March 8th is International Women’s Day. This annual event is dedicated to celebrating female social, economic, cultural and political achievements. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating equality. International Women’s Day showcases a number of missions to help forge a gender equal world.
Celebrating female achievements, and increasing visibility, are important elements of this objective. At Caple, we firmly believe in building an inclusive workplace where women can thrive. So, read on to meet a selection of our heroines, and learn more about what drives and inspires them.
Marketing manager Alex Fuidge
Alex heads our marketing department, which includes design and training. “My team and I are responsible for anything with a Caple logo,” she explains. Alex oversees digital activity, the website, social media, events, advertising, photography and content creation. This involves managing budgets, organising and distributing workloads, and liaising with agencies, suppliers and colleagues. “I sign off all marketing material and brand assets, and make decisions based on analytics, reports and sales,” she adds. “Most importantly, I ensure my team are happy, motivated and focused. My ethos is: treat others how you wish to be treated yourself and be kind.”
Encouraging kindness isn’t necessarily something that’s associated with the pressured nature of a high-powered marketing role. But it’s an under-rated ‘soft skill’ that can yield impressive results. “I try to give the team enough guidance with the right balance of freedom,” Alex explains. “I hope I encourage autonomy to ensure individuals feel empowered.
Creativity flows when it’s left to flourish. We all feed off one another. I get very excited when new concepts are presented to me. It makes me even more motivated.” She continues: “I’m proud of our great team bond. We’re always laughing and checking in on one another. We talk about everything: personal, emotional and work issues.”
Support each other
In line with International Women’s Day, Alex is vocal about supporting females in our industry. “Always straighten another queen’s crown,” she states. “Support, protect and elevate other women. And bring as much positivity and motivation as you can. As a woman, you have to assert yourself more, and really harness your ambition and drive. I have had to focus, set clear objectives, and do everything I can to reach them.”
But that determination has unquestionably paid off. Alex became a manager at the tender age of 26 – and she’s still got plenty of ambition left to fulfil. So, which successful woman has always inspired her? “Beyonce, of course!” she replies. “She is absolutely at the top of her game. She’s successful, authentic, and managed to combine having a family with her career. What a force to be reckoned with! I’ve grown up with her and her music. Most of all, she celebrates diversity, which is very important to me.”
Customer services supervisor Natasha Paterson
In this varied role, Natasha is responsible for the smooth day-to-day running of the service team, delivering both corporate and pastoral support. “I make sure my department runs like clockwork,” notes Natasha, “and I find resolutions when issues escalate.” To achieve this, she makes full use of key qualities such as understanding, nurturing and empathy. “This helps to calm the most explosive situation,” she confirms.
With International Women’s Day on the horizon, Natasha backs this up by fully supporting other females in the kitchens industry. “I feel all women succeed from collaboration and teamwork, rather than competition,” she observes. “And I believe in praising my team, and selling them an idea which we can all get behind. I push the brand forward every day, as every decision I make influences how customers see Caple. The highlight of my career is running a successful department within a male-dominated industry.”
Pushing the brand
Natasha’s inspiration for International Women’s Day comes from former First Lady Michelle Obama. “She has shown me you can have a family and a career, and balance everything perfectly. Michelle is more proof that behind every successful man there’s always a strong, capable woman!”
Nikki is responsible for managing the turnover and profitability for this area, which includes three key accounts. She says: “My remit is to help grow the Caple brand in the South West region. So, I work closely with my team to help to support them in their day-to-day role and motivate them to achieve this. My career to date has given me the experience and product knowledge to achieve this.”
Regional manager for the South West, Nikki Taylor
At the beginning of Nikki’s career, it was very much a man’s world. “Males dominated field sales positions in the industry then,” she confirms. “So my determination and drive to succeed have been instrumental to my success. Thankfully, times have changed, and there’s now an equal split in most sales forces.”
For International Women’s Day, Nikki says Karren Brady, Vice-Chairman of West Ham United and member of the House of Lords inspires her. She notes: “This is from a business point of view, and for her strength and determination within a very tough working environment.”
Sales office manager, Jessica Wheeler
Jessica is responsible for the internal sales function. This includes motivating, mentoring and training her team, and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction and retention. “Sales is obviously an integral part of any business, as we are seen as the revenue generators”, Jessica notes. “However, it’s also very important that all departments work seamlessly together. I feel that I bring optimism, and good organisational and communication skills to the mix. This allows great collaboration between all departments, which helps to drive the business forward and expand.”
She generously adds: “However, a manager is only as good as the team around them. I am very lucky to have a great group working for me.”
Jessica believes a number of different attributes have helped her succeed in her career path to date. “I am definitely a “lead from the front” manager,” she observes. “As a working mum, multitasking, time management and problem solving are second nature to me. If the past 12 months have taught me anything, it’s this: if you want something doing, ask a busy mum!”
Parenthood and work
Outlook and effort, regardless of gender, are also important, Jessica believes. “My optimistic, Despite all the progress made to date, Jessica believes that it can still be difficult to successfully combine parenthood and work. “Working women, especially mums, will always be on the back foot,” she says. “We have additional priorities, and that’s OK. But that doesn’t mean that a career isn’t important – just that sometimes the focus has to shift. So, we may have to make compromises. But, with support, I do believe that women can enjoy the best of both worlds. And working for an empathetic and flexible company [like Caple] helps to resolve this imbalance.”
Outlook and effort, regardless of gender, are also important, Jessica believes. “My optimistic, ‘can-do’ attitude has helped me to succeed in my role,” she maintains, “as has being organised and approachable.”
Interestingly, Jessica’s female inspiration for International Women’s Day isn’t famous. “I thought very hard about this,” she explains. “And there were some very obvious choices, both past and present. But when it comes down to it, the women who inspire me are the ones in my day-to-day life. My family, friends are colleagues inspire me daily in the way they respond to requests for help, offer solutions to problems – and lift my spirits when it all gets a bit too much!”
Purchase ledger supervisor, Alison Davidson
Alison heads this department with one female assistant and reports to the financial director. She ensures all payments are made to suppliers on time within a monitoring role, where she says understanding and discretion are necessities. Alison has dedicated 20 years to Caple, which is testament to her loyalty for our brand.
She finds women in our industry have a key eye for detail when planning and decision-making. Alison notes: “We are articulate and can see outside the box. I think we’re willing to offer our opinions, whether good or bad. We’re always keen to try new experiences and encourage others to do the best they can.”
One career highlight for Alison was her move from initially scanning papers in a temporary role to the offer of a permanent position at Caple. This ultimately led her to become purchase ledger supervisor and she has never looked back. Alison says she always strives to drive our brand forward and she adds: “My colleague and I work in an accounts department with men and women. Support is always offered and should you need to discuss matters, either work or non-work related, our directors are continuously approachable. You will always be heard. My dedication to my job ensures the brand achieves astounding financial reports in payment history.”
An English nurse
When asked who inspires her on International Women’s Day, Alison names Dame Cicely Saunders. She was an innovative nurse who set up St Peters Hospice in Bristol in the 60s and Alison reveals: “My mother passed away when I was in my early 20s. Without the support from St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol, this time would have been a lot more difficult to deal with. I have since volunteered at events to help fundraise for this charity.”
At Caple, we have such a highly talented team of women (and men) in our workplace, it is sadly not possible to mention them all here. However, it’s thanks to everyone’s dedication and hard work together that our brand has achieved the success it is today.
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