Being the new recruit in any business and starting on the day that Lockdown 3.0 is announced is a baptism of fire by anyone standards. Add into the mix that said business is instrumental in delivering a world-class, year-long program of events for UK City of Culture 2021 and Lyndsay Smith better have her running shoes on, as life is going to be lived at 100mph from here on in.

This edition, we’re getting to know Lyndsay Smith, the new Hospitality & Retail Support Team Leader at Coventry BID.

Lyndsay, welcome to Coventry.

You’ve stepped into an enormous role at Coventry BID as we head into the UK City of Culture year. Tell us about your role…

Coventry BID, together with City of Culture Trust are preparing to welcome an additional 2.5 million visitors to the city. Along with the prestigious title, ‘City of Culture 2021’ comes a wealth of opportunities to engage with the public, to take advantage of an economic boost and to showcase our local businesses who together breathe life into the city. My role of Hospitality & Retail Support Team Leader has been devised to work closely with the hospitality and retail sector to assist them in taking advantage of every opportunity that the City of Culture title brings.

What were you doing before you joined Coventry BID and how do you think this will prepare you for the months ahead? 

I have worked in the city centre within the Lower Precinct Management Team for almost seven years. I have been privileged to have coordinated the marketing and events programme for the centre in recent years. Having witnessed first-hand how bringing the businesses together to increase footfall and to celebrate the rich and diverse culture of Coventry has contributed to showing the city in its best light. With a background in customer service, marketing and promotion I am dedicated to supporting businesses and assisting them in operating to their full potential.

What are you most excited about workwise? 

Having worked with a wide range of independent and high street brands, I understand that each business has its own unique strengths and similarly will require support in different areas. I’m excited to get to know the teams and have high expectations of what we can achieve together.

What do you think will be your biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge for every business in recent times is the effect that Covid-19 has had on opening restrictions and general footfall in the city centre. It’s no secret that these restrictions and ever-changing guidelines are causing huge concerns for business owners. Getting to know so many wonderful business owners with these restrictions in place will be my biggest challenge. But technology is fantastic and with so many ways of connecting, my virtual office door is always open.

It’s important that Coventry city has a vibrant centre for visitors to experience when they visit. What advice would you give to business operators to get the most out of the influx of visitors, from May onwards? 

Connect with us to find out what opportunities are available and discover how we can help you to maximise them. 

Communicate with your employees, let them know your plans. The best way to get your staff on board and to champion your business is to include them. 

Put an action plan in place well in advance. May seems far away, but will be upon us in no time.

What is it you love most about the city of Coventry? 

When I moved to Coventry to study in 2002 I felt immediately welcomed and found there are so many ways for young people to be involved in driving change. I’m so excited for the opportunity to enable others who come to study in the city to cultivate new ideas and contribute towards the local economy. My hope for them is that they too develop a heart for Coventry that continues to drive positive change and encourage an outpouring of talent into the city, far beyond their years of studying here.

From what’s been announced so far, what are you most looking forward to as part of the UK City of Culture year?

Terry Hall Presents Home Sessions’. As part of the Coventry University Music BA Hons alumnai, I am so excited for this project and to see one of Coventry’s home-grown greats in action. 

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Coventry that you hope the UK City of Culture will change? 

That Coventry is grey and dull. There are huge changes happening in the landscaping and architecture of Coventry City Centre at present, and it’s hard to look past all of the building works that are affecting our visitors’ perception. As with any large project, things will often look worse before they get better. The UK City of Culture has provided Coventry with an opportunity to showcase all of the fantastic businesses that this great city has to offer. The BID, along with the City of Culture Trust are working hard on an enormous programme of events that will transform our space, celebrate our rich and diverse culture and introduce a platform to create some pretty magical moments over the next year. This will provide not only short-term benefits but a long-lasting reputation of excellence. 

Imagine you’re speaking to someone who’s never been to Coventry. How do you sell it in thirty seconds? 

Coventry is a city that has rebuilt itself after destruction in the Blitz. In modern times, its people are dedicated to remembering its past and passionate about growing its future. Many aspects define this historic city, its ability to overcome and adapt, its musical and arts heritage, and numerous projects of innovation, to name just a few. In this current cliamte, all eyes will be on Coventry to see how this great opportunity will be utilised and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

And finally, a bit of silliness. Tell us: Nickname at School? 

Smithy, original I know!

Do you have any pets? 

Yes, I have a gorgeous 13 year old rescue dog called Lexie. She’s a Collie/Whippet cross and she is a very sweet cuddly pup.

Favourite Film?

I’m a Marvel fan and the films that introduced me to the Marvel Universe…. X men

What’s your favourite song?

‘More Than Words’ by Extreme.

Best bit of advice you were given? 

Do what is right, not what is easy.

Signature dinner party dish? 

I’m into cooking Asian cuisine and make a mean Seafood Fried Noodle.

Favourite place in the world? 

Siloso Beach, Singapore. I lived and worked in Singapore when I was 18 and this is the place I used to go to relax after work.

Favourite restaurant in Coventry?

I’m a real foodie, it’s hard to pick just one. The Noodle Bar, Wagamama’s and Yakii Sushi are among my favourites…. anywhere that offers dishes I use to eat in Singapore.

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