In this edition of VernaPeople, we introduce you to Kerem Ilhan. If you haven’t had the chance to meet him yet, now is your chance!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Vernacare?
I have worked as an International Account Manager at Vernacare for nearly 3 years now. I am responsible for managing accounts across Central and South East Europe and in the Mediterranean. The role involves me working closely with our partners in these countries to introduce our wide range of infection prevention products into hospitals and age care facilities.
A lot of these markets are new to the Vernacare system, so it is important that I work closely with our partners, to ensure they have the support they need to create strategies and win new opportunities through tenders. My long-term goal is to create sustainable business in these countries, so it is important that we educate nurses, ward managers and procurement on the benefit of installing the Vernacare system to prevent healthcare associated infections (HAI’s).
What were you doing before you came to Vernacare?
Prior to working at Vernacare, I spent the majority of my career working in sales and marketing within the travel industry. Before moving to the UK, I worked for a travel agency in Cyprus for 10 years. I moved to the UK in 2015 and spent a couple of years working for both Turkish Airlines and British Airways Executive Club.
Moving to Vernacare in 2017 was a big career change for me, but I was looking for a new and exciting challenge and I definitely found it here!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The markets I cover are all relatively new and often haven’t been exposed to advanced infection prevention solutions. The great thing about this is that you get to watch the development in these markets. It’s like watching your baby grow up time after time!
Introducing the Vernacare system into new markets and watching as our partners succeed in helping healthcare facilities prevent HAI’s makes me so happy. This is what makes me passionate about my position knowing that I am helping to provide people with a safer future.
What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?
I am currently working on converting a 1000 bed hospital in Malta from using reusable bedpans to using disposable bedpans and hospital macerators. We will soon have 5 Vortex+ macerators installed and are working to convert the full hospital, which could be a total of 75 macerators.
I know that switching to a single-use disposable system massively limits the spread of infection, protecting both healthcare workers and patients. It is exciting to get to work on projects that can have such a positive impact for healthcare globally.
What would you say are the most important skills you have to use within your role at Vernacare?
Sales is all about problem solving, so analytical skills are crucial in helping you to think outside of the box and find effective solutions for each unique facility.
Day to day, I need to analyse my markets and distributors to better understand the problems they face. This allows me to create business strategies that will help them overcome challenges and gain opportunities to install our safe solutions.
Knowing that I am helping healthcare facilities prevent healthcare associated infections and consequently providing people with a safer future, gives me passion for the job.
What is your biggest achievement in the role so far?
My biggest achievement has been the work I have done in Romania. I have worked extremely closely with our distributor there, to help educate them of our full system solution, win tenders and expand the usage of our products across numerous hospitals. They are passionate about helping Vernacare prevent infection and as a result, we have installed the largest number of macerators there, out of all of my markets.
Tell us something you have always wanted to do in life?
I love travelling and have always wanted to visit as many countries as possible. I find learning about different cultures fascinating, I believe it is the best way to truly understand the world.
My dream one day would be to visit all 7 continents… so far I have visited 3!
What is your favourite thing about working at Vernacare?
Vernacare don’t offer a specific product, instead we offer a full system which actually helps healthcare facilities to reduce the risk of infection across all areas of toileting, bathing and surgical.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has realised how crucial infection prevention is. I feel privileged and proud to work for a company that is helping healthcare facilities fight the spread of infection at such a crucial time.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
I enjoy going to the theatre or the cinema, musicals are one of my favourite things to watch. Swimming is another of my favourite hobbies and I regularly go to my local swimming pool for some exercise.