My first role with Croda was in the Product Applications. Laboratories as a Skin Validation Scientist. Learning all about claims substantiation was fascinating, rewarding but pretty tough to begin with as you have to ensure tests are carried out correctly and impartially.
The graduate programme is rotational based which allows you to move into a variety of different roles. My second rotation coincided with Croda’s acquisition of Uniqema which led to some great opportunities to get involved in new and cross business projects. I moved into our Home Care and Functional Specialities group and began work on three major initiatives. Working mostly autonomously on these projects meant that I had to be tenacious and use initiative to liaise and research, digest and dissect information for final reports.
The beauty of the rotational graduate programme is that you can move into different disciplines as well as market sectors. I requested a move into a commercial role for my final rotation being allotted a place as a sales executive in the industrial businesses. Having never worked in a commercial role, I could see what skills could transfer from technical roles but really required me to get my nose down and learn on the job lots of new tricks.
Those new tricks and all the skills I that enhanced while working as a sales executive held me in good stead when I applied for a promotion to become a UK Sales Representative. A shock to the system, working in more or less full isolation as a home based representative tasked with things like growth and building contacts and new business representative – and I absolutely loved the challenge.
One of the great benefits of Croda is the ability to take sideways moves into different disciplines and roles. After three years in sales, I wanted to gain new skills and a different perspective of our business. A nine month secondment was offered, for maternity cover, in the Marketing department for the Polymer Additives business and I was to be the successful candidate. Marketing is a whole different ball game to sales and as Croda is a Marketing & Technology company, the emphasis on creative new ideas and innovative concepts was never more apparent. This is where I found my niche in Croda. Being able to build campaigns from scratch and watch the life cycle of an ingredient go from base line to £1million seller from your promotional activities and planning is extremely satisfying.
As part of my role within marketing, I started to build a reputation for creative outputs. Creativity and innovation are two very important attributes to Croda as they help to ensure, as a business, we offer something new and desired to the markets we serve. I began to get involved with an array of communications projects that required a different and fresh perspective. This included working alongside very senior members of the organisation on anything from IT systems, internal communication cascades and even our messages and broadcasts to the City (Investor Relations). This was also the year that I married my partner Andrew in a ceremony in New York.
A 9 month secondment had turned into over two years in the Polymer Additives team and at the start of 2013, it was time for a new challenge! I was successfully recruited into our Personal Care team as the European go-to-guy for consumer insight trends in the Beauty industry. I'm responsible for trend forecasting & eSeminars, consumer brand analysis as well as continuing to work alongside many other business functions on core Croda marketing projects like the newly developed iPad app for exhibitions and tradeshows.
Building Croda’s consumer brand and market insight saw a widening of my focus and a necessity to think “future”. Through hard work and focus the Insights team grew into a global network of managers, providing our business with key information on Consumer, Market and Technical trends that are impacting or have the potential to impact our Personal Care. I was promoted to Insights Manager EMEA in January 2015 with emphasis on the need to build regional strategy, develop knowledge and engagement plans. The role is varied and challenging with many chances to travel outside Europe gathering information, meeting new people and building our businesses understanding.