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Staff Interviews – Louise Wood
Welcome to the ninth of our staff interviews! Today we’re talking to Louise Wood, former Shipping Coordinator and now Sales Support Officer at Vital Certificates and one of our biggest personalities! Louise has been at the company for almost two years and has recently had the chance to switch roles within the business. Keep reading to find out what Louise did before joining Vital Certificates and what she gets up to both inside and outside work.
So, Louise, the first question I always ask – how are you?
Very excited to be here as I love talking about myself!
Good to know! So, let’s get down to business. When did you start working at Vital?
It was August of 2015. I remember it well as it was absolutely boiling! Even more so in the office.
What were you doing before you started working for Vital certificates?
I worked for a company called Profit and Process Consultancy, which was an auditing company. We focused on liaising with companies to ascertain if they were paying the correct business rates and to make sure they weren’t missing out on any rate relief or exemptions. I worked in the business rates section. We worked with some pretty big companies such as Heineken, Tragus and the Entertainer and it was an eye opener to realise how many companies were overpaying their rates and didn’t realise it. The biggest rate rebate we achieved was £250K for a property company! Imagine a company not realising they were overpaying by a quarter of a million pounds. Crazy! I worked there for six years and the team had built up to six in number when the boss came to us and advised us that things weren’t going so well and the future was very uncertain, so if we wanted to start looking around, we had her blessing. That’s when I came across Vital Certificates.
I see. Do you remember how your first interview went then? How was your first conversation with Matt? (Managing Director)
I remember seeing the Vital Certificates advert and straight away thought that it felt right for me. I’d read that the office dog (Sky) was a Border Collie. I used to have a Collie dog which made me feel it was meant to be! I also remember getting lost outside the office and getting a call from Nicola telling me where to go as they (Matt & Nicola) were watching me wander around aimlessly looking for the door. That must have impressed them!
That said the interview was enjoyable and the atmosphere was relaxed. which made me want the job even more. Matt’s last question to me was “Why do you think manhole covers are round?” to which I replied, “So fatties can’t fall down them!” which caused quite a big chuckle in the office! I knew then it was the right job for me. After the interview, Matt advised me that there were two other candidates in for the job and he’d let me know tomorrow. When the call came Matt didn’t say I’d got it straight away so I started to worry, but eventually he told me I’d got it and I was over the moon!
And we’re over the moon to have you here! What was it about that role that made you want to start working at Vital then?
The role sounded so interesting. It was something different for me and I knew it would be a great challenge. The thought of having people’s futures in your hands was a big responsibility and one I wanted. The whole interview process was interesting & fun from start to finish and it really made me want to work for Vital Certificates.
Let’s talk a bit about your role at Vital. What is it you do on a day-to-day basis?
Well my day-to-day has changed very recently! I was responsible for the office administration function which is looking after all the stock and ordering. I also managed the processing of all the mail that came in to the office, this includes forwarding it on to the FCO and Embassies plus logging all details on to the Vital systems. I then monitored the process and deal with any issues or problems that arise and liaise with customers should there be any complaints or queries.
I also help answering the phones during busy periods and I’m now helping the sales team with their administrative function which has now become a full-time position since we have new Certificate and Legalisation Administrators handling my previous role. I’m now transitioning to a Sales Support role for our Sales Manager. Recently I’ve been tasked with finding companies that are recruiting in China, and company formation agents that help people start their businesses in other countries. It involves a lot of research!
I see! So what are the challenges you’ve faced in your role, and going from one role to the other?
In my previous role it was meeting the deadlines and keeping on top of the ever-changing procedures that the FCO and Embassies have in place for legalising documents. Also, the importance of delivering the documents on time was highlighted to me when I first started working here. I remember one of the first issues that arose was there was a pregnant lady in the UAE who needed her marriage certificate legalising before she gave birth and when the legalisation was delayed it was quite a nervous time for the family! I imagine they lost quite a bit of sleep, but we managed to get it sorted for her which made me feel really great about the positive impact we can have on someone’s life. Overall, it’s important to me to meet the customer’s expectations and deliver a first-class service as I never want to let our customers down.
It’s been quite smooth moving from my old role to the new one to be honest. I haven’t fully transitioned since I’m still doing parts of my old role from time to time, but I can see the new role taking up more of my time and becoming more challenging as time goes on.
That’s great. I’m sure you’ll do a great job! What do you enjoy most about working here then?
It’s a wonderful team and a relaxed environment where you are given the freedom to do your job to the best of your ability. I feel appreciated!
Have you set yourself any short to long term goals then?
- Short-term – Train up Tom (Certificate Administrator) & Sharon to a high standard so I can hand over my current role.
- Mid-term – Integrate fully in to my new Sales role and do an excellent job.
- Long-term – Still work for Vital Certificates until I retire.
Let’s move away from work then. What do you like to do in your downtime?
Most my spare time is spent with my family to be honest. I have a three-year-old daughter, Ella, who needs entertaining and we do this with trips to soft plays, playgrounds and parks. I also love the odd bottle of Wine or Gin (depending on the day I’ve had) in the evening watching TV with my feet up when Ella’s gone to bed. I’m learning to drive as well, so everyone with cars should beware!
And finally, do you have a favourite quote?
“Live for today and tomorrow will take care of itself” – my own quote.
Very wise words. That’s everything. Thanks for your time Louise!
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