A Boss Who Changed My Life
I was thinking today, on international women’s day, about one of the best bosses I’ve had, Emily Welch. I know it is only two and a half years that I took her advice and accepted a job at her growing company, but she has had a huge impact on my career, and I’d like to share with you some of the lessons she has taught me in such a small space of time.
Emily was the account and project manager at SignStix, and I was the Head of Marketing for an electronic component distributor in York. I had just been informed that my job role was being made redundant after 24 years. I was, to say the least, a little bit scared of what the future might hold but always told myself things happen for a reason as I started on my journey to find a new marketing role.
Having not had an interview for over 20 years, this was a very nerve-racking time for me. I contacted a few agencies and sourced a couple of job interviews myself. One of the interviews was with SignStix, a family-owned software company that built its digital signage platform from the ground up by its in-house team. I specifically remember being shown around their Leeds tech hub by Emily. I tested all their cool technology. I was so nervous that day and I’m sure it showed but when I got the call for a second interview, I knew I had to pull out all the stops. I had to show them what I could do for the company within a digital marketing presentation.
When I learnt that I had been offered the position of Marketing Executive, I was so overjoyed. I was ‘the chosen one’ to help continue telling the SignStix story. Emily’s enthusiasm for the technology and what it was capable of won me over big time and I am glad she gave me the opportunity to grow with a fab technology company.
Here are the means that Emily employed to turn us individually and collectively into winners:
1. Grow your team’s confidence
One of the great things about Emily is she lets everyone find their niche. I have seen every employee from director level to customer services been encouraged to realise their own potential and to identify key areas that they are particularly skilled in or feel passionate about. This has given each employee a sense of confidence in their own abilities and individuals continue to grow within the business. She has let me grow within the company and I have produced a website from scratch, written several scripts and directed a film crew for our explainer videos.
2. Make excelling a team activity
Emily encourages members of the staff to share ideas and work in progress and to help each other improve. We have become a learning organisation, where morale is high, and working relationships are honourable. One of the shared ideas was to produce YouTube videos instead of written content that we normally share on social media. I learnt to undertake these explainer videos myself and I post them on our YouTube channel every month. This has increased our following by 60%.
3. Set the bar high and then push your team to raise it higher
One of the most important elements of a software company is the technology and Emily pushes our dev team to step out of their comfort zone. Once they are finished on one feature, they are on with the next which makes the platform twice as good.
4. Champion your people
Emily takes pleasure in helping people further their careers. For some, that means climbing the ladder, including me, within SignStix. For others, it might mean leaving the fold. When an opportunity arises for employees within a different organisation Emily puts employees’ interests above her own. Which is a great trait to have as a director, manager and mentor!
5. Making work fun
Emily understands that each of the team has different skills and experience so every week, we hold a ‘team talk’ to share a problem we’ve encountered, a new project opportunity or a new feature we’ve been working on. We find that sitting down with a coffee at the start of the week and sharing knowledge is a fun and productive way to grow working relationships.
Being an ambitious and motivated businesswoman, her feeling of responsibility towards the goals, mission, and vision of the organisation was welcomed by the board and in late 2020 she was promoted to Director.
Emily’s appointment continues to strengthen the strategic and operational decisions and I help her to tell the SignStix story.
Please share your stories about the best bosses you’ve ever had.
Beverley Scott, Head of Marketing, SignStix