Cheryl´s Story

Cheryl Graham Kingspan

Cheryl Graham
Marketing Director, Global

"The leadership style in Kingspan is something that we should bottle – it is utterly unique to have that entrepreneurial spirit in a large corporation, but still be able to maintain the feel of a family business"

How did you begin your career with Kingspan?

I had been travelling after graduating in finance and economics from university, and wanted to come back home to Northern Ireland, so I applied to study web technology, which was quite a progressive programme at the time. Part of that course involved a business secondment with Kingspan. I went through the whole interview process and my placement was in, what was then, the Environmental division. The work was very varied, involving IT projects, internal communications and CRM implementation. After 6 months my contract was up, but the division was doing well, and they wanted to bring new blood into the business, so essentially I secured a role doing more of the same and working closer with the commercial teams. That was in 2003, and I have just blossomed from that point.

At the time the division was growing but didn’t yet have a mature marketing strategy. There was a big rebrand underway and the Marketing Director needed support, so I took up a role as Marketing Co-ordinator. I had no real experience, but I did have good common sense and a willingness to learn new things. I started off with responsibility for one product, then multiple products in different regions. I became Marketing Manager, Head of Marketing, and eventually reached my current role as Divisional Marketing Director for Water & Energy. I have stayed in the same area, but have experienced so many different product sets and global exposure.

 

Describe a typical day in your current role?

I couldn’t! I have such a varied day - that is what has kept me inspired for seventeen years. I do a lot of employee and stakeholder engagement. There is so much going on with Planet Passionate, and with the push for digitalisation. But the best thing is working with my team. At the moment, communication is more important than ever and, if anything, has been heightened by the restrictions we are all working under, but I do miss the conversations and the energy that happens when we’re together as a team, bouncing ideas off each other. We are working hard on employee recognition at the moment. It’s been a difficult time for everybody, and we want to acknowledge our employees contribution to the business, so we’re finding ways to let them know they are appreciated, and to keep that sense of community spirit.

 

What has been your career highlight to-date?

There are so many highlights, I can’t pick one. I look back on projects I was involved in 10 years ago and still get a feeling of pride, seeing how well it was executed and the results we got. My role is so much broader now, it’s more about the people than the products. The one thing that is always a buzz is whenever the team are all together, working on a project and thriving. Having the emotional intelligence to understand when somebody is not engaging, then getting them back on board and excited about what we are doing – that is really satisfying. We talk a lot about Planet Passionate, but Kingspan really is People Passionate too, and there is a genuine level of care that runs throughout the business.

 

What inspires you about Kingspan’s future impact in the industry?

You just have to look at one of our recent hashtags – Better buildings for a better world. These aren’t just empty words, they are what Kingspan does, in its own practice and with its products. Global climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and water is one of the resources that is most impacted. I am proud to be working for a company of great integrity, developing innovations to help overcome some of these challenges. I would love to see the Water & Energy division become a truly global player in that space – this is the ambition that drives me and our teams, and I believe this vision is wholly achievable.

 

What words would sum up Kingspan’s culture to someone considering joining?

  • Not being afraid to try new things
  • Being ambitious
  • Maintaining a spirit of positivity

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