Carole Beverley, Group Marketing & Communications Director
Career so far...
My first venture into business was at the age of 16, selling embroidered kit at the swimming club where I was the Club Captain – a precursor to what would follow.
After running the swimming programme for 10,000 school children across Greater Manchester I went on to set up a private swim school before working in sales for a couple of years.
In 1993 I was introduced to Ron Hirshberg, an American entrepreneur, and we were given the opportunity to pick up the accessories licence for Adidas UK at a time when they were outsourcing their poor performing categories and concentrating on core business. In just three years I built the business from 2 staff with a £300,000 turnover to just over £4million and a team of 20.
When Adidas made the decision to bring the licence back in house I was offered the role as Director of Commercial Assets, looking after several Premiership football, rugby, basketball and ice hockey clubs along with any players that were on personal contracts to endorse Adidas products.
It was a demanding but rewarding role, travelling the world organising tours, working with teams and negotiating contracts.
In 1995, Adidas signed the sponsorship deal with Newcastle United and I moved to the North East, managing the relationship for five years until I was offered the position of Commercial Director for Newcastle United in December 1999.
During my time with the club, we transformed the hospitality facilities and grew the corporate customer base significantly. I also built a close friendship with Sir Bobby Robson, who I subsequently went on to work with in helping set up his cancer support foundation.
My next role was the perfect move from football to beer as Marketing Director with Federation Brewery, responsible for the launch of Venom and LCL Lager.
Before joining TSG, I spent 8 years as Chief Executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, an organisation founded by Sir Peter Vardy and Lorna Moran to encourage and promote enterprise and provide an environment in which ambitious business owners could learn from and support each other.
I see my role at TSG as director of disruption in what I perceived as the pretty boring world of IT, knowing that we’ve got a massive opportunity to differentiate ourselves and lead the way in breaking down barriers for businesses looking to maximise the value of their technology.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and why?
I met an amazing lady during my time as an Adidas distributor called Agi Hirshberg. She founded a business with husband Ron named Agron and they were an exclusive licensee for Adidas accessories.
Very sadly, Ron died aged only 54 after fighting pancreatic cancer for eight months and seven days.
Agi had an incredible work ethic and since Ron’s untimely death, she’s dedicated her passion and fortune to building the Hirshberg Foundation and supporting those battling the ‘unknown enemy’.
I’d love to be in a position to give as much back as Agi.
What will next year’s most overhyped industry buzzword be?
Our Industry is awash with acronyms and buzzwords, AI, BI and IoT immediately spring to mind because they enter everyday conversations.
However, I’m going to choose and champion ‘Digital Detox’ for 2018 as it has some very tangible benefits such as enhanced quality of sleep, improved memory and more engaging conversation rather than reverting to “I’ll Google that!”
This ‘Always On’ world means that we spend more time online than we do sleeping; we connect with our smartphones more than 200 times a day and we are sadly developing a ‘fear of missing out’ phobia. So, I’m supporting the concept of making time to be totally disconnected from technology and follow a growing trend for Digital Detox breaks in the hope that it helps with my memory and I don’t have to rely too much on Google!
Otherwise the sensors in my home, connected by the Internet of Things, will have to work out why my glasses are in the fridge and a pack of bacon is on my bedside table!
Has 2017 been a good, bad or ugly year? (slightly more than one word answer please!)
It’s been an awesome year. If it wasn’t for the highly skilled and very clever people at TSG who spend their time developing and deploying amazing solutions, we’d have nothing to shout about.
Thankfully, there has been plenty in 2017 and we have been able to produce tons of rich content from web copy, case studies, video and tech articles to an incredibly appealing blog and social platform that has given us much improved levels of engagement.
What would you have as your last meal?
Grilled fish straight from the ocean in Santorini and its perfect companion, a glass of Malbec – my ultimate Shirley Valentine moment.
Then I’ll know that I’ve achieved what I’ve aimed for (although I’ll still keep in touch with my colleagues via Lync!)
What keeps you awake at night?
I always do a mind dump before I go to sleep and work out my priorities for the following day. It doesn’t always work as it often takes me a while to drift off and if anything does keep me awake it’s usually to do with over analysing stuff!
If I’m really struggling I think of the incredible places we’ve visited or the lovely experiences we have with family.
What piece of technology could you not be without?
Having said I’m championing Digital Detox, the first thing I would reach for after a detox would probably be my iPad – perfect for catching up on emails and social media activity wherever I happen to be and a much bigger screen than my iPhone for my aging eyesight!
It’s also great for watching videos and playing games with my 4-year-old grandson, who is clearly going to grow up as a ‘digital native’.
My challenge is making sure I’ve shut down Paw Patrol before heading into our SMT meetings. The theme tune is a bit of a give-away!
Have any of your predictions come true this year?
We spent a lot of time in 2017 creating events and webinars around Digital Transformation and everything we talked about in terms of collaboration tools, efficiency, security and mobility within an O365 environment we can now demonstrate in successfully deployed solutions for our customers.
What is the best partner/customer trip you have ever been on?
The Microsoft Partner Conference in Toronto was amazing, and it was brilliant to share the excitement of all the game-changing new developments and technologies that have been launched and are on the horizon.
We also picked up a Nintex partner award and managed to fit in a trip to Niagara Falls and having visited Iguazu in Brazil earlier in the year that ticked off two stunning waterfalls. I’ll have to look out for a conference in Victoria next!
What do you see as the channel’s biggest challenge in 2018?
The biggest challenge will always be keeping up with the pace of innovation in our industry but if I were to pick out a focus for 2018 it would be GDPR and the massive task that we all will have in terms of compliance.
Faced with a crucial date of May 2018 looming over us, discussions on the ‘dark data’ that we all hoard and the possibility of crippling fines, GDPR cannot be ignored. Thankfully our very smart folk at TSG are all prepared and ready to help with our PII Discovery Tool, Technology Audits or Gap Analysis and Remediation Service.