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Switched on career choice

05/10/2016

When she first started out in retail, Jessica Keiller used to love selling televisions – she reckons every room in the house needs one. But these days, as an assistant manager with 30 staff, she’s tuned into new challenges.


Not bad for someone who only three years ago swapped caring for animals at the SPCA for top quality customer care at Noel Leeming in Whangarei.

At age 19, Jessica enjoyed looking after homeless animals in her first full-time job that she started as a volunteer when she left school. But after a year, she was feeling the emotional toll.

With CV in hand, she knocked on the door of Noel Leeming’s bright shiny store in the local mall where she was offered a full time job as a sales assistant.

Fresh to the role, she upskilled with a ServiceIQ on-job training programme and gained her New Zealand Certificate in Retail (Level 2). The achievement proved a big confidence boost for the soon-to-be sales star.

“Being new to the industry, it was pretty cool to gain skills and a free qualification,” says Jess.

A few months later, she was hired across town at Noel Leeming’s far bigger and busier store. It was in this fast-paced, buzzing environment that Jess began her ascent in what has become her dream industry.

“There’s always a lot going on and you have to stay one step ahead,” she says. “If you think that retail is a non-intellectual career, you’re wrong because you’ve really got to be onto it.”

It wasn’t long before she started to clean up in the friendly competition between her peers by consistently meeting or exceeding targets, and winning sales person of the month.

Jessica Keiller Hero “I decided to go all guns blazing and discover if I could be any good in this industry,” she says. “Until then, the guys were usually at the top of the score board, but when I came along I showed them who was boss,” she laughs.

Jess has also completed the equivalent of the New Zealand Certificate in Retail Level 4 qualification, and her desire to learn and get ahead helped her to be selected as one of 25 participants in Noel Leeming’s ‘Women in Leadership’ programme.

Her ultimate goal? CEO or a role on the leadership team would be fantastic.

As she says: “I certainly don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I want to get to the top. I’m hungry to be better and to take on more. At school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and others may have had the impression that I wouldn’t go far because I lacked confidence. But now I know what I want and I’m heading in that direction.”

High-definition vision indeed.