Karen Evans is the Commercial Director at Wyboston Lakes. She lives in Worcester with her family and is one of the seven Board Directors responsible for setting the strategy, pace and vision for the business.
My alarm goes off and I start the week…
Depending on where I am on the Sunday evening (the family home or my crash pad near work) my alarm will go off at 5 am or 7 am.
I like to start my day with 30-45 minutes of yoga and meditation along with a green tea, vitamin shot and marmite on toast – as this has me ready and raring to go!
One of the most important parts of my morning is choosing what to wear?……A woman’s wardrobe, especially a woman in sales, plays a very important part of the day’s ritual, especially if I am meeting with clients, or have other important meetings or appointments.
I’m responsible for…
The commercial activities for meetings, events, training and serviced offices at Wyboston Lakes.
My key role is heading up the sales function and I am responsible for driving growth and supporting the business in achieving our business plan and objectives.
Whilst I work really closely with our lovely Business Development Managers and I am out and about a lot meeting with clients and prospects and representing Wyboston Lakes in the marketplace.
I like to consult with clients and get to understand their business better. I get my buzz from listening and working with my clients on bespoke solutions to meet their challenges and provide value to them for their meeting, event or training programme contract.
Why the hospitality industry?
I always knew, from about the age of four, that I wanted to work in the travel, meetings & hospitality industry, so I have mapped my education and career goals around that.
I studied Business and Finance with Travel and Tourism at college. Then went on to start my first job with Kuoni Travel as an Operations Assistant for incoming tours to the UK for Far Eastern groups – which was a great learning experience and helped me to understand the importance of multi-cultural business etiquette.
After spending many years in corporate business travel, working for the likes of CWT & Rosenbluth International. I also had a period working in International Trade Missions – a fascinating role where I organised overseas trips for UK companies exporting into emerging and growth markets around the world.
Later I fell into the meetings and hospitality side and held various roles in operations management, later moving into sales. My last significant role prior to joining Wyboston was Vice President Business Development for EMEA at BCD M&I.
At Wyboston Lakes I have had the opportunity to work on some incredible sales pitches its been a new and exciting challenge that came my way in 2014 and one I am delighted to have taken as its shaped me to be the business leader I am today.
A typical day…
There are no typical days in the world of sales! Work hard and play hard is my motto and I always try to make sure my team are having fun.
Every day is different, you plan your time and your diary and it often has to shift and adjust due to the needs of clients and the business.
Tasks that I undertake regularly however and try to plan meticulously are:
- Individual sales meetings with the BDMs – where we look at performance vs. budget, talk about new opportunities, challenges or anything else they need
- Weekly revenue meetings – where we look at our overall performance
- Client calls and meetings
- Managing our CRM tool – Salesforce.com which I implemented when I arrived
Most memorable work moment
Gosh, I have several! Okay, if I was to pick it would be:
Working on a VIP Trade Mission all around APAC in the late 90’s – if I recall they went to around 25 different cities. HRH Duke of Gloucester was the host and I worked with him and all of his entourage on organising the 5-week trip.
It involved coordinating the Queens’s flight, very high-level security, very high level and detailed arrangements for hotels, transfers, dining, entertainment and gala dinners. I spent a year working on it and it nearly killed me in the process, however it was amazing to work on such a high-profile project.
Once it was all over, I got a personal thank you letter from ‘Dukie’ (as I had nicknamed him….not to his face of course) from Kensington Palace.
Another very rewarding piece of business to win was the GAVI Alliance Partners Forum to Tanzania.
GAVI’s founders and key sponsors are Bill and Melinda Gates and it’s a charity that provides vaccines to children in the worst deprived countries around the world. This event happens once every 3-4 years where all of the global partners gather to discuss the programme and all of the elements of GAVI Alliance.
Again, this is an experience I will never forget and something I feel privileged to have been a part of.
The worst part of my job…
Waiting to hear if we have won a project!
You can drive yourself mad analysing body language and buying signals, will they confirm, won’t they confirm…you need patience that’s for sure.
… and the best part
I love sales and everything about sales – it’s in my blood and I don’t think I could do anything else as I really love business and I am very inquisitive (or nosey as some people might say).
I also love working with my team, clients and working for Wyboston Lakes – we work on some really fantastic projects.
Outside of work I live a simple life, there isn’t a suit in sight and I like nothing more than to spend time with my family and my dog Lilly away in our caravan.
I love cooking and entertaining the family, I’m like the matriarch and for me, any issue going on in life can be solved with a plate of good food and a bottle of wine.