I aim to be up each working morning at 5.15am in readiness for Boot Camp at 6am. It’s part of a new health regime there’s also a personal trainer to keep the pressure on!
It may be a far cry from the days when I was playing for the YMCA Bobcats and representing England at basketball, but it’s a determined effort to rediscover some semblance of fitness. It also sets me up nicely for the day.
I work out of our Egham and Castleford offices, neither of which is the greatest commute from Milton Keynes, but it’s important that I am at both locations at least once a week to manage specific areas of the business and access the data I require. When I’m not analysing performance figures, I’m generally out with customers and prospects. Meeting people, understanding them and chatting through ideas is something that I really enjoy.
It’s one of the reasons why my enthusiasm for work is no different now than when I started with Total at the age of 19. Then, my roles were analytical, including six years as pricing manager for company and dealer operations. It was only when the retail director, Malcolm Jones, invited me to take on national accounts that I discovered the rewards of working more closely with customers; listening to the challenges they faced and doing my utmost to find a satisfactory solution for our business and theirs.
I’ve three years now under my belt at Certas Energy (a combined total of 12 years in national accounts), although the current role is more complex than previously.
As well as five direct reports, all of whom I will speak to or meet with frequently, I am charged with aligning contracts, improving processes and making sure that we follow best practice in everything we do. The company’s rapid expansion also presents a whole host of unforeseen challenges along the way. Whatever is thrown my way, I stay calm and collected and aim to resolve issues with the minimum of fuss. My family sometimes sees a different side!
Life after Total
Certas Energy is a great company to work for and is the only true UK-wide independent fuel supplier. At first it was difficult to adapt to life after Total. I’d probably become institutionalised but now I, and an increasing number of group dealers, can see the difference that Certas Energy and the Gulf brand is making within our industry. With the Gulf network now over 450 strong, I’m kept busy, it’s a dramatic transformation in a short period of time and there is continuing momentum as more groups and former Total dealers commit to the Gulf brand.
Over the years, I’ve got to know many of the major players in petrol retailing and their families and have established strong friendships with many built upon trust and understanding. I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to do my job, passing the time of day with decent and interesting people and being part of an industry sector that is experiencing a renaissance.
These are exciting times; the independent sector is growing for the first time in decades and the larger dealer groups are hungry for new opportunities. That fits well with our plans for growth organically and through acquisition and is certainly keeping me on my toes!
I try to be home around 6pm. The job is all-consuming and the work never stops but I’m making an effort to improve my work/life balance. That includes learning to switch off the laptop when the night is still young! Time with family and friends is important to me. I’m one of four children and my partner has a large family, so there’s always a lot happening.
Away from work and family, in 2009, I climbed Ben Nevis with a group of friends and we’ve subsequently tackled Mont Buet in Chamonix and the Inca Trail in Peru, raising £35,000 for charity along the way. The next planned adventure is to hike the Trans-Catalina Trail in 2016.
Name: Jenny Lockwood
Job title: Retail, commercial and national accounts manager
Company: Certas Energy
Responsibility: Developing group business, analysing the overall performance of the retail business and ensuring our processes are aligned with industry best practice
Greatest achievement: My 15-year old daughter, Amy, and representing England at basketball plus being the family ’rock’ who people feel they can turn to
Most likely to say: "Sit down and tell me more, there must be a way"
Least likely to say: "It’s a man’s world"
Tip for business success: Listen, don’t assume what your customers are saying
Other interests: Regaining a level of fitness, family life and trekking holidays