Can you tell me who you are and what your job role is at Vernacare?
My name is Jowita and I’m one of the Business Development Managers for Europe. I joined the business in February 2015. I’m Polish, but relocated to the UK 12 years ago and currently live with my long-term partner Jo-Anne just north of Edinburgh. It is a place called South Queensferry famous for its three impressive bridges, particularly the iconic Forth Rail Bridge listed as a World Heritage Site. I fell in love with the area years ago and finally got to move to the seaside town recently, fulfilling my long term personal goal! It is a real oasis, especially when I return home from the hustle and bustle I come across on my business travels.
How do you think Vernacare has changed since you first joined the business?
Since I started at Vernacare, the European team has grown at quite an impressive rate. There was originally me, Clive Spooner and Hakeem Adebiyi, but the team has now grown considerably, and we have full presence in France. Over the last three years Vernacare really excelled at leading the market with innovation, launching many new products with Compact macerator being the latest development. It is great to see that we continue to grow and strengthen our leading position in the sector.
What is a typical day like for you?
I don’t think I really have a typical day! When I’m travelling and meeting our distributor partners, it’s usually a very early start for me to catch a flight, and I can be anywhere from snowy Norway to the sunny south of Italy.
Even when I’m working from home, I’ll still be awake at 6.30 am with a nice cup of coffee, ready for a walk with my dog before I make a start on a busy working day. I’ll follow up on actions, respond to emails and ensure my CRM records are up to date. As well as that, I’ll call the international distributors I work with to make sure that all is going according to plan and see if they need any additional support from me. There is always a trip to be scheduled and organised. I will spend some time creating a new itinerary and preparing for my meetings, which usually include distributor training, and discussing new additions to the product portfolio and reviewing ongoing projects. I also regularly join distributors in the field to present our system to various healthcare facilities, ensuring that our partners feel properly equipped to deal with customers’ questions when they’re discussing the Vernacare system.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I most enjoy building and maintaining strong relationships, and getting to know my new business partners, their customers, and the market specifics for each of the countries I am responsible for. By dedicating myself to fostering good relationships with my distributors, this creates a stable foundation for the market to grow in each of my respective territories.
As my job involves quite a lot of travel, I get to experience a lot of different places and their cultures and that includes the food! One thing that some of my distributor partners have tried to get me to eat is octopus, but to this day, I’ve still not managed a mouthful of it.
What are the challenges?
I think working with a large number of countries means that I have to overcome different barriers in different markets. The biggest challenge has to be changing the mindset of some of the people I meet when it comes to the benefits of the Vernacare system. I know that the system is the best available on the market, and not only does it have benefits for the patient, but it also has positive financial outcomes for healthcare facilities. However, some markets are so used to the reusable bedpan-washing process that they struggle to welcome the Vernacare system, despite its obvious benefits. I am understanding of this resistance, because I think at one point or another, we’ve all been reluctant to embrace change. It’s a challenge that I’m determined to overcome whenever I meet resistance because I really believe in the Vernacare single-use system.
What is critical for you to ensure success?
Having the right distributor partners makes all the difference. If they believe in the benefits and they dedicate the time and the effort to understanding and representing the Vernacare system properly, they will convert customers. Secondly, with the help of our Sales and Marketing Team have to be knowledgeable and provide all the sales and marketing tools at our disposal to properly equip our distributor partners to do their best for us.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
Three months ago, I was lucky to acquire a new furry and energetic addition to my family, a mini-Schnauzer called Archie. He’s only 5 months old, but is already my morning alarm clock, waking me up at 6.30 every morning and barking at me at lunchtime to make sure I take a break. When I’m not working, we both like al fresco picnics and walks on the beach and we love nothing more than being able to come home and put our respective paws and feet up for a nice rest.