Get to know Steph & Timmy!
As we head towards the end of 2022 and the Christmas Season is in full swing, we are looking inward at some of the back-office support staff in the dynamic marketing department of Frank Salt Real Estate. This time we are interviewing the duo of Stephania Grima, our own talented whizz-kid graphic designer and Timmy Aquilina, senior digital marketing executive and well-known footballer.
Both of them are based at head office in St Julian’s and this is where they create the magic. Everyone is familiar with Steph’s designs and her passion for perfection when it comes to contemporary, cutting-edge design, but not many of us know of the important role Timmy plays when it comes to keeping the engine running that is the FSRE Website, its programming and maintenance. He has been known to work late into the night solving problems and getting things back on track and he is also a committed Malta football star.
Side-by-side these two make up a very important core part of the Marketing Team and what drives them is passion, doing what they love and just being uncomplicated, talented and ambitious individuals. After witnessing their sterling achievements and work for the past year, we just had to interview them and share what they had to say… but we kicked off with some questions pertaining to this very special time of year first!
What does Christmas mean to you?
Steph: For me, Christmas means spending more time with family, showing gratitude and love, sharing, and making people happy.
Timmy: Christmas is all about gathering with your loved ones. In my case it would be spending time with family and also friends.
What do you like the most about Christmas? Food, drink, the presents, the decorations, you tell us!
Steph: The Christmas decorations but also seeing the smile on everyone’s faces when they are opening their Christmas presents!
Timmy: I love the build-up to Christmas as it automatically brings a smile to many people everywhere you go. The fact that Christmas brings the family together is my favourite reason… but the food is always amazing at this time of the year.
As they say: “’Tis the season to be jolly”… just how jolly do you intend to become this Christmas?
Steph: Very… if you know, you know hahaha!!!
Timmy: As jolly as it can get haha!
We all have the proverbial strange uncle or aunt at the Christmas table who either fall asleep, drink too much or frighten the younger guests…have you ever encountered this and if so, tell us about it without naming or shaming anyone!
Steph: My dad! And it’s not only at the Christmas table but everywhere we go. He falls asleep with just 1 glass of wine in his system.
Timmy: Yes, we love picking on one another during this time and making the most of what the Christmas time offers!
Then there’s the invevitable unwrapping of presents: what do you do when someone gives you something you absolutely hate?
Steph: I just smile and thank them …and if I’m really not going to put that gift to use, I’ll donate it.
Timmy: I just say “thank you” and appreciate the present as much as I can. Then I will probably end up changing it! 😊
Have you ever forgotten or left someone out when giving presents? If so, how do you handle it?
Timmy: Yes, I pretended that I forgot the gift at home or it must have fallen out when gathering the presents.
Are you a person that loves snacking on Christmas leftovers and if so, what?
Steph: I do! Mostly sweets.
Timmy: I don’t have much a sweet tooth, I prefer savoury foods.
What is the most embarassing thing that has ever happened around your Christmas table?
Steph: I do not recall anything embarrassing to be honest.
Timmy: Probably when I was younger… when I received a present which I didn’t like and told the person that I didn’t like it haha!
In a few paragraphs tell us what you are about and what sums you up as a person?
Steph: I am the graphic designer of the FSRE team: I’m a shy and reserved girl when it comes to public exposure, but I can let loose once I get to know the person! I cry at sad or romantic movies, I’m a 24-year-old from Gozo and I like to travel and to be adventurous.
My hobby is drawing… mainly with a black ink pen and taking photos of anything I find interesting. I’m an organized person, especially when it comes to work and I love listening to Italian songs. I like to be surrounded by my family and friends and I’m afraid of any type of insects and the deep ocean!
Timmy: I am part of the marketing team, where I take care of the digital marketing of the company. Outside of work I am a person who loves socialising with people, making new friends and I am also a big fan of sports. Since the age of 5, I have continually trained and played football… till the present day! I am currently a professional goalkeeper for Sliema Wanderers FC. My participation in sports has contributed to making me a determined and self-motivated person, capable of working well within a team and also quite competitive
We all remember things from our youth that stands out. What can you share with us about growing up and anything remarkable that you can recall?
Steph: Something that I can remember growing up is the time when my family, cousins, aunts and uncles used to meet up at my grandma’s house every weekend. Myself and my cousins used to come up with every sort of game to play… re-enact something from a movie or sing a song, run around the street and even go down into the (war) shelters to play, host a mini party for every birthday we had, tease each other, etc. Those are the days that l will definitely cherish forever.
Timmy: Most of my youth was based around football, friends and family. I remember so many football tournaments at the time with Melita FC, spending weekdays and weekends there enjoying a good time with my football friends! We played football during training and sometimes stayed on after the session to continue playing. I made some fantastic friends at a young age which, till this present day, are still some of my best friends. This was right through school at St Edwards College and also outside of school. My family was also a very important part of my growth and development in life: I learnt a lot from both my parents and also my sister. I am grateful for all that I have learnt in my youth thanks to the amazing people I had around me.
