My name is Jacob Ereth-Purves, global talent & development specialist on the Global Beauty Academy team within No7 Beauty Company. I am a cisgender gay man using the pronouns he, him and his. I’m in my 12th year at WBA, having done a range of different roles in stores—everything from customer advisor, photo processing assistant, dispenser, assistant manager, No7 business manager through to regional business manager, looking after our No7 and Liz Earle counter team members—before moving onto my current role.
I started my time with the business on the sunny Isle of Wight in the Boots store in Newport, England, while studying for my exams. Back then it was just a weekend job for me, but I soon realized Boots was the place for me. The bonds I created with my fellow team members in this store have continued through the years, and I always find myself reminiscing with them about the “good old days,” especially all the fundraising we did for Macmillan Cancer Support and all of the fun we had doing it.
After six years, I relocated with my family to the West Midlands where I supported my sister through university while also working full time in busy stores in Birmingham City Centre. Moving to the West Midlands propelled my career, and I swiftly progressed through store and regional roles. My role as a regional business manager saw me travel across the UK visiting and working in many different stores, meeting new people, and learning about the different cultures and diversity across our business.
Within the Global Beauty Academy team, I work on our No7 and Liz Earle recruitment strategies, uniforms, data, technology and many other HR projects while also supporting my fellow team members with educational content and communications. Throughout my career, I have felt continuingly welcomed into every team I have worked in, and I have always been able to bring my true self to work. However, this isn’t always the case for everyone. My real passion is driving inclusion through my co-lead role on the No7 and Liz Earle Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Boards alongside my volunteer role as the vice chair of WBA’s Pride Alliance UK Business Resource Group. The invaluable insights we gain from our team members, whether in our headquarters or stores, enables me to guide key stakeholders in the right direction and make authentic and meaningful change that is needed in our business.
In addition to my work, I am a keen gardener. During the weekends you will find me covered in dirt and compost or going on long walks in nature—I love being able to switch off from day-to-day life. My love of plants and nature developed during the first COVID lockdown when I re-landscaped my garden, taking it back to a blank canvas and starting afresh—the rest, as they say, is history! Also, I mustn’t forget my amazing family, partner and friends. They help to ground me and give me perspective when life sends its obstacles—I really wouldn’t be the man I am today without them.
One of my other passions is cooking. About seven years ago I learned that I would have to start following a gluten free diet. At first it was so difficult as I loved bread and pasta. Over the years this has become easier as new brands and foods have evolved to become gluten free. I had to quickly learn the intricacies of what I could and couldn’t eat and swap products that had gluten with alternatives. My beloved Boots Chicken and Bacon sandwiches were no more! Jars and sauces had to go, and I knew it was time to start cooking everything from scratch. I began to read book after book and found pretty much anything can be made gluten free. You will often find me hosting food parties with friends and family, too.
During the pandemic, I transitioned into the role I have today. Since then I have worked remotely and gradually returned to the office. Having a hybrid working style has given me great flexibility that I never would have thought possible. I now appreciate more time with my family without the hustle and bustle of commuting every day.
People would describe me as enthusiastic and outgoing with a caring nature. I initially thought lockdown would affect my confidence, but this wasn’t the case. I found a new side to myself. Not living such a fast-paced life for such a long time enabled me to appreciate the smaller things in life (even down to the insects and wildlife in the garden!). When life becomes hectic, I have learned to stop, take a breath and remember the truly important parts to life.
I am proud that, while the pandemic brought many challenges, I made the most of every opportunity that presented itself. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to develop my skills at work, while also finding new hobbies and passions in life. With so many changes in my life post-pandemic, I know there is still so much more to learn about my personal and working life. My advice to my younger self or someone embarking upon their career is to be ambitious and aim high. Don’t be scared to make a mistake because this is how you will learn and grow. Always jump in with both feet and make the most of every chance in life, immersing yourself in every decision you make.