By Claire Hillman, Senior Administrator & Contracts Manager at Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Claire Hillman. These views are her own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
Hi, I’m Claire Hillman, Senior Administrator & Contracts Manager here at Netutils. Most of our customers know me as I deal directly with them on a daily basis and have done so for the last 20 years. I’m proud to say I share my 20th work anniversary with the company itself. I’ve been here practically from the start; I’ve watched my role and the company grow together. It’s fair to say we’ve been through a lot and when our MD asked me to write a blog about our 20 year journey together I jumped at the chance.
I’ve got a lot to say! Here’s my story:
In 1994 I had just left 6th form college and, like many others, wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Through a mutual contact Michele Lewington, Netutils, MD asked me if I would be interested in a couple of week’s temporary work to cover the existing Administrator who was leaving.
At the time, the role involved general office administration, processing purchase orders for computer software including Proxy remote control (which we still supply to the UK market today.) The software back then came as a fully boxed product and supplied with a hard copy manual, so I quickly got used to shipping loads and loads of boxes. However, my very first task was learning how to make proper tea. My employers were none too impressed with my first attempts and I was quickly taught the difference between dishwater and builders brew!
I soon realised that I really enjoyed the office environment at Netutils. Naturally, at this age the full time work environment can be a bit daunting. Everyone was very patient with me every step of the way to ensure I fully understood each task that was required of me, and they always taught me to never be afraid to ask if you are unsure. That’s something that we all really love about working at Netutils – great team spirit and you really feel supported!
As the 2 weeks were coming to an end, I was invited to join as a full-time permanent employee… that was a no brainer for me and my official start date was the following Monday, 5th September 1994!
Over the next 5 years, Netutils continued to grow and eventually moved to larger offices in Surbiton. Our portfolio of products continued to grow and soon after we were joined by our first university graduate – Toby Makepeace. Today, he is Netutils Technical Director and predominately works directly with our Service Provider customers; and is one of the most respected and experienced in his field.
As Netutils client base grew, so did my family. When I had been at Netutils around 7 years, my partner & I discovered we were expecting a baby. Such is our relationship, my MD was the first person I shared my pregnancy news with! The Netutils team welcomed the news and were extremely supportive throughout my pregnancy. My colleague Lesley Griffith was to cover my role for me whilst I was on maternity leave. Poor thing, she had been on the receiving end of so many jokes about the baby arriving early I don’t think she actually believed it when I did go into labour 6 weeks early!
Weighing just 4lb 10oz my son was taken straight to the special care baby unit. Luckily he was absolutely fine, and unsurprisingly some of his first visitors were my colleagues from work laden with gifts, and they still spoil him 13 years later each birthday and Christmas.
A few years after the birth of my son in 2006 our most popular vendor, Funk Software was acquired by Juniper Networks. This was probably the most difficult of times for me – change is not always welcomed and working with this large, faceless organisation presented a real challenge and a massive change in processes. If there was ever going to be a time to move on, this was probably it! So what stopped me? I realised we were all part of this massive, new learning curve; it was obviously different for everyone but only by working together were we able to iron out the creases. Today, Netutils continues to operate as an Elite Partner to Juniper.
Throughout the years, as the company has continued to grow and change, so has my job and my roles. We are now based near the beautiful landmark of Hampton Court and I am still referred to as the Senior Administrator but in all honesty, that’s because we couldn’t really fit all my responsibilities on a business card! My job is varied and far reaching involving everything from providing support and assistance to our sales team to processing customer and supplier orders. I am also responsible for maintenance renewal revenues. Reporting directly to the Financial Director and MD I oversee accounts receivable & payable and manage all staff expenses. I’m also involved with customer service and managing the CRM.
I fully share the company ethos and believe that whether a customer has dealt with us over many years or has only recently started working with us they expect and should receive excellent customer service with a personal touch. Feedback tells us that our customers really appreciate the fact that we understand their requirements and deal with them in a fair and honest manner. I’m really proud that my depth of experience and knowledge of Netutils’ customers means that I can provide a truly great service to our customers.
So that’s my journey in a nutshell. At times I can’t believe that 20 years has passed. Thesedays it’s unusual to be in a positon for so long, when companies change people move on. Someone recently asked me if I lack ambition. Why would I stay in the same organisation for so long? My answer is simple, the company has continually allowed me to grow and gather new experiences. The variety in my role keeps me on my toes but above all what’s kept me firmly rooted at Netutils are the relationships I have built with the people here, both new and old . We care about the success of Netutils, that’s a shared goal and not just one felt by management.
Happy Birthday Netutils!