All posts tagged Interview

Employee Spotlight: Julie’s time to Shine

Julie with Kate Bottley at the NFE


Julie has been with The Online Book Company since its formation and has played a pivotal in developing not only the books, but other areas of the business such as customer service standards and staff training. But most of all, Julie is a fantastic person to work with and keeps everyone in the office smiling with her positive attitude and sense of fun! Here’s what Julie had to say about being an employee of The Online Book Company and life in general…

What I like best about working for TOLBC…

The very different organisations we make contact with and the lovely people we meet and work with.

Best Job?

Contacting clients

Worst Job?

Tidying the ‘shared’ kitchen.

I’m happiest when…

Everyone else is happy.

I’m proudest of…

Setting up and achieving ISO9001 and ISO27001 status.

Favourite pastime?

Probably cooking or gardening – nothing very exciting

Best holiday


‘Before I die I would like to’

Visit South Africa and also Italy

Favourite song, movie and book?

Ooh! Difficult to choose, but today my favourites would be:

Movie – The Secret Garden

 Book – Labyrinth by Kate Moss

Song- Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Surprising/funny fact about myself…

I used to play the violin!

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Bethany HibbsEmployee Spotlight: Julie’s time to Shine

Employee Spotlight: Introducing Mr Harry Haward

For our first ‘Employee Spotlight’ feature, Bethany ‘interviewed’ a very unnerved Harry, but it turns out the questions weren’t as bad as he had anticipated!

We hope that you enjoy getting to know us all a little better, and that you like reading Harry’s story as much as we all enjoy working with him.So with no further ado, I introduce to you all, Mr Harry Haward, age 29 from Truro!

Harry outside of TIC

Harry outside of TIC

What is your role at TOLBC?

My role at the Online Book Company is largely about sales generation, it is my job to contact Charities and Organisations and make that initial contact to hopefully get them on board as clients.

Before working at TOLBC what was the most unusual/interesting job you had?

Before working at TOLBC I worked at Iceland Frozen Foods in addition to being a Special Constable, which was a real buzz for me and I particularly enjoyed making the ‘Blue Light runs’.

Describe TOLBC in 3 Words

Unique, Engaging and Empowering

What element of your role have you found most challenging?

Answering these sorts of questions!

What do you enjoy most about working for TOLBC?

I enjoy talking to the Customers the most, reaching out to them and engaging with them, I like to look for practical solutions as to how we can help them and develop a good working relationship.

What has been your favourite project so far?

My favourite project to date has been the Jubilee Hour project, which was a Nationwide Initiative we launched at the time of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, where people would pledged 60 minutes of their time, doing some legal, decent and honest to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the Throne.  The project became the largest mobilisation of volunteers since World War 2 and this was formerly recognised by Number 10 Downing Street and MP Eric Pickles invited us to a Tea inside the House of Commons

Where would you go for your dream holiday?

My dream Holiday would be to go to New Zealand as I have seen some really interesting pictures of the landscape there and have heard a lot of stories of the relaxed life out there.

‘I’m happiest when…’ 

I’m happiest when I am actively engaging with clients in my job and when I’m not working, I’m happiest when I’m with those I love and Cherish and taking part in my Rotary International work.

What did you want to be when growing up?

I have always wanted to be a Police Officer and this is something that I think I may well still pursue in the future, the Communication and Customer Service skills I have developed whilst being at TOLBC have been second to none.

What book did you last read?

I am a massive fan of the Jack Reacher Thrillers by Lee Child, Jack Reacher is an ex-military cop who goes round putting the World to right.  As the book’s blurb’s always say, he’s the sort of bloke who men want to be and woman want to be with!

Thank you to Harry for being the first member of the team to take part, keep your eyes peeled for the next employee to come under the spotlight, you never know what surprises we may have in store!

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Bethany HibbsEmployee Spotlight: Introducing Mr Harry Haward

Sue Bradbury talks to Jonathan Haward, Managing Director of Friends and Relations and The Online Book Company.

You’re marking 10 years of running Friends and Relations with the launch of The Online Book Company. How are they different?

Friends and Relations was conceived as a way of memorialising loved ones online. We began with branded websites which then evolved into commemorative books. A lot of charities use them to raise funds – the RNLI, for example, has been with us from the start and we have recently completed a fully accessible book for the Royal National Institute for the Blind. The Online Book Company represents an expansion and enhancement of all that we offer. We’re no longer just about commemoration but about celebration and education too.

What inspired the original idea?

My brother Group Captain David Haward was killed in a flying accident whilst on duty and my old friend and work colleague Hugh Hastings had also lost his brother through terminal illness. We wanted to share photos and memories of them online and that sowed the seed for Friends and Relations.

What were you doing before that?

I founded and ran the County Homesearch company for 22 years. It’s the largest property finding service of its kind in the UK and the popular Channel 4 programme Location, Location, Location was developed on the back of it – we are still acknowledged in the credits.  I sold the business in February 2013 because, although it was one of the best jobs in the world, I had become passionate about building up Friends and Relations. It felt like I was on a journey and providing an online platform for tributes and comments – some of which make you laugh and others cry – has been very cathartic. It’s also been hugely exciting.

What have been the highlights of your online book journey?

So many lovely things have happened that nothing surprises me anymore. Becoming involved with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was particularly special. We created an online book to celebrate the occasion that encouraged people to give sixty minutes of their time to help good causes. It was a huge success with a record-breaking number of volunteer hours pledged. More recently we’ve been working on an official Waterloo 200 e-book that encourages school children throughout the country to find out more about the battle that shaped British history by doing their own research and posting their findings. I was invited to the Waterloo 200 memorial service at St Paul’s Cathedral as a result and so were some of the many pupils who have been contributing.

You’ve also been working with organisations overseas?

Yes – in fact if it wasn’t for the wonders of superfast broadband technology that enables me to Skype, I’d probably be spending one week a month in America. One of our biggest projects at the moment is Fort Miflin, the oldest fort in Philadelphia. Our online book honours the patriots and veterans who have served there, raising funds to maintain it as a living landmark in the process. As well as searching for information about ancestors or adding memorial pages of their own, people can buy a brick to add to the memorial pathway that is being built. It’s an exciting example of the digital world complementing the physical.

How many people do you employ?

There are seven of us in the core team plus we use a number of Cornwall-based consultants and associates.

What are your aspirations for the business?

There’s a lot happening because we’re always looking to expand and improve on what we do. We’re working with The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth to launch our first online wedding album towards the end of this year and we’re now putting hard covers on our books to make them even more special and individualised. Our mantra is simplicity. What we try to aim for is a combination of Apple’s design genius and John Lewis’s ‘never knowingly undersold’ objective. We’re also very proud to have ISO 27001 accreditation for our information security management and ISO 9000 for quality assurance.

What makes all your hard work worthwhile?

The feedback we get. To give you an example I had a call from a man in New Zealand who saw from one of our military books that his dad had died. He hadn’t seen his father for many years because he’d been asked to leave home when he was fifteen. He asked us if we could find out if his mother and sister were still alive. We did and the family was reunited. There are many, many stories like that and each one is special.

How do you relax?

By sailing my boat and shooting competitively. I’ve shot for Great Britain in the past and love the sport as a hobby.

Thank you to Jonathan Haward for this fantastic insight into The Online Book Company!

Jonathan Haward - Managing Director

Jonathan, Managing Director of Friends and Relations – The Online Book Company





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Vicki MayrickSue Bradbury talks to Jonathan Haward, Managing Director of Friends and Relations and The Online Book Company.