What did you do before you joined Frank Salt Real Estate?
Steph: I worked in the hospitality industry as a marketing coordinator and graphic designer.
Timmy: Before joining Frank Salt Real Estate, I was a freelancer in digital marketing (more specifically in SEO) and before that I worked with 2 other companies within the same role.
What is the number one reason that made you decide to join the Frank Salt Team…and elaborate!
Steph: I was ready for a change… and wanted to explore new opportunities, growth, and new learning techniques.
Timmy: Considering that I previously worked for another big real estate company, I already had a lot of experience studying the other competitors in the industry. This I did in order to better understand who I face as “competition”. Frank Salt Real Estate was the number competitor at the time but now it is a pleasure to be working within the company! Prior to joining, I met a number of people who already were employed at Frank Salt Real Estate and everyone I met was extremely welcoming. I felt I would be capable to grow and develop my skills here.
What is it that you like most about being part of FSRE’s marketing team?
Steph: Being part of a team that listens to your ideas and help you develop and implement strategies is fantastic… and so is the fact that we understand one other. We are truly a “dream team” haha!!!!!
Timmy: The team is fantastic, fun but most importantly very hard working. Everyone within the team listens and is willing to help when someone is in need of assistance. I enjoy working with my colleagues and we never have a dull day here.
Being at head office marketing must be thrilling! What makes working there, in the specific location and the particular setting exciting, different or special?
- The fact that I have a great view from my desk!
- The amazing team that I work with. We are just like a family.
- Pulling pranks on Timmy every now and then… hahaha!!!!
- Great colleagues all over the building.
- A large choice of good food to have for lunch all around the adjacent area.
- Whenever you need something there is always someone to help you out.
What do you believe is the most important rule when it comes to your respective roles as graphic designer and digital marketer?
Steph: To follow brand guidelines and be able to take criticism. Not everyone will like everything you design; this isn’t because your design is bad, but because the client may have had a different vision in mind…so criticism is something that should never be taken personally, it’s merely another person’s difference of opinion. A great designer will take criticism positively, accept it is bound to happen then learn what works well and what doesn’t.
Timmy: To always listen to what the consultants and managers have to say, especially if there is something that can be improved… so we can work on it. Digital marketing trends change very regularly, so we always need to be up to date with the latest developments. This keeps us on our toes and teaches us the very best ways on how to develop even better
What do you like most in one another as colleagues?
Steph: Hmmm. Tricky question. I think it would be easier to name the things I do not like about him haha but let’s give it a shot! Timmy is a person who is easy to work with and he is a humble and down-to-earth guy. He’s always there to help whenever you’re in need. And partially funny haha!!
Timmy: Steph is a great colleague to have. She is hardworking and always ready to help out the team in the best way she can. Apart from the office duties we have, she is also fun to pick on! We always come to work with a smile on our faces, as no day is ever dull at the office when we are all together… unless something work-related had to go wrong! haha!!!
Steph, we heard you are very creative and Timmy, you are a well-known football player… what can you share in this regard as something that really stands out for you?
Steph: It would probably be the fact that I’m able to finish any project in a short space of time. Whenever we have a campaign coming up or even when I have something not related to work, I usually schedule my calendar accordingly… and I will not stop before I actually have finished what’s on the list for that day!
Timmy: Yes, football has always been a priority for me and it is something I really enjoy. I look forward to it daily and I have made so many friends through the sport. Juggling football and work is not easy, but if you are lucky enough to find yourself working at a company like Frank Salt, who is willing to give you the flexibility, then it makes your life a lot easier… there should always be a mutual relationship of transparency and trust.
What is the best advice will you give to someone who wants to become: a) A graphic designer and b) a digital marketer or football player?
Steph: Don’t undervalue your work. Seek criticism, not praise. Always keep learning & don’t be a static learner: advance and educate yourself continuously by reading books, following accounts related to design, blogs and by practicing. Collect & share things. Teach others. Never give up. Again, keep practicing! At the end of the day, it will all be worth it, especially when you see your work blazoned on a billboard or when a magazine arrives in bulk and you open that first page… and say ‘I did it!’.
Timmy: To always make the best of every moment and to never to stop learning. Continue to develop your skills and on the other hand, always use your time wisely… as too quickly time will fly by. Always make sure that the work you have completed is not done in a jiffy, but done with quality in mind. Hard work pays off.
What is the last thing you do when you go to sleep or the first thing when you wake up?
Steph: The first thing that I do when I wake up is to turn off the 3 alarms that I have set! This starts from 6 till 7am haha! The last thing that I do is watch an episode of my favourite series on Netflix or I will scroll through Facebook or Instagram.
