Q&A: Debbie Nedza, business director, HH Global

Jo Francis
Monday, December 20, 2021

Debbie is “54 years young” and has spent 25 years working in print and marketing services. She is married with two grown up boys, and is “beyond excited” to have a first grandchild on the way.

Outside of work she loves “being with my favourite people in the world, my family and friends enjoying making new memories and usually involving food and drink of any kind and with a huge amount of laughter”.

What is your nickname? 
Debs. Only my mother calls me Debbie and normally when I am in trouble – yes, even at my age

Why did you get into printing? 
Because I was absolutely fascinated at the process and how was it even possible to make an image out of tiny dots. I loved all aspects of marketing from a very young age and seriously should have focused more on what I really wished to do as marketing is a passion of mine in every way

What would be your dream job? 
To be the head of creative thinking for Saatchi & Saatchi, an absolute dream I have had for years, and it has never changed. Going to work everyday and just creatively thinking is my idea of heaven

Who would play you in a movie about your life? 
Dawn French or Julie Walters, I have a serious side but fun and humour is a big part of my personality

What is your dream bit of kit?
Even after all these years I have to say I am fascinated and in awe of web presses, the size, the speed, the accuracy of print and all the end-finishing that can be achieved

What would you most like to print? 
The medical journal that brings to the world the cure for cancer

What is your favourite film? 
It has to be Rocky. I love films where the character comes from nothing and fights adversity to be the best.

What is your favourite TV programme? 
From a young age I have loved Antiques Roadshow. I am truly fascinated by the back story of all the items, always blows my mind that, as an example, a piece of pottery has survived intact for hundreds of years

Sweet or savoury?
Savoury always, with the odd killer instinct for chocolate when stress levels are high

Have you completed any interesting projects during the various lockdowns?
Due to the lack of holidays I have transformed my home with a new landscaped garden, new kitchen (walls knocked down), new front door, new garage door, all facias replaced in a new colourway. My home is unrecognisable

Who or what do you hate the most?
The things I detest more than anything are disloyalty and dishonesty

Who do you admire most in the industry?
Paul Gibbons the former MD of SP Displays, sadly no longer with us. Not only was he a wonderful boss, but he truly believed that you could do and be anything you wished. He truly inspired people to grow and flourish as well as reach outside of their comfort zone and for that I will be eternally grateful. Paul gave me my first opportunity within the industry and inspired me to be the best version of me, as well as knock down walls to set new standards of “what great customer service” really should look like, something I hold dear to this day

What is your favourite phrase or saying? 
Life is too short, make the most of every second of every day

What is your favourite album? 
Anything by Adele. Her voice is incredible, but I love her, the fact that she is just normal and relatable and has the same vulnerabilities as everyone which comes across in her music

What is your favourite book/what book are you reading at the moment?
Ugly by Constance Briscoe. A true story, heartbreakingly raw but truly incredible

Cat or dog, or…? 
Most definitely a dog person, in particular chocolate Labradors. Sadly just lost ours after 14 years which was just devastatingly heart-breaking

What is your greatest luxury in life?
Fresh flowers every week in the kitchen and lounge

What is the strangest job you’ve ever done?
Dressing up as a Hush Puppy giving out helium balloons to market a new store opening when I worked for British Shoe. I think the outfit was made for a much taller person of 6ft-plus as I looked like a very sagging wrinkly pup. However, I did learn lots of interesting ploys of how to market a new store by giving children two or three balloons – inevitably, they would let go of them and the roof of the mall had hundreds of balloons all advertising Hush Puppies

Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with? 
Jim Carrey. I love to laugh and with his acting skills he could be someone new every day

What is your greatest ambition? 
To be the best at what I do and hope that I have inspired my sons and others to work hard to reach their goals and also be the best at what they do

What’s your greatest fear? 
Failure

Who or what makes you laugh? 
My husband, Peter Kay, Lee Evans, irony, sarcasm, day-to-day life can just be hilarious when delivered in the right way

What piece of kit would you like to see invented?
A working crystal ball to reduce some of the stress related to those tight deadlines

Most embarrassing moment?
Having arrived for a medical checkup of the female kind, laying on the couch and being told I may wish to check myself by a very flushed doctor. To my crucifying embarrassment I found a first-class stamp attached to my female anatomy. Moral of the story, when you take fresh underwear to change in to prior to your GP appointment, ensure you place said clothing in a bag and not just thrown into your handbag. MORTIFIED, can’t believe I am sharing this…!

Where would you like to be right now?
Maldives for sure, my idea of heaven on earth, haven’t been abroad since 2019 and I miss it

What’s your worst fashion disaster? 
Shoulder pads in jackets in the ’80s – what was I thinking?

Which superpower would you like to have? 
I would so love to know what people really want. Can you imagine the power of that?

Who would be your favourite party guests?
Alan Carr, Lee Evans, Pete Kay, Sarah Millican, Elvis Presley, Prince and Amy Winehouse

Where would you go if you could time-travel? 
Back to see my dad. He passed away when I was 11 years old. I would love to tell him what I have achieved in life and that there were others along the way who also said 'you can do it' just like he always told me

What was your childhood obsession?
Animals of any kind as well as learning to roller skate 

What is the worst kind of print? 
Personally, although it is necessary I find operational print frustrating because it is notoriously hard to innovate and drive change for many reasons

What was the best business deal that you’ve pulled off? 
The 'Face Britain' project that was launched by the Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts in 2012. Britain’s largest ever mass collaborative art project. My part within this project whilst working for St Ives, was to work with the Princes Trust and agencies to create thousands of packs to send to every school across the UK to launch the project with marketing posters, leaflets and an introduction letter written by former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo. 

The project was huge, and as always time was short. There was nothing more satisfying than pulling all of this project to a conclusion which resulted in over 200,000 children’s portraits being submitted, then watching it come to life and then being projected across Buckingham Palace on the day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Find your passion and follow it to your dream job

How would you like to be remembered? 
For being hard working, making a true difference to people and businesses and being kind with a sprinkle of fun too

Life is…?
what you make it. It is very short, so make the most of every moment and squeeze the pips out of it

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