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Goodbye, Francesca - thank you! and please stay in touch...

Well, you’ll have to excuse the mushiness of this send-off because I’m particularly fond of this colleague; she’s my wife.

After 10 years, Francesca has her last day at SARD today. We cofounded the company together. She’s been by my side from the get-go. From joining her in a cafe after my first meeting with Oxleas where the concept of SARD was first discussed, to our 10th birthday celebrations partying on a yacht to the early hours of the morning. She stopped off a couple of times on the way to give birth to my two wonderful kids, then - when they were out to school - becoming increasingly involved in our ever-growing business.

Her job title says Marketing Director but that underplays her contribution. I think she’d be the first to admit that she’s not trained as a marketeer and the job found her rather than the other way around. We were a growing company, with limited budget and our marketing was non-existent except for a promo-video where we’d accidentally put a 70s funk porno track as the background music. I did wonder why the file was called XXXplosion.mp3

We’ve come a long way since. Having attended one of NHS England’s Workforce Roadshow conferences last week, I was struck by just what she has accomplished.

Our content is slick and professional.

But that’s just the marketing…

Francesca’s other role has been consigliere to me - but without the decapitated horses.

She’s been a core part of our management team - just subtly noticing the things that need to move us in a different direction. Steering me (that’s one hell of a task) and her incredible brain picking up on stuff that nobody else would notice. She’s one smart cookie. And for the last month, at least 10 times, I’ve lamented “I’m going to miss your brain”

But that’s just the business stuff.

As my wife and friend, it’s been a pleasure to have her by my side for these 10 years. Stupid things like betting on the number of Royal Mail vans we’d pass on the way into Canterbury. Or frustrated, enraged and tired at the latest 50 billion page tender document on my desk, a well-timed cup of tea would slide into view, and a comforting hand on my shoulder as if to say, “You’ve got this.”

We have got this.

SARD’s all grown-up. We’re at a stage where marketing isn’t starting from scratch. For our family, it’s good to take on some new challenges, tread some other paths, explore different places.

Thank you, darling. Thanks for taking on this mammoth project with me. Now go have fun, explore and have some of your own adventures.

And please, please, please - given you’re my wife - stay in touch.