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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Women - In life, in business & in style!

A new feature that I would like to introduce to Loved by Lizzi, is an interview-stye post whereby fabulous women give us an insight into their busy days.  Here's my debut star, Sandra!

Hi I'm Sandra and I work in telecommunications, Age 44 and I head up a Sales Team in Enterprise Sales.  I live in Newbury, Married for 15 years (been together for 24 years), no children but we have a little black cat – age 16 that we adore!

How did you get to where you are today?
I really fell into my career - I left school with very little qualifications, I come from a working class background where further education was never encouraged, in fact my father couldn’t wait for me to get a job when I left school. I decided that I wanted to be a chef as I have a love of cooking, I became a commis chef and went to college 1 day per week in order to qualify as a professional chef. I qualified after two years and had a ball for a couple of years working in Birmingham City Centre, 16 hour days and partying hard as well. I soon realised that I didn’t like the unsociable hours and the low pay, so I took a job in the retail sector and soon discovered I had a natural aptitude for sales…..my grooming for sales was at a local newspaper where I spent 5 years in advertising, once I had this experience I sought various sales roles in telecommunications as my brother was also in the industry and advised me that this was where career progression was. I am now employed by a very large telecommunications company where I have spent 13 happy years, I have worked my way up through the organisation starting out as a new business development manager – now leading a corporate sales team.

What's a typical working day/week for you? 
This really depends, I enjoy remote flexible working and tend to work from home 1 day per week. I probably spend around 4 nights a month away from home as I am ultimately responsible for accounts up and down the country. An average working week usually starts around 5.30am finishing around 6pm although later if I am working away from home.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love the flexibility in terms of being able to work anywhere at any time….I adore leading teams and seeing people progress in their career – it’s extremely rewarding.  I am still a sales person at heart so also enjoy meeting customers with members of my team. I also love the fast paced environment and love all the new technology, I feel part of something very very exciting…

What challenges do you face as a working women in your industry? 
Telecommunications is still a man’s world at times and on occasion you aren’t taken seriously – you also need to be extremely flexible as you may have a customer call you with an issue that needs to gain resolution to….this might happen over the weekend or sometimes quite late at night.

How do you get work/life balance? 
This has taken me a few years to master and each month is very different, sometimes I am able to really strike the balance and other times I do feel as if im not in control……the key is to be totally organised and make the most of every minute. Why go to the supermarket and stand in long queues when you can shop online? Having a cleaner and a lady that does our ironing is also a blessing, it’s great to come home on a Friday and know that you haven’t got to spend your weekend cleaning and ironing. My husband is also very good, he passes the supermarket every day and will always pick bits up that we need. I am also a great list person, if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. I also try and plan my week, if I have a tough long week at work, I tend to get up really early to ensure all my work is done during that week. Weekends are so precious and on a Friday evening I pack away my laptop and I don’t get it out again until Monday morning. You need to switch off and have a break in order to be productive…

How do you relax from work? 
I love films and have recently rediscovered my love of cinema, I have created film club with a friend and we take it very seriously, reading reviews beforehand and then dissecting a film afterwards. I also really enjoy gardening and this really relaxes me, I love nothing more than getting my hands dirty in soil and indeed talking to my plants…I also love to dress up and socialize, I have a fantastic network of friends and most weekends we are doing something, although in the winter months I do like to curl up in front of the fire with a large glass of alcohol and just chew the fat with my husband. I also love cooking although I don’t tend to find too much time to cook these days, my husband cooks in the week and I tend to cook at the weekends

What place have you travelled to that you think every woman should go to & why? 
That’s a real toughie, I have been to some amazing places and I guess it depends what u want from a destination. I travelled to Marrakech for four days with my two very close girlfriends recently, there is amazing shopping, opulent luxurious bars, amazing food, relaxing indulgent spas, amazing culture and a fantastic climate so I would say Marrakech as there is a bit of everything to do….very closely followed would be Rome or Montepulciano which is a small hill top town in Tuscany.  Rome is just so cool , you also have great shopping and food and of course romance. Montepulciano is probably the prettiest town I have ever visited and the Italians just know how to live and enjoy life….

What three things could you not live without?
1) Vitamin E Cream – from the body shop, forget all your expensive moisturisers, I have tried them all and I always go back to this, a pot lasts me about 3 months (if my husband doesn’t use it!!) and it’s a snip at £9.00.  I use it to moisturise with, rub on the back of new shoes, use as a body cream if I have run out, use as a hand cream, great for sunburn and dry skin…..it’s just amazing, I have even used it to shine shoes when I couldn’t find the polish. I first started to use this around 15 years ago and always have a spare pot as I couldn’t bear to run out, I think my first pot would have been bought in Birmingham where I used to live.

2) My orange ring – I bought this from a market in Cuba about three years ago, its wooden, large, bright and I love it. I have around 40 different dress rings and this is always my ring of choice in the summer, it cost fifty pence and everyone always remarks on it. It goes with just about anything I wear and I would hate to lose it, if I had to choose 1 dress ring to keep, it would be this one.

3) High-heel shoes – I just love them!  I'm quite tall anyway, but I don’t feel dressed if I haven’t got a pair of heels on, you stand differently, you feel different and they give the illusion that you have long slim legs. My fave pair at the moment are black suede seventies style, I purchased them on-line about 7 months ago from Schuh




What special purchase have you recently made? 
Quite pleased with my green winkle picker boots that I bought from Oxfam on Saturday, very Vivienne Westwood – £5.00 – absolute bargain!!