Cultivating relationships

Cultivating relationships

Simms International retail director, Marlene Gant, joined the distributor earlier this year after a long history with Ingram Micro and Tech Pacific. She talked to ARN about chocolates, why PE teachers are like team leaders and growth plans for Simms.

What was your first job?

My first role was with Red Tulip Chocolates as a buying assistant. I started out in a fast moving consumer group buying role, which helps me out in what I do today. I started that when I was just out of high school.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

I joined Tech Pacific when I was 25 as a buyer, and I was entering ETA dates into the system for the 22 vendors that we were working with at the time. It was a small business at the time, and I was with Tech Pacific for three years before moving over to Harvey Norman, which is how I entered into the retail array.

How did you end up in Simms?

It’s been a long ride to get to Simms. After Harvey Norman, I went back to Tech Pacific to run the retail division. Ingram Micro then acquired Tech Pacific, so all up I was with Ingram/Tech Pacific for eight-and-a-half years. I left at the end of last year, had three months off with my two daughters, and then started discussions with Danny Moore [managing director] at Simms. I joined in February.

What do you like about the job?

I think it’s a very personable business with high energy that’s still small enough to make a mark on, so you can be yourself while achieving business objectives. One of the biggest things inside Simms is the commitment to each other, so as a business there’s a commitment to make it work. We also have good relationships with our customers and vendors.

What is the biggest achievement of your career so far?

In each company I’ve had big achievements and they’ve been different. The biggest achievement however, would definitely be growing the Ingram Micro/Tech Pacific retail business. It was a great team and we had a lot of successes.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

It can be a little bit inhumane sometimes. We can all run so fast we can forget that we’re people, and it’s important to remember that we have lives outside of work.

What is the next big thing in the industry?

I’d have to say the Apple iPhone is the biggest thing that has just been launched. But I don’t think there’s one thing that’s going to be big and get all the attention – the industry is continually evolving. What’s nice now is that manufacturers are starting to think about humanising technology, which is good as it’s providing entertainment in the home while the technology is getting easier. I think as some of the larger independents get better at solutions selling, there’s going to be an even better experience for consumers.

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