Me & My Job - Phil Gibbs, company secretary, LOFA

Phil Gibbs, company secretary, LOFA - image: HW
Phil Gibbs, company secretary, LOFA - image: HW

- How did you get started in the industry?

The Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) advertised for a company secretary in the Daily Telegraph and I applied and got through the selection process. I started on 1 October 2011 and had a three-month handover from (former LOFA secretary) Richard Plowman.

- What is your background?

I had 31 years in the Royal Navy, which is a completely different game.

- What does your typical day involve?

I have yet to find a typical day. This week I have been going through our accounts, working on our Made Aware environmental scheme, on membership enquiries and getting ready for our next council meeting. I also receive up to 100 emails, 20 faxes and 20 letters a day.

- What is the best aspect of your job?

The variety. Every day I am doing something different. There is so much going on. The major focus is Solex on 16-18 July in Telford and I'm doing a lot of preparation for that. Every day I am learning more about the industry. It's not a complex job but there are a number of balls to keep in the air, each of which has its own element of complexity.

- What are the future tasks at LOFA?

The relaunch of the Made Aware label and everything that goes with that. Also redeveloping our websites.

- What are the big issues facing the industry?

One of the biggest is the economy. I don't think that I should be any less blunt than that. Garden furniture is a discretionary purchase and the money in people's pockets is worth less than it was. Garden centres have to be much more aggressive in getting themselves out in the market and therefore need to buy more stock from LOFA members. We live in a fluid market - we have to keep changing.

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