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?
I’d have to say ‘productivity’ given that it’s part of Satya Nadella’s mantra and ‘the reinvention of productivity and process’ is omnipresent in his rally speeches.
He’s referring to allocating rare resource efficiently (ultimately people) and the fact that customers need to understand the specific, measurable returns that technology can bring.
This is one of the reasons we love writing case studies. They provide great inspiration and an insight into what’s possible when you apply innovation and creativity to a pain point. Knowing that a solution has worked for someone else is incredibly compelling and it’s most probably repeatable in a variety of sectors.
Has 2015 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’s plenty this year and the fact that Microsoft has picked up a number of our articles and case studies is testament to the quality of the subject matter.
The Nintex-produced video on our customer Home Group is also well worth a watch.
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 of what I’ve done and what I need to do the following day just before I go to bed, although building the new tsg.com website wasn’t without a few sleepless nights.
And I always give a thought to my children.
What piece of technology could you not be without?
It has to be my iPad – perfect for catching up on emails and social media activity wherever I happen to be.
It’s also great for watching videos with my 2 year old grandson, who is clearly going to grow up as a ‘digital native’.
My challenge is making sure I’ve shut down Chuggington before heading into our SMT meetings. The theme tune is a bit of a giveaway!
Have any of your predictions come true this year?
Office 365 is beginning to gain more and more traction.
We’ve already deployed more than 8,500 seats and it’s clear that number will continue to grow.
I actually think it was a couple of years ago when we first started talking about Office 365 as the platform on which to build for the future. Ahead of the game again!
What is the best partner/customer trip you have ever been on?
The Microsoft Partner Conference last year 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 fitted in a trip to Niagra Falls (after visiting Iguazu earlier in the year that makes two stunning waterfalls ticked off in 2012).
What do you see as the channel’s biggest challenge in 2016?
As people catch on to Microsoft’s latest device innovations – such as Surface Pro 4 – we suspect that demand will go through the roof, so we sincerely hope that supply will keep pace.
We’re installing Surface Hub into our Customer Immersion Experiences in London and Glasgow as soon as they’re available – and that really will raise expectations.