Tell us about your background and how you became a Commercial Director.
I grew up working for the family business from 10 years old, but my plan was not always to continue this path as I began my vocational training for joinery after leaving school at 16.
After two years, I realised this was not the career I wanted to pursue and joined Clearhill as a Service Engineer, covering the north of Ireland.
My role changed in 2005 when we completed the acquisition of Oasis Retail Services to Operations Manager in the same year we also expanded into the UK, so we had a rapidly growing service team to manage, which has since progressed to Commercial Director, with 22 years of service under my belt and many more to come.
What would you be doing if you were not a Commercial Director for Clearhill?
I think I would be pursuing my business interests in the entertainment or property world if not focused solely on Clearhill. Given how the shopping centre landscape is developing, I may naturally get the opportunity to do this, which is exciting to think about.
What does a typical day of a Commercial Director look like?
On a typical day, my core daily activities focus on maintaining partner relationships and developing the business into new spaces within our industry. As director and partner within the company, I am working with the team to build a company culture born of established values. I am also helping to drive the adoption of lean within the business.
What are the benefits of working for Clearhill?
We have a great team of enthusiastic, like-minded people working together to achieve great things. The company promotes a team-focused environment; we start our day with a morning meeting to discuss what is going well, what isn’t going well, any improvements, what we’re grateful for and shout-outs to recognise who has helped us in our role. This reinforces the team ethos and creates a positive, collaborative environment that, as a Director, I feel is important to maintain.
In addition to the above, our colleagues can make improvements in their role, enabling them to make it their own by identifying waste and refining the processes to make their jobs easier. We trust the team to structure their day and implement these changes to better the company.
Where do you see the industry in 5 years?
I believe retail is having a resurgence. The media has portrayed retail as a failing industry for years, but it has changed a lot – physical retail is evolving! The eCommerce vs retail experience is at a tipping point, with COVID clearing out the retail experiences that were fading anyway. Consequently, retail has been able to evolve and become stronger.
Leisure has a strong presence in these spaces, with Centre Managers and Agents focusing on offering a more personal niche brand experience. The format of modern shopping centres is very different to 20 years ago. What is required to ensure success has changed. However, consumer behaviour has not. We’re tactile beings – we like to see, touch and experience everything in person – particularly when making large purchases.
What advice would you give a Centre or Estate Manager looking for a leisure or gift card partner?
At Clearhill, we believe in the lifetime value of customers. It is necessary to understand how your customers are vital to your business. Depending on whether you are looking for a leisure or gift card partner, the information needed to choose will differ. Nevertheless, outside of the value they provide, I believe you should look for a company that takes a holistic view of the industry with a proven track record for delivering the service they’re offering.
Contact our expert team to partner with us in your mall space.