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From Project Manager to National Showrooms Manager: A Travis Perkins journey

30 Apr

Carla Hentall joined the Travis Perkins team in 2013, taking up a temporary contract Project Manager role with our internal design agency DPD. Fast forward five years and she’s now our National Showrooms Manager with the Bathroom Showroom. Here’s how she did it:

“I was in my hospital bed when I realised I wanted to work for a bigger business where I could develop my career”

Carla’s journey into Travis Perkins has not been without drama. Immediately before joining, she undertook a career break to care for an ill family member before becoming very unwell with sepsis herself, which set back her career as she recovered. During that time, Carla took stock of her work history and realised she wanted to develop her career within a larger organisation, rather than having to move from company to company to learn new skills and gain experience.

“I was sceptical as I only thought of Travis Perkins as the trade store”

After deciding to actively pursue a return to the corporate world, Carla heard about a role at Travis Perkins. She had no idea how many businesses Travis Perkins Plc owned, nor the potential it had for her to build a solid career there. The large-scale nature of the business suited Carla’s career goals, as did the potential to grow her career within the group.

“Some people told me that my career was over after almost two years on a career break”

Carla’s return to the world of interviewing was an interesting experience, especially given that many recruitment professionals took a negative view of her career outlook after her break. Travis Perkins, she says, was the exception. The DPD interview focused on what she learnt from her career break and what she could transfer to a new job, seeing her career break as a potential benefit as opposed to a hindrance. With a work history that includes curating museums and art galleries, marketing and communications, product management, sales and management positions, Carla had developed a strong focus on customer acquisition and engagement, business growth and performance. This experience, plus Carla’s attitude to work post-career break, helped secure her the job.

“Working at DPD gave me exposure to all the brands under the Travis Perkins Plc umbrella”

Though Carla initially joined Travis Perkins on a temporary contract, she became a permanent team member by August 2013. This saw her exposed to the range of different brands at Travis Perkins Plc, which provided a great foundation from which to develop her career within the group. This led her to move to The Bathroom Showroom business, taking on a Business Development Manager role where she focussed on a range of responsibilities. These included business process improvement and development across operational, sales and performance sectors, as well as business development, marketing and learning and development.

“When the Bathroom Showroom business structure changed, I was pleased to secure the National Showrooms Manager role”

At the end of 2017 Carla moved from being part of the Bathroom Showroom team to leading it. Returning to team leadership and line management, Carla’s daily responsibilities include reviewing how the business is performing against targets, working with the Senior Leadership Team and Area Showroom Sales Managers to drive sales across 251 Bathroom Showrooms nationwide. With new branch openings on the agenda, as well as a host of format, brochure and system developments planned for the near future, Carla liaises with colleagues across the wider Travis Perkins Group to help push the business forward.

“I’ve stayed with Travis Perkins for five years because I’ve been supported in my career development”

Working with such a wide range of colleagues, teams and departments has allowed Carla to gain work experience in areas across the board. She’s undertaken significant professional development, including achieving her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt qualification. The group’s online learning portal has also proven especially valuable as Carla has moved throughout the company.

Carla has experienced significant career highlights whilst at Travis Perkins, including leading on the largest system creation, development, deployment and training that the Bathroom Showroom business had ever experienced. Combining her business process improvement skills with her IT knowledge, Carla designed and delivered a nationwide training programme that has delivered significant impact to the business. Hearing colleagues describe how much better their user experience and the customer experience is as a result of this work makes it all worthwhile.

“People can wrongly have the perception of this industry being male-dominated”

The male-dominated, non-inclusive stereotype of the industry is the complete opposite of what Carla has experienced at Travis Perkins, where she has been supported in her career growth and had the opportunity to progress into her senior leadership role. She says Travis Perkins Plc proactively fosters its internal talent and supports movement within the group to aid career development.

Carla’s story is just one of the many successful journeys we’ve seen at Travis Perkins. We love seeing our people grow and take on new challenges, and with more than 20 brands across more than 2,000 locations, we might have the perfect role for you, too. Take a look at our latest vacancies to start your Travis Perkins journey.

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