Timmy: I normally spend some time chatting with friends, watching a film on Netflix or just scroll through the latest social media feeds.
Steph, what do you make sure is always in your handbag and why? Timmy, what is always in your pockets when you go out and why?
Steph: I’m known as the nurse in the marketing office… as I always carry a mini pharmacy in my handbag! J This will be anything that relates to a headache or even bandages etc. Apart from that I always make sure that I have my purse, keys, perfume, charger and sunglasses.
Timmy: My phone, keys and wallet. I always carry these with me… I don’t think I need anything else, really.
Tell us about something that no-one is aware of or knows about you.
Steph: I don’t think that there’s actually one thing that no-one knows about me because I’m quite an open person.
Timmy: I am quite open about everything I do, and everyone knows it, I think. But believe it or not, if I don’t know someone I can be seen as shy at times… until I get to know the person!
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement to date?
Steph: Graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in Digital Arts and getting a Diploma in Digital Marketing.
Timmy: I would say representing my country in competitive football matches! I still remember saving the penalty against Nothern Ireland’s Under 21 team, which was a great achievement.
Is there anything in the universe that intrigues you and that you would like to know more about?
Steph: I’ve always wondered how many planets and moons we have in the universe… and if there’s life on other planets that we simply do not even know of yet.
Timmy: I am extremely curious about what happens to a person when they pass away and I also I love watching documentaries about new discoveries or things that people do not know much about. I find it very intriguing that there so much to learn about the universe, even so many years later.
Who or what inspires you and why?
Steph: My mum! Whenever I want to give up on something, she’s always there to tell me: “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. And: “you only live once, so follow your heart”.
Timmy: Someone who inspires me and whom I will always look up to is Gianluigi Buffon who is my football Idol… but apart from that, definitely my parents. They were always at my side through the good and bad, to guide me. They are the ones from which I have learnt the most important lessons of my entire life!
What are your separate takes on social media and who do you follow?
Steph: I mostly use Instagram. I follow accounts related to design and drawing, local and foreign influencers and interior design.
Timmy: I tend to follow a lot of football and sports-related content. If I had to mention a few, it will be Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo… who are well-known for what they have achieved.
What do you like to do when you are on holiday or have some free time?
Steph: When I’m on holiday I really like looking around museums and art galleries or going to cathedrals. Apart from that, I usually take photos in front of historic buildings or I look for other adventurous activities to do. Most of the time I would watch Netflix and on other occasions, you’ll find me drawing something!
Timmy: I love to meet up with my friends and to spend some time with them catching up on things. I keep myself quite busy, both during the week and weekends.
Do you have anything from your childhood that you regard as a treasured possession?
Steph: I still have the notes that my friends and I used to pass around in class when we were in secondary school plus some other little things that remind me of them: photos, personalised cards etc… I keep everything in a memory box! Apart from that, I used to collect euros from different countries.
Timmy: Photos of myself when I was young and the friendships I made throughout my childhood years.
If we put you in charge of the world for a year, what would you do?
Steph: I would probably implement a lot of rules to be honest… haha!!!! One of them absolutely would be to find a definite solution in order to reduce the number of road accidents.
Timmy: I don’t think that would end to well to be honest… haha, but if I had to make a few changes I would give priority to the environment.
What instantly makes your day a lot better?
Steph: A hug and a good cappuccino.
Timmy: A coffee in the morning and good company, although I am not really a morning person.
If you could eat only one type of meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Steph: This is really hard haha! I have two favourite dishes… and it’s always a battle choosing between the two whenever I’m at a restaurant. It’s either Pasta Carbonara or a pizza with mortadella and pistachios. But if I had to choose one, it would probably be pizza with mortadella and pistachios because there is no perfect time to eat pizza, and you can eat leftover pizza from the night before for breakfast.
Timmy: It would be my grandmother’s spinach pie! It is both my favourite childhood and present meal. If not the spinach pie I would definitely go for a nice rib-eye steak.
If you could relive one special moment in your life up to now, what would it be?
Steph: Probably to visit Australia again.
Timmy: Enjoying more moments with people that were close (especially family) to me and enjoying their company more.
What do you think is the most important lesson that life has taught you up to now?
Steph: Things will get better. Just wait.
Timmy: To never take life or people for granted… and to always see the positives in every possible situation.
Is there anything that can really upset you or make you angry? If so, what is it?
Steph: Yes! Mad people driving in traffic!
Timmy: I am quite a relaxed person, but something that makes me angry is seeing people that litter or people doing stupid things and simply not caring about it.
If you had unlimited access to money, what would you do?
Steph: Travel, travel and travel…and taking my family with me so we can make even more memories together.
Timmy: Travel more and enjoy every moment of life to the full.
