Staff Interviews – Melanie Clarke
Welcome to the first in our new series of staff interviews! This month, we’ll be talking to the lovely Melanie Clarke, a customer services advisor for Vital since November of 2015. Read on below to find out more!
Hi Mel! Thanks for sitting down with me today. How are you?
Hello! You’re welcome. I’m good thank you, how about you? 🙂
I’m good thanks! So let’s talk a little bit about you. When did you start working at Vital Certificates?
Okay. I started at Vital in November 2015, so just over a year ago now!
And what were you doing before you got here?
Well, I worked at HP as a team leader in data processing. Which is odd, because it wasn’t what I studied to do at all! I studied graphic design and photography at university, and my goal was always to have my own design studio, and to design some artwork for a cool band. I managed to fulfil both those goals by the age of 24, running a small studio in St. Helen with a friend and designing artwork for a band by the name of The Beauty of Gemina.
Wow! So you managed to fulfil some pretty big goals at quite a young age. That sounds great.
It was! But then I was also like “err, what do I do now?” I moved to Durham which was a new start for me, and I didn’t have the established client base there that I’d had before. So I ended up taking a job at HP which was like nothing I’d ever done before, and I enjoyed it so much I ended up staying there for 6 years!
With 6 years at HP under your belt, what made you want to shift careers again and join Vital?
I think I just wanted a change again. Initially it was the genealogy and research side that attracted me to the role, and I thought it would be quite cool to have a go at that. I’ve also always been fascinated by different cultures and countries – I used to speak quite a bit of Greek when I was younger! Getting the chance to deal with people from different backgrounds seemed really interesting, even if I didn’t have any previous customer service experience.
How was that? Stepping into a brand new role for the first time without any prior experience?
A bit scary honestly! But I’m always open to learning new things, which is what I think Matt (Managing Director) saw in me when he hired me. I was able to pick things up quite quickly since I always had great, knowledgeable people around me like Nicola, Sean & Emma.
Always nice to have people to lean on!
Yeah. And it’s one of things I enjoy most about working here to be honest. The people are great and always go out of their way to help you. This job’s quite difficult in that no two days are the same and there’s always something new to learn. You’re constantly dealing with new situations so you don’t always have the answers at hand, so it’s really helpful when there are people there that can help you get through that.
So you said you started working at Vital Certificates in November of 2015. How has your role changed over the past year or so?
It’s changed a lot actually! Initially I was only dealing with the certificate enquiries, but as time went on I started to deal more with the legalisation side as well. Matt’s been really good about helping me take my skills and using them to help other parts of the business. I spent a bit of time helping Jo (Finance Manager) with the accounting and I’ve also started to contribute more to the Marketing side as well, helping with stuff like graphic design and social media. It’s been really interesting.
Sounds it. But with more responsibilities come more challenges. What are some of the daily challenges you face in your role?
Oh gosh. I’d say communication is probably the biggest one. Sometimes because of poor phone lines, sometimes just because people are difficult to understand! I was trying to take a payment off one customer and we ended up having to use WhatsApp to send his payment details over because the line was so bad! Things like that are quite common so it’s good to be able to improvise.
Absolutely. Moving away from work, what do you like to do in your downtime?
A lot of things! I recently started to grow my own plants and herbs and found out I actually quite like gardening. I’m a big fan of photography as well – I enjoy going out and being surrounded by nature and having a camera with me makes me want to capture all the amazing stuff I see. I love travelling in general honestly.
Any particular place you’d like to visit?
Hard to pick just one, but I’ve been really fascinated by Thailand recently. Matt visited earlier in the year and ever since I saw his photos I’ve been dying to visit!
And finally, do you have a favourite quote?
“Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self, and it is a task no longer; it is joy; it is art.”
Fantastic. Well that about wraps it up. Thanks for your time Mel!
If you’d like to take a look at more of Melanie’s photography, you can go to https://melaniexclarke.carbonmade.com/