When Sharon Chalkley first joined Close Brothers, she did so with a fair amount of reluctance but after 20 years with the business, it’s clear her opinion has changed. In this Q&A we find out why.
How did you get to join Close Brothers?
I left school at 16 and went straight into secretarial college. After graduating, I worked at a series of solicitors, one of which I stayed at for over six years. It was while at this firm I decided to join a rival firm, but unfortunately the grass wasn’t greener after all and I left shortly afterwards.
Needing to earn some money, I was offered a temporary maternity cover role at Close Brothers as a PA to Noel Poxon and Murray Booker who headed up the Transport and Print businesses for the Midlands and North respectively. I initially said ‘no’ but was persuaded to join, and looking back, I’m very glad I did.
How did you get to your current role?
When the Print and Transport Divisions separated, I stayed with Transport, becoming the Office Manager. Following that I was also given responsibility for Collections, before taking on the position of Operations Manager. Over the years I had gained a lot of experience within all areas of Close Brothers.
In 2009 I was promoted to my current role of Managing Director.
Getting here hasn’t been easy, but because of that, it’s made me appreciate it that much more. I’ve learnt a great deal along the way, which has really positively impacted the way I manage my teams.
What do you like the most about your role?
I enjoy the relative autonomy we have in Close Brothers, which I know is different to most other large organisations.
I also get a lot of support, when I need it, from the senior management, but for the most part, I’m allowed to run my business and get on with making the business even more successful.
What are your key challenges?
Probably competition and the current economic uncertainties, but we’ve been through worse and come out even stronger, so I’m excited and very confident about what the future holds.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my husband, who works in the building Industry. We have a small holiday home in North Yorkshire where we spend as much time as we can with our three spaniels.
We both enjoy clay pigeon shooting – you’d be surprised how good it is as a stress reliever.