Our next conversation in the series features Ailsa Graham, Head of Marketing Planning, Execution and Media for Tesco Bank.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
I am really lucky that throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work for some amazing people who have genuinely inspired me. My bosses (both good and bad) have all inspired me in some way.
The good ones, have challenged me and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have learnt from and been inspired to learn and improve as I’ve grown in my career. The bad ones have shown me the kind of leader I don’t want to be and have pushed me to question and challenge myself to ensure that I put myself in others’ shoes and consider how I show up in their eyes.
What one thing makes you most proud?
Seeing people flourish. There is nothing that makes me prouder than seeing someone in my team get promoted or move onwards and upwards to a new challenge. I am always sad to lose good people but it makes me proud when I can see someone who has grown and developed in their role and are ready for a new challenge take that next step.
What’s the most important risk you took and why?
Leaving a really secure corporate job at the start of the financial crisis in 2008 to pursue my dream career with a consumer agency. It involved a pay cut and a jump into the unknown and I was told by my CEO at the time that I was crazy and he even gave me a week to reconsider my decision. I was also then offered a big promotion and pay rise to stay.
But despite being terrified, I didn’t, and I can genuinely say that decision changed the entire path of my career. It lead me into B2C/FMCG marketing which was where my passion was. It opened up so many opportunities for me and ultimately has lead me to the role I am in today.
Why – I knew if I didn’t take that leap then, I never would! It had always been my dream to get into consumer marketing and I knew that opportunities don’t tend to come around frequently so it was a now or never moment. I am quite a planner so the leap into the unknown was pretty terrifying but I just knew in my gut that this was my big chance to move into the industry I wanted to be in so I held my breath and went for it. And it paid off!
What are the most important traits to look for when hiring a new employee?
Passion, enthusiasm and willingness to learn. For me those are the three things that are absolutely key. Sometimes, I will look to those skills over someone with 100% of the technical skills we are looking for as I know that we can teach those but passion and enthusiasm are things that come from within and are either there or aren’t.
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If you’d like to speak to us about your journey to leadership, growing your team, or even switching careers, please get in touch on 03303 359 818 today. Thank you.