Pippa Wibberley was appointed managing director at Raleigh UK on 1st November 2017, following two years as sales & marketing director with the iconic cycling brand.
In 2015 Pippa joined the Nottingham-based Raleigh UK team, having previously held the position of commercial director with Glow-Worm and she also had a similar commercial director’s role with air conditioning company, Daikin UK Ltd.
Pippa was educated at both the University of Derby and the University of Huddersfield. She is married with two teenage daughters.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I am a Strategic Marketeer in training and background. I really thought Sales was ‘not for me’ in the early days of my career. I was then pretty much forced in to a sales management role by my boss at the time. This was a turning point for me as I realised that sales and marketing are the same thing. We are all working to put our customer at the heart of what we do. Getting that close to the customer made me a better marketeer. I have been fortunate to work in environments with both a business to business and business consumer angle – motorcycles, domestic central heating and now bicycles. My role now as MD of Raleigh UK is really drawing on that experience as my team and I drive the business to a new consumer led future in partnership with our network of specialist retailers. The job is so varied and dynamic – every day is an exciting challenge.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I have always had goals for sure. My line of sight is very much on the future so I am always looking ahead and have clear ideas of what I would like it to be. For example I wanted to lead my own team before I was 25, I wanted to be a Director by 35 etc. I did want to be MD before I was 45 so I was a few months late with that one. With regards my actual career choice that has always been about enjoying what I do. If it stops being fun then I move on to something else. I am a firm believer that if you aren’t enjoying it then you won’t be successful.
Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?
Of course there have been challenges. Positivity is the key to dealing with challenge. As soon as you get in to the cycle of blame and negativity then the battle is lost. Working together with your team to seek solutions and to learn from things that don’t go the way you expect is vital. Passion for what you do is also really important. If you really care then it makes facing the challenge so much easier. The last piece of the jigsaw is working with great people. You will never work in isolation. Create a fantastic team and trust them to do what they do best and even the challenges can be fun.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?
Mentoring is incredibly important. I have been very fortunate in having both a great coach and important mentors throughout my career. Having a coach really helps to ensure you personally are making the best decisions for yourself. A mentor on the other hand can bring the experience to the table which really helps to build your confidence. I have worked with people who have really made me stop and think “that is really NOT what I want to stand for” so real examples of how not to do it. More importantly though I have been lucky to be mentored by people who have values you truly respect and you can see that they really work. I would love to mentor others that don’t work directly for me. One for the 2018 target list.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
I have never felt that being a woman has held me back particularly and I have always worked in male dominated industries. The news says it all since the Harvey Weinstein story broke and the #metoo movement made everyone aware of the extent of the issues many women have to endure. If I could change one thing then it would be that all women feel safe at work. If we feel safe then we can get on with being judged on our merits and making the valuable contribution that women can and do make in all fields of work.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest life achievement to date has to be my amazing family. My husband and I have raised two inspirational young women who I am in awe of. They have put up with our somewhat hectic family life. They do sometimes remark on the amount of parent’s evenings and awards ceremonies I have missed but I think we’ve made a pretty good job all in all.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
The next three years is really important for Raleigh UK. The UK electric bicycle market is in its infancy. E-bikes make cycling so much more accessible to people who currently think that cycling isn’t possible for them. We will be leading the way in making UK consumers aware of these great new products and fun they bring. It will really be a transformation for both Raleigh UK and our customers. For the longer term future I would like to take an international role and this will be more feasible once my daughters are at University. For now though all focus is on the next three years and the big plans we have.