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From Vodafone to running her own businesses

Teresa Gandy is using her experience to help small firms

Sarah Bosley


01635 886655

From Vodafone to running her own businesses

Teresa Gandy

Growing up in rural south Somerset, Teresa Gandy was told a university degree was unnecessary for anyone unless they wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or teacher.

This led her to choose a different path; one that she would later discover would hamper her chances of even getting asked for an interview.

“At 18 I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career and at that time, because of where we lived, the advice was go to uni if you want to be a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher, otherwise don’t bother,” she explains.

“So I learnt secretarial skills and joined a company, working in admin.”

Other jobs followed, in social services, at RNAS Yeovilton and in the marketing department at a poultry incubator manufacturer.

Her next move saw her join Yeovil Hospital as the assistant manager of the procurement team, which she describes as her first experience of ‘big business’.

Time off travelling with her now-husband followed, before his job brought them to Berkshire on their return from Australia.

“I obviously looked for a job in procurement,” she adds, “but was killer-questioned out every time because I didn’t have a degree.

“I had to basically start my career again, at 28.

“At 18, a degree would have given me no help whatsoever, but at 28 not having one was crippling as I couldn’t even get through the door.

“I think things are changing again now, though, because tuition fees are so high.”

Teresa eventually started working as a temp in the Vodafone recruitment team and ended up spending 15 years with the
communications giant.

“I started out temping in the recruitment team, before I moved over the road into the Global team,” she says. “The best bit was running an employee experience programme globally.

“It was all about HR delivering a consumer-grade experience to their internal customers; the employees.

“It had never been done before and I loved it.

“Being able to have a programme that was being rolled out across 21 countries was brilliant.

“It was a challenge to put a financial benefit on it, but the knock-on improvements were huge.”

By early 2016, however, life was very different for Teresa, now a mother of two.

Her eldest son was due to start secondary school and the youngest start primary school, so, when the opportunity to take redundancy from Vodafone came up, she took it.

She spent nine months “taking time out” with her children before she started to consider going back to work, by now knowing that she wanted to work for herself.

She says she always knew she had something to offer businesses and was keen to work with smaller companies, who didn’t usually have the skills or budget to consider customer experience accurately.

She had the experience of world-class strategies, she just needed to pan them down for the smaller business.

The 42-year-old set up Clarity CX in January 2017 and now supports companies with customer experience, staff training, developing action plans and workshops.

She also partners with marketing businesses to utilise the positive feedback and offers feedback capture and reporting as an outsourced service.

“People think of customer feedback as picking up complaints, but it is also about using the positive and that’s what I love doing,” Teresa adds.

“Clarity CX is about me utilising my best in-practice approaches and applying that to help small businesses.”

Using that approach, Teresa has worked with several primary schools to capture parent feedback and help with Ofsted progression plans.

She has also helped to make pupil premium reporting easier, facilitating the identification of a larger number of eligible students, which, in turn, means more money for both the school and the child.

During her time networking last year, Teresa says it became clear that, although there is an abundance of advice online for the small business owner, there was no practical guidance on how to implement it and what it means for each individual.

And so the Multi Hat Club was born.

“You can download anything these days, but it is about applying it to your business and doing it yourself, not paying someone else to do it,” she adds.

“As a sole trader, your needs are very different to a ‘small business’, which can be anything up to 49 employees.

“Around 89 per cent of businesses in the UK last year had no employees at all, but everything seems geared to the 11 per cent that do.

“The Multi Hat Club is about getting people that help without them having to outsource.”

The not-for-profit organisation runs weekly video clinics with its panel of experts on a range of topics that most business owners encounter.

Membership costs from £25 per month, which Teresa points out is the cost of a networking event, and will give people access to a host of resources and advice, as well as one-to-one conference calls with the experts.

All clinics are recorded, meaning a library of advice is being established for members to call on as and when they need it.

The website is currently in the beta testing stage, but, Teresa says, they are getting some great feedback.

Open to anyone in the UK, the Multi Hat Club, which has eight experts working with it, is now endorsed by West Berkshire Council.

Teresa, who lives in Thatcham with her husband and children, is hoping to encourage larger businesses in the area to support their initiative by sponsoring an individual’s membership for three, six or 12 months.

Looking to the future, she says she intends to focus on building up the Multi Hat Club and hopes to have around 200 members nationwide within 12 months, while continuing to work with local companies with her Clarity CX hat on.

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