my advice is join a professional company that will allow you to express yourself, your values and your talent but small enough that you can make a difference very quickly. We are that company!
Why did I join Smurfit Kappa?
I took a year out of my 4 year degree to study Business management in Notre Dame University USA and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the dynamic world of business. Upon completing my degree in Ireland I looked around for Business Management Graduate Programmes and in 1997 Jefferson Smurfit Group were the largest manufacturing company in Ireland. The graduate programme for Smurfit within Ireland was always heavily over subscribed so I was very fortunate to be selected as one of four graduates brought on within Ireland in that year.
My Career Path with the company
I embarked on a two year programme of four, six month placements within the Jefferson Smurfit Group with my first placement in Woodfab Packaging, a sheet converter plant in Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland. This was tremendous experience as it helped me understand the business from the shop floor up through to selling the product.
My second placement brought me to Group Headquarters in Dublin where I was assistant to the World Sales and Marketing Director and Deputy Chairman. This was an amazing opportunity to get to understand a major multinational business from the “other end”. This was then extended into a third placement and then coming off the programme and moving to London to work in the position fulltime.
After a few years in this role I got a chance to run a sheet converter plant as a General Manager in 2001 in Leeds before moving onto a GM role at a mainline plant in Chelmsford in 2005. This was followed by a Regional role in Northern Ireland in 2007 and then a specific role of GM at a newly acquired company in March Cambridgeshire in 2010.
What am I currently working on?
I am now Regional Director of two mainline plants in the South West of England
What has been the most rewarding experience at Smurfit Kappa?
Working with a team of people at a plant from diverse areas of the business to solve a problem that we previously believed could not be solved and in turn exceed a customer’s expectations of what can be delivered. This is hugely satisfying.
What advice would you give someone joining Smurfit Kappa?
Tom Peters (leading business writer in late 1990’s) advice to graduates was to join a small company as that way you do not have to wait around for ever to get a chance to take on responsibilities and develop and grow your career. In Smurfit Kappa I believe we have a great blend of being a small big company. At 42,000 employees worldwide we are a big company however as we are primarily a decentralized company it allows able and energetic graduates to get their hands dirty in understanding the business and making a difference and thus develop their own careers. So my advice is join a professional company that will allow you to express yourself, your values and your talent but small enough that you can make a difference very quickly. We are that company!