Caroline Southwell, Publican Relationship and Communications Manager

What has been your career journey with Punch?

“I joined Punch in November 2010 in a temporary role as Contact Centre Advisor.  I had previously been running a pub of my own and never had an office job. Taking an average of 70 calls a day, which could be from anybody about anything, was a baptism of fire to say the least!

It was a fast-paced environment, which gave me an opportunity to quickly grow my knowledge of the business and provided an amazing grounding in the industry.

After 8 months, I moved into the Query Management back desk team, focusing on query resolution and growing relationships with key stakeholders across the business.

It soon became clear that we needed a more robust complaints process, so I worked closely with my Team Leader and the Central Operations team to re-write and embed a new process for the Contact Centre.  This led me to take on a secondment opportunity in the Central Operations team one day a week, logging and collating responses to executive complaints.

In 2012, I went on maternity leave and, whilst away, saw the position of Central Operations Co-ordinator role advertised.  I applied and was successful so returned from maternity leave in 2013 to a take on a broader remit with responsibility for Executive complaints, our internal Code of Practice compliance and also supported the team with proactive and reactive PR activity, MP engagement and trade body awards.

In May 2015, as the Pubs Code Regulations were being drafted, I was promoted to the role of Publican Relationship Manager in the Legal and Estates team, working under the Compliance Manager. I retained responsibility for Exec complaints and also worked as part of an internal project team to identify trends, shape policies and processes to ensure the Pubs Code was implemented successfully at Punch.

In 2018, the business was restructured following its acquisition by Patron and May Capital and I took on the role of Publican Relationship and Communications Manager, retaining my existing responsibilities but also with overall responsibility for external affairs and corporate PR activity.”

What support and development have you had in your time at Punch?

“My time in the Contact Centre was a really important development opportunity and was also where I completed my Level 3 NVQ in Customer Service along with a range of internal service qualifications.

As part of the Central Operations team, I completed the Chartered Institute of PR Introduction to Public Relations qualification, which was fully funded by Punch. This provided a really useful insight into the world of PR.

I have also been lucky to receive excellent support from the operational teams to enable quick resolutions to issues and all of my line managers have actively encouraged me to grow my knowledge, build my profile in the business and realise my potential.  I have felt empowered to find solutions to problems in my own way, to take ownership and my confidence has continued to grow.”

What is it like working for Punch?

I love that Punch is a fast-moving business.  I like that you are encouraged to drive your own development and that personal growth is encouraged and well supported. The overall culture at Punch is not just supportive but fun.  I think there is a clear reason why people stay with Punch for as long as they do! “

Would you recommend working for Punch to others?

“I would – it’s a team of people always striving to make things better.”