The ‘Women In Industry’ series in Glass News highlights the aspirations of women in the window, door, glass, roofs and hardware industry and aims to inspire more to makes this their career. This month, Glass News spoke to Sarah Gyde, Marketing Director at Mila.
How did you get into this industry?
“Literally straight from Uni – I started in the marketing department at Mila on 11 July 2000, the day after I graduated with a 2:1 in multimedia design and marketing. By chance, they were advertising in my local paper for a designer at exactly that time and the role was the perfect fit for me.”
What was your first job after school or college?
“I had Saturday jobs for as long as I can remember and all the way through 6th form, college and Uni, I worked at the long forgotten women’s clothes store Principles and loved it. As it turned out, analysing best sellers and slow movers, maximising customer flow, driving sales targets, merchandising the shop floor and training staff were all great experience for my future career.”
Can you give a brief resume of jobs up to your current position?
“I have developed my whole career at Mila within the marketing team. Starting first as a multimedia designer, progressing to senior graphic designer, then onto marketing coordinator, up to marketing manager, head of marketing and now marketing director.”
Do you believe your speciality (finance, sales, management, marketing etc) is transferable to any industry?
“Yes. Of course it’s helpful to have an intimate understanding of the products, services, customers and sectors that you are working within – and I am beyond passionate about our industry – but, ultimately, the disciplines that marketing encompasses are transferable.”
Have you a career path mapped out or is it more about opportunism?
“I have always been ambitious, and it helps that I truly love what I do. I was lucky to land on my feet with a great company back in 2000, and my ‘plan’ was to keep my head down, work hard, learn as much as I could, deliver within in my job and grasp opportunities that came my way. I truly believe that you reap with you sow – and that has been the case for me at Mila. That work ethic has stayed with me and served me well over the last 18 years. Across the Arran Isle group, which we are part of, there are plenty of opportunities for career development and progression, and as a group we believe in investing in our people and promoting from within where we can.”
Away from work, what is your focus?
“I am passionate about running, gardening, cooking and positive living.”
What activities help you switch off?
“Running clears my mind, helps me come up with ideas – and delivers an endorphin rush! I love going for a longish run in the morning before most people get up and I like to have something to aim for, so I’m currently chasing a sub 1.45 half marathon time, as well as a 20 minute Park Run finish. At the moment though, my guilty pleasure is, of course, watching Love Island!”
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl! True or False and why?
“True! I have a close group of girlfriends and it has to be said that we love a vino or two, a good gossip and a boogie. My husband and I live in a tight knit village community too – and it’s so nice to socialise ‘Ramsey Street’ style with our neighbours.”
Do you achieve the work/life balance you would like to?
“Ooo, that’s a tough one. Sometimes I can be a workaholic…. But we have just returned from a long weekend in a ‘rural retreat’ in Spain. My husband works in the industry too so if discussing hardware on holiday is balance, then the answer is yes!”
With money and leisure time no object, what would you really like to do for yourself or your family?
“Heartbreakingly, my mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in March, which is currently untreatable and incurable. She has lost the use of her arms and legs, is losing her voice and the ability to swallow. Her lungs are weak so she struggles to breath properly. She now has a limited lifespan as a result of this cruel disease. So, if money and time were no object, I would accelerate research into finding a cure for MND and raise more awareness of this devastating illness. Mum is pretty much wheelchair bound which has been a real eye opener in terms of getting around, so I would also campaign for better public access for disabled people and mandatory training for staff in every business in how to cope with their needs.”