You know the name, now get to know the person. Neil Ward, commercial director at Rowlinson Knitwear, discusses the musical Matilda, being nervous in a BBC interview and playing Nintendo
When did you start in the industry?
I joined HSBC straight from uni, working in various roles and on projects across the world. In 2012, I moved to the HSBC corporate team in Manchester and met Rowlinson Knitwear for the first time. I fell in love with Rowlinson’s values and way of working, then moved to join the business in 2016.
What‘s your most over-used word or phrase?
Great! That’s the word I use most when chatting to people or giving feedback.
Which three words would your friends use to describe your personality?
Excitable. Loyal. I would like to think caring.
What was the last book you read?
Guess How Much I Love You – to my six-month-old daughter Isla. One of our great suppliers, Cardinal Maritime, wrote a children’s book about how Rowlinson products travel across the world. It’s called ‘The Captain and the land of the Pharaohs’, which I also read to her.
Salt and vinegar or cheese and onion?
Salt and vinegar. Cheese and onion as a flavour just doesn’t work.
Which tune can‘t you get out of your head at the moment?
My two older daughters, Darcy and Seren, love the soundtrack to the musical Matilda. There’s a song in it called ‘When I Grow Up’ which is fantastic and played on repeat in our house!
What‘s your hidden talent?
I’m not sure I have any talent, hidden or otherwise! I played a lot of tennis growing up and could hold my own in county tennis leagues.
What‘s the most embarrassing thing that‘s ever happened to you at work?
Without much notice, the BBC came to Rowlinson one day to film a piece on excessive boardroom pay and how our structure of employee ownership is a much fairer alternative. It was great and opened with ‘Rowlinson Knitwear could be the future’. But I was incredibly nervous and ended up saying the phrase ‘major decisions’ at least three times within what ended up being a 30-second interview on BBC Breakfast. The team here have not let me forget about it since!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I try to avoid eating chocolate as if I start eating any, I just keep going.
Is there another job that you‘ve always wanted to do?
I‘ve always loved business having studied it throughout my grown-up life as well as working with many businesses at the bank. As such, joining Rowlinson in a leadership role was an ambition realised. One day in the distant future I would quite like to be a university lecturer in business.
Where is the best place you‘ve ever visited?
I’ve been lucky to travel a fair bit through work and personally. I spent time in São Paulo with HSBC, loved the Maldives when on honeymoon with my wife Sarah, and enjoyed backpacking across eastern Australia after uni.
Which gadget couldn‘t you live without?
At the minute it’s the baby monitor, which follows us everywhere in the house. Although our older girls got a retro Nintendo console for Christmas with all the games I used to play as a kid, and it’s great!
If you could ask one person (living or dead) one question, what would you ask?
I’d ask Martin Luther King how he inspired masses of people to stand up for what is right, bearing in mind he didn’t have any of the modern communication methods we most often use today. Also, what would his speech be about if he were doing it today?