In this instalment of VernaPeople, we introduce you to Rachel Downham. If you haven't already met her, here is your chance!
We want to get to know you! What is your job role here at Vernacare and how long have you been with the company?
I have worked for the business for almost 10 years but joined the Vernacare family in November 2017 following the acquisition of Synergy Health Healthcare Consumable Solutions.
My time with Synergy and now Vernacare has been quite the rollercoaster journey! I started my career with the business as a Product Manager for our Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection range, I then moved on to manage our Skin Integrity portfolio and following that in 2016 I was promoted to lead the Product Management team.
Soon after the acquisition by Vernacare I was promoted to Product Marketing Director, where my role encompasses the development of our Product Management team and our Quality/Regulatory team.
What is the most enjoyable part of your role?
Team development is a very enjoyable part of my role. Since my promotion to Product Marketing Director, I have rebuilt and restructured the team. Watching individuals develop and grow in confidence is so rewarding.
I also really enjoy the diversity of the job, with such a broad product range, no two days are ever the same! I wear different hats dependent on the business needs, which include being involved in product development, seeing products grow from an idea or concept, working with customers and distributors to see how our products are working for them and hitting key milestones to support business development.
What would you say is your most significant personal/professional achievement to date?
There have been a lot of things that I have achieved during my time with the business but two key things spring to mind.
The first was in my role as Product Manager for our Comfi Tubular Bandages range. Working with the sales team and our customers, we drove market share growth and became the number 1 prescribed brand in the UK. Today, it is really rewarding to see the popularity of the brand expanding through international markets.
Secondly, in 2017 I took on the responsibility for managing our Quality/ Regulatory team, I had no prior in-depth knowledge of this area and needed to rebuild the whole team. With support and determination from myself and the team we took the business through a brand-new audit to achieve ISO13485:2016 status, which now provides our customers the reassurance that our products are of the highest quality.
What skills and values would you say are essential to be successful within your role at Vernacare?
In my role, relationship management is crucial, with my direct reports and with other people around the business. It is important to build good relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers to help develop the business, realise new opportunities and ensure business continuity.
I highly value integrity, honesty and understanding, they are the foundation to so many things both in life and work.
When you are not working, what do you enjoy doing?
Recently I have started doing a lot of walking. We have a 2.5-year-old German Wirehaired Pointer who needs a lot of exercise (often 2 hours of walking a day)! I love putting on my walking boots and heading out on an adventure. We tend to get out and about very early, before most people are awake because I love the peace and quiet. It is very calming and a great start to the day.
Travelling is another hobby of mine; I love visiting new places and experiencing new culture. I have been lucky to have travelled to many places around the world including the Middle East, Asia and America. It’s hard to decide where my favorite place is but I think for culture, the people and the food in Sri Lanka is at the top of the list. My favorite city has to be Chicago, it is such an interesting and diverse place. I would strongly recommend it to anyone visiting America!
I love the F1, I am a big Lewis Hamilton fan – both on TV and live. I’ve been lucky enough to go to the races in Spa, Barcelona and Abu Dhabi. I am looking forward to going to the races in Budapest and Monza this summer!
Tell us something you have always wanted to do in life!
There’s nothing really that I have always “longed” to do, but as I approach a milestone birthday, I have put together a “bucket list” of things I want to achieve or accomplish. My list includes running a marathon (I have applied for London 2020), learning how to scuba dive and going on a safari.