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Cakes on Facebook, taking over the world and talking to The Greatest

Ian Farr marketing and commerical manager Elsby & Co

The feature in which business people discuss their motivation, ambition, experience - and themselves. This month it’s the turn of Iain Farr, marketing and commercial manager at chartered accountants Elsby & Co.

What was your first job?

Ignoring peeling potatoes in a chip shop and stacking shelves in Morrisons, my first ‘real’ job at 18 was as a trainee manager for Sainsbury’s in Sheffield.

Why did you choose your particular career?

I sort of fell into it. I love marketing and the challenge of producing targeted and compelling content which engages and encourages people to buy from you.

What’s the best advice you’ve received in business?

When managing people, communicate regularly and honestly. If somebody’s done a good job, tell them, if not, explain why. We get nowhere without communication.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Working out of Gibraltar for 17 years, enjoying an ‘expat’ lifestyle while building and developing a marketing team to achieve significant success. Seeing others succeed brings tremendous satisfaction.

…and the low point?

Broken promises. It’s rarely happened and comes back to having honest and open communications, unacceptable when it’s your line manager (a previous employer!).

Who in business do you respect the most?

The ‘doers’, those with a ‘passion for excellence’. We should respect and reward them and do all we can (within reason) to keep them, regardless of position or rank.

What annoys you the most in business?

Poor customer service and a lack of caring. It really is everything – externally and internally.

What’s the best and worst thing about where you work?

The best: Working with great people who are passionate about the jobs they do. They’re always keen to listen and take on new ideas.

The worst: As a marketing department of one, I’m all things to all people. One day I’m planning activity to take over the accounting world, the next day I’m posting photos of cakes in the kitchen for Facebook.

What’s your career ambition?

To make director/partner level. I’ve been at that level previously and crave the responsibility, perhaps one day moving into a general management role.

…and your life ambition?

Family happiness and wellbeing. Having lost both parents in the last ten years, it brings home the importance of sharing quality time with family and friends.

What has been the best/worst moment of your life?

Best moment, hands down, the birth of my daughter. Being present and aiding the midwife can’t be bettered.

The worst moment has been the death of a parent. Nothing prepares you and nothing can replace them.

How do you relax?

I love playing golf and also enjoy cooking. The best relaxation has to be spending quality time with my wife and nine-year-old daughter.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, perhaps the occasional glass of red wine and meals out. I love food.

What’s your most treasured possession?

Outside of my daughter, it has to be my grandfather’s pocketwatch, given to those who served in the military in World War Two.

Tell us something you regret.

I don’t dwell on poor choices. If anything, it would be not moving back to the UK from Spain five years earlier – we can’t buy time with loved ones.

Tell us a secret about yourself.

I’m a big softie when it comes to films. Children and animals set me off. I cried a river watching Marley & Me.

What annoys you most in life?

Rude people. There’s no excuse for the way some people talk to and treat others.

What are you afraid of?

It sounds a bit glum but not being around to enjoy life to the full and share in the moments that family bring now and in the future with the next generation.

These things we call kids really change our outlook on life.

What are the first three things on your bucket list?

I honestly don’t have a bucket list, but how about…

African hot air balloon safari.

Snorkelling in the Maldives.

Ringside seats for a world title fight at Madison Square Garden.

Which two historical figures would you like to have a conversation with and why?

Jesus. Why wouldn’t anybody want the opportunity to be convinced of there being a greater being. Are the stories true? Show me. Prove it.

Muhammad Ali. I’m a boxing nut so to talk to him and revel in his wit would be magnificent.

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