I'm Clare, a mother of two testosterone-filing teenage boys..one husband and half a dozen Frenchies (yep you read that right half a dozen.. don't ask) and I’m the Head of Customer Success and maybe even Marketing.. here at Eolas Medical a Healthcare Information Management tool & mobile application.
Now let me explain, my role isn't simple and if you speak to anyone who worked/works at a start-up then it's perfectly 'normal' to wear many hats, be a unicorn and help out. Which is really exciting and interesting if you are up for that sort of thing. Recently I've picked up the reigns of Marketing, which I love and we will come back to it later.Where do I begin? I've worked all my life..and I mean all of it. From the minute my National Insurance card hit that door mat in 1996, I've had a job. From the humble beginnings of a paper round in the rain to working Saturdays in Iceland as a happy-go-lucky check-out girl, funding her underage nights out as a carefree 16-year-old, I've worked, earnt my wages and paid my board.
In my early days, I had a failed attempt at University to study Graphic design, lasting only one semester. I favoured working over lectures and this transitioned to full-time retail as a store manager. But, after many years of working weekends, I sought out what I considered a 'real job' and lusted after working a 9-5.
All of a sudden it’s 2004, and I apply for a 'service manager' role, it was a people job, working closely with customers and managing SLAs (at the time I didn't have a clue what that even was..). I thought 'i'm good with people, deal with them all the time...'. I'll never forget the interview, in motorway services somewhere over a coffee with my soon-to-manager. It felt like a, this is the job do you want it, rather than an interview. Which was great, because it was for IBM and I wanted the job and I got it. The timing was great, as we'd just bought our first home together and felt like a step in a grown-up direction.
I'd spend the next 6 years of my life working for IBM as a Service Delivery Manager. I'd look after contracts with some pretty big customers (ASDA/HSBC/Comet etc). When people asked what I did the best way I could describe it was 'you know in ASDA if a till's broken because a printer is not working they ring I.T - If I.T can't fix it, they ring IBM whom they have a contract with to fix their printers. IBM then send out an engineer to fix it. I made sure that engineers fixed things on time. I'd do other things, but you get the gist.
During these 6 years, I had my eldest son Jay and went back to work quite soon as I could work from home, something very novel at the time but really helpful with a new baby. Not long after returning to work I was a bit bored and looked into other jobs and opportunities. I wanted something interesting and exciting to do, initially thought about midwifery, but realised it was difficult to get on to the degree. I then came across Social Work through a friend who was at university and on her placement. Sounded like an interesting and exciting career and I set to in applying to Hull University. During the next year, we had our second son, Zak and was now working at home with two kids under two. Then, I was informed about some changes and IBM moved in a new direction and needed me to go to customer sites and with two kids under two…this wasn’t happening. So, I took voluntary redundancy and to be honest the timing was perfect, as I was made redundant a few months before I started at University in 2010. That summer we decided to get married in Greece and had a big fat family wedding in the sun.
Now, I'm from what I call a 'custard cream' background. Everyone loves a custard cream, but they're a bit blah - Not it’s not a bad thing, I love blah and we had a very ‘normal’ boring upbringing, parents still together, a younger brother..no social care/police involved etc. So, I had no experience or knowledge of social care and found it fascinating, and eye-opening to say the least when I commenced my degree.
I completed my degree at Hull in 2013 after 3 years of lectures, essays, assessments and placements whilst holding down a part-time job and a family. I recall entering Uni with the firm view of wanting to work in mental health, but left with a love for Children's social care - Something I was very passionate about. I hit the ground running having completed my final placement in a children's safeguarding team, landing my first role in the Child Protection team. What would follow would be 7 of the most emotionally challenging, rewarding but exhausting years of my life. Safe to say I learnt so much about myself, the world around me and society in those 7 years, it was very much a love-to-hate role. But, enough was enough - without writing a slanderous piece about the issues in social care, which have been done time and time again, and I’m sure you watch the news. I was dangerously overworked and I had to get out for my own safety and sanity.
