Bracknell The Centre of my World – Serendipity strikes again

During the session I ran at Marketing Week Live as part of my session I asked for a Volunteer. The person who volunteered it turns out worked for Hewlett Packard. After my presentation we spoke and she asked me if it was possible for me to come into their offices to run a session about The Beans Group, the story behind, enterprise, making the most of opportunities and being entrepreneurial within organisations. A few days later she called to arrange the date. She asked if I was free on the 18th July at 10.30 – I had a look in my diary and I was free then but needed to be in Bracknell for my mentoring session with Emma Beale from Waitrose. I asked where they were based and she responded Bracknell around 10 minutes from the station. I couldn’t believe it out of over 100 people in my presentation, the person to volunteer, the company she works for being based in Bracknell, the date of the year all combined – I just couldn’t believe the serendipity of it all. So thats how my day started running a presentation for about 60 of the team from Hewlett Packard, I had lunch at their offices and worked there for an hour or so and then made my way over to Waitrose Head office.

Meeting Emma was an amazing experience as it helped provide an understanding of the different types of work environment from two very contrasting experiences. From being the Marketing Director at Pepsi Co to the Instore Communications Manager at Waitrose.

PepsiCo being a fast paced environment with constant change. By contrast Waitrose having a partnership structure creates an elevated level of ownership invoking passion and commitment to the brand that is quite unique to the organisation. With this also comes loyalty and whilst there may be less risk taken as people in the organisation feel more ownership – there is increased loyalty and many of the team at Waitrose are there for a signifiant amount of time with 5 – 6 people in the team having been there over 25 years.

3 Key Learnings and Take aways from Emma included:

1. Be proud of what do. Further than that a good way to look at this is do you think your children will be proud of what you do?

2. The importance of Talent Management – develop the team and build their capability.

3. Realise what you are good at. What do you bring to the table? When you know… you should bring it! Take every stretch opportunity and build on the things you are good at.

Emma clearly cares a huge amount about the work she does and it was inspiring to understand more about how Waitrose values it’s people and the work it does. It certainly makes me think differently every time am in my local Waitrose store.


About James Eder

James Eder is the Founder of The Beans Group which helps brands and agencies understand, access and engage with young people. The Beans Group’s flagship website is, which provides unique offers, entertainment and money saving advice for university students. has signed up over 1 million registered users since launching in 2005 and every month +2.5 million students visit the website. We have also expanded to create, focusing on life after university. James became one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the UK when he founded the business at the age of 22, two weeks before graduating from university. Encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs, James is an ambassador for Startup Loans. James is also a frequent speaker at conferences, schools and universities across the UK and internationally on subjects including marketing, entrepreneurship and establishing a successful brand. This also includes James being a guest lecturer at the University of Birmingham. In May 2012 out of 500 people James was selected as part of a group of 30 as a Marketing Academy Scholar. James is passionate about continually learning and giving back always on the lookout for people to join the ever growing team, now over 35 people based in North West London.
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