James Shepherd

Where on the planet are you currently located: Adelaide, Australia.
So what exactly is your job and how did you go about achieve that career path:  Once I finished school I was not 100% sure what I was going to do so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Business, Majoring in Financial Risk Management, at Victoria University in Melbourne. This course turned out to be completely different to what I thought! Determined not to become a banker, I took a year off to work full time at my then casual job at Nando’s.  At this point I was a Duty Manager but did not take the job too seriously (basic beer money).  After a few months my store was bought by the National Operations Manager of the Country! It was basically a case of shape up or ship out. Luckily I choose the later and developed a strong work ethic and eye for detail in the process. After the year off I went back to University part time and did a Bachelor of Business in Human Resources Management.  Once this was completed I worked for Head Office in various roles including Operations, New Store Openings and HR.  2 years ago an opportunity opened up to relocate to Adelaide and take on the South Australian market with 7 stores and a lot of growth potential.  I relocated with my wife and a lot of Nando’s partners from Melbourne. 24 months on we are all living the dream.

What’s a typical working day for you: Wake up at 6:30am, hit the road at 7am to go to my 1st meeting or to the store that I will be based in for the morning.  Go through my schedule for the day and get the most important tasks out of the way before starting to get ready for the lunch rush from 11am in store. After the lunch rush has calmed down, get ready to catch up on Lease Deals, Regional Operations, Suppliers Issues and catch up with the Restaurant General Managers and Business Development Manager about any pressing issues. After this I either have a couple more meetings or other Regional Issues to deal with.  Then from 5pm till 6pm help the guys out with preparing for the Dinner rush. After having dinner I finish off any tasks that need to be completed before the next day, rewrite my “to do list” for the next day and finish up around 9pm. (FirstStep.me says, Hectic!)
All jobs have challenges, what would you say are some of yours: Educating the Adelaide locals that Nando’s is Portuguese and not Mexican! (FirstStep.me: Is laughing loudly!). Keeping all Customers, Managers and Staff happy on a consistent basis.
Where do you see yourself in five years time: In Adelaide sipping on a beer and thinking about the 20 stores we have opened in the last 5 years.
Do you believe in studying as a key to success in all careers: It teaches you to relate to different people from different cultures. It also teaches you how to think about problems as potential opportunities for improvement.
Do you have any career role models that helped motivate your success: Victor Milne the National Operations Manager from Nando’s Australia has helped me a lot through my personal and professional development. I would not be half the man I am today if it was not for him.
Highlights of your career so far: Finally graduating after deferring the 1st degree and many many years of Part Time study. (FirstStep.me say's top stuff!)
Funniest moment of your career so far: Travelling Inter State and trying to find my way around while trying to act professional. Not funny at the time, but very funny looking back (I guess you had to be there.)
Okay serious questions over:
If you weren’t a Regional Manager you would be a Teacher.
Country- South Africa
City- Durban
Food- Chicken
Movie- Cool Runnings
Book- From Good to Great by Jim Collins
Website- www.rugby365.com
Words of wisdom for the youth of the globe: You don’t have to change your personality to be successful; you just need to choose the right way to express it.