As the UK’s leading gift voucher, corporate rewards and Christmas Savings business, we want to turn our attention to recognising the incredible women in our company to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023.
International Women’s Day has said its focus lies with embracing equity – creating a fairer society by adapting services and policies to people’s diverse lived experiences. As a company, we also believe that equity is not just a nice-to-have – it is a must-have.
To celebrate a world where difference is valued and celebrated, we have invited five especially inspiring women from our company to talk about their experiences of work during their careers. Here is Janine’s story.
“Same place, different world,” sums up Janine Murphy’s experience of the transformation she has seen during 27 years with Love2shop.
First joining as a teenager in the late 1990s, Janine walked into what she described as a “man’s world” where you simply put your head down and got on with the job.
Today, she confidently leads a team of people, which in the run-up to Christmas can be as many as 50 people. She is also free to implement her own ideas on how her part of the business should run.
“Some people don’t like change. They think, ‘Well, this is the way it has always been, and this is the way it should stay’. But that’s not necessarily the best way to do things,” said Janine.
Janine is the company’s Fulfilment Manager. Based in Wirral, she runs a permanent team of eight people packing and dispatching letters, statements, catalogues and vouchers.
“We send out Love2shop products and third-party products. We have our own Love2shop card and Love2shop voucher. We also sell third-party products such as Marks & Spencer gift cards.
“We make sure customer orders are packaged and fulfilled to the customer’s requirements. Making sure things are sent out on time.
“For a few months of the year I am in charge of 40-50 temporary staff that come in to help us fulfil the Christmas savings customers’ orders.”
Janine was just 18 when she walked into the Valley Road site for the first time. She was taken on as a temporary Christmas worker. She was asked to return soon after and worked for the company on a temporary basis for two years.
“When a full-time job for an assistant came up in the office I was approached and that’s when I joined the business permanently. I have been here ever since.
“When I first walked in it was very much a man’s world in those days. Very old-fashioned. But you just put your head down, did what you were told to do and got on with it.
“Back in my day, you would never see a female director or any women among the management.
“Around 15 years ago, I started to see signs of changes. New staff came into the office. I worked with the first female director, Denise Porter.
“She was involved in the Love2shop vouchers and marketing, and she brought in new ideas and offered a fresh perspective.
Janine began to really enjoy the ways in which the business was changing, as female peers and senior managers became more visible.
However, it was more recent events that allowed Janine to realise her full potential. When a manager became unexpectedly absent during the COVID pandemic, it prompted her to step up to the plate.
“Initially it was panic stations,” she said. “There were suddenly so many things I didn’t know. It was a real challenge and in some ways I really enjoyed it. I learned so much during that period.
“The past year had been the first time the fulfilment operation had properly come under my control. I was finally running it the way I imagined it and for me that was a real achievement!”
It is during the few months leading up to Christmas, when there is a big influx of temporary staff, that Janine really had to demonstrate her fast-developing managerial flair.
She explained: “When temporary staff come in you are suddenly dealing with a range of diverse people – different ages, temperaments, attitudes. You have some loud people, some quiet people, and a big part of my job at that point is managing all those different personalities.
“I am very much a listener. I listen a lot to what is going on around me. That, I think, is how you learn.
“As a manager you have to listen to people. I don’t think you can be a good manager if you are not listening to what your team is saying.”
What have you discovered about yourself during your career?
I have learned to trust my own instincts.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
I wish I had the confidence back then to know what I was really capable of.
Best advice from a mentor?
Believe in myself – I can do it.
What would you do differently if you had to do it again?
Speak up more.
Biggest lesson learned?
Just because something has always been done a certain way it doesn’t mean it is the right way.
What would you say to someone starting out?
Never be afraid to ask questions.