profiles - a light-hearted look at industry personalities
No. 57 in a continuing series
Customer Services Manager, Stage Electrics Group
At the age of 13 Anna Western won an audition and became one of the chorus 'kids' in a production of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing, and that is where her love of the industry started. At 15, when attending a careers convention, she had two choices in mind - the theatre or a social work, although her school firmly believed girls should either be a nurse or farm secretary! Needless to say, the theatre won and she undertook a Drama and Theatre Arts foundation course at Chichester College of Technology for two years.
"It was here that I realised I wasn't good enough at singing nor had the confidence to pursue acting as a career, but my organisational abilities came through and I found Stage Management to be a great love," she explains. "I talked my way into a place on the two-year Stage Management course at Mountview Theatre School and won one of only a few grants given by West Sussex that year - and the first ever to be given to a girl on a technical course."
On leaving Mountview and after a year of working for 'profit share' (or rather profit loss) companies in a bid to secure the ever elusive Equity card, Anna took a sales job at Donmar Sales. "Enthusiasm wasn't paying my rent and it was just a 'stop gap', but it was the closest my mum was ever to get to see her daughter doing a 'proper job'," she says
After three years at Donmar, and progressing to Sales Manager, she needed more excitement, and this came in the form of Le Maitre. It was her first encounter of working
for a manufacturing company within the industry and she spent three very happy career-building years with them, again reaching Sales Manager status before a new challenge beckoned.
That brief was answered by Michael Hall at Rosco, a much larger company than she had worked for before and it provided the added learning curve of working for an American based company. "I embarked on a career ladder spanning seven years," explains Anna, "progressing to Sales Manager UK and Scandinavia and eventually to Director of Sales. I learned a huge amount at Rosco. Cut me in half and I am like a stick of rock; there is a part of both Le Maitre and Rosco running through the middle. Both companies had such a huge impact on my life, both for the products and the people I was lucky enough to work with, many of whom have been a great influence in my life or become friends."
Changes at Rosco, however, led her to feeling the need to expand her horizons again and look for a new venture. After being offered several positions she decided to join Stage Electrics in August 1999, thus completing the circle and getting back to dealing with end-users again.
"Stage Electrics has been my biggest learning curve to date. It is a large company, filled with talented people. It took a while to realize that almost any industry question or problem can be answered or solved by someone in-house!"
After having spent three years customer-facing as a business development
manager Anna has recently been promoted to Customer Services Manager for the
group, a challenge she is looking forward to immensely. "I am hoping Stage
Electrics will be my home for many years to come."
"Do I wish I had become a social worker? Over the years I sometimes feel I've been one!"
Look out for the next subject in our Profile series...
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