On the spot: Helen Starkey, HR and communications manager, Nippon Gohsei, Hull

What was your first job?

Helen Starkey: A good run always destresses after a long day at work.

I was an office junior straight after college in a small family-owned business in east Hull.

If you weren’t in your current position, what would you be doing?

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Running a small florist – I absolutely love flowers.

What was your worst mistake?

Not working harder at school. I just wasn’t interested, but it cost me later, with 10 years of night classes. It would have been a darn sight easier if I had worked harder at school.

Name one person you would like to have dinner with.

Richard Branson – I find him fascinating. He should just jump on one of Virgin’s new East Coast trains and come to Hull. I could cook him dinner, show him round the City of Culture and then he could do the same for me – on his island of Necker.

What was your best subject at school?

English – literature and language.

What are your hobbies?

Cooking and good food, plus running. I love running as it de-stresses me after a long day.

What would you do if you won the Lottery?

Travel round the world, shopping and laying in the sun.

What’s your top time-saving tip?


What’s your favourite time of day?

The morning – first thing I get up, usually about half five, see what the day is like.

What is your favourite item of clothing?

It’s an absolutely fabulous black and white dress I bought 20 years ago with my mother.