On picking up the phone and taking control of your own diary:
My first job was at Planet Hollywood, when it was still cool. I did the project management opening new sites in France, from the first brick in the floor to the first customer through the door. They then offered me a job running franchising across Europe.
It didn’t take me long to realise that Planet Hollywood’s business model wasn’t the most sustainable, with huge capital expenditure meaning it would never get a good return on investment, but I loved the international angle, so I looked around at which UK brands had the legs to expand abroad.
This was 20 years ago, and I thought Pizza Express and Pret a Manger were perfect, so I phoned them both, a super-confident 25 year old, and said I can help you expand abroad. Pret put the phone down; Pizza Express asked me in.