I was asked to write a profile for the local paper

Currently President of the Chamber of Commerce, in his day job Chaz runs a public relations and marketing firm based in Guildford, promoting clients locally, nationally and internationally. He was brought up in West Sussex and then went to college and lived in London for ten years. He has lived and worked in Guildford for twenty years and is a passionate supporter of the local area.

Chaz is married with three children, aged 14,12 and 5 and says he spends his free time ferrying the kids around from one activity to another, whether that be ballet, drama or football. His hobbies include walking, cooking, drinking Spanish and Italian red wine, and music. He’s just painstakingly digitised his entire vinyl collection of 1000+ LPs and put them on his iPod and can be seen wandering around Guildford and over the Downs with headphones on, normally in a world of his own! He also likes to keep quiet about the fact that he is a West Ham supporter, as that’s where his family originates from, and if you ask him he will say that West Ham won the World Cup for England — so don’t ask him about that ….

Pancakes, Cobbles and Charity

When I told my brother-in-law we were entering a charity pancake race he said “What is that? Do you have to make pancakes as quickly as possible?” Presumably he has been watching too much Saturday Kitchen and thinks that pancakes are omelettes.

The pancake race is, of course, one of those splendedly eccentric British traditions unknown to my (American) brother-in-law and the origins are interesting — in 1445 a maid in Oxfordshire was cooking pancakes, she was late for church and she unwittingly ran to church still carrying her frying pan with a pancake in it!

Anyway, back to Guildford and my mate from the local radio station shamed me into entering a team into the Pancake race (which the radio had made sure went ahead as the normal organisers couldn’t do it as it was half-term this week — long story).

So, our intrepid team lined up for the start — officiated by our ever-civic spirited MP Anne Milton and we had an extra member of our team in the Guildford reporter for the Surrey Advertiser (thanks Richard!)

We didn’t get off to a good start — apparently I tossed the pancake too high and too slowly, so we lost the competitive advantage we never had, and the others in the team of Uli, Richard and Andrew couldn’t pull back the deficit and we didn’t quite win the race. This gives fuel to the argument as to where you put the weakest member of a relay team …..

More training required for next year …..


(photo of naive “high” pancake tossing courtesy of Surrey Advertiser)

Royalty, movie stars, paparazzi,and curry.

Last night we arranged the media for the Royal Rajasthan Gala Dinner at the Banqueting House in London. It was a glittering occasion and began with a red carpet paparazzi crush to get photos of the attending royalty and celebs. A couple of the expected celebs did not show as is their right, but others did such as Sir Bob Geldof who true to form turned on a camera crew with his language as vivid as ever. We hosted a media table and I’m pleased to say that all our guests turned up and we met some great people. One gripe though, the charity auction went on too long and I couldn’t afford to bid for anything!

You can see some agency photos here

It was a priviledge to be able to arrange a 1-1 press interview with a broadsheet journalist and the Maharaja prior to the event, and to listen to his Highness talk about the personal tragedy that befell his son which prompted him to set up the Charity.

Bonus points for Chaz — this morning I gave my 5 year-old daughter a bunch of beautiful table napkin rings which coincidentally are the perfect size bangle for a 5 year-old princess. And the Maharaja gave them to me to give to her. She was impressed!

First piece of coverage is here

Innovative ‘Green Bonus’ encourages employees to leave car at home

We have introduced a Green Bonus for employees to encourage them to leave their car at home and come to work on foot, by bicycle or public transport.

“We just felt the need to do something and make a difference, so introducing the Green Bonus and encouraging our employees to walk or cycle to work seemed like the right thing to do,” says Chaz Brooks, Creative Director of CBC. “But the great thing about it is that the whole team has taken it on board and made it into the success that it is now.”

Previously, all CBC employees had to drive at least 7 miles to the office, since then, the company moved to an in-town location and a Green Bonus has been introduced to encourage CBC employees to walk or cycle to work. Now 3 people walk to work, two cycle 3 miles and two work remotely and visit the office occasionally. This has saved an estimated 13,440 miles a year in car journeys just getting to and from work, not counting the normal business mileage which CBC now does almost exclusively by train as the station is only a 10 minute walk away. So by moving offices and encouraging staff to walk or cycle, CBC is keeping cars off the road by eliminating the need for a daily commute.

“If we don’t drive to work for more than three quarters of the month, we are rewarded with a bonus,” says Andrew Ball, Senior Account Manager at CBC. “At the old offices, staff were given parking allowances, but parking in central Guildford is neither easy to find, nor cheap so as most of us are very sporty anyway, walking and cycling sounded like a great plan to keep fit and have a much more relaxed and stress-free journey to work.”

The Green Bonus is just one aspect of CBC’s environmental-friendly policy, as they also print on scrap and old paper, only turn on half the office lights when needed (not at all in Summer), turn PC’s, printers and kettle etc. off and don’t leave on standby, recycle printer cartridges and give old sample products and spare paper to schools, and send surplus freebie gifts (such as pens) to schools in Africa (taken by hand by local MP to Eritrea).

“We try to be a micro example of a green office where we can,” says Chaz Brooks, Creative Director of CBC. “We strongly believe that even small businesses can and should make an effort to be as “green” as possible; after all it’s the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean.”

CBC does not drive halfway to the moon

In response to a journalist request about how green we are I figured out that since we moved our office from seven miles outside Guildford into the Town centre, six years ago, that we’ve NOT driven halfway to the moon, which we otherwise would have done (saving over 100,000 miles of driving). Now we are based in Guildford town centre, there are four of us who walk to work, one who cycles and two who work remotely. No-one commutes by car who works for us. We actively use distance from work as a recruitment policy, not sure whether that’s discriminatory or not! Plus which we are five minutes walk from the station, so it saves us time when we have to go to London or to see clients. One other easy green thing we do is to always reuse A4 paper on both sides, whether that be in the printer or as scrap paper.