Today, Antoinette Smedley-Walsh celebrates her 35th anniversary with SCC.
We caught up with Antoinette to find out why she joined our business, what she’s enjoyed the most in her career so far, and what makes her stay…
“When I started on 4 January 1988, we were a very different type and style of business,” Antoinette explained. “We were very much supply chain focussed, which is still fundamental to us, although we’ve got a much broader range of services and opportunities to offer our customers.”
Starting off as our London branch manager, Antoinette has been involved in securing some of our biggest contracts, often working alongside our founder, Sir Peter Rigby.
“I remember dealing with Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, before it was merged with Midlands, which then became HSBC, winning the Centrica contract (which included British Gas Supply & Exploration, The AA and Goldfish as part of the group) and being part of the team responsible for securing, and renewing, our British Airways contract multiple times – a customer who has been with us for over 25 years.”
More recently, Antoinette was part of the team involved in securing our Manchester Airport Group contract and is currently working alongside our healthcare division, supporting the work to evolve our healthcare deliverables and deepen SCC’s healthcare customer relationships, by putting our customer first, and delivering innovative, agile, technology solutions to help meet the needs of healthcare professionals in delivering positive patient outcomes.
“I remember looking at both SCC and Computacenter at the time, and it was the family-run business and values that appealed more,” Antoinette told us. “At that time, being the only woman in the room was nothing unusual, but I always found that as long as you showed that you’ve earned the right to be there, then being a woman in the IT industry, especially at SCC, has never held me back.”.
Pinpointing her proudest moment proves a bit too tough, although Antoinette’s involvement in supporting our business to grow and diversify is definitely high on the list.
“Added Value Sales (AVS) – the precursor to our Professional and Managed Services divisions – was where the water was tested and we found and evolved our service feet,” Antoinette said. “We saw the need for break-fix engineering, technical support, and slowly, but surely, we evolved, bringing on board people who had the expertise that we needed.
“And, from that initial hub of services, Professional and Managed Services was evolved with all its different disciplines, and our continually growing teams of very capable people who deliver all of the complex outcomes that both our Corporate and Public Sector customers and their evolving IT landscapes demand, and I feel very fortunate and privileged to have been involved.”
During her 36th year with us, as well as supporting our healthcare division’s evolution, Antoinette will also continue her focus on meaningful business development and customer engagement.
Antoinette explained. “I’ve always had a customer-facing role, so engaging with the customer, understanding their needs, and becoming their trusted adviser, is what really matters.”
When Antoinette’s not at work, her five grandchildren keep her out of mischief, along with her passion for birds of prey – she’s a trained falconer who specialises in owls.
“Whether it’s your personal family or your work family, there are occasional disagreements,” Antoinette explained. “If you’ve got brothers and sisters, we all know how easy it is to fall out. However, there have always been far more positive than negative experiences, which is why I’ve stayed with SCC for so long. I’m particularly proud of our family values, because for me, it’s all about teamwork. That’s what achieves the best outcomes. And, while our business has had its ups and downs, I think SCC is now better than it’s ever been.”
Thanks, Antoinette, for your ongoing contribution and commitment to our customers and colleagues.