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In any given day, Simon can address partner, internal and vendor training needs. Building relationships with stakeholders is central to the role, maintaining our differentiation and extending our capabilities so we can enable partners better.

Humble beginnings

I originally joined the business over 17 years ago through an acquisition. I speak Dutch so I worked on the help desk solving problems for mobile customers, before moving into order processing. I was asking a lot of questions about what we were selling, and I thought: “Why do I need to ask these questions when I could learn the answers myself?” So I took in as much information as I could, and when an opening came up in Pre-Sales in our Avaya enterprise business, I was offered the job based on my product knowledge.

Evolving role

I stayed in Pre-Sales for another 10 years, until we were acquired again, this time by Westcon. By then my role had evolved into a technical account management role, so when the business opened a demonstration facility, I was asked to manage it as well as take on the training function.

Rewarding initiative

Training varied enormously across the business, so I asked if I could take over the UK training service – and I’ve been managing the Academy ever since. One thing I always shout about here is that if you show initiative, the business will reward and invest in you. I have been supported throughout my career here – if you know where you want to get to, the business will help you on your journey. 

Best part of the job

I get a lot of pleasure from talking to customers and showing them what we can do, whether that’s explaining how a product is going to make their life better, or building out a comprehensive training plan to certify a team of engineers. Making life simpler for partners is really satisfying.

New developments

My focus is on end user customer training. We’ve always been focused on our partners, making sure they meet the specifications our vendors set for their accreditations and partner programmes, so we are now focusing more on helping them enable their end-customers too. Because growing our partners’ businesses will help grow our business.

Outside work

The business is a big advocate of a healthy work/life balance and my family is heavily into football. I’ve got too many aches and pains to play myself now, but we are all Brighton and Hove Albion fans and season ticket holders, we also follow our local club, Burgess Hill. I’m also a keen photographer and purveyor of Single Malt Whiskies!