current performances.

Being able to ‘opt-in’ to work on projects means that team members are highly motivated – and they and I both know that they have adequate capacity to cope with their workload. By contrast, I don’t have any highly paid people, ‘sitting on the bench’ that have to be put to work on a project regardless of their suitability for the work. It’s a bespoke service.

Great teams gel over time. We won a very challenging project in 2013 that produced one of our all-time most successful teams – but at the start you wouldn’t have predicted that. The project had been poorly managed historically, so much so that our client (unwittingly) was not meeting the very strict regulatory requirements that apply within pharmaceuticals. That meant a lot of very urgent extra work all round, to say it was fraught would be an understatement. But by the end of the year I heard on the grapevine that our team were describing themselves as ‘The Family’.