Interview with Wendy Spinks

Commercial Director at HS1 Limited

What does your role consist of and what is a typical day?

I develop strategies for customer experience and commercial business, working with a wide range of customers, business partners, suppliers and stakeholders to make things happen.

A typical day could involve meeting a train operator at St Pancras, to developing a leasing strategy for the retail estate. I spend a lot of my day away from my desk. My role, and that of most of my team, is very external facing.

What is it about the industry that you love?

There’s no two days the same. I love the fact that virtually everything relies on people working together. The best customer experiences are achieved when everyone across many organisations plays their part and pulls in the same direction.

What would you say is the achievement you are most proud of?

Big achievements aren’t always from big actions. For example I’m particularly proud of introducing pianos to St Pancras. The idea is that they are open for anyone to play them. There are three of them there now and they make people smile every day. Social media channels are full of great clips of impromptu performances and feel good comments.  They are a well renowned success and a part of what makes St Pancras a destination in its own right

In your career, what is the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Learning to say no.  I love a new idea but sometimes have to restrain myself to what is practical.

What do you see as the challenges to attracting more women into rail and what do you think could be done to make a difference?

I see the rail industry more as a service industry that runs on a track. Within that you need a wide range of skills and experiences; so the industry could do more to promote the breath of opportunity. We should be opening up the industry to people transitioning into rail from other sectors, even if it’s not a choice from school or university.  I think that would help the rail sector seem more attractive to a wider group of people including women.

 

Interviewed August 2016