In this installment of VernaPeople, we want you to get to know Hakeem. If you haven’t already met him in person, here’s your chance to meet him now…
Can you tell me who you are and what your job role is at Vernacare?
I’m Hakeem Adebiyi, International Sales and Marketing Director at Vernacare. I have been in this role since May 2017. I am responsible for delivering growth and stability throughout our entire distributor network globally (with the exception of North America and the UK). I also manage the Global Marketing Department, focusing on branding and communication and how we can provide distributors with marketing support in their local markets.
How do you think Vernacare has changed since you first joined the business?
Well I originally joined in mid-2014 and at that time, I think it’s fair to say we were a UK company that exported internationally but now we’re truly an international business. Since 2014, we have added 6 additional languages to our team including Arabic, Spanish, French, German, Turkish and Polish. With the strength and prominence of our Spanish-speaking markets, having four fluent Spanish speakers, definitely allows us to support them in representing the Vernacare brand.
What is a typical day like for you?
It depends if I’m on a visit or I’m in the office. If I am out of the office meeting with distributors, then I will review their performance with them, discuss challenges, opportunities for development, and help to progress our collaborative work. We usually visit a few hospitals to see how the system has been implemented and consider how we can help hospitals locally.
If I’m the office, my day would start with a call to one of our Business Development Managers on the way to the office. Once I arrive, I’ll check my emails to see if there’s anything I need to act on quickly before making a list of objectives and prioritise tasks for the day ahead.
Usually, I will have scheduled meetings, which might include updates on progress within specific regions, or meetings with my own team. I spend quite a lot of time speaking to colleagues across the business to keep informed of changes and to help with strategies when needed. I often spend time with Matt Miller (CEO) to update him on important developments in our international markets. I have found in my time at Vernacare that taking time to talk to and get to know colleagues across the business not only improves collaborative working but also encourages communication about work issues in a more fluid way.
"Having the right strategy in place, and a team of people committed to implementing it, great results are sure to follow."
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Obviously working with my team, I have to say that or I’ll probably get myself into trouble. Also linked to what I’ve said about the global nature of our business, I think the opportunity to travel and to meet our distributor partners is a great thing about my role. By getting to understand different cultures and traditions, I have a better understanding of our network of distributors and the unique needs of their individual markets. I also like working with people and seeing how I can help them to develop professionally. I obviously love hitting sales targets too!
What are the challenges of your role?
I think prioritising tasks quickly and efficiently so that I focus on the most important things rather than the most urgent things is a challenge in my role. Different people will see different things as urgent depending on the impact they have on them individually. I think priorities should depend on what is critical for the business. This means sometimes I have to delegate tasks so I can focus on what is most important. I think managing our global markets and trying to create a standard methodology that works across different countries is difficult, and instead, it’s better to get the essence of a strategy right and then it can be translated so that it works in different places. Managing people can be challenging but it is also rewarding when their personal efforts equate to success for the business.
What do you think is critical to ensure success in business?
People pulling in the same direction, because whilst teamwork might seem like a cliché answer to the question, if you don’t have the right environment, people won’t thrive individually or as a team. By having the right strategy in place, and a team of people committed to vigorously and diligently implementing it, great results are sure to follow.
Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I do a lot of cycling, mainly for 2 charities, Christies and the U Foundation. When you factor in my training, I probably ride over 5,000 miles a year on my bike. I also take part in the 5-a-side Vernacare football team every Wednesday after work at Bolton Arena.