Staff Interviews – Christy Kavanagh
Welcome to the twelfth of our Vital Certificates Staff Interviews! Today we’re speaking to Christy Kavanagh, Business Development Manager and one of our newest hires. Christy’s been at the company for almost four months now, and brings a number of unique experiences to the role despite her tender years. Read on to find out more about Christy, what she does, her biggest challenges, and what she gets up to outside of work!
So Christy, the first question I always ask is – how are you?
I’m good thank you, are you?
I’m good thanks! You’re the first person that’s asked how I am so you’re already my favourite. So, when did you start working at Vital?
On the 13th of March (2017). It’s an unlucky number.
Ah you’re superstitious. I was born on the 13th so it can’t be that bad! What were you doing before you got here then?
I am a bit! Well, I was working in retail at a store called Phase Eight. I was a stylist there.
Nice! Could you style me then? How am I looking today?
Good! Your shoes match your top. Everything’s coordinated!
Good to know! So what made you become a stylist then? Is that something you studied for?
I did kind of. I studied fashion promotion in Preston at UCLan. It was a sandwich course of four years, and in the third year you’d have to work within the industry in a big fashion city like London, which is very expensive as you could imagine! On top of that, the work you’d have to do wouldn’t be paid, it’s all voluntary, so you’re working these long hours with no real funding. I wasn’t really enjoying the course anyway, so at the end of my second year I took the decision to leave.
I see. Fashion is a tough world to get into! What did you do after you left then?
Well, as you can imagine, my family weren’t too impressed! I moved back home and managed to have a job set up within a week though. I started working as a receptionist at a company called FHP, who specialise in mechanical and electrical engineering and infrastructure design. I was there for about two years, but I didn’t really find it that interesting. It was just a job to me, and I got bored of that too!
I see! It’s hard to keep doing something which you aren’t really motivated to do. How are you enjoying this job so far then?
I am! I’m not bored which is great news! Honestly though, it’s a really interesting and varied role and I’m really enjoying it so far.
That’s great. Especially because it was a bit of a strange process for you getting here as well wasn’t it?
Yeah… I had an interview with Sarah (Sales Manager) for the Sales Support position that was advertised a few months ago. I was working in admin at the time and the job wasn’t doing anything for me – it was a good salary but it wasn’t really going anywhere. I ended up applying for this position but I didn’t get the job, but Sarah told me there was going to be a job further down the line that she thought I would be perfect for, and that she would be in touch with me in the future. She sounded genuine but I wasn’t sure whether to believe her or not, so I just put it out of my mind.
That makes sense. You can’t be sure if the job offer is going to come along. What did you do after that then?
I ended up leaving the admin role I was at and taking the summer off just to enjoy myself, then I started work at Phase Eight in October of last year (2016). I thought I’d start to do something that I enjoyed more, something I had been studying for as well. But the hours in retail are mad. I think I started working at 6:30am on Boxing Day and don’t even remember when I got home! But I loved it and loved the people I worked with which makes a big difference. But whilst I was there, I got a call from Sarah saying that a new job position had come up and if I’d be interested or not! The funniest thing was the job was at the new office and I’d just bought a house nearby, so I thought it was made to be! I called her back and she told me I didn’t even have to interview again since I’d already impressed her the first time round. It was just a matter of saying yes or no, and I said yes!
Interesting. What was it that made you want to start working at Vital then?
Just from speaking to Matt (Managing Director) as a family friend, I’ve always found it interesting what the company does. I’ve had strong links to the UAE for a while as well. Both of my parents have lived there and my dad met his current wife there, so it seemed really interesting and I thought it’s something I should go for. I was just looking for something different. I’m also self-employed at the moment. I work for a company called Temple Spa which sells luxury beauty products so the hours are perfect for me as well. That job already brought me into sales, so I thought this would be great – I’d use the sales skills that I’ve built as well as learning other skills as I go. I felt like it was going to be a bit more challenging since legalisation isn’t something that you hear about everyday and it isn’t exactly a simple procedure, but that’s exactly what I wanted. I’m excited to be going in and learning something new everyday.
Glad you’re enjoying it! What has your first few months looked like then?
These first few months have basically been about creating a professional presence for myself, getting all my details updated on LinkedIn and starting to make connections! I’m focused on finding recruitment agencies in London that recruit internationally in some our key markets, like the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and China. And finding them is harder than you think! Trying to find the one person that you need to speak to within a giant organisation can be really difficult. But I think I’m getting there with it now. I’ve got almost 3,000 connections on LinkedIn I think.
Impressive! What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your role then?
The biggest challenge is when I get asked questions I don’t know the answer to yet! It’s such a complicated field we work in and there is such a lot to learn. Initially I was quite nervous about making the calls as well. I’m quite young – I’m only 22 – and I’m often speaking to directors of companies and hoping they’re not judging me because of my age! When I started Mark (Business Development Manager) had been here for a little while already. They initially wanted us to start at the same time but it wasn’t possible with my other job commitments. I talked to him and I felt he had so much more experience than me. Then I heard him talk on the phone for the first time and he sounded so professional and knowledgeable. I was like “Oh my gosh! Am I ever gonna sound like that?” But you don’t compare yourself to other people, you have to do what suits you and then hopefully the results will come, and they have! It was me the next week making those calls. I’ve got another one after this actually!
Congratulations! Onwards and upwards. What is it you enjoy most about working here then?
I actually like the team dynamic. It’s not an overly competitive office but there is that competitive edge that you need to be successful. We’re all quite chatty and we all get on, which is good when there’s only the four of you in a small space! And everyone from our other offices is really nice and helpful when I talk to them as well. It’s a great group.
That’s good to know. Have you set yourself any goals for the short or long term?
Sarah got us to create these goal boards with all the things we’d like to treat ourselves to actually! Each one of them has the level of income we’d need to get us there. I’ve just bought a house recently so one of my goals is treat myself to a conservatory! In terms of work goals, it’s about to trying to build up relationships and hopefully get companies contacting me and wanting me to help them rather than me having to scour the world for them!
That would be ideal! Let’s move away from work then. What do you like to do in your down time?
I’ve just got a puppy, so I love walking her! She’s a Sprockerpoo. Her mum’s a Sprocker Spaniel – a cross between a Springer and Cocker Spaniel, and her dad’s a Poodle. So I’ve been training her and taking her on her first walks. I love walking anyway so it’s nice to have a dog to do it with! Other than that, I love shopping, fashion, things like that. I’m always keeping up with the trends, not just fashion but interior design and colour forecasting as well. My partner plays rugby so I kind of try to keep up with things like that. I’m not very good with sports though! But I do like Formula One. I used to love Jensen Button. I’ve been to Silverstone as well! I also like camping. I’m a girly girl that likes camping!
Definitely unique then! Final question – do you have a favourite quote?
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. – Charles R. Swindoll
Fantastic. That’s the end of the interview. Thanks for your time Christy!