The work-life quiz: Ffion Griffith

What was your first-ever job?

A Christmas job as a shop assistant in Curry’s, aged 16. The difference between the shop floor and the stock room was a revelation and taught me a lot about business being a lot about presentation.

What was your worst experience as an HR trainee?
Advising someone on their maternity rights without reminding myself about the organisation’s policy. I learnt always to check the source document, no matter how confident I am that I know it.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?
The HR staff get to know everything and with extraordinary alacrity.

What time do you usually leave the office?
Between 6pm and 7pm.

What do you do at weekends?
Spend time with my husband and our young children.

What’s your favourite restaurant?
The Flower Drum in Melbourne.

If you weren’t in HR what would you have been?
A journalist or a campaigner.

Who’s your hero and why?
Anita Roddick, for creating such a successful business with profoundly enduring ethics.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Being trusted in my judgement.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?
The self-fuelled drive to get it right, all of the time.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?
To think that people will change behaviour just because they see they should. I’ve learnt it’s important to work with people who do what they say they will.

What car do you drive?
BMW 530TD Touring.

What book are you currently reading?
I’m not. Despite reading English Literature at university, I now only read books on holiday.

What’s on your CD player at the moment?
Massive Attack’s Collected.

What’s your favourite children’s book?
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what two luxury items would you take?
My BlackBerry and a duvet.

What’s the worst partner conference location you’ve attended?
Some unnamed hotel on the South Downs. The hotel was in the middle of nowhere and I got roped in to getting up at 7am – having gone to bed at 3am – to give two partners a lift to the early morning service at the local cathedral. I pranged my brand new Saab convertible on a bollard outside the cathedral.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?
Twenty-two hours. I haven’t yet had to do an all-nighter – at least not a work-related one.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actress would play you and why?
Susan Sarandon, because I have a vivid imagination and a sense of humour and understand that characterisation is not all about looks.


Firm: Olswang
Position: Director of HR
Lives: Shenfield, Essex
Education: United World College of the Atlantic; University of London; University of Westminster
Career history:
1991: Joined Royal College of General Practitioners as HR assistant, promoted to head of HR
1995: Joined Pearson as HR manager for the register group
1997: Joined FSD International as operations director
1998: Joined SJ Berwin as HR manager, promoted to HR director
2005: Joined Olswang as HR director