A Day in the Life of Zandra Moore

Zandra Moore is CEO and co-founder at Panintelligence, a Leeds-based business offering an analytics and business intelligence software platform that competes with the likes of Microsoft, Tableau and Looker.

5 March 2020

Zandra is a trailblazer for women in tech and set up the Leeds LeanIn group, a support network for women to connect and discuss key challenges and insights. 

This has been a record year for the company Panintelligence and Zandra is working on even more ambitious plans to grow the business further in the next three years.

So what does a typical day in the life of this busy CEO look like?

Mornings are a bit chaotic... 

I have two children aged 13 and 11. One’s at primary school and the other’s at secondary school. So to be brutally honest mornings are usually focused on getting ourselves out the door with the things we need for the day. There’s a lot of shouting up and down the stairs, making sure they’ve got their head around what they need to take in that day, be it PE kits or cooking ingredients. It usually ends with me rushing out the door with a coffee in my hand. I’ll usually check my emails in the car with a piece of toast in my mouth. It’s a 45-minute drive to work so I spend that time checking in with my fellow directors, seeing if there’s anything urgent. So by the time I get to the office I’ve usually spoken to quite a few people. I tend to keep an eye on it over the weekend as well.

I’m fortunate enough to have a PA who controls my diary... 

With a business that’s growing at the rate we are, there are both internal and external demands. So she makes sure those are balanced and that I’m not running around the country unnecessarily and that my time is spent as efficiently as it can be. So I’m a slave to my diary and it’s usually back to back Monday to Friday but it works.

I co-founded the company five years ago... 

Back then there was a team of six of us and we now have 40 people. I’m responsible for building the business, the teams, and driving growth, from the overall strategy, new customers and building the team, to income and funding. So it’s important that I spend most of my time at the office, with the team, building the culture and sharing the direction of the business. We have also recently has secured £4.5m Series A funding from YFM Equity Partners and Comhar Capital, which has taken up a lot of my time in recent months. 

I run a women’s networking group called Lean In…

I started the group over four years ago. I was a female director of a tech company and it was the first time I’d invested in a company financially. I didn’t have a peer group of people I knew in the same situation and I really wanted that. Most of the people I knew in business were men. I’d been reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In book and was inspired by that. So I set up a group with a handful of female founders like myself to build that peer support network. I didn’t appreciate at the time what the demand would be and we rapidly grew from a handful of people to 200 members in 18 months. We’re now at over 700 members. 

The best part of my job…

Is being able to give people an opportunity to work somewhere they really love. We bring in people that have retrained via places like NorthCoders, we have lots of different nationalities, we have people with autism, we bring in people in their 50s as well as their 20s. We probably have a higher average age than most tech companies because we don’t see age as a barrier. We also have three mental health first aiders which is quite unusual in a company of 40 people. Seeing people’s reaction to that culture we’ve built is a real reward for me. 

The worst part of my job is…

Not having enough time. There’s just so much to do. Working smarter all the time is a challenge. Making sure you really are doing those things that will make the biggest difference is a daily challenge - making sure you’re giving both the people and the business what they need. You always drop balls, you always forget things, and you always let people down without intending to. The key is to accept these things are going to happen, own it, and be kind to yourself. It’s just part of being busy.

How do you wind down?

I’ll either be coaching football or out in our caravan. I was never into football but my daughter got into it and found players stopped passing to her because she was a girl. So she said she wanted to play in a girls’ team and there wasn’t one in our area at the time so she said ‘come on mummy you’re good at setting things up, let’s set up a girls’ football team’. And you can’t really say no to that. So I did my FA coaching course, got qualified, and the girls just kept turning up. 

We could also tell you how recent research by Bark found Leeds to be the best city in the UK to start a business, and how the Barclays SME Growth Factors Index found it was actually Bradford. 

But we thought you’d probably rather hear it from some entrepreneurs that decided to base their business here and have done pretty well as a result. Talk to us about scaling up your business in the UK's digital heartland.