I first joined Vodafone in New Zealand in 2005 as a part-time Sales Adviser. After finding a passion for sales and retail, I took a full time role in early 2006 working in several stores all over New Zealand over the next couple of years. I really enjoyed my time and the teams I was working with, and continued to move to busier, higher profile stores. In 2008 I applied and was given a Store Manager role in Auckland. This gave me a chance to manage a busy store, and a team of five, developing my people management skills which I have carried with me throughout my career.
I was identified as someone with high potential and was given the opportunity to travel all over the country upskilling other team members on new products as we launched them. One highlight was having lunch with New Zealand’s CEO after being in the Top 10 managers across the entire company in the 2009 People Survey.
I really like how Vodafone truly care about our people and our community. When the tragic earthquakes hit Christchurch, Vodafone organised for managers from around the country to work in Christchurch’s stores for the weekend, to give the guys some time off to spend with each other and their families. This to me said a lot about how Vodafone cares – it was not done for commercial or financial reasons – it was simply the right thing to do for our people.
In 2010 I decided New Zealand was too small for me and decided to move to London. Using the contacts, I had built over my time in NZ I got in touch with the London Regional and Divisional management team and applied for a Store Manager role in London and was successful. I did my training in Oxford Street and could instantly see how different managing stores in the UK would be – everything is that much bigger – more customers, more competition, however with that comes so much more opportunity.
Over the next couple of years, I got promoted and managed bigger stores across the City of London ending up in Cheapside, a large store in the heart of London’s Financial district. I really loved it there, dealing with high profile high impact customers. You never knew who you would be dealing with next.
As a high performing store manager I was offered and took up some development opportunities to challenge myself and expand my skills. This included system training, training our region on business, and completing reporting for the division. This gave me some great exposure and gave me a great network of Store and Regional managers all over London.
I kept a regular career plan, and as time progressed it became clearer that I wanted to move into HQ and influence the performance of our entire Retail Estate.
After spending some time in Newbury meeting the team, I took the opportunity and moved to Newbury in 2015, taking up an operational role where I worked on a variety of small projects, while I got to understand how HQ worked – it was certainly very different to what I had experienced at store.
As my confidence grew, so did the opportunities I was given. I project managed the implementation of a new Payroll and Holiday system into Retail, I lead the launch of Individual Reward, and managed the team who were responsible for ensuring all team members were paid correctly. I found that the impact and responsibility I was given was amazing. I was trusted to ensure 4,000 people received their bonus payment correct each month and I took the responsibility seriously, I didn’t want to let down my store colleagues.
My skills and my confidence had grown so much over the past few years; I don’t think I would recognise the person who started in store all those years ago. Dealing with huge datasets every day have pushed my Excel and Database skills, I’ve built reports which go out to 4,000 people each month and reports which are used at director levels to understand our business. More than anything I feel I’ve had a real input into how our retail business grows. Retail HQ is such a small team that leads such a large business, everyone has a huge impact on the overall success of our 450 stores.
After 3 years in Retail HQ, I’m moving onto a new challenge in Finance very shortly. But I know the skills I have learned in Retail, and the people I have met in Retail will always be there to back me up.
My advice to anyone thinking of joining – think big – we are a huge company with offices all over the world, if you are dedicated and work hard there really is no limit to where you can progress.
Retail Strategy Specialist