Tell us about the biggest challenge you have ever faced and what you did about it?
Steph: Living alone in Malta from the age of 17… since I’m from Gozo. I had to learn how to live independently without the help of my family and basically do everything by myself… the chores, the cooking etc.
Timmy: The biggest challenge for me is trying to cope with everything: work, football, family and friends. Time flies by and honestly; it isn’t easy trying to make time for everything. Work and football are my two passions in life. When I have a break, I make time for friends and family but I also like some alone time occasionally.
What is your opinion about climate change and what can be done?
Steph: We are definitely in crisis mode and I feel that a lot of people think that their smallest of actions will not really have an impact! The first thing that I would do is to reduce the number of cars that we have on the roads in order to reduce pollution and secondly to make our homes more energy efficient.
Timmy: I think there is a lot that can be done! We can start by seeing the opportunities we have in our country: we have so much sunlight and we are surrounded by the sea… just think, these are just two ways where new sustainable energy resources can be implemented within our country for the benefit of all.
Name some people besides friends or family that you will invite to a party or dinner and tell us why?
Steph: Andrea Bocelli. I really love listening to his songs.
Timmy: Gianluigi Buffon… he is my all-time idol for whom I have huge respect.
What will a typical Sunday lunch be and where would you go?
Steph: I prefer a picnic and a bottle of rosé over anything else. Somewhere near nature.
Timmy: Somewhere nearby the sea or in the sun… if it is a sunny day. I love trying new restaurants, especially if it is a plate of pasta with fish. Sadly, sometimes Sunday lunch would have to be missed or done at home due to my football commitments.
What do you consider makes someone a hero?
Steph: Someone who is willing to risk their own life in order to save another.
Timmy: Someone who is willing to give rather than receive and someone that makes you understand who a person with good intentions is.
Have you ever wondered what you will do if you had a superpower? What will your power be and what will your name be?
Steph: Turn water into wine… hahaha, jokes! I would probably want to be super smart and be called “Little Miss Brainy”!
Timmy: I wish I could time travel for sure… to experience the changes in the world and experience all that has already happened. For a name, I think I will just keep my own!
What is the most exotic dish you have ever eaten or want to eat?
Steph: I have to say, I’m not very adventurous when it comes to food! Sight, smell and texture play a big role in my food experiences, so if one of those components is not enticing, I would have to skip whatever it is.
Timmy: I would say deer when I was in Vienna. Extremely tasty!
What will you do if you had a time machine?
Steph: Be able to live in the 1970’s.
Timmy: Travel to different centuries in order to experience the on-going evolution of our world.
Do you have any plans for the Festive Season?
Steph: December is jam-packed hahah! Mainly lunches and dinners.
Timmy: I have quite a lot to do, to be honest. But I always look forward to this time of the year, as I meet a lot of new people and simply being together with loved ones for our Christmas rituals.
Did you enjoy school and would you relive it if you could?
Steph: Mehhh. I would only relive it to spend more time with my secondary school friends. Other than that… nope!
Timmy: I did enjoy it and I would go back any day. St Edwards was a great school where I made lots of friends and memories, which are still very vivid in my mind.
Some fun facts about Timmy & Steph we'd like to share.
Steph: Gin and tonic.
Timmy: Red wine.
Steph: Go to bed early.
Timmy: Stay up late.
Steph: I would be Miley Cyrus and sing ‘Your Man’ by Josh Turner. This is actually really funny because I always wanted to learn how to sing in this accent.
Timmy: James Arthur – ‘Impossible’.
Steph: ‘What Memory?’ and Kevin Hart
Timmy: I am a huge fan of action movies so I would have to go for Jason Statham or Vin Diesel. If I had to name it, would be ‘Living life like there is no tomorrow!’.
Steph: I don’t really want to grow older… haha!! I love my current age. The only reason I would want to grow older is to have my own place and be able to design the interior myself.
Timmy: I don’t look forward to that happening haha!
Steph: I’m extremely funny and goofy. I love to make jokes and speak about random things. Plus, I’m the friend that you can go to when you’re afraid to say something to someone due to the fear of being judged.
Timmy: Being fun and outgoing for sure. My friends love spending time with me as it is never a dull moment, especially when explaining some stories.
Steph: I would definitely revisit Norway. It is one of my favourite holidays to date. The mountains, the fjords and the waterfalls were just like living in a dream. Next on my bucket list is to visit Asia.
Timmy: Thailand, Mexico & Mauritius.
Steph: Travel the world for a whole year with my partner Nick.
Timmy: Continue to enjoy life… but one thing I would like to do more of is to travel & spend more time with my family.
Steph: I do… but I use my mistakes as a teaching tool.
Timmy: There’s not much I regret… for but one thing: probably getting into a relationship at a young age, where I neglected some of my friends during this period.