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Meet the Team - Debbie Donaldson

Get to know our Office Manager

How did you begin your career in Office Management?

After graduating from RGU with a BA/Hons degree in Applied Social Sciences, I secured a full time position in the financial services arm of an Accountancy firm. During my thirteen years in the industry, I sat exams and took on various roles in administration, operations and paraplanning. 

Like many others during the pandemic, I found myself faced with an opportunity to reconsider the career path I had chosen in my early 20’s. It became clear to me pretty quickly that although I had made some great connections in the community, I was ready to look for something that aligned more with my personal interests and beliefs whilst utilising the skills I had developed to date. 

A friend, who I had only met at the beginning of 2020 during a goaldiggers workshop at Pencil Me In in Elgin, reached out to me to say she had seen the position at SPEY and immediately thought of me. It was one of those situations where as soon as I had applied and had my first interview with Jen, I knew that I really wanted it.

What’s been the most memorable experience at SPEY?

Everything at SPEY is a real team effort, and despite the fact that we haven’t all met face-to-face I feel like we have a really supportive team. There have been a couple of occasions where this has really blown me away - from pulling together on new biz tenders and client projects, to helping each other through personal difficulties. 

We recently did a Friday cocktail hour quiz, where we had to match statements to the correct member of the team. Drawing back to the fact many of us haven’t met ‘in real life’, it was heartwarming to see how everyone had taken the time to get to know each other virtually. 

What’s been your favourite project to work on so far in your career?

I love to plan and organise, so being tasked with overseeing the move to our cool new office space at Clockwise in Leith so early in my career with SPEY was a dream project for me. It also meant I got to travel south for the first time in eighteen months and meet some of our team members in person. We even managed a small team lunch outside in the sunshine to celebrate our recent awards success. 

What do you get up to when you’re not at work?

If I am not taking part in class at Focus Martial Arts Centre, I will be out and about enjoying food, or hiking, biking or running trails towards food. I really admire all the small local businesses that have popped up or adapted over the last year and it’s been amazing to see the support the local community has shown for these.

In times before covid, I would travel abroad at least a couple of times a year visiting family and friends in Australia, Spain and Turkey or exploring somewhere new. In between times, my friends and I never missed an opportunity for city breaks closer to home, taking in a show or a gig while discovering some local culture and tackling as many food and drink spots from our hit list as possible. 

What is your favourite book/podcast?

This is really hard, I have always been a bookworm. It was a passion I indulged in over lockdown. Along with two of my closest friends we continued our book club by reading and sending books to each other. I also follow Reese Witherspoon's book club for recommendations, which runs alongside her media company, hello sunshine. Each month she picks a book she loves with a woman at the center of the story. 

A book that has influenced me in recent years is Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life  by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I have dipped into this book for the last eight years. One of my favourite chapters is titled ‘You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf’.  

When it comes to podcasts I tend to dip in and out, recently I have been listening to Chris Shiflett Walking the floor, I weigh with Jameela Jamil and Soundtracking with Edith Bowman. My guilty pleasure podcast would be Before Breakfast with Laura Vanderkam, the episodes are around six minutes and focus on productivity advice and time management strategies. 

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