Tanya Pepin is not just a woman in wholesale, she’s a woman in DATA! She has some great advice on how to understand your limits while still achieving more than you ever thought you could.
How long have you worked in your current job?
I co-founded The Wholesale Company (TWC) in 2011, having sold my previous business, JPA, in 2010.
What are your day to day responsibilities?
No two days are the same! I am client facing which means devoting time to the preparation and presentation of insight to our clients.
Right now, we are also currently launching new technology platforms for Country Range Group and Parfetts, so a key priority within our business and my responsibility is facilitating seamless liaison with our developers to ensure their interpretation is spot on and that projects are on track.
We have long standing technology clients like Today’s and CCEP where day to day work is handled across the team but my responsibility is to stay close across what is working, and what isn’t, and tweak priorities or deliverables accordingly to make sure we deliver what we promised – and beyond….
How long have you worked in wholesale?
I joined Landmark Wholesale in 1999 so nearly 20 years
What’s been the toughest moment in your career?
There have been a few! I was involved in a complex HR issue (not of my making) a long time ago that was quite harrowing. Finding out we were going to need to competitively tender for one of our largest pieces of existing business when my business partner was away in Australia for 3 weeks was also pretty challenging!
How did you overcome it (assuming that you did!)?
In each case what made a huge difference was the support and counsel from people I really trusted and respected who were able to give me impartial advice. This enabled me to remove emotion from the decisions that I had to make during each process. Don’t get me wrong – emotion can add real value at times, but it can also hinder objectivity when it comes to commercial or professional negotiations.
How about the most rewarding / greatest achievement?
Setting up my first business with Mike McGee in 2004 was a high point – he had been my MD at Landmark so to go into business with him was a step change in my career. Winning a contract with CCEP was also pretty pivotal – I had been ambitious to win a contract with Coke since we first started, so it was an ‘eureka’ moment – an endorsement of our technology and a bit like summiting Everest!
What do you love most about your job / what would you change?
I love the variety and the flexibility. Today’s workplace is about portfolio working in line with 24/7 resourcing and culture – an ethic which I subscribe to across the whole TWC team.
I can go to the gym in the middle of the day (and yes that might mean catching up later or at the weekend!). I thrive on multi-tasking and get bored by routine so having so many different things to do really stimulates me.
If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing it would be to see a ‘lightbulb moment’ within those wholesalers and suppliers who have not yet perhaps truly woken up to the value of what insight and sales out data reads can do for their business when applied back to the business to give them sales advantage and growth.
Where would you like to be in five years?
With a business 3 times the size it is now, recognised as the market leading provider of intelligent insight and agile reporting technology in wholesale.
How do you like your eggs: boiled, scrambled, poached or fried?
Poached, but not by me – I never get the white right
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Know your limit – understanding your strengths and which job roles play to those and not over-reaching means you can do a great job and earn respect BUT build confidence and skills up along the way so that your limit increases and you ultimately take on roles you never thought possible – when you are ready for them.
What’s the best book or film you’ve ever read?
I am a little bit obsessed with A Star is Born at the moment but am not sure it is the best movie I have ever seen! Donna Tartt’s The Secret History is now considered a modern classic of a book, it is many years since I have read it, but it really made an impression on me as a powerful piece of fiction.
If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
Nothing, I really do love it
Is there anyone you really look up to – who is it and why?
There are a few, my business partner, Mike McGee for his cool head and amazing analytical ability and Simon Gray at Boost Drinks (one of our clients) for being endlessly upbeat, even on no sleep or under pressure, and for creating a great team spirit within his business that has become part of the brand’s DNA. A notable mention should go to my mother. She was a working single parent who became a Sales Director in a company with just a handful of women and an all male sales team. There is no doubt that her example enabled me to believe that there did not need to be a glass ceiling if you were good at your job.
Why is it important to you to support Women in Wholesale’s objectives?
As someone who joined wholesale in her mid-20s, I have really grown up in this industry. And whilst I have been afforded every opportunity within this channel, my path has not been traditional, nor sat in one business waiting for promotions – I created my own progression by starting my own business.
I strongly support one of the issues that Women in Wholesale has focussed on – that women sometimes lack the confidence to “lean in”, which means they are not always as “seen” and “heard” as they could be and a network that supports women to do just that gets my full support.