Culture is a big thing at Canvas Offices. From the way we work together, to the way we celebrate successes and say ‘thank you’ for the hours we put into the place we spend most of our time. We know culture can make or break a business. And so does Maisie Flight, our Central Sales Manager. Joining at the height of the pandemic, Maisie has been fundamental to the development of the team. Today we chat to her about what attracted her to Canvas, how she helped build a department and what she’d do with £1million.
We leave the office at Luke Street and walk out into the July sunshine. We wind our way to one of Maisie’s favourite local spots, The Small Square Café. It’s charming, it’s painted green, and they specialise in pistachio lattes. She insists I try one, and I’m not disappointed. Then, she pulls out a jar of pistachio spread from her handbag. “I put it on everything”, she says. “Honestly, it makes everything instantly delicious, and it’s good for you!”. I’m speechless, but very impressed. I feel like we could all learn a thing or two from Maisie Flight.
I ask, what attracted you to Canvas?
“I loved the idea of working for a small family run business. It’s always been my go-to. I’ve never been attracted to large corporate environments. Will [Tattersall, Head of Sales], who I’d known from a previous role, told me the story of these two incredible brothers, Ron and Oren [Rosenblum], starting something quite revolutionary. Having had experience in the industry before and the prospect of adapting a product to work for the new way of working in a post-Covid world made me think ‘yeah, I want to get my teeth stuck into that!’. It felt like an opportunity to help create something quite special. And I think we’re well on the way with doing that.”
So, you joined in the pandemic, what was that like?
“When I joined, it was in the very heart of Covid, and we were in a big planning phase at that time. But the product was built on a very resilient model so during Covid we were actually quite successful, and we didn’t have to fight many fires. So, although we weren’t growing, we were maintaining a very healthy portfolio. We obviously had to be really flexible for our clients but that encouraged client loyalty because we were very loyal to them. Like the rest of the world, we had to implement rules and guidelines, but coming into the office every day, the properties were still fairly busy. I’ve been with Canvas for 2 and a half years now, and I’ve seen the company go from strength to strength. Originally, I came in to set up the Central Sales function, establishing the foundations and processes that were needed.”
They must have put a lot of faith in you to develop and entire department at such a crazy time. How did that feel?
“Well, Will had the reigns, with me on the front line and a lot of it was about enabling him to do his job on a high-level view. And then as we grew the team with another two members, new processes needed to be drawn up, being able to track and record and report, and I played a big part in that. It’s a good feeling knowing how important the department is to the business as a whole. I mean, if the sales team didn’t report the successes and failures, we wouldn’t know how we’re doing as a business. And before we had that ability, it was tricky to know where to take the company next. So, I feel like what we’ve done in the sales team has been fundamental in deciding where to take Canvas.”
That family-run aspect of the business that attracted you in the first place, does that translate into the culture of the business?
“Yes and no. Working closely with a smaller group of people allows you to utilise their expertise across everything. Everyone gets involved from the very top to the most junior members of the team. Everyone is always there to help wherever and however they can. We all know a lot about a lot. And having exposure to the running of the business and the strategy and thinking behind it all is quite exciting, because you can see your hard work playing out in real time. The way we work is very transparent, but there are high expectations of everyone as well. Across every department, we’re all accountable and responsible but that’s why we’re all here. A company of now approximately 20 people running a 14-strong property portfolio is no mean feat. There’s nowhere to hide. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
What about the softer side of the culture?
“We’re all quite bold characters and we all care about what we do. But in turn, it’s very much a work hard play hard mentality. The environment we’ve created, I mean it has to be relaxed. It has to feel like people can ask for help or challenge others when they feel something is wrong. Working closely with everyone allows you to have that relationship. And we have a fantastic out of work relationship with everybody, too. Going on company trips abroad, having regular socials, the countless locals that surround the office – the landlords know us quite well! That always helps! And having that out of the office trust allows us to work even closer when we are in the office.”
What’s been the social highlight since you’ve been working here?
“Coming out of Covid and bouncing back with an extremely successful year, the company trip was a ‘thank you’ from both Ron and Oren and the leadership team to the company as a whole. A chance to let our hair down and reflect on the prior year, but also to discuss growth plans and the year ahead. It’s the prefect balance between future planning and enjoying a few days of chill-out time before what would be a very busy time ahead. And we do that on an annual basis now. It’s great to have a breather before some rather aggressive expansion plans kick off. The teams are growing, the company is growing. I’m sure the world will know all about it very soon.”
What do you think other businesses could learn from Canvas from a culture perspective?
“I think Canvas has proven that if you look after the people, the people look after the business. We’re treated with respect and the business is incredibly generous. So, there’s no question we’d return that. I think if companies invest in their people like Canvas has, they’re far more likely to be successful.”
Ok, time for some sharp-shoot answers now, are you ready?
What’s your pet peeve?
“When your tea gets cold, and your rosé gets warm.”
What would be your superpower?
“Teleportation. I mean, life’s about the journey, but some journey’s just don’t need to be taken!”
What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever received?
“Recently I was taken to Seville for 4 days for my birthday. That was pretty special. With flamenco, sangria, beaches and pools, heaven.”
What’s the best birthday present you’ve ever given?
“Well if it has to be printable, I took my mum to Oxford for the Christmas markets last year. We had a beautiful stay in the city centre. Mulled wine and then more wine!”
If you had to listen to one track on repeat, what would it be?
“Cool Cat by Queen. That’s my jam.”
Ok, last one. I’ve given you £1million and you have to spend it today, what would you do with it? (But it can’t be sensible!)
“Oh wait, I can’t invest it in Canvas (she laughs!)? Ok, I’d round up the troops and go yachting in Croatia for a month.”
If you think you have what it takes to became part of the Canvas team, come and talk to us today, or take a look at our current vacancies here. We can’t wait to hear from you.