Express route to breaking boundaries

Vexpress' Margaret Brigdale talks to ARN

What was your first job?

Working for a wool broker. It ran the first computerised wool auctions in Australia. The business was very innovative for its time and it was fascinating to see grass roots agriculture combined with technology.

How did you end up in the IT Industry?

I started as a trainee programmer more than 25 years ago. I then progressed to systems analyst with a number of organisations including Smorgon Glass. The Smorgon Group was a great environment for developing my skills and learning about business. I then took time out from my career to start my family. I returned to the workforce in an IT-related industry as a financial analyst 12 years ago and have undertaken commercial and business management roles since then.

How did you progress to where you are today?

My work as a systems and financial analyst gave me a good grounding in business. This facilitated my progression into commercial and business roles with systems integrator, VoIP, and ultimately led to my current position with VExpress. VExpress was formed in 2003 to distribute the Alcatel Omni PCX Office. I have been in the role of general manager at VExpress since its inception. We started off with a team of four and have since grown to 26 staff.

I don't claim to have got to where I am today without the help of competent people around me. I have always believed that people are the best asset of any business. Being able to motivate and inspire people is where I believe my strength lies. I have a strong determination and belief that if you put your mind to something anything is possible.

What do you like about your current job?

I love the challenge. I work with a great bunch of staff who are extremely dedicated to making VExpress successful. This, combined with the loyalty and commitment shown to us by our business partners over the last three-and-a-half years, confirms my belief that business is about relationships. The opportunity to strategically grow an emerging business through partnerships with organisations like Alcatel and Telstra provides plenty of challenges but with immense satisfaction. And hosting five of our most valued business partners at Alcatel's annual Enterprise Forum in Paris each February gives me the opportunity to mix my passion for travel with business.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

I feel I've had many achievements along the way - each significant to me at the time. As with most things in life I am constantly striving to improve on what I have achieved before. The successful establishment of VExpress and its ongoing success would have to be the most significant.

What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?

The blurring of home and work provides the greatest challenges for our industry. Today's seamless, high-speed networks offer a range of opportunities to create faster, smarter work environments with no boundaries. The emergence of these technologies allows for companies like us to affect an operational sea change in how Australian businesses interact with their workforce.

What is the main focus for your company this year?

To continue operating a professional and highly ethical business, with a strong focus on the continued development of our staff to further enhance the service levels to our partners. VExpress will also be focused on the professional development of our business partners to ensure their awareness and technical proficiency on the latest offerings from Alcatel. In addition we will also be increasing our product range to address opportunities presented in the ever-increasing IP, VoIP and data market.

What do you do when you are not at work?

As any working mother will tell you, trying to juggle a career and family is no easy task. There is always something that needs to be done. Long hours and travelling means weekends are very precious. Having quality time with my husband and daughter is the most important thing. Meeting up with friends or reading a good book is a bonus.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be different, self-sufficient and have financial independence. I grew up in an environment and era that didn't foster this philosophy for females. I wanted to travel and work overseas and see the world beyond the country town in Victoria which I grew up in. I have been very fortunate in my life that I have managed to achieve this.

What is your greatest personal ambition?

To be successful at whatever I do. I measure that success by a number of things, having the respect of my peers, inspiring those around me to reach their potential , achieving a successful balance between career and personal life and being a good role model for my daughter.