Builders Merchant manager Christine Crawford talks us through being a female manager, the challenges she faces raising a young family and working full-time. She also talks about the importance of how we can help to change the perceptions of women in the workplace with #YesSheCan.
Tell us a bit about your current role
I have been a branch manager for 14 years. I oversee the day to day running of the branch, while also being responsible for the branch performance, achieving targets, working with budgets and looking after all of the personnel.
How did you get to the position you are now?
I started in the sales office and worked my way up, I had previously come from an assistant manager’s role in another business, but I couldn't find any management positions available at that time and I was unhappy where I was. So I took the chance and joined my current company, luckily for me, I was put into a branch that was really struggling from an administrative performance side, I assisted the Branch Manager to help turn that branch around and my RD at that time recognized my capabilities and I was in an ABM role within 6 months and I haven’t looked back!
What qualifications helped you to get where you are?
I left school with some Standard Grades and a couple of Highers, nothing of which is really relevant to my current role. In 2004 I was put on an Introduction to Management programme which has helped me in my career progression.
What barriers have you faced in your career?
Being a female in a very male-dominated industry comes with its challenges, I have had to work hard to gain the respect of my peers and the trust of male customers in my ability to do my job.
What motivated you to keep going?
The love of my job and the fact that I really enjoy what I do, I know myself that I am more than capable of doing it well and I thrive on the challenges that I sometimes come up against. My mum has been a huge contributor to my motivation from early on in my life and even more so in adulthood, she has always encouraged me and told me to do whatever I wanted in my life and has enforced her hard working ethic onto me.
What do you think we need to do to break down barriers in the workplace?
To break down barriers in the workplace we just need to keep working away at it, we need to get more females into higher roles to prove how we can be valuable to any business.
If you could change one thing about the working world what would it be?
If I could change one thing it would be for everyone to be treated as an equal. Women should be considered for any position and be given a fair chance at anything.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Work hard, Be strong, Aspire to be anything you want to be.
What’s great about being a female in your role?
That my ability has been recognized and I have the respect of my colleagues and customers alike. It still makes me smile when someone comes into the branch and asks to speak to the manager and you can tell they were not expecting it to be me. A female!
Why is #YesSheCan important to you?
What do you say to your male colleagues about equality?
I always say to my male colleagues that any female is just as competent as any male to do any job, some of who agree and some who would maybe disagree.
What are your proudest achievements?
My proudest achievement was first having my son. I won employee of the year with Buildbase in 2005, I was nominated for Branch Manager for the company as well as nationally in 2006. My branch won The Scottish Branch of the year in 2016, which is probably my proudest working achievement.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
It can be a bit of a struggle at times, having a young family and working full time, I try to keep a good balance between work and family time and try not to put too much pressure on myself.
How do you ensure that you are an inspiring leader?
I am a team player, I get involved with everyone and I am interested in them personally as well as with their work, If need be I help out where I can. I let everyone know I appreciate the work they do and always say thank you. My door is always open and everyone knows that if they need anything they just need to ask.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self now?
Give serious thought to what you want to do with your life, be you, live your best life and make sure you work hard at what you want!
Connect with Christine:
LinkedIn: Christine Crawford