For our third instalment of VernaPeople, I decided to interview one of our UK Key Account Managers, Sophie Otenaike. She was crowned our UK Salesperson of the Year, and I was curious to find out more about her role, as well as what makes her tick when she’s off-duty…
Can you tell me who you are and what your job role is at Vernacare?
I am Sophie Otenaike and I am a UK Key Account Manager for Vernacare with responsibility for the South East of England. I’ve been in my role at Vernacare for 2 ½ years. I’m French, and I’ve now been in England for 8 years.
How do you think Vernacare has changed since you first joined the business?
What I like about Vernacare is that we are in a constant innovative state of mind because we are regularly listening to our customers’ feedback to improve our products. For example we modified the VernaFem (our female urinal) and its new design better embraces the shape of a woman’s body. We also have a dedicated R&D team who always creating new and exciting products, for example the Compact macerator which I’ve successfully sold to Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, and the newest VernaChair with its stainless steel frame and easy-to-clean surfaces.
What is a typical day like for you?
I have different kinds of days. I have days when I attend meetings with different Key Decision Makers within a hospital. I meet with Infection Prevention and Control teams to discuss how Vernacare products can help reduce the risk of cross-contamination and how the Verna system can reduce levels of Norovirus and C-diff. Then I meet with Procurement who are in charge of purchasing for a hospital and I try to help them achieve their KPI’s. I also meet with Estates Managers and talk with them about our range of disposal units.
I also meet with Ward Managers and ward staff to present the Verna system and offer specific training to ensure the products are used correctly. I attend Infection Prevention Link Nurse meetings and Study days where I often present to large numbers of ward staff, again to ensure the products are used correctly.
I have days when I carry out audits for Infection Prevention and Control. This means I’ll visit different wards in a hospital, going into dirty utility rooms to check commode chairs, along with our disposal units. Depending on the size of the hospital it can take one to two weeks to complete an Infection Prevention & Control audit and then I have to compile my reports and have them produced, ready to present back to the team.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I see different types of customers all of the time, and two days are never the same. For me, I enjoy being helpful and reliable. Mostly, I like it when my customers trust me to get the job done and to deliver.
What is critical for you to ensure success?
Being reliable and understanding my customers’ needs. To me, it’s the most important thing. Our customers have to be able to count on us as their supplier and we have to bring them the solutions they need.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have 2 sons, one is 15 and the other is 5 years old. I absolutely love Africa. I love the African cultural values that include positive communication with not displaying public negativity and the countless ways to express “good”. I really like the foundation of the past and present and their strong respect for elders; something we tend to lose here in the Western world.
I met my husband in Nigeria and I’d love to develop and implement the Vernacare system in Nigeria someday.
I also love Michael Jackson and in the past, I worked for one of his songwriters Teron Beal.
I am also an ambassador of an orphanage in Cameroon but I don’t get to go very often because I need more time, help and money to support them.
As a child, I was a keen horserider and used to compete in Horse Jumping competitions.
I was also a volunteer for the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.
You can find out more about Sophie on her LinkedIn page.