I think I spent about a year maybe longer wanting and looking to 'get out', but couldn't make the leap. Everyone you spoke to had the same views…what else can you do? On paper I was a social worker... and no amount of C.V embellishing was going to remove that. Then out of the blue, I was approached by a recruitment agency on Linkedin. Now, this was a common thing for me, as at the time I worked for a long period as an agency social worker. But, this was different a company was seeking an experienced Social Worker with I.T experience. I couldn't believe it, like that was even a thing, that there was even a job out there that needed these skills…my very special set of skills (sorry Liam Neeson).
It turns out that the Case Management software (Saas - Software as a Service) social workers use for recording information, and the companies that make this (there are a few in the UK) recruit social care workers to help build and develop the software! After several applications to said companies, I landed a role as an Implementation Consultant and made the leap from social care to Technology and Saas. I spent the next couple of years with OLM Systems a company that makes case management software and loved working on the other side of social care. It was s great role as I could sympathise with the social workers who were using or implementing the software. I was able to understand and appreciate their situations, especially when it came to what they needed from the software. I also helped contribute towards developing and expanding the software and eventually moved into Customer Success.
However, towards the end of my time at OLM I felt like I wanted to do more…if I’m honest I was bored. We’d gone through covid, we all worked from home now full time and my job wasn’t exciting and challenging. I hit up Linkedin and applied…I applied and applied for jobs. All customer success based, because that's what I love people..helping people..supporting people. I had interviews after interviews, all at home. All from my kitchen office. The most surreal time in my life to be honest. I’d had my experience of interviews, spending the day travelling for one interview, spending a fortune on train tickets to receive the faithful email of thanks but no thanks.
So, the new normal meant I could apply to all these jobs, attend interviews from the comfort of my office and not feel too bad when it was thanks but someone else had better-suited skills email landed in my inbox. Then came Eolas. There was something different this time, the Job advert was basic but to the point, it told you what you needed to know. No bull sh%t, and I like zero bull sh%t. I sent my C.V and creeping follow-up email, because if there is one thing I learnt a ‘look at me I want the job email’ goes a long way.
I got an interview. I was buzzing, because Eolas looked like a great place to work. Small company, great product - To be honest, an awesome product. I recall researching and talking about it to anyone and everyone, saying how clever it was! I went into that interview with everything I had, I’d researched and prep’d and wanted this job so very much. I’ll admit it was scary to go for a job at a startup having worked in huge mega companies, but I’d been an agency social worker and that was pretty daunting.
Obviously, I got the job. Now I’m not sure why, maybe my outright enthusiasm for the App or a willingness to learn and step up to a challenge (I'm not sure, I might have to find out). But, back in April, I started as the Head of Customer Success and it's been an awesome journey so far. It’s been great working in an environment where you are given autonomy to develop ideas and build something.
Recently, I’ve also taken hold of the reigns of Marketing and it’s a really amazing challenge for me personally. I’m wading through a lot to educate and develop myself into a ‘marketing guru’ and it’s tough but fun. You know that imposter syndrome you hear about… But, do you know what I’m lucky enough to have developed over the years countless strategies for keeping myself sane and consider myself quite emotionally switched on? The fact I have two teenage boys, 6 french bulldogs and a hubby means I’ve become well versed in ‘self-care’!
I play field hockey sept-march and get to leave this house on a Saturday and run around like a mad woman (and I love it). It’s my time to be me, not a mum or anything else, well maybe a vice-captain and left wing-attacking goal scorer!!. I’ve played for years with an amazing group of similar girls and it’s our way to de-stress and have fun (and keep fit because it’s hard work running around a hockey pitch). I also love the great outdoors and long walks up steep hills, fresh air and freedom. Ideally alone (selfish I know) or the occasional dog or hubby in toe…the lads just whinge so best left at home in a stinky bedroom gaming. I’m partial to a bit of gaming as well though, and prefer an Xbox controller over Eastenders any day, appreciating that downtime as much as anyone.
Anyway, back to the 9-5... I think that understanding information Management and its place in society is really interesting, as it’s not just a healthcare thing, I personally see its value in social care, legal and other areas. Eolas Medical might be a small company at the moment but its ideas are big and the future is exciting, that's a really amazing thing to be a part of. Even if I am frantically learning all there is about Digital Marketing, whilst putting it into practice and looking after our customers! But, I’m surrounded by really interesting, intelligent and passionate people who like myself are heavily invested in Eolas and its future.