Meet Debbie Pack, a Customer Service Assistant and ‘Community Matters Champion’ for Waitrose & Partners, Edgware Road.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I am a Customer Service Assistant at Waitrose Edgware Road. I work on the checkouts, welcome desk and deli. I am also the branch 'Community Matters Champion', which is how I got involved with all the amazing local charities and the Marble Arch BID.
2How long have you been doing this job?I have been working at the Edgware Road branch for just over seven years and have been the 'Community Matters Champion' for five years.
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?By accident. My previous working roles have mainly been in PR and Communications, the charity sector and with housing associations. I was made redundant from my last job around eight years ago, so after a brief period of not working at all, I decided to do something completely different. I applied for a job at Waitrose Edgware Road in 2012 and was successful! A couple of years later I was asked by a manager to take on the 'Community Matters' responsibilities, as they knew I had experience of working with charities and felt I had an aptitude for the role.
4What’s the best part about your job?Being able to provide great customer service for one of the UK's best companies makes me proud. It's always wonderful to build a rapport with customers and see them leave the store with a smile. Edgware Road is one of 350 Waitrose branches across the UK, most of whom donate £1000 every month to local charities through the green token scheme. So there is a 'me' in every branch and I am proud to work for a company that is so generous and cares so much about their local communities.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?Last summer, with the help of the Marble Arch BID, I worked with my colleagues to organise a tea party at Penfold Community Hub in Church Street. It seemed too close to get a taxi, so we decided to walk - with a trolley full of food. It was hilarious being outside in our uniforms, walking down Edgware Road saying 'hello' to customers and passersby who must have wondered what on earth we were up to!
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?I love to read, although it's difficult to find the time. I particularly like historical books. I am currently reading Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens. I love eating out, especially for Thai food, as well as spending time in my garden. I also love the West Country and finances permitting I often choose to go to Devon or Cornwall for a week or so for my annual holiday.
7What do you like about this area?There is a real community here, with Scout and youth groups and lots of activities for older people. One of the things I love about working in Edgware Road is the diversity of customers; from tourists, local restaurant workers and hospital staff, to mums popping in after the school run. I also love the historical buildings, plus the walk along the canal from Paddington to Warwick Avenue is one of my favourites. The people here are also very generous. Our customers donate over 15 bags worth of food and other goods to local charities each week.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area?Our branch has its own dining room for staff, so I usually get my lunch from there. I do however also really like the food at Romna (Indian/ Bangladeshi restaurant) and Patisserie Valerie.
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you?Mick Jagger. I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones and have always thought that Mick Jagger is an amazing performer. I was lucky enough to go and see the Stones at Wembley back in the 80s. The Rolling Stones must be the greatest Rock and Roll band ever!
10 If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?It would have to be either Norway or Finland. I would love to go and try and see the Northern Lights.