First of all, we would like to welcome you to the team and we hope you’ve enjoyed your first couple of weeks here at Stancold.
The journey of women to the Construction Industry is usually an interesting one. What attracted you to this sector?
Philippa: The Construction Industry is an interesting and challenging sector to operate within. With an engineering background I enjoy seeing projects through and take pride in the quality of our products and installation. The attraction is around variety and problem solving to ultimately deliver safe, innovative and fit for purpose solutions to our customers.
What was your previous role?
Philippa: My previous role was Plant Manager for Saint Gobain Abrasives. The UK based site in Staverton manufactures precision engineered diamond cutting tools (rotary dressers) for the aerospace, automotive and bearing industry.
Was this a managerial role?
Philippa: I was responsible for a team of 40 people, managing QEHS, engineering, production, logistics and customer service teams for the full life cycle of the product from engineered design, production and export worldwide through to wear analysis and recycling for repeat items.
What kind of qualifications and skills did you need for this type of role?
Philippa: Engineering Degree level qualifications, production and manufacturing background and managerial experience developed during 12 years within Saint Gobain businesses.
What is your area of expertise?
Philippa: I have broad experience across a number of sectors with a solid operational management foundation. My expertise lies in defining and delivering strategic business plans. I am a passionate leader of continuous improvement and change management programs empowering others within my teams and employing a structured and systematic approach to overcome challenges and delivering results.
Did you face any difficulties or challenges in progressing to the top by being a woman?
Philippa: I think everyone faces difficulties and challenges along their career path regardless of gender and it’s how you react and deal with these that really defines you and ultimately enables your own growth and development. For me diversity is a USP and my style and approach has only ever added value in my career journey to date. Other peoples’ own expectations may differ at the outset but I’ve always found it’s about what you deliver and how you perform regardless which is all within your own control. Initiative, tenacity and strong work ethic have always held me in good stead.
What advice would you give to women starting a career in the Construction Industry?
Philippa: Be open minded and self-aware, play to your strengths, never stop learning and like all other industries and jobs make your own choices on your next steps and manage your own career pathway.
What was your biggest achievement in your career so far?
Philippa: The successful implementation of a World Class Manufacturing Program within Saint Gobain in the pathway to bronze status. Leading and involving the local business to take strategy deployment through to pillar implementation and thus create a business plan and sustainable improvement program through repeated team project deliveries. Included a personal Green Belt certification for industrial efficiency.
Your current position at Stancold is Operations Director. What does this entail?
Philippa:Ownership of the performance of the business in all aspects of client delivery to ensure systems, people and finances are in place in order to continually exceed our clients expectations and drive continuous improvement as we meet our business growth ambitions. Also to ensure we have the necessary expertise, skill sets and understanding as we approach exciting new markets.
What interests you in this job?
Philippa: The broad scope of the role is both interesting and challenging. I am excited by the opportunity to further strengthen and grow a well-established and reputable local business. The exec team are forward thinking and refreshingly open and welcoming to new ideas, demonstrating their commitment to improvement and change with the creation of this new role.
Did you hear about Stancold before?
Philippa: Not specifically until I researched further but I have since uncovered multiple shared networks where colleagues and customers have overlapped and paths have crossed in the past throughout the construction industry.
What were your first impressions about the company before the interview? What do you think after your first week?
Philippa: SME sharing my own core values with a professional approach to the market and holding a good reputation amongst customers for a quality installation service. After a short time only within Stancold my opinion remains unchanged and I am excited by the opportunities to grow and build on this over the coming years with the passionate and experienced team already in place.
You only just started but you’ve already put some policies in place. One of these is the handover meetings and maintaining Stancold’s ISO 9001:2008 accreditation. How will our customers benefit from these policies and procedures?
Philippa: ISO 9001:2008 gives our customers the confidence that we have a robust quality management system in place. We strive to have fewer failures in the quality and service of our installations and want to strengthen our relationships and client partners for future projects. Our systems and procedures enable us to actively listen to customer feedback and take fast corrective and long terms preventative actions. We want to improve internal communication with simple efficient processes to enable a more reliable, streamlined and consistent installation from enquiry through to customer satisfaction survey after project site handover to client.
What are your long term plans at the company?
Philippa: My long terms aim with Stancold is to continue to challenge and grow the business alongside the other directors in the business. To actively look for further opportunities to improve and continue to align ourselves to our customer base and the market needs as legislation and design requirements inevitably change.
Now tell us a little bit more about yourself. Are you from Bristol? Do you need to commute from far?
Philippa: I moved to Bristol in 2008 for business to take a general management role encompassing sales and full supply chain management for the South West. I originally grew up in Ingatestone, Essex but through studies and business have subsequently lived in Suffolk, London, Birmingham and Glasgow before settling in the Bristol area. I now only have a short commute from Portishead.
Do you have any hobbies, interests?
Philippa: I enjoy sport, playing hockey and swimming as well as watching live football. The creative side in me is released through art and cooking and I’m just about to embark on my own house development after my planning designs are now approved.
Do you find work/life balance difficult?
Philippa: Work life balance is important to me and one of my drivers in my recent career choice to join Stancold Plc. I have reduced my daily commute dramatically regaining 1h30 of personal time every day. Everyone has the ability to make choices and influence this balance. For me I need to enjoy what I do and feel like I make a difference whilst not losing perspective on life’s priorities and this is about discipline and situation.
Thank you very much for your time and we wish you lots of success and accomplishments here at Stancold!
Interview & photos by Kate Nagy (Marketing Executive at Stancold)