5 minutes with… Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith is VP Sales for Avery.


What scares you?

Not much really… except when one of my four daughters undertake another ‘adventure’. That started 15 years ago when daughter #1 sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans with a mate, neither with any prior sailing experience. Her three younger sisters have all had equally exciting adventures ever since.

Favourite author? 

Anything written by Bill Bryson is brilliant.

What’s your most prized possession? 

A Yogi Bear spoon that I got free with Kelloggs Cornflakes 50 years ago. It’s been replated many times and was the favourite spoon of all four daughters every morning. It  caused more than a few fights!

Best compliment you’ve ever received?

You still working?

What makes you happy? 

Spending time with good friends and family.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?

Tell my daughters (by Skype to Australia) that I had cancer. Luckily all clear now.

Your favourite gadget?

The Garmin Edge bike computer – makes me obsessed with the data of every ride.

What’s your life philosophy? 

Carpe diem. Life’s way too short to procrastinate.

Optimist or pessimist? 


What special skill do you possess? 

I learnt to juggle at an Avery conference about 20 years ago. A very good teacher taught about 100 people in 30 minutes.

What word do you use the most?

‘Interesting’. It has a multitude of meanings.

What do you do in your spare time? 

Road cycling every weekend.

What’s your specialist subject?

How (not) to bring up four teenage daughters in the same house.

Early bird or night owl?

Bit of both depending on the circumstances.

Best way to spend the weekend?

Friday night with friends at the Two Brewers pub in Marlow. Cycling the Chilterns with family and friends on Saturday, and chilling with someone special the rest of the time.


Describe your current job.

VP Sales, Europe for Avery – it involves lots of travelling to customers and Avery locations all over Europe. As a consequence, I know every inch of Heathrow Terminal 5 far too well!

Your worst ever job? 

A holiday job mucking out pigs for 50p per day.

If you weren’t doing your present job, what would you like to be doing? 

Football commentator on MUTV (Man United TV) – no need to be neutral/unbiased.

What’s the best moment in your career so far? 

There have been two: joining 3M in October 1981 and then Avery in 1991 – and having a totally unplanned fantastic 35 years in the OP industry.

What do you like best about the OP industry?

A total cliché I know, but it’s all about the people. I’ve worked with some amazing and talented people at both 3M and Avery, and done business with some ‘interesting’ characters all over Europe. 


It has taught me a lot about people and business cultures. And like in every other industry, there’s been an incredible amount of change in the OP industry in the past 35 years.