My name is Kapriesse Slade, and I am the senior HR business partner for UK Corporate Functions in WBA. I started in April 2020—essentially at the beginning of COVID-19. I consider myself quite social, so starting a new job and not meeting my team face to face for the first few months was difficult, but my colleagues have been and continue to be very supportive. I will always be thankful for how they gave me time to absorb the culture and day-to-day tasks, which you normally would pick up quickly when you are in the office and surrounded by team members.
My typical day starts around 6:30 a.m. On a good day, I will try and go for a run. On a bad day (most days, if I’m being honest), I will try and get as much sleep as I possibly can by hitting the snooze button a few times. When I finally get up, I get dressed and have breakfast with my husband, Chris, and our 4-year-old son, Ezra. If my diary allows, I drop off Ezra at school at least one day a week.
I absolutely love my job. I work with a very small, amazing team. We support our leaders by providing guidance and strategies that help our most important asset: our team members. No two days are the same, and I love that my job allows me to make a positive difference. My days are mostly filled with engaging with business leaders, planning with my HR teams and completing special projects or requests.
I’ve also recently joined the WBA Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) business resource group. I’m excited to contribute to a group that means a lot to me. October is Black History Month in the UK, and I plan to spend time educating myself to know more about Black Britons throughout history as well as getting to know more about our BAME team members and their stories.
Around midday, I try to take a quick break from my screen to grab lunch and get some fresh air. I am technically based in our Weybridge office in Surrey, but I also work from the London office or my home in Oxfordshire. If I’m in Weybridge, I walk around the business park where the office is located. If I’m in Sedley, I walk around Central London and have a quick look at nearby shops. If I’m home, I like to spend time in my dining room or garden to have some lunch. We’ve recently moved, and I’m trying to find as much time as I can to enjoy my new surroundings.
COVID-19 has clearly changed almost everything in terms of how we live our lives. I’m in awe of how our frontline team members have supported our customers day in and day out through a challenging time for all. It fills me with such pride that I work for an organization and with individuals who want to do the utmost to help people in our communities.
The pandemic also made me appreciate my free time and who I spend it with. I now enjoy the British countryside more. My weekends are spent exploring local canals, meadows and historic towns, which we do mostly because my husband is a keen photographer. My son and I have spent hours this summer waiting for Chris to “get the right shot.” It’s definitely teaching my son patience! As we have moved an hour away from friends and family to buy our perfect home, we try and visit them as much as possible.
Another way I decompress is through netball. I play or watch matches whenever I can. For those who don’t know, netball is quite similar to basketball, except you are not allowed to run with the ball, there are seven players on the team and you have a set position you play around the court. If you haven’t seen a game, I suggest watching a match on YouTube—it’s an incredible sport. Apart from when I’ve been injured, I have played consistently since around age 5. I love the great friendships you develop while playing in a team sport and the satisfaction you get from the team winning matches. It also helps my competitive nature!
Although it was challenging for me to join a new company remotely during a pandemic, I found that there was also joy in working from home—not having an hour-and-a-half commute. I use this extra time in the evening to catch up on emails and have dinner with my little family. I try to ensure I am around for bedtime, as I love reading Ezra his bedtime story and having a cuddle before he falls asleep. I’m aware of how precious this time is and that he will soon grow out of wanting cuddles with his mum. I need to enjoy it while I can. When Ezra falls asleep, my evenings are normally spent just managing life (housework, errands—it never ends!), watching a TV series or netball matches, or going on a date night with Chris—dinner in a nice restaurant is our go-to.
As I think about the future, I’m looking forward to partnering on more great work for our team members, meeting more of my colleagues and building my network throughout what I think is an incredible organization.