From flight attendant with Virgin Atlantic to general manager of Virgin Trains, it’s been some journey for Brummie, Natasha Grice who likes nothing better than putting on her earphones and just being ‘Tash’
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I started my career as a flight attendant with Virgin Atlantic before joining Virgin Trains as a customer services assistant at New Street station. I’ve enjoyed a number of other roles, such as duty manager in customer relations, station manager New Street and a role leading the delivery of Virgin’s Olympic 2012 customer experience offer. I was also head of Virgin Trains’ Talent Academy.
IT’S WHAT I DO
I am general manager for Virgin Trains’ London to Birmingham route. This year Virgin Trains is celebrating 20 years as a franchise, but there’s still lots to achieve and I feel like we’re just getting started, particularly here in Birmingham where the franchise has its UK headquarters.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
There are so many opportunities for us to look at how people live their lives these days. For example, are rail timetables fit for 21st century life and how people like to travel to spend time with their families? I also want us to look at how we maximise apprenticeships and take that to the next level. How do we develop people professionally, to nurture them and make them feel like they have an enriched sense of purpose at work?
Personally, I feel really proud of getting to the level I have at work while being a mother-of-two. I haven’t had to sacrifice sports days or parents’ evenings or moments that matter in my children’s lives. I’m really proud of maintaining that family life and being a mum. I have a very supportive husband!
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Not to try to do everything yourself! Just because you lead a team you don’t have to be the one with the answers. It’s like being a football manager… get the right team in place and the goals will come.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
The city is always changing. It never stands still. I was born here and when I think of what it was like as a kid, the city has totally transformed. If this continues what a fantastic place it will be for my children and their grandchildren. I love the diversity, the culture and all the things we can do as a family these days.
I love running. It’s the one time I can put my earphones on and it’s just ‘Tash’, not mum or manager. And I know it’s a bit cliched but I do love going out walking with the family and the dog. It’s great to take some time out. Oh, and I do love eating! I love nice food and wine, particularly Nosh & Quaff, the Cosy Club, the new gin bar 40 St Paul’s… a couple of gin cocktails and I’m happy! It’s great to be able to hop on the train from Sandwell and Dudley and be in the city centre in 10 minutes to enjoy all these.
Quite simply Birmingham is a great place. It’s on the up and I love being a part of that.