Nicola Beer, Managing Director of BearingNet, discusses her new role, her journey over the last 15 years and building for the future.
I can honestly say when I started working at BearingNet in 2007, I did not think that one day I would be running the company… it has been such an amazing experience and I have learnt so much. The process of Peter’s retirement has been happening for just over a year. However, in typical Peter fashion, when we spoke on the phone the other day, he said “I have decided that I have not retired, I fired myself – there are people that can do things better than I can, and I realise that, so I fired myself, I did not retire!”. I didn’t know straight away that I was going to take over as Managing Director.
We have a leadership team in place, Gary is technical, Cheryl is operations and finance, Chris is sales and myself marketing. Our team works brilliantly together, and it is all 4 of us that move the company forward. However, part of the process made us aware that there needs to be one person who will make the final decision and because I am the bossy one, I got the job (it wasn’t quite like that… but something along those lines!).
I have grown up A LOT during my time at BearingNet. I am now a 35-year-old mum, so for me, being able to have a successful career and be a successful mum is super cool. I am proud of myself for that. I love working at BearingNet, so just because I wanted to have a child didn’t mean I wanted to give up my job. It took a little while to get everything working in harmony, and some days there is complete chaos, but mostly it works, and it works pretty well!
All of my experience has been with BearingNet. I worked in a retail shop whilst at school, but my first real experience was when I did my placement year at BearingNet at 19. I then came back full time after my final year.
Some might see this as a disadvantage as I can’t gather experience from all my different roles, but being in a company for15 years means I know all the processes, have great relationships with the people and have learnt to turn my hand to most things.
My background is in marketing, and I am still very involved with the marketing team. They are a great bunch of people and I enjoy spending my time with them, although my skills are now massively out of date! I am still good at the creative side and coming up with good ideas but I leave the actual ‘doing’ bit to them (they are so much better than me!). I see that as a great achievement; I am proud of how I have helped to develop a brilliant team here at BearingNet (not just the marketing team). The User Meetings are also a huge part of my BearingNet story. I love them, but it is time for me to train others.
One thing I have learnt, is that you can’t do everything yourself. It may feel quicker and more effective, but as Peter would say, in the long run it’s not the best way to do things, you have to trust that your team can do it to your standards… or maybe even better!
I have also worked closely with sales and done a lot of selling myself. Chris Howard and I met back in 2008. He was quite different to the dapper chap you see before you today. It’s been great sharing this experience with Chris, especially being at the same point in our lives with kids, houses, partners etc. I love Chris (not like that!), we have good fun together, support each other in work and life; we both look forward to the challenge that is ahead of us.
I have met so many wonderful people during my time here and I have really good relationships with our customers, some of which I have known for 15+ years now! And there are a few who have been particularly helpful along my journey, I think you all know who you are, and I am very thankful for your support.
But for me, 3 of the most influential people in my career (and life) are Peter, Jenny and Gary – I met them 1 month after my dad sadly passed away, and I think they came into my life at exactly the right time. All 3 have such different personalities… Peter has always been the one to praise me when I had done well, and certainly wouldn’t hold back in telling me when something wasn’t good enough.
Sometimes I felt Peter could be a little harsh, but now I can see that he saw the potential in me and wanted to get me to where I am today. For that, I am especially thankful. Jenny has always been my ‘work mum’; she is a very caring person and that is needed when you are young. Even now I will always ask Jenny for her opinion, as I know it is always going to be an evenly weighted opinion which is almost always the right thing to do.
I have nothing but respect for Gary and the platform he has created. He is the kind of man that stands next to you when something isn’t working, looks at it and it just starts working again. Gary and I are now working much closer together at a strategic level and the more time we spend together the easier it is to deliver results. We definitely have a mutual respect for each other’s work ethic and continue to strive for the same outcome!
BearingNet is such a brilliant platform and I understand how vital it is to our members. It is now my task to find a balance between conserving the heart of BearingNet, whilst also keeping it moving with the times and delivering excellent developments for our members.
A challenge I willingly accept!