In the Hot Seat
If you haven't seen the December issue of the Ulster Grocer magazine, check out the interview that took place with Lorraine Butler, our Managing Director for CPM Ireland.
In the interview Lorraine talks about both her personal and professional life, her typical day, highlights in her career to date, the best advice she's received in her career and future plans and ambitions.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am originally from Co. Laois and come from a family of eight girls. I spent 20 years living in Dublin but recently returned home to build a house in Laois with my husband. My college background is in Technology & Management and after a 14 year career with eir, I moved to CPM Ireland to take on the Managing Director role. My career to date has been quite sales & people focused – while I never thought I would end up in the sales arena, it’s most definitely in my DNA and I love what I do.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE?
When dealing with customers, no two days are the same - it’s very hard to get bored in sales! I like to spend as much time as possible with my team, meeting customers, understanding their business challenges and scoping ways to support these challenges. Working with my internal team to understand how we can optimise our business processes and identify new ways of working to take our business into the future, is always on our agenda.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?
While in eir Business (formerly eircom), I started as an SME Field Account Manager. 10 years later after progressing through various roles, I ended up managing and leading all of the eir Business Sales teams. . People are an organisations most valuable assets. Eir gave me a fantastic platform to grow and develop and it is something I have tried to bring to any team which I have lead
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love the variety that dealing with customers from various industries brings. While all customers are different, the business drivers and challenges tend to be similar. Our clients work with us because we are deemed to be best in class for selling. I love watching our sales teams focus on client sales targets with such determination, the creativity that they introduce into the sales process and their consistent drive to innovate and improve. This is only possible when we have the right people managers leading our teams and it’s fantastic to watch our people managers from along the sales journey.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK?
Sales is a people business and we rely on our people to bring their best selves to work every day. But human nature isn’t always as logical as we would like! Working to support our people with personal challenges comes as part of CPM’s DNA, however balancing customer delivery with such challenges can be an art. With the improvement in the Irish economy, salary expectation are inflating quite considerably vs what was generally forecast by the market. Managing business profitability and client commercial expectations with increased financial expectations of employees is currently challenging in the Irish market place.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
You don’t have to be it, just do it. As an MD of a business, standing in front of an audience to communicate business progress, strategy etc comes with the territory, I am not particularly fond of being in front of a crowd, however I understand that it is important that I connect with our internal and external people. My boss gave me a great piece of advice – you don’t have to be the person who loves the limelight or holding a room, you just have to communicate, as yourself and the authenticity that brings should command respect from those in the room.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE?
Rudeness, particularly that of the workplace hierarchical kind. Everyone in an organisation has a strong part of play in the successful running of an organisation and everyone, regardless of role or position, should be treated with the same respect. This comes with the culture inherent in an organisation – a culture of respect & collaboration is vital for me to enjoy my working life and I have zero tolerance for those who don’t embrace the same values.
WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE?
I would love to be able to actually remember the words of songs and play the guitar – I love a sing song and get together, but always end up relying on the same couple of songs!
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/AMBITIONS?
I am almost a year with CPM Ireland. I feel I have a very good understanding of our business, our clients and our marketplace at this stage and we have achieved some great things in the past year. I want to take CPM Ireland to great heights in Ireland and take advantage of the rich market place that exists.
WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
My parents. They have given my sisters and I the greatest foundation in life and taught us values that I believe stand to us each day. They taught us the value of hardwork, perseverance and respect for others and consistently support each of us through our daily lives.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?
At home in Laois with my family, during a family get together with my husband and extended family of Aunts, Uncles and cousins.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT?
Chicken is the staple of most of meals – healthy, agile and tasty!
HOW DO YOU RELAX?
Catching up on the soaps in the evening/weekends – pure escapism after a busy working day or week!
A copy of the December 2016 Issue of the Ulster Grocer can be found here