I’m Todd, the American addition to Shine! Before Shine, I worked in Boston, United States, as a Global Contract Negotiator. Boston is an epic city that I grew to love during my time at school there. But, in 2005, I made my way to the UK with my wife, Dawn, and that’s where the Shine story begins.
We somehow managed to raise about £5 million in 18 months to put the Shine project together – emphasis on ‘somehow’! It really was a case of being in the right place, at the right time and with the right story. If we were to try again today, I think we would actually find it a lot more difficult. It’s funny really – the more money you raise, the harder it becomes. There is a certain naivety needed in this business. The less you know, the more determined you are!
But what I love the most about Shine is its potential. We have the potential to do something good with just a normal business. That’s ultimately what drove me to put it together in the first place. In this world, the people with money make the rules. So, if we can make the money, we can start to make a change.
This positivity is something that perhaps comes more naturally to me as an American. If you asked me today if I miss America, I’d say not necessarily. (Bearing in mind the whole Trump debacle!). It’s not so much that I miss America, but more that I miss the American can-do spirit. I’m trying to bring some of that with each of my projects.
Oh, there is one more thing – Mellow Mushroom. The number one place for pizza and salad. I’m gluten free, OK, so my last meal on earth obviously has to be something loaded with gluten. I might as well go for it. So, I would have a Mellow Mushroom Pepperoni and Mushroom pizza. There’s just something about the crust and the sauce. And their salad isn’t just ordinary salad. American pizza places do something crazy with their salads and it’s like nothing the UK has ever seen.
But back to work!
As well as the potential that Shine brings, it’s always been about the people for me. Even though we have this amazing building, there are plenty of nice buildings. (Maybe not as nice as ours if I say so myself!). But I think doing things together as a team is the best thing. My fondest memories are of times when I’ve been working with people who do really cool stuff and Shine has that.
Outside of work, you’ll probably be surprised to know I’m actually a break-dancing champion. When I was in year 4, I won the disco dancing competition. I even had the ‘Mr Disco’ trophy to prove it. Sadly, I was too embarrassed to take it to university with me so I threw it out. Big mistake!
But it did lead me into a bit of a break-dancing career. Both my brothers and I used to get paid to do it. I can’t do it anymore though. It would probably get mistaken for dad-dancing now!
If you’re looking for catered meeting spaces, conference rooms, or doing an event in the area, feel free to contact Shine. We’d be happy to help (and I promise not to break-dance)!