Interview: Lisa Scholtens
There are some valuable life lessons, not to mention sound business advice, in Lisa Scholtens’ story. A co-company Director at Waterware, Lisa’s career journey kick-started when she realised a career as a lab technician wasn’t for her.
Read about the quiet achievers Lisa has learnt from, the importance of innovation and collaboration, and why being brave enough to walk away from opportunities is sometimes the answer, in Lisa’s inspiring story.
Please provide your name, job title and company name.
Lisa Scholtens, Director, Waterware
How long have you spent in your current position?
I have been a Director now for 12 years. While the overview of the company is something I share with my fellow Director, Darren Yearsley, I am directly responsible for the Front of Wall category (bathroom ware).
What job did you have before your current role?
I have been part of the Waterware team for the last 25 years in various roles over that time including administration, warehouse distribution, assembly and on the road sales.
Prior to that, straight out of school, I worked as a lab technician in a couple of manufacturing plants, which I found to be quite solitary, so I moved quickly into a sales role, which was a better fit for my personality.
To date, what has been your career highlight?
Taking the opportunity to design and launch a tapware range from scratch, recognising innovation when you see it, not waiting for it to become a trend.
Who have you admired or learnt from the most in your career and why?
The quiet achievers. In my view, success is a team effort. As a creative, having an idea for new products and finishes is the starting block. The finished product is very much the result of a collaborate effort involving the skills of the team you surround yourself with, something which is not always obvious to those outside the business.
Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing when you were younger? If not, what type of job did you expect you would have?
No. I smile as I write this because I used to think I had just wandered into the jobs or roles that I have done. However, I think as I look back now, older and wiser, my sense of responsibility, ingrained in me by my parents is something that has made me step out of my comfort zone. Often it was done in trepidation, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as doing something you did not want to do, or were afraid to try, and being good at it. I was always creative but could not draw so had dismissed this as a possible career path. I regret this now and think studying industrial design is something I should have done.
What do you think is the most important quality or skill you need to succeed in your current role?
Know your market! This is important – not all opportunities are right for your business and you must be prepared to walk away from these if it is not a good fit. Listening to your customer’s needs and wants and providing solutions that best fit them is key.
What’s one thing you hope to achieve this year, either at work or in your personal life?
I am writing this while as a country we sit in the four-week lockdown, so my immediate hopes are for this to be a success enabling us to restart our economy as soon as possible. As a supplier to the construction and building sector, I want to find the best ways to support our customers to ensure we all continue to achieve success once our economy recovers.
Do you have any tips or advice for those just starting out in the industry?
Surround yourself with expertise and do your market research. Do not let being a small fish in a big market stop you from launching new product or materials. If you are excited, sell that excitement.