At Global Upholstery Solutions, we are proud that as a manufacturing company, we have an equal gender split in our management team and so, on International Women’s Day, we thought we would share a short piece on each of them.
The great polemicist Christopher Hitchens used to say, “There is a cure for poverty has a name, in fact. it’s called the empowerment of women.”
Obviously, Hitchens was talking about third world countries, but the point is worth noting on International Women’s Day 2020. Empowerment of women does great things in any society and is the key to any successful enterprise.
Here is a little on each of our amazing team.
Lia Branco – Head of Design
I gained my degree in Textiles & Surface Design at Buckinghamshire University in 2013 I then began my design career in print design within the fashion and accessories industry.
I joined GUS in 2017, originally as a Sewing Machinist but when the company needed to expand its design capability, my background allowed me to be promoted into that department as Global prefers to promote from within. Two years on, I now head the design department, specialising in fabric design for both Global Upholstery Solutions and blackswan.
Lindsay Watson-Jones – Materials Manager
After 15 years of working at Stannah Stairlifts, I made the leap to join another part of the Stannah Group, Global Upholstery Solutions Ltd. You’d think after all those years I’d know a bit about stairlift upholstery but there is way more to it than you think!
Working my way from Administrator and Customer Account Management, I’m proud to be Global’s Materials Manager which includes Supplier Account Management and looking after our Goods In & Despatch teams.
There is a phrase ‘it’s a man’s world’ but in fact all my reports are male. We have mutual respect for one another and there is certainly no gender conflict. GUS believes if you’re right for the job and you do it well, you can achieve anything.
Steph Judge – Sales and Business Development Manager
I started off at Global Upholstery as a Production Operative which is where I learned each stage of the manufacturing process in upholstery. I am very fortunate to work for a company who treats males and females as equals. In 2016 I earned the opportunity to enhance my skill-set by offering me a new role as Improvement Coordinator. This led to another role as Customer Account Manager just 5 months later. I am now the Sales and Business Development Manager and working towards a degree in B2B sales. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I could look after my family, work full time, and study but somehow I am achieving it! A big big thank you to Stannah family and organisation for supporting my education, I am truly grateful of the support and time you have given me which results in the person I am today.
Andrea Westley – Manufacturing Group Leader
After graduating with a 2:1 in Fashion Design I was offered a job as a sewing machinist, 2 years later an opportunity arose to work within the design team. I was able to utilise my pattern making skills from my degree to create designs for upholstery and, with the support of my manager, I was able to learn about traditional upholstery principles. After a couple of years, I progressed to being the Design Manager. In 2015 I put my career on hold for a short time while I started a family, when I returned in 2016 I came back to a very different company after it was sold to Stannah while I was on maternity leave. Juggling two full time jobs (anyone who is a parent will understand this!) was difficult at times but with the support of my work family, I was able to survive. In 2019, I moved into a new role as Manufacturing Group Leader in Commercial Upholstery with a team of 12 people, with my experience working in every department involved I have a very good understanding of what my team can do. At GUS without all of our individual skills and experience, we would not be able to put that extra sparkle into what we do!
Tanya Timms – Marketing and Customer Account Manager
I started working for Stannah almost 20 years ago. I have always worked in a customer service role from the Telecenter to the Customer Service Department, then spent some time on reception after returning to work after having my twins and then back to sales support. I joined Global Upholstery Solutions three years ago from Stannah originally as an Administrator, I have been there three years and last year I was promoted to my current role as Marketing / Customer Account Manager.
From the International Women’s Day website:
International Women’s Day 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual
An equal world is an enabled world.
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
Let’s all be #EachforEqual.