Managing a Team Isn’t Easy – But People Like Lisa Can Make it Look Simple


Can Make it Look Simple

Lisa Kay is very modest about what she does, and when asked about her attributes, she suggested we ask her colleagues. So we did.

Her workmates describe her as ‘efficient’, ‘committed’ and ‘methodical’, and even as ‘The knowledge of the company’.  Another insists she’s ’the heartbeat of the organisation’.

That’s a big hat to wear, but to run a team effectively, you need to have dedication and experience, and Lisa has plenty of both.

What makes Lisa Lisa

Born in Hackney in East London, at a time when it was somewhat less gentrified than it is now, Lisa’s dad was Master Builder, so from an early age she learned to wire a plug, hang wallpaper and plumb in a washing machine. So she’s very practical, adaptable and hands-on.

However her biggest influence was her mum who encouraged her to ‘have a go’ and told her “if you don’t like it, try something else”.  And throughout her career, first in menswear and later in a major dairy foods company, she benefitted from some wise mentors who took the time to show her the ropes, and gave her opportunities in lots of different roles.

And what is clear is that Lisa absorbed every word, always becoming the go-to person for direction, advice and guidance in every department, from R&D to Payroll, from HR to Operations, from Management Accounts to Transport & Distribution.

She got to know everything about everything, and was always there to fill in when someone was off sick or on leave. So when the company was bought (by Yoplait), the Chairman immediately made Lisa  Directorate PA.

Making an impact at Minerva

Being ambitious, Lisa eventually moved on, into a Customer Service Management position at a mail order company, and in 2003, she answered a call from Minerva to provide some maternity cover for the Office Manager.

She was interviewed by John Chadwick, the company’s founder and still its Managing Director, and it’s a day she still clearly remembers.

“John got me straight away,” she recalls. “He could see I was a procedures person, and allowed me to develop the role as I saw fit.”

Twenty years later, John still relies on Lisa to oversee many aspects of the business, including the CRM system, software renewals, purchasing, HR, health & safety, consultancy team support, negotiations with suppliers, and the order book.

The Recipe for Success

When pressed, Lisa acknowledges that she is ‘highly organised’ and ‘doesn’t like the grey fuzzy bits’,  preferring everything to be black or white.

By her own admission, she can be a harsh critic, speaking her mind without barriers, calling people to account and being the voice of reason. At the same time she can be very understanding, and is there as everyone’s sounding board.

But whichever side of the coin she shows, she’ll want to know exactly what you want from her.

“I’ll often ask: ‘Do you want my advice, or do you just want me to listen?’ It might sound blunt, but it save time, and avoids any misunderstanding!”

Living up to her Nickname

Finally, Lisa admits that she has – affectionately (mainly!) – been referred to as ‘The Rottweiler’, but is proud of the fact that she gets things done, and isn’t prepared to hide when faced with challenging situations or difficult conversations.

She is hugely respected for her professionalism, and everyone knows that any decision or negotiation always puts the company’s interests ahead of any individual.

But ultimately, she’s the matriarch of the Minerva family, and keeping the family happy is clearly top of Lisa’s priorities.

One senses that her own family life has been a big influence in all this; her upbringing gave her the tools to do lots of jobs, and now she supports the support team, juggles the balls and makes sure all the right pegs go into the right holes.

“It’s good to feel valued”, Lisa reflects, “and I’m happy to be in such a varied job in a company where looking after our customers is so important.

“And a lifetime of experience has given me the empathy to deal with people at all levels, and the knowledge to translate issues into solutions.”

In a company such as Minerva, where support and solutions are the core of the business, it’s easy to see why Lisa has become indispensable.

To find out how Lisa and the team can help you to make the most of your business technology, call us on 01707 607100

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