Linda Cohen – story by Tony Cutting
From London to Wellington (Business Manager, Project Manager - Contractor)
I met Linda in one of her favourite spots for this story – A Wellington Café. A city lover, Linda started life in London but now enjoys the compact life Wellington offers. Being able to walk everywhere, access to theatre, movies, restaurants and a great waterfront all without traffic jams makes Wellington a great London substitute.
When talking to Linda about growing up in London she clearly still has a passion for the city and as she says, “You can take the girl out of London but you can’t take the London out of the girl”.
Linda’s early life was in sales which she loved and was extremely successful at. Setting and achieving targets was something that appealed. Combine that with a good understanding of making customers feel valued and appreciating ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ made for a successful career.
Moving to the Cayman Islands, she was one of the first ‘sales people’ they had seen. Offering customers a service where she went to them rather than leaving it for them to contact the company was a real novelty. Focussing on building relationships and learning about their needs and the potential products that could help them – was a new and successful initiative.
After a couple of years in the Caymans Linda headed home to the UK where she continued her sales career. One interesting role with an organisation producing clay plant pots in China but shipping them all over the world required some interesting skills in addition to simply an ability to relate well to people and sell.
Working out how many pots you could get in to a container to be shipped from a supplier thousands of miles away to a customer on the other side of the world was a real challenge. Of course compounding the issue is the pots are all different sizes and shapes. Linda credits this experience as the start of her interest in developing project management skills. Skills that have proved usefull for clients in her contracts today. Juggling ships/importation requirements/critical dates/containers/pots in all shapes and sizes/clients/trade fairs etc – all one big Gantt chart!
Linda then moved to New Zealand, for a 2 year contract gaining Permanent Residency after about 5 years!
Since arriving in New Zealand she has moved into management and her work experience portfolio now includes several years with Telecom with roles responsible for change management including the centralising or decentralising of functions, logistics, procurement and distribution. She has used her strong project skills as well as her natural ability to recognise efficiencies and savings. Then on to a short stint at Wellington Newspapers as Customer Services Manager, a long stay as Central Region Manager at New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and several years as Professional Development Manager with the Institute of Directors, Linda has now moved into contracting.
Contracting roles with the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, Department of Building & Housing & more recently in the Learning & Development area of Treasury.
Outside of work she loves Yoga, enjoying time with her Kiwi husband and friends which generally includes a wine and dining out in absolutely, positively the greatest little city in the world.
So if you are looking for an experienced contract resource who is flexible and brings to any organisation strong project management, organisational skills and an eye for process improvement and efficiencies then it may well be worthwhile contacting Linda Cohen.
For you people who are just starting your careers Linda is a fabulous example of a person who has built a great career being proactive, focused on doing a quality job each time she has been given an opportunity and balancing this with actively enjoying her work, life and play time.