When marketing manager Mike Walsh from Stowmarket, UK joined us straight out of university, he had itchy feet with no plans to stay long term. Luckily for us, we kept giving him exciting new projects and self-development opportunities to engage him. Almost 20 years later, Mike’s know-how and can-do attitude have become very valuable assets, so, we are glad he decided to stick around.
Mike’s career path and approach, as well as the reasons he decided to stay with us for so long, are fascinating. Since he first joined, each career step Mike has taken has taught him more about our company, products and customers. He learned a lot about himself as a leader and how important it is to understand your team members.
‘I Always Try to Bring Positivity and Fun to Work’
From production planner to plant manager to his most recent position as a marketing manager for Automotive Refinish for UK and Ireland, Mike’s varied experience means that he has been heavily involved in how we plan, manufacture, and sell to our customers.
I have planned paint production; forecasted demand; managed resin supply; produced paint; launched, marketed, priced and obsoleted products; and managed a site of 400 people!
For the past year, he has been leading a team of six, responsible for product management, marketing communications, event and customer hospitality, pricing, advertising, and developing digital value-add software.
It’s a wide and varied role that brings me into contact with a lot of people – I love that interaction. I always try to bring positivity and fun to what I do and to do my bit to help colleagues and our business succeed.
Mike recommends to any leader to understand what makes your team members tick and how you can maximize and develop them to be better today than they were yesterday.
The Secret to Mike’s Success? Say ‘Yes’!
If you ask Mike, what is the secret of his diverse and successful career, you would be probably surprised that the answer is quite simple – saying ‘yes’ more often. As he says, he would advise everyone to keep saying ‘yes’… because you never know where it could lead you!
When people came to me for help, I said ‘yes’. When they came with development opportunities, I said ‘yes’. When they came with opportunities to move forward in my career, I said ‘yes’. There are times when we need to say ‘no’ or ‘not yet’, but I’ve found by saying ‘yes’ more than ‘no’, it’s made the ride way more exciting!
Stowmarket: Where Everybody Knows His Name
Mike may have traveled a lot in his time with us, but now he’s back where it all began. Stowmarket is where he went to school, so he pretty much knows everyone across the plant.
He recalls the day he was showing VIPs around the site, when suddenly a voice shouted: “Oi-Oi, Walshy boy!” It was one of the production operators.
There I was, as plant manager, with two very important visitors, trying to explain that I knew the operator really well and he just wanted to talk to me! I was dying of embarrassment!
Fortunately, they understood. In fact, they liked that he was so approachable to the people on the shop floor!
Mike’s Passion in Serving Those Around Him
At work, Mike is motivated by his family, making a difference, and leading people. He believes there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing people succeed and thinking that you may have played a part in their development.
Mike takes this same passion home and is a member of the leadership team of a church and charity in Suffolk, UK.
We aim to serve those around us in various ways, like providing food and furniture to those who are struggling, providing youthwork opportunities, and helping people with their finances.
They work with local organizations to cultivate life skills, create community interaction, and develop leadership skills in young people. Mike was also proud to lead the way in our cooperation with The Mix Stowmarket when launching the Together Project last year.
It gives me a perspective in my work life: that it is about so much more than what I can gain personally from my career, but also about how I can help and invest in others.