Q&A with Jeannette Carter, Regional Sales Manager – 20th Work Anniversary at Spiroflow
What did you do work wise prior to joining Spiroflow?
This is my second time around at Spiroflow – I initially worked for them back in 1991 for six months before opening a shop with my sister-in-law. In 1999, whilst still running our shop, I decided that I wanted a little more stability, particularly with a young family. Whilst job hunting, I had put Cathy Podevyn’s name down as a reference on an application form. She was contacted during an interview process and got in touch with me to say there was a position at Spiroflow and that I should apply.
What was your first position at the company?
Initially,the position was supporting the sales team in an admin role, covering someone who was on maternity leave. I started work at the beginning of June and had a two-week introduction to the role before heading off on holiday for two weeks. On my return I learnt that the lady whose role I would be covering had unfortunately been taken into hospital and would not be coming back, so I had to learn the role pretty quickly.
Promotional journey/position now?
From starting out as a sales administrator, I then went into export sales support, before becoming an office manager. Thereafter I was a service and after-sales manager, before taking on my current role as a regional sales manager for the north-west.
How have your responsibilities have changed?
As my roles have changed there has been an increase of responsibility. In having a proactive approach to your role, you are encouraged to voice your opinion and grow within the position you hold.
Experience/notable industry accreditations?
Spiroflow has always invested in developing their employees. Gaining a Nebosh qualification was a personal achievement, which greatly assists in my daily role when reviewing field-based applications.
How has the business changed?
The business has always been very family orientated and is great at looking after its people. Of course, there has been commercial difficulties, but even in times of recession when jobs were at risk, colleagues would protect one another, opting for collective pay cuts to ensure that we were all retained. I firmly believe that we have a very bright and exciting future ahead of us.
Your more memorable moments?
Gaining my Nebosh qualification was a good achievement – going back to education later in life gave the qualification more meaning and I desperately wanted to succeed and pass. My first order in a new sales role was a high point and more recently securing one of Spiroflow’s largest orders via an existing customer was right up there!
Funniest thing to happen in the past 20 years?
There have been many, usually relating to Christmas parties and social events! Generally we laugh a lot together as a team, so it would be difficult to recall one particular stand-out moment.
What do you want to achieve going forward?
Clearly I want to maintain the relationships we have developed here in the north-west and I am looking forward to continue working with key accounts. Maintaining the intake for the area is a priority, as is continuing to work on my own self-development so I can continue to be an asset to the company.
Spiroflow is a great place to work. In sales, you get approached regularly by recruitment companies, but going elsewhere is really not an option. Sadly for Spiroflow, I think they are probably stuck with me!
The company has offered me opportunities that I never thought would come my way. In this traditionally male-dominated industry of ours, being a woman in the engineering sector is challenging and to be honest I’ve received a few surprised looks along the way. But being able to change people’s perceptions is a great feeling. On the back of initial scepticism in certain quarters, some great relationships have been built, many of which have since become key customers.
It is great to see more women in engineering roles as I go out and about. It shows that the imbalance is steadily improving with more women being recruited into engineering roles. Hopefully the number will continue to grow.