A note from Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK:
I’m delighted to announce that last night the Vodafone UK team won two awards at WISA, the Women in Sales Awards. Clare Hillis, Northern Ireland Public Sector Lead, was crowned ‘Best Technology Sales Woman’ while Rob Mukherjee, Head of North West Regional Business, was named ‘Best Male Mentor’. Congratulations, Clare and Rob!
Both Clare and Rob pursued their own individual paths to success, and what unites them is a shared commitment to their customers, along with pride in their work and in what we can accomplish when we work together. Their inspiring stories highlight the great talent we’re fortunate to have here at Vodafone, and how important it is to have the right policies in place to help our employees to flourish in the workplace.
This year marks the first time ever that Vodafone UK has submitted nominations to WISA, and I’m so proud of all seven of our finalists: Joanne Casswell, Client Sales Manager; Laura Dunphy, Regional Sales Manager; Danielle Craven, Regional Sales Manager; Clare McKnight, Client Sales Specialist; Kim Moran-Hogg, Head of Regional Business Scotland & Northern Ireland Enterprise; Katie Murphy, Client Sales Manager; and Donna Rigby, Client Sales Executive.
Congratulations again to the Vodafone UK team, and here’s to another successful year!
Clare Hillis, Northern Ireland Public Sector Lead (Best Technology Sales Woman)
It is Vodafone’s first year at WISA, and the other Vodafone finalists and I were overwhelmed at how well the event was organised. My nomination was for ‘Best Technology Sales Woman’. I really wanted to let the judges know about the work I’ve been doing in Health, leading the way with new mobile app technology to replace old legacy paging equipment, a mobile e-obs app for nurses to enable more time at patient bedside, and a trauma application to reduce delay of medical staff dealing with emergencies, which will ultimately save more lives. The judges were keen to hear what I had to say and were impressed that Vodafone is trail blazing with this technology in the UK Health market. Although I was nervous, I also enjoyed the one-minute pitch on ‘Why I should win’ in front of all the judges. I’m passionate about selling and Vodafone allows this passion to flourish.
I’d recommend WISA to any woman who is passionate about her sales career. I didn’t expect to win my category as all the women were of an extremely high standard. When my name was called out, I felt an immense sense of pride – not only for me, but also for Vodafone. I’ve had a huge amount of support from my senior team, they’ve given me loads of opportunities to continually learn and develop. This award has given me a boost to keep pursuing my dreams and to help other women do so too. Roll on next year!
Rob Mukherjee, Head of North West Regional Business (Best Male Mentor)
Being named Best Male Mentor means the world to me. Throughout my career, I’ve been a committed advocate for the development of women in sales, in business and in society in general. I remember as a child witnessing my Mum’s dedication as a teacher in Toxteth, a very deprived area of Liverpool – and seeing her passion and determination to help those young people make the best of themselves, regardless of their background. Maybe some of that attitude rubbed off on me and sparked my “inner mentor”.
That spark really caught fire while I was at university, when I started coaching women’s football. I was inspired by the selfless camaraderie of these women and their determination to be the best they could be, and the immense trust they put in me as their coach was truly humbling. Back then football was still very much a male-dominated sport. I realised then that I could make a difference in helping women to advance and fulfil their potential, not just in football, but in whatever field they chose to focus on.
Today I’m responsible for Vodafone UK’s North West Business and – as with my previous leadership roles – I make it my responsibility to actively seek out female talent and to bring diverse qualities to the business. As a mentor I challenge my mentees to clearly articulate their career aspirations, and I help them put together a framework of needs identification, development options, actions and feedback. Each mentee owns her life plan and makes her own decisions. My role is a supporting one. I share my personal experiences, offer alternative perspectives, and push my mentees to make the most of their talents. In return, they provide me with huge inspiration as they allow me to become part of their story. Some of them have gone on to become mentors themselves, supporting mentees in Vodafone and also in our local communities – so you can see the powerful ripple effect that mentoring can create. It’s such a rewarding feeling to see my mentees thrive, and I’m proud that many have gone on to leadership positions, both at Vodafone and at other companies.
Of course mentoring is just one way to positively impact diversity and inclusion. For us to have a more gender balanced workplace, and society, we need men to be advocates as well as women. That’s why I’ve written articles like “10 Ways To ‘Man Up’ On International Women’s Day” and appeared on panels such as “Guys That Get It”, encouraging men to become involved in the gender balance movement. For men and women to truly fulfil their potential, we need women and men. We have loads to learn from each other – and we have loads to offer each other. Collaboration is priceless – and the best thing is, it’s free.