I started my career with a small company of 4 people and stayed with that company through takeovers, changes in management, dramatic strategy changes, uncertainty, many changes in direction – 30 years later I am still with the same business although everything is much different. The company now employs over 600 people and I am proud to say that I led the business through many changes and helped it become an award-winning international company. I am very proud of the people and the business we created and grew together.
My influencers over my career journey
I had many early influencers in my life from my family to my school teachers and my close friends.
I enjoyed growing up in a large family with my brothers and sister (7 brothers and 1 sister). My dad gave me my first paying job which taught me many lessons I still value today. I was the first person in my family to go to university and thought of myself often as the odd one out!
In my business life I have again had many influencers but two people always stood out for me. Both of them were strong leaders and women at a time when women in leadership positions were much less common in the workplace, reflective of the society and times I worked in. As a result, they had experienced their own career challenges, and were encouraging of others. One told me to always be myself and bring myself to everything I do. I knew I had to do this but struggled to really allow myself the freedom to open up and be myself – when I finally did decide to be myself I was much happier, my colleagues worked much closer with me and I achieved my main objective of following my retiring boss to lead the company and its people. My other lesson was to genuinely believe in and support your colleagues. Don’t just say that people are important and write it in your mission or vision and forget it, but genuinely believe in people, care and be there no matter who they are. Consistent feedback from my colleagues over the years has been that my ability to talk to others intimately and understand and empathise but be honest was my strongest trait. It has helped me work closely with my colleagues and have an open, honest, and rewarding style.
Career guidance and growth
I have loved my career. I have loved working with others and seeing people change and grow as I have changed and grown. Working life is never easy for anyone from junior to director - we all need help, advice, and someone to talk to and be open with – ask and you will be surprised what you learn about yourself and how to improve your own and your colleagues’ performance!!"