Welcome to the eighth blog in our ‘My Time at Highlander’ series, where we focus on the wonderful people that make up the Highlander family. In this instalment, we hear from Dean Garbett – a key member of our sales support team.
I recently celebrated my 60th birthday and it was a timely reminder of just why I still love being a part of the Highlander team after over 5 years. The team made a real effort to make me feel special, and it’s these gestures that really do make us all feel like one big family.
This family feeling is partly why I enjoy my current role as member of the sales support team so much, but there are plenty of other reasons why it’s the perfect fit for me.
My job is to make the magic happen – pulling the strings behind our brilliant account management team to help us deliver new projects for our customers. Whether it’s creating quotes, liaising with customers, contacting suppliers, or just being diligent with the details, I’m tasked with ensuring everything goes off without a hitch.
With over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, my role gives me a platform to use my knowledge and skills while maintaining the right work-life balance – something I really value at this time in my life.
Before I took on my current role, I built up a decade of experience within the IT channel working as an account manager. It was a role I relished and building meaningful relationships with partners and clients was something I particularly enjoyed. But for all the benefits, this role also came with plenty of pressures and expectations which started to impact my life away from work, so I eventually moved into a new role as part of the inbound sales team – another position I enjoyed, but one that was unfortunately short lived with the team eventually disbanded.
This decision left me with a dilemma on my hands – I was offered the chance to return to my old account manager role or accept redundancy. At this point, I was 55, and returning to the pressures of account management wasn’t of interest, so I opted for redundancy. After all, I had some DIY projects I wanted to see to around the house. But after a few months, I was ready to get back into a new job.
A chance encounter with a former colleague on the tram presented just the opportunity I was looking for. They were about to leave their own role at Highlander, but had nothing but good things to say about the team and the environment. They suggested I reach out to their manager (as luck would have it, another former colleague of mine) to interview for their position. I took their advice, and less than a week later, I was settling into a new job with the Highlander team.
The role I took up that day offered everything I was looking for. There was plenty of opportunity to use the skills homed in my previous sales and account management roles, but without the extra demands and responsibility they bring – plus the chance to work as part of a supportive and appreciative sales and account management team.
In other organisations, the sales support team are often relegated to behind-the-scenes work, but here, we’re upfront and personal, building our own relationships with partners, and working with the account management team, rather than working for them. That’s a key part of the atmosphere at Highlander – we talk a lot about being a family, and it shows in how closely we collaborate with one another to make sure we can deliver great service.
The culture is really refreshing and makes Highlander the kind of workplace you don’t want to leave once you are here.
Things are always changing at Highlander, and in my 5 years here both my own role and the business have definitely evolved – and for the better. When I initially joined the team, some members of the sales support staff were aligned to specific groups of customers, so I was focused purely on providing support for our enterprise team. Over time the strategy has changed, and the sales support team has been unified as a common resource for the wider account management team. It’s been of real benefit to the business, and it’s also been a positive change for me. I now get involved in a wider variety of projects and can use my skills and experience to support even more members of the team.
The way that we work has also changed, with the pandemic leading to a short-term move to remote working, something that was a new experience for a lot of the team. Although we are back in the office now, Steve Brown and the management team have introduced greater flexibility with a hybrid model. I’m a big fan of remote working, so having the opportunity to keep it up is a major plus for me and helps to preserve the work-life balance I value. These changes are evidence of the collaborative culture I mentioned earlier – when the management team are weighing up decisions that could impact the whole team, they are always keen to listen to what everybody thinks in an effort to make Highlander a place that works for everyone.
Despite the various changes over the last 5 years, there’s one thing I’m sure of – I’m looking to stay here for as long as I can. Steve Brown often talks about the different members of the team as “climbers” and “campers”, and I’m happy to say I am the latter. I can use my skills and experience to benefit the business, continue to build relationships with our customers, and play my part as a committed and supporting member of the team.
At this point in my career, I no longer aspire to work my way up the ladder, I’m simply happy to be doing a role I love as part of a great team, and want to do so until the time is right to call it a day. While I’ll be sad when that time comes, I’ve still got a good few years with the team to look forward to, and I’m glad to be right where I am.