Interview: Victoria Elvin

You know someone is experienced when they cut their teeth in sales for the Yellow Pages! For our Millennial readers, this is how we spent our marketing dollars in the good old days.

With a long and successful career under her belt, Victoria Elvin certainly has some wisdom to share. The importance of trusting your gut, fostering relationships, and having fun are just the start. You can read her story below.

Please provide your name, job title and company name.

Victoria Elvin, National Specification Manager Roofing, Steel & Tube Holdings

How long have you spent in your current position?

3 years

What job did you have before your current role?

Sales for a high end technical industrial lubricant supplier, as well as sales for an agronomy business focusing on bio dynamic solutions for soil management. Both were highly technical! I’ve been in construction for over a decade.

To date, what has been your career highlight?

My career highlight was hiring an unskilled, elderly Indonesian gentlemen to work with me in a printing business some 25 years ago. He proved to be the most amazing hire, stayed in the role for years, and was invaluable to the business. It was a fabulous lesson in going with your gut instinct, trusting in people, and creating the opportunities for them to shine.

Who have you admired or learnt from the most in your career and why?

Hmm, this is hard. I must admit that I could listen to Michael Fooks from Kinect Potential and Indicator all day long. I love the way he delicately challenges one’s thinking and one’s perception and interpretation of situations. He is a master lesson in presentation skills, NLP, and just a fun person to learn from.

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?

I always knew I would be in sales (I started in telephone sales for Yellow Pages!) and as my career developed, I found I had a strong inclination to focus on sales of technical products. I love getting out to see clients and presenting to groups, so I knew I wasn’t destined for a full-time desk role. Yes, lockdown at my computer all day is killing me! I can’t sit still this long.

What do you think is the most important quality or skill you need to succeed in your current role?

A high level of self-organisation and proactive engagement with my market sector. There’s never enough time in the day and there are so many interesting things to learn and be involved with each day.

What’s one thing you hope to achieve this year, either at work or in your personal life?

Well, as I live in Auckland and we get hit hard by COVID lockdowns, it would be very nice to be back in our office and in my clients’ offices! We are doing very well connecting online, but relationships are always better face to face.

Do you have any tips or advice for those just starting out in the industry?

People are everything! Build strong relationships.

Be interested in everything and be proactive in finding out what you don’t know. The only person responsible for your career advancement is you!

Go above and beyond what is required of you and keep learning and growing every single day. And of course, smile, laugh, and have as much fun as you can.