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Five Questions: Rob Quail

1. Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m Rob Quail, I’m a part professional Blue Badge tour guide for London and the South, and a director of Open Gates Management, a consultancy that project manages restorations and reorderings and redevelopments of historic churches.

These two very different lines of work are both important! Blue-Badge is important for showing off the very best of this country to visitors, and I particularly enjoy showing them the great cathedrals and churches, and talking through the how the architecture articulates the very purpose of what the building is built for.

Open Gates Management is about turning historic buildings that can often be a liability and a burden for church communities into an asset, mining the gold that’s hidden deep within them, which once released can equip the church for their very purpose, and also allow other purposes to be realised in them, which opens up all sorts of other opportunities including financial sustainability.

2. What’s your most valuable skill?

I’ve got the ability to connect with people from the whole width of the spectrum. I don’t think I’m the world’s best people person, but I’m good at making connections and establishing relationships quite quickly with people, whatever background or wealth or education or trade, profession they’re in – as a project manager I have to bring together a really wide pool of people.

3. Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

Well prepared meetings. Meetings are so valuable in taking anything forward, but only if they’re well prepared with a good agenda, they keep to time, they’re well minuted, if they’re a repeating meeting that the minutes of the last one are used and actioned.

4. What advice do you most need to hear?

Be more disciplined in the hours I work – which might make me more efficient in getting work done.

5. Suggest an endearing and humorous question for question number five – and answer it.

Pass… oh, my four year old boy asked me the other day whether or not God slept and had dreams, and what God dreamt of… “Cake and football,” was his own answer to the question.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...