Each month, we will put a team member in the hotseat by asking them some insightful questions about their career and interests.
This month, it is time for Grace Kneafsey, Senior Business Development Manager - Low Carbon to answer some questions. Here are the responses:
What do you do at WMGC?
I lead on ‘low carbon’ within the inward investment team. In a nutshell, this means trying to attract businesses from across the globe who are operating in energy, the built environment & resource management to the West Midlands, as well as helping existing WM businesses in this space to expand. Although ‘low carbon’ is labelled separately, I sit within the advanced manufacturing team and often work with colleagues in Tech, Professional Services & Capital Investment because there’s so much crossover!
I also work really closely with the Energy Capital team at the Combined Authority.
What do you like about working at WMGC?
The people! It’s a super friendly environment, but it’s also great to be part of a team where the load is shared and everyone’s willing to lend a hand and share knowledge. Its also really sociable, which I think in a post-Covid work environment is hugely beneficial.
Specifically on job terms, every day can be different which is great & certainly keeps it interesting. I love to get out and about and meet people face to face, but also have time to really get into the detail of things like policy & strategy – this role really allows for that.
What is something clients in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix?
Difficult to pick something specific because I work across tech, manufacturing, consultancy and more! I think public perception, education and understanding are huge challenges in the low carbon space – one article (see Rowan Atkinson recently on his electric car) can have a huge impact. There’s no clear answer to this and it’s way too big for me to fix, but I think more certainty around technologies would be a game changer for the low carbon economy.
Where have you worked in the past?
I trained at Deloitte in London after University, working in the tax transactions team, mainly for US private equity real estate clients (so I am a chartered accountant and tax advisor by trade! Try to keep it quiet to avoid too many tax questions these days…)
Between Deloitte & WMGC, I headed up business development for a digital asset finance start-up (Equipal – check it out!).
What's your background?
I grew up in Solihull, and went to secondary school in Kings Heath, so spent most of my teenager years in and around South Birmingham! I studied geography at Oxford before four years enjoying the City in London. Like many people, I headed back to the Midlands between lockdowns, in search of a garden and an escape from London rent, and ended up setting up in Stirchley where I’m now based!
What's your favourite quote?
This is such a tough question! I’m not really into ‘inspirational’ quotes or mantras. I enjoyed Gary Neville’s recent assertion on Steven Bartlett’s podcast about taking mini-retirements, a ground-breaking concept of taking a few days off to ‘switch off’…
What book are you currently reading?
I have Conversation on Love by Natasha Lunn on my bedside table, but I’m currently revising for my WSET Level 2 in Wine exam so I’m reading about slopes in Burgundy…
What are the values that drive you?
I don’t know if “Time” is a value (maybe it’s more of a concept?!). But I really believe in making time for people around you, trying not to be consumed by workload or buying into a culture of ‘being too busy’.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I probably spend too much time watching and talking about football, including following Bolton Wanderers (feel free to talk to me about the ‘glory days’ & Jay-Jay Okocha!). I’m a bit of a foodie and my colleagues would probably say Birmingham restaurants is my passion.