Meet the new MD
“Not in a million years…” is how Welland Medical’s new Managing Director, Samantha Jackson, responds through a smile when asked if she thought she’d still be at the company, let alone the MD, 13 years after her first day in the office.
Having joined as a product manager in 2007, Samantha grew and developed alongside Welland. As the company expanded from some 60 to the 250 employees we have today, so did her skills and knowledge. She took on the role of Sales and Marketing Manager in 2010, then Sales and Marketing Director in 2015. During this time, she became a CMI Chartered Manager, and earned an MBA and her Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.
“Each time I completed a new qualification, I quite surprised myself,” she says honestly. “I did night-courses to get my GCSEs after having my two boys, then a course to be a PA. I only completed my first degree in my early 30s, whilst living on welfare benefits, working part time and bringing up my boys as a single mum. At one point we were made homeless. This time definitely influenced my philosophy, which on a personal level is to focus on just the next thing you need to achieve, then you can build on that. In those early years there was no long-term goal.”
“I’ve also come to realise that if you look back at life, you’ll see your challenges in perspective. Whatever you’re facing, nothing is permanent, you will get through it, so don’t stress too much. Take it a step at a time.”
Coronavirus is a case in point. It has challenged Welland, but the company has been able to adapt and continue manufacturing to supply all markets. The major challenge Samantha believes she will have to navigate in her new role is the impact the virus and its aftermath will have on health economies around the world.
“It’s going to be a matter of how we adjust to supply markets with very different health economics,” she says, “But I know that the company is well-positioned to bring the right products to market at the right time in the future.”
“Having seen where the company has come from, I know exactly what it’s capable of achieving in the future. I only have to look at how people responded in this current crisis; how everyone across the business has come together as key workers to ensure we don’t let our customers down.”
“We’ve all had to embrace significant changes in the way we operate in a very short time to maintain a safe work environment for all our staff. Our manufacturing teams have quickly and efficiently implemented new ways of working, whilst others in the businesses have adapted to remote working and the challenges that brings. This has all been done without any impact on our customers.”
“It’s a privilege to be in this role (I don’t underestimate the enormity of the task), and whilst it may not be a position I imagined holding all those years ago, I will do everything I can to ensure that Welland continues to grow and achieve what’s expected by all our stakeholders – the company, our distributors, those who use our products, and the people who work here.”
“We are Welland! We are a great team, with so much creativity, and with the help of our customers, healthcare professionals and distributors, we’ll keep developing innovative products that really improve people’s lives.”