What was your first break in business?
I started my recruitment career in Birmingham in the early 80s when I walked into an employment agency (as they were called then) looking for a career change. After a chat with the recruitment consultant that interviewed me, she asked if I would be interested in a role within the agency; I started a week later and the rest is history.
What did you want to be growing up?
A vet. However, my father convinced me that, being an animal lover, I wouldn’t be able to deal with the difficult aspects of the job. He was probably right.
What made you set up your own business?
I moved back to the North East in 1990 at the age of 30 after a period of change in my life. Initially I wanted to travel the world but when logic and reality set in – true to my Capricorn traits – I decided to set up my own recruitment business. It was quite challenging in the early days as I wasn’t too familiar with the local business landscape and I had the bank manager breathing down my neck on a few occasions.
What is your company’s mission?
To raise standards within the recruitment industry and to aim to ensure that we continually add value to the businesses that we work with.
How do you get the best out of your staff?
I try to lead by example and I encourage open channels of communication between management and staff. We hold regular communication meetings where everyone is informed of what is occurring within the business. We share successes as well as failures, which do happen and shouldn’t be ignored. We also encourage people to come to the meeting with suggestions for improvement, whether that be for new business activities or what we can just generally do better.
What has been your career highlight?
I wouldn’t say I have one career highlight. I am very proud of the business as a whole and the fact that we have achieved longevity within a very competitive market sector. Also, weathering the storm of a few recessions and guiding the business through periods of change and advances in technology, while still retaining the personal element of the job.
What has been your biggest challenge?
In recent years, it has been trying to change the negative perception that some have about the recruitment industry. Sometimes the bad press is deserved, however, here at Westray, we work tirelessly to raise standards. In the earlier years, being a single parent of three children and running a business was a challenge in itself, however, I’m proud to say that all of my children have grown up with ambition and a strong work ethic.
Who or what inspires you?
James Cracknell. I’ve always admired his world-class sporting prowess and focused mindset when it comes to competing in endurance events. After suffering a life-threatening brain injury while undertaking a cycling challenge, his recovery has been nothing short of remarkable and was largely down to his resilience, his will and his approach to beating the odds. Similar traits to those we require in business.
What are your company’s short and long-term goals?
As always, we will be focusing on continuous improvement and increasing the range of services we provide, as well as our geographical reach.
How do you achieve a good work/life balance?
In the early days there was no life, it was just work. However, I now have a great team of people working in the business, many of whom have been with me for many years. This means the balance is much better.
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Westray Recruitment Consultants Ltd