Toshiba’s national sales manager, Angela Walker, has risen up the career ladder with hard work and dedication. She talks to DAVID RAMLI about the importance of organising the work/life balance and her goal of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
What was your first job?
When I was about 15, I worked at a food takeaway shop. We did everything – ice cream, hamburgers, salads, coffees. It was Skippy’s takeaway in Top Ryde and quite well known in that area at the time. I used to do Thursday nights and Saturdays. It was a means to an end and I could buy a few things I wanted as a teenager.
Did you go to university?
I didn’t, no. I don’t believe it hindered my career in any way. I’ve certainly done study and courses and a lot of reading to make sure I’m up and relevant with the business’ needs, but I don’t believe it’s necessarily university that’s going to make me go any further. I think it’s relative to the role. I have a lot of experience within the IT industry and within sales and channel and I think that experience is more important. You can’t get a degree in channel management.
How did you end up in the IT industry?
My first real job was with a company called Manchester Unity in the finance and operations department. I did that for five years. I worked my way into a sponsorship and events management role with another organisation and I was there for several years when I decided I wanted a career change. A role came up in support for Toshiba’s sales team in Queensland and I thought it would be an exciting industry to work in. I did that for about a year before I moved into an account management position in Queensland looking after the Queensland and Northern Territory channel.
What do you like about your current job?
It’s a very dynamic industry, especially within the channel. Every day is different and every day offers a new challenge and I think that’s a good thing. It keeps you very interested and it keeps you motivated and involved in what you do.
Do you miss Queensland?
I do I suppose, the people and the culture in Brisbane is quite different. It isn’t quite as challenging as Sydney can be at times but I don’t miss the heat to be honest with you. I quite like the Sydney temperatures. ---P--- What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
I think the IT industry is a very competitive and dynamic industry and from time to time that competitive industry can be a challenge. But at the same time, I am a reasonably competitive person so it has its positives in that it keeps me interested and keeps me going. Sometimes you get a bit weary. But at the same time, it’s about new challenges, taking that on-board and using that to drive yourself and your team to actually achieve more than you have the day before.
What is the main focus for your company in the next year?
It would probably be embedded 3G. I think embedded 3G is becoming more and more important to the IT user. That will probably have the biggest influence over the next 12 months. The only other thing would potentially be the energy rating of notebooks. I think vendors will be specifically working quite hard to make sure they get those higher ratings.
How do you find being a woman in IT?
I have found it challenging from time to time – I mean it is a male-dominated industry. There’s no two ways about it. But I think working hard, understanding your job and understanding your business are probably good steps for women in the IT industry. When you look at it from a channel perspective, we’ve been doing channel for 20 plus years. Relationships are paramount to that success and having a successful channel model. I think women have very good relationship skills and that helps.
What do you do when you are not at work?
I spend time with my family. I run my daughter from sport to sport and do all the things that mothers do. She plays netball, she does swimming, she does dancing and athletics. She’s nine. So that’s what I do in my spare time – wife, mother, family, and I do my own sports.
Do you enjoy sports?
I do. I play netball so I do follow it as well. We’re the IT sponsors for the World Masters Games in Sydney in October and I’m actually playing netball in those. We’ve got six people from Toshiba participating in the games so it’s a very exciting time for us. I also do a fair bit of snow skiing and water skiing. I don’t personally snowboard, I’m a bit too old school I think. I love Perisher.
How do you balance work and life?
One of the most important things about the work/life balance is organisation. If you’re not organised, it will all fall apart very quickly. Once you’re organised you can find the time to get both the work and life balanced. Every day is different. Are you a gadget person?
I’m not a gadget person as such. In the house we have Nintendo Wiis and PlayStations and computers galore and iPods, but I think that with the work/life balance, gadgets probably don’t fall into the priority list with me.
What is your biggest ambition?
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to trek the Kokoda Trail with some partners in Papua New Guinea in the Owen Stanley Ranges. That was amazing. From an ambition perspective, I’d love to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I think Kokoda did some amazing things to people, it was an amazing experience so it’s really changed my perspective on what’s next to achieve.