The key to my time at Leeds Trinity were my placements, they ultimately set me up for my career to date.
Gary’s company, Everyday Juice Limited (EJL), is a subsidiary company of The University of Sheffield. EJL supports businesses big and small to create remarkable places to work with healthy and happy people. “Juice” launched at Leeds Trinity in January 2017 following a very positive response from University colleagues during a recent staff development day. The University have now implemented Juice, and with the support of Gary are building a diverse range of health and wellbeing activities for staff to enjoy.
Why did you choose to attend Leeds Trinity?
Having grown up in Horsforth, Leeds, and attended Horsforth School, I wanted to continue my studies toward a high standard degree. I looked around at a number of universities across the country and chose Leeds Trinity University, formerly Trinity and All Saints College, because of the high employability of its students, and its emphasis on workplace experience whilst studying.
What were your initial impressions when you began studying here?
I really liked the sense of community across campus; the University took pride in its history, diversity, and culture to create excellent opportunities to foster learning.
What are your favourite memories from your time studying at Leeds Trinity?
Too many to list, but a personal favourite would be living with a group of great lads in the “Prison Break House”… they’ll know what I mean!
How did your studies and experience at Leeds Trinity equip you for your career?
The key to my time at Leeds Trinity were my placements, they ultimately set me up for my career to date. I had the opportunity to enter the fitness industry as a personal trainer, work with Premiership athletes as an intern strength coach at Leeds Carnegie RFU (now Yorkshire Carnegie), participate in studies with England RFU, and even have the prospect of touring Australia with England Rugby League!
Can you tell us a little bit about your career to date and how this led you to be where you are now with Juice?
Following my studies at Leeds Trinity I entered the fitness industry as a personal trainer and built a solid client base in various gyms across the city, but after a few years I decided that I wanted to progress. My opportunity came when I met my now business and training partner, Andy Dodman, the then Director of Human Resources at The University of Sheffield. Andy wanted to create a fresh and innovative health and wellbeing offer for his 8,000 staff and asked me to help. We developed Juice, a one-stop-shop for health and wellbeing, which brought all of the University’s staff health and wellbeing needs under one roof.
Following a number of awards and conference presentations nationwide, we set up a subsidiary company of the University to help other organisations - Everyday Juice Limited (EJL), which is now my full-time role. I sit on the Board of Directors and am the company’s Executive Director. Through EJL I have the privilege of working with various organisations in a number of sectors, including here at Leeds Trinity.
As a side project, Andy and I have a strong advocacy of the Yorkshire Cancer Centre based in St James’ Hospital, Leeds. For a number of years now we have set up and delivered an annual event aimed at raising funds for this fantastic charity called the Great Yorkshire Stairclimb. Using the 32-storey stairwell at Bridgewater Place, athletes start at the bottom and run to the top as quick as they can; it’s harder than it sounds! We haven’t been able to run the event the past year or so because of work commitments, but we’re hoping to bring the event back to Leeds very soon.
How did it feel returning to Leeds Trinity to work in partnership with HR on the staff health and wellbeing offer?
It feels great, it’s like I’ve come full circle. The University has a very strong and engaged HR Team here, and it’s a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic and inspiring group.
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years through your partnership with Leeds Trinity?
Leeds Trinity is more of a community than a workplace and it’s full to the brim with skilled and talented individuals. Whether you’re a salsa dancer, keen knitter, a running enthusiast, or something entirely different, I’m looking forward to working with University colleagues to harness these skills and talents for a remarkable place to work with healthy and happy people.
You have also attended some of the 50th Anniversary celebratory events including the Gala Dinner and Reception at the House of Commons. What has stood out for you most in attending these?
It’s been fantastic to be invited to University events throughout this landmark year and something that I have taken with great pride. What really stands out to me through speaking with colleagues, students, alumni and fellow partners, is that everyone involved with the University is so because of their passion for the organisation. Having a brew in Parliament has definitely been a highlight of life so far, although sadly it wasn’t Yorkshire Tea!
Aside from your business interests, you compete at a high level in sport. Can you expand on this and tell us how often you train?
I’ve always had a love for sport, in particular rugby league. Naturally I’m a Leeds Rhinos fan. However, in more recent years I seem to be made of glass so I don’t don the rugby pitch any longer. Nowadays I have set my sights on triathlon, with cycling being a personal favourite.
I’ve completed a number of events now, including Ironman Western Australia back in December 2014. I have loads of silly ideas about other events, too, including cycling the Australian East Coast and possibly completing another Ironman this year. I’m always up for suggestions!