VernaPeople – Meet Chris Socratous

In this installment of VernaPeople, we want you to get to know Chris. If you haven’t already met him in person, here’s your chance to meet him now…

Why don't we start with a bit about you and your role here at Vernacare?

I’m the Senior Product Manager within Vernacare responsible for our Personal Hygiene, Skin Integrity and Environmental Cleaning/Disinfection categories. I manage a varied range of products and brands, including medical devices, cosmetics and biocides, meaning that I often have to wear a number of hats (whilst spinning a number of plates).

Ultimately I’m responsible for developing and implementing the product marketing strategy for these brands in our key target markets. I am extremely fortunate however to have two excellent product managers in my team who make my life a lot easier, each responsible for driving forward their respective portfolios.

 

How long have you been with Vernacare and what has changed in that time?

Technically I have been with Vernacare for just over a year following their acquisition of Synergy Health, who I had been with for around three years, in November 2017. However, I actually joined Synergy Health from Vernacare, so a lot of my new colleagues are my old colleagues. I often joke that they missed me so much that they bought the company I went to work for1

 

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

Definitely the variety. No two days are the same and with such a broad product range, there’s always something happening. If I had to choose, it would probably be the product development aspect of my role. I enjoy the process of taking an idea or concept and turning it into something tangible.

What would you say a typical day in the office is like for you?

As I mentioned earlier, there is no typical day. One day I could be writing content for a customer newsletter and the next I’m jetting off to a wipes conference in Chicago learning all about the latest materials, technologies and formulations.

It’s not all glitz and glamour however. I’ve also spent many days either chained to my desk trapped in spreadsheet hell or out in the field inspecting hospitals’ dirty utility rooms. Joking aside, I do love getting out of the office and speaking directly to customers and end-users; it’s the only way to stay on the pulse of the challenges they’re facing and develop solutions that truly meet their needs.

Procurement.png

"I love the fact that I work for a manufacturer (especially a UK one) where I can work closely with our operations team to develop products that make a real difference to people’s lives. We’re not offering IT solutions; we’re developing products that directly impact people’s quality of life."

What would you say is the most important thing you need to focus on to ensure success?

It’s easy to get distracted in my role as you’re working on so many projects at the same time, often with a broad range of people who all have their own views and opinions on how something should be done. For me, communication is a key part of a product manager’s role, keeping everyone on track, remaining customer-focussed and not allowing people to lose sight of the end goal.

Unfortunately, most of us will have first-hand experience of a friend or relative being cared for either in a hospital, care home or domestic setting. In an increasingly commoditised market, it’s easy to forget that our products are being used on vulnerable individuals who have little choice or say in the matter. Personally, I never lose sight of that and use it as motivation to make my products better.

 

Let’s get personal! Tell us something we don’t know about you…

My three passions in life are food, family and travel (not necessarily in that order). My love of food and cooking probably comes from my dad’s side of my family. As with most Cypriot families, there’s a lot of us and getting everyone together is usually centred around food.

Travel is my other passion and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some great places. I love anywhere with a bit of history and culture. Far-flung adventures are becoming more challenging however with a 5 year old (and more recently a dog), but I’m still committed to working my way through my bucket list.