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Helen Brocklebank

Name: Helen Brocklebank

Website: http://www.thewalpole.co.uk/

Instagram: @Walpole_UK

Twitter: @WalpoleUK

Helen Brocklebank is the CEO of Walpole, the trade organisation for the British Luxury sector. Before joining Walpole in February 2017, she ran a content agency for luxury brands, but the majority of her career has been spent working for some of Britain's most iconic media brands, most recently Harper's Bazaar and Esquire. Helen is also the founder of literary salon and podcast series, The Books That Built Me, at which authors discuss the books that inspire their writing. She lives in West London with her husband and two children.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A stolen half an hour late on a November afternoon, propped at the bar at Cecconis, Negroni in hand, re-reading The Good Soldier, waiting for a friend.

Which living person do you most admire? Walpole's Chairman, Michael Ward, is pretty much the platonic ideal of inspiring leadership. I learn so much in the hour I spend with him once a fortnight, it's an alternative MBA.

What is your greatest extravagance? I find it near impossible to pass a bookshop without making a purchase; In an attempt to curb my incontinent spending, I joined the London Library, which was an extravagance in itself. I also fantasise about literary extravagances yet to come: TS Eliot's Four Quartets were first published in four separate volumes, small flimsy wartime things with cardboard covers and I have three, but the fourth, Burnt Norton, is more than £100. I will buy it eventually.

What is your current state of mind? Fired with missionary zeal: I like nothing better than proselytising about the British luxury sector, so I feel rather fortunate to be doing the job I'm in.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Punctuality. I admire it in other people, I aspire to it myself, and find people who make a show of their time-keeping very irritating.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 'Amazing'. 'Blimey!' for things I like, and 'Ghastly' or 'It gives me the pip'

Which talent would you most like to have? Laser focus would be very handy. I love new ideas and new things and my mind is always conjuring new ways to do things, and I have enough self-awareness to realise that I can distract myself just at the time I should be deep in concentration.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? It's an immense inconvenience not to be able to be in two places at once. Think how much one could get done.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I'm incredibly proud to be leading Walpole.

Where would you most like to live? I'm with Dr Johnson when it comes to London - really, there's nowhere better. However, in a fantasy life, I'd live in an elegantly crumbling palazzo in Canareggio in Venice, emerging occasionally to row myself about the canals and the lagoon in my batellina coda di gambero

What is your most treasured possession? The thing I treasure most in life is my children. When it comes to possessions, I'm extremely fond of a pair of art deco diamond earrings my husband gave me: proper sparkly treasure.

What is your favorite occupation? Indolence

What is your most marked characteristic? Zest.

What do you most value in your friends? Intimacy, kindness, and patience.

Who are your favorite writers? Ford Madox Ford, T.S.Eliot, Jilly Cooper.

Who is your hero of fiction? Bertie Wooster.

What is your greatest regret? I began writing a novel - broadly Mrs Dalloway meets The Devil Wears Prada - in 2009. I hate myself for not yet having finished it.

What is your motto? Do as you would be done by