Q&A: Gill Tress, Business services director, SF Taylor

Gill recently celebrated a special landmark – 40 years of working at SF Taylor. She’s married with one son, Dominic, and her hobbies include travelling, socialising with friends, trying new foods and restaurants, cooking, going to the gym and walking.

Why did you get into printing?

I worked across the road from SF Taylor in a carrier company and they were a customer of ours. I got to know the team well and they even gave me a tour of the site, so I got a behind-the-scenes peek and what they did. I found it really interesting and already knew it was a great team to work with. I heard about a vacancy and thought it would be a good career move for me. I knew there were so many facets of the business to be involved with and so much I could learn

What would be your dream job?

From starting at SF Taylor as an office junior, (following my cheeky letter advising that they would be missing a great opportunity if they didn’t employ me!) I feel that as a director and shareholder of the business, I am now in my dream job! There are not many people who can say that, so it makes me very happy. We have an amazing team which definitely contributes to that

What would you most like to print? 

The winning lottery ticket!

What is your favourite TV programme? 

Strictly Come Dancing. I was an amateur Latin American and ballroom dancer from the age of five until my teens and still really enjoy dancing when out and about on my many social evenings

Who do you admire most in the industry? 

Stephanie Lewin, client services director at SF Taylor. Stephanie’s fast progression in the business to her current role is down to her hard work, her vision for change in the business and the respect she receives from all levels of profession throughout our extensive NHS Client Base of which she is an expert in implementing cost savings and innovations. She is an integral role model for the future of SF Taylor

What is your favourite phrase or saying?

“Celebrate progress, no matter how small.”

“Dare to be different”

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

What is your favourite book?

The Alex Cross series of books by James Pattison and the Jack Reacher series of books by Lee Childs. I like to read and to watch crime, mystery and thrillers

What is your greatest luxury in life?

Travelling with family and friends. My favourite way to spend my time

Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?

Jason Statham, but if Jason isn’t available… maybe my husband Alec!

What is your greatest ambition?

I am proud to say that if you asked me this 10 or 20 years ago, I could say I have achieved many of the ambitions I had, both personally and professionally. But we always have huge ambitions for the company and continuing to grow this business, while also having the opportunity to give back to the community of Stockport (where I also live) and helping some amazing charities continues to be a big ambition of mine

Who or what makes you laugh?

My best friend of 54 years, Michelle and my goddaughter Scarlette, who are not only a huge part of my personal life but also part of our SF Taylor family and keep everyone laughing!

What piece of kit would you like to see invented?

Interesting question! I will be happy to see how the industry can evolve while fully embracing sustainability and what new machinery and software we will see emerge to help us to do this

Where would you like to be right now?

A Caribbean island reading a book and drinking a Mai Tai!

What’s your worst fashion disaster?

I’d say my perm in the ’80s although it certainly wasn’t a fashion disaster at the time. I’m secretly waiting for the triumphant comeback of the perm!

Which superpower would you like to have?

To read people’s minds – I’d say I would get a few surprises

Who would be your favourite party guests?

I would like Coldplay to come to my party and sing all the songs from Music of the Spheres album. The best concert I have ever been to

Where would you go if you could time-travel?

The swinging '60s of course!

 What was the best business deal that you’ve pulled off?

One of our greatest achievements has been expanding into the private sector, servicing more blue-chip companies, as well as our proud partnerships with organisations in the public sector which span decades

 What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Work hard, save hard and play hard in that order if you want to retire in your 50s

 How would you like to be remembered?

When I began, there was just one woman in a management position. The print industry, like many sectors in the 1980s, was male-dominated. I would like to be remembered for being a key part in the complete transformation of our workforce, from the central management team to the directors, into a more diverse and inclusive team

Life is…?

Being so happy that, when other people look at you, they become happy too.