One day with...Simon Gray, CYE Group
Simon Gray, sales director at CYE Group, began his career in IT recruitment before becoming a specialist in sales recruitment for a search and selection company, and taking a role as Business Development Manager for an inline printing firm, where he made a name for himself securing national accounts.
In 2005, Simon’s brother Ben, who had started CYE Group five years earlier, asked Simon to bring his prowess for client relations to his own fast-growing business. Simon rose to the challenge, moved his young family to Somerset and helped his brother turn CYE Group into one of the event industry’s most prominent brands, with four highly successful venue and event finding portals.
1.What does your morning routine look like?
At 6.30am I wake my children and it’s a military exercise to get to morning club and then onward to work. Once in the office it’s coffee and a round up with the team to discuss the day ahead; I like to work to a fairly clear inbox so that’s my morning’s challenge, and then on the phones by 10am to clients.
2. What’s your favourite lunch spot?
We are very lucky in Somerset with some fantastic country kitchen locations, my favourite is the Monks Yard a few miles away – a regular meeting place for us.
3.What’s the best thing about your job?
We have worked hard to make our business flexible with the ability to adapt, which is essential for our fast-moving industry, and its this ethos I enjoy about our work. It also helps that I’m surrounded by passionate people, amazing venues and partnerships which makes it a very likeable job indeed.
4.What is the most random thing on your desk?
A 3v battery, reminding me I need to replace the spare key fob battery in the car, which has been there six months and will only be a problem when the spare fob I’m now using runs out! Which it will of course!
5.What part of your day do you look forward to the most?
Lunchtime. I’m always hungry. I like to stretch my legs around the local town and pop into the sandwich shop. I find it clears my mind and it produces productivity for the rest of the afternoon’s tasks.
6.What motivates you?
I’ve always had a natural inner drive, a lot of this comes from competitiveness and the need to challenge myself, but also many factors drive my motivation from need for business success to my family and personal life goals and ambitions. I’ve always enjoyed an appetite for winning in all areas from sports, hobbies and work, perhaps sometimes a little too much, so this means I’m never one to sit down for long as I’m always looking for something to do.
7.What’s your best piece of advice for anyone looking to get into the events industry?
I have seen people start in this industry at all levels, my advice is don’t be afraid to start anywhere in the events industry. This is an industry that likes to reward and I’ve seen fantastic individuals over the years progress from very junior positions to senior roles of major venues and groups, but also divert into other areas. It’s a very flexible industry in that sense. Also don’t be tempted to drink too much the night before an exhibition. I’ve learnt the hard way over the years!
8. Where do you go to get away from it all and unwind?
This is an easy question, I have lots of interests and hobbies that occupy my time but for me my medicine is most certainly cycling.
9.Favourite destination you’ve ever visited?
I’ve been to some lovely places but my favourite place more recently was the Plitvice lakes in Croatia and our adventure to find president Tito’s abandoned Hideaway – Vila Izvor!
10. If you could steal someone’s job for a day, who’s would you choose?
My obvious choice to this would be an F1 test driver, but actually I’d love to work in a zoo for the day.