Jenn Connolly is our talented, energetic branch manager at our Sarnia, Ontario branch—She’s worked with people her entire career and knows how to keep her customers and team happy.
Read on to learn more about how Jenn honed her service skills, her tips for working with people and how she’s grown the Sarnia branch.
Tell us about your educational/professional background:
I’ve been in customer service since I was twelve! MY grandparents owned a small business, so during school holidays I would work there and help with sales. I’ve worked in a variety of roles, whether at a bar, gas station, a McDonalds, or all three at once—Which I have done before.
I worked in call centres for about 6 years before I joined Hercules SLR, and was excited to make a switch.
Wow! That’s a lot to juggle—How did you do it?
I was juggling a lot more than jobs, too! I lived in Hope, B.C. at the time. Throughout the week and my days would start at 5am where I’d head to a shift at McDonalds, then I’d head to an evening shift at a gas station and my days would end at 10pm. Oh, and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays I would also work as a bar waitress—Three shifts in total!
Customer service is one of your strengths—How do you lead with service?
A huge portion of it is to know the product. Customer service means being positive, outgoing and working with everybody—Customers and coworkers. It’s important to meet their needs and know what they’re talking about so you can truly provide them with the best service or product for their issue. I work hard everyday to ensure everyone is happy.
Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?
Call centres in Sarnia, Ontario were always closing! (laughs) After they closed, I worked at the Waterville car plant, realized during my first few days that it wasn’t for me.
I had interviewed with Jason McNutt, and basically hounded him for days! When he told me I had the job, I quit the plant and started a week later—It had a come-home feel for me.
The branch opened in January, 2013 and I’ve been here since. When I started, I trained in Brampton for 3 days—The last time I got that dirty was when I had a job pulling apart lawnmowers at 14! I was the sole employee here for awhile, which was hard to get used to—But it’s been so gratifying to watch our growth.
Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR?
For work, I’ve travelled to Hamilton, Brampton and finally, finally made it to Nova Scotia to visit the Dartmouth branch and head office!
For pleasure? I go to Cuba twice a year. I actually met a Cuban family through a friend, and went straight from the airport to their house! I stay with them while I’m there, and it’s so nice—They actually have a small place near the back of their property, so my friend and I even have our own place there! They’re super nice to us, and we always bring some Canadian treats for them, too.
Where have you enjoyed traveling to most for training with Hercules?
I’ve enjoyed travelling to our Brampton branch (which was actually in Mississauga at the time!) I’ve also done a lot of training at the Hamilton branch—Going there is always such a pleasure since I communicate with them everyday. It’s nice, and I think important to reconnect with them and remember they’re not just emails and phone calls.
Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?
Ideally, I’d like to visit all of them! I’ve never been to Newfoundland, and would love to see the branches there.
What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career at Hercules SLR?
I’m just proud of it in general—I love seeing our branch and company succeed in general. I’ve been at the Sarnia branch from the beginning, and I’ve been so proud of its growth. I’m excited for new employees that have recently joined our team, new clients and inspection opportunities.
In terms of being proud? I’m proud of my customer service skills! Not everyone can work with the public, and do it well and enjoy it—I’ve really found my niche.
What’s something you love about the securing, lifting and rigging industry?
It’s always changing! No two days look alike. There can be one question with ten answers, and our goals transform constantly—No two lifts are the same, and each client’s needs are specific to the job, job site & conditions and worker’s themselves.
There are legislations and regulations that change constantly, too, so you have to be on top of your game.
What sort of challenges do you face as a woman in this industry, and how do you overcome/face them?
I think it’s important to know that rigging isn’t about gender, it’s about safety, no matter who you are. We have to work as a whole so we can do the best we can for our coworkers and customers—This is how I see it. I love that my customers just ask for Jenn, because I know my stuff.
Give us some advice for young women who work, or want to work in an industrial environment:
Some of the best advice I can give is to be willing to change. Everyday won’t be the same, and it’s important to work with it, not against it. Dealing with growth and change can definitely be a struggle for me, but Rose (Hercules SLR’s Vice-President of Operations) has taught me (and still reminds me!) that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable, but still important to learn to work with changes.
Don’t make the sandpaper so smooth you can’t work with it—Grit can be a good thing!
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