Interview with a Business Development Manager at Opia

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Katie Kelly is a B2B Marketing Consultant with 8 years experience. Her approach is straight-talking, hard-working and honest. Working with as much passion and dedication to growing your business as you do. You can find out more at

This weeks interviewee is Simon Wade, who is the  Business Development manager at Opia, promoting cinema vouchers to businesses as employee/client incentives.

I grew up with a debilitating stammer that I thought would ruin my life. I forced myself into retail after leaving school, the stammer went and I’ve been in sales since. I’m in an office now but I still relish the human interaction, whether I’m on the phone or out in the field. I’m a BDM for the biggest cinema chain the country, with a remit to get bums on seats in big numbers. My day involves providing escapism from work for thousands of people every day.

1. Biggest mistake of your career & how you fixed it? 

Believing the WB of a recruiter – twice!

After three years in a B2B selling role, a pretty ruthless industry, I’d lost interest. A random call from a recruitment agent had me in awe of this other firm and how I’d be daft not to go. New industry, new responsibilities & prospects of foreign travel.

However, the tedium was all-encompassing. Despite a decent basic, I missed the concept of a target-driven bonus. The promise of foreign travel was WB. It was boring. The shame of a career spent cold-calling was replaced by the shame of not being happy.

Cue the second mistake. A colleague from years ago was now a recruiter and he offered a lifeline in sales again. Back to a call-centre and back to bonuses & incentives. This role couldn’t have been further out of my comfort zone if I’d gotten a job as Donald Trump’s masseuse!

How did I fix it? I looked for a new career myself. Networking existing contacts that I knew and respected, lots of researching, targeted CV’s direct to companies whether they had vacancies or not, making a nuisance of myself. Doing the job of a recruiter, basically. Eventually, a choice between 2 brilliant but diverse careers. I’m sure I picked the right one, I love it!

2. A lightbulb moment

After decades of continuous employment and hopping from one career to another for an extra few thousand on my P60, I realised that money isn’t everything. Good luck eventually runs out and you end up in a WB job missing simpler more straightforward times, As long as you can pay the bills and care for your nearest and dearest, why bust a gut and be miserable? Leave the Wolf of Wall Street mentality to the kids.

My income is lower but I can sleep at night. I can relax, enjoy holidays and enjoy company both inside and outside of work. For that, I’m richer than I’ve ever been.

3. Tip for tomorrow

Have a real good think about your work-life balance. Your family and friends won’t stand around your death-bed proclaiming about your KPIs, they’d prefer to talk about the time you had for others, those great nights out, your compassion and selflessness.

Don’t be afraid to admit you’re in a WB environment with WB people, especially if it has a detrimental effect on you as a person. Act when your instinct tells you, and don’t change your mind. Never go back.

If you do decide to go, maintain your dignity. Work your full notice until the last minute, unless you’re blessed with garden leave. Don’t bad-mouth anyone or anything, it serves no purpose. Respect is a currency that WB people don’t get.

Want to help stop Wanky Bollocks in business?

Support the movement by following NWB on Twitter and encourage any other honest, straight talkers who might be interested in following or contributing to NWB to get in touch: [email protected].


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