Argentina, art and age-defying looks: meet Ingrid: our new sales & marketing assistant
Our latest team member is Ingrid Smejkal, who joins us this week as a sales and marketing assistant. Fresh from a career in internal recruitment - via a three month artistic retreat in South Africa - Ingrid brings with her a sharp wit, a talent for good chat and a fierce collection of French Connection outfits. Look out for on the networking scene soon - you won’t be able to miss her.
Where are you from and how did you end up in Bristol?
I am originally from Cape Town, and proud of it! My family and I moved to the UK when I was 11. I have lived in several cities across the UK and spent two years in Buenos Aires. When I returned from Argentina, I decided that I could either go back to London and try to pick up where I left off or start afresh somewhere new. I chose Bristol because my mum and sister live there now, and family is very important and to me. I wasn’t sure it was going to be a permanent move for me, but I quickly fell in love with the city and now can’t imagine living anywhere else.
What have you done in your career up to now?
I have had a 10 year career in internal recruitment, which started out in an administrative support position and culminated in the position of UK Head of Talent for a multinational agency. It was a successful career and one that was on the up, but it was incredibly stressful and ultimately not satisfying me, so I decided - in a moment of madness or clarity! - that I needed a drastic change. And here I am!
What most excites you about starting a new job?
I am so looking forward to working in a completely different environment and applying my skills in a new way. I am also thrilled to be working for a business that values its staff and thinks creatively when it comes to management. There will be flexibility in my working schedule as well which will be a refreshing change from the long and rigid hours of recruitment.
What’s life like outside of work?
I spend a lot of time with family - my mum, sister and twin nieces - and I have a fantastic friendship group in Bristol that I see often, usually involving lots of food and wine! I exercise whenever I can, usually weight training at the gym, running or yoga. I have also started doing art again recently, something I have always enjoyed but will now be dedicating a part of my life to. I have even found a studio to rent, which I am so excited about.
If you were given a week entirely to yourself, what would you do with it?
If I had the money, I’d probably fly to a tropical island where I could explore, sunbathe, read, swim and scuba dive. More realistically though, I would probably just have a week of self care and relaxing - lots of sleep, daily yoga, art, reading etc. And then balance it out with wine and Netflix in the evenings!
If you could choose a Little Miss character to describe you, what would it be?
Probably Little Miss Outspoken! I have never been short of an opinion and I have no problem in speaking my mind. Sometimes to my own detriment! I always endeavour to be diplomatic and kind with my words, but there are times when you just have to say it how it is.
What do people always find surprising about you?
My age! I am 36 years old and still occasionally get asked for ID when buying wine. I have no idea how I get away with it because I have not had the healthiest of lifestyles over the years. Maybe when I hit 40 it will all catch up with me and I will suddenly look 65!
What is your proudest achievement in your life so far?
Making the decision to quit my career with no forward planning but with the determination to make a better life for myself. It was a scary move to make, and a risky one, but I have received incredible support from the people around me, and the universe seems to be making everything fall into place.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished the Tattooist of Auschwitz which is not my usual read but I found it really moving and inspiring. An incredible insight into a significant and horrific period of history but told through the eyes of one man who fell in love with a fellow prisoner. Amongst all of the horrors of the concentration camps, something so beautiful was formed - a total juxtaposition of the good vs bad of human nature.
What’s your favourite thing about Bristol?
The people. Everyone is friendly and happy and proud to be Bristolian. I also love all the day festivals over the summer months and the huge array and bars and restaurants - there seems to be a new venue every week, I can’t keep up! Bristol is also a city that embraces creativity, individuality and forward-thinking ideas. It is such a positive place to live.
What’s your personal motto for life?
Everything is transient. Nothing is forever in life, whether it’s the good times or the bad times. It is always changing, sometimes in little ways, sometimes in enormous ways, but it will always change. And there is a freedom in that.