Chris Shields is regional sales director at IT solutions business Pulsant, which has a regional office in Gateshead. He has been with the company for 16 years and is responsible for growing Pulsant’s sales in northern England and Scotland. Prior to joining Pulsant (formerly known as Lumison) he worked in IT recruitment for seven years and holds an honours degree in pharmacology and physiology from Edinburgh University
If you could invite four people (living or dead) to dinner – who would they be and why?
I would invite my maternal grandparents as I never met them, both passed away before I was born so it would be nice to meet them. I would also invite my Mum and Dad so they could have a family meal once more. And if I can get to squeeze a few more round the table – I would get my wife and two children there just to complete a family meal that has never happened.
What’s the best business decision you ever made?
In my late 20s my wife and I took some jobs in Sydney to continue our careers. Moving, working in a new culture and living in a very different city provided some life lessons I still adhere to and an appreciation of things that I came back to.
Do you use social media, and what is your opinion of it?
Social media is a great tool for keeping in touch and sharing information, but like all information presented it does need to be viewed with caution and it is easy for opinion to be presented and understood as fact when there is clearly a difference. But like all tools, it is only as good as the user.
What type of books do you like to read and what was the last book you read?
I typically read fiction – thrillers and crime novels mainly. I am currently reading I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
Name your fantasy board of directors, and why you have chosen them.
Richard Branson for vision and risk-taking, Jony Ive for that unwavering focus on the customer experience and design, James Dyson for his ability to rethink the ‘known’ and my wife as her ability to negotiate is phenomenal.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would be your dream job, and why?
A charter boat skipper, meeting lots of people and sailing around some beautiful places in the world.
What are your favourite places in the North East, and why?
Bamburgh beach, I am a costal person at heart. This beach just ticks all that a beach should be: dramatic, ever changing, wide open and a place you can either sit and watch or walk or run along.
Which are your favourite newspapers and online sources of news, and why?
The over-riding theme is I get my sources of news from paid journalism. I like the act of physically reading a newspaper in the morning. I like that a physical paper has content that is so much more in-depth to what I normally read online. For online sources I read the online versions of newspapers and television/radio news.
If you could choose somebody to play you in a biopic, who would it be, and why?
I would need to choose two for the ‘younger’ and ‘older’ me but both for the same reason. Both my nine-year-old daughter and Dad really have no idea what I do for a living, so it would give them a great idea of what I do on a day-to-day basis.
What’s your best piece of business advice?
“Customers pay our wages”. Every company has a customer somewhere in the process and it is sometimes easy to get caught up when integrating and making internal changes. Everything should start with the customer and how they see it, perceive it, buy it, use it, pay for it and the benefits they gain for whatever you provide them.