Life at Ink – Mina Patel (Account Manager)
If you’ve read Mina’s profile on our team page you’ll know that she is one of our original employees and, therefore, a real ‘cornerstone’ of our team.
What you won’t know from reading Mina’s profile is that when we offered Mina a job she was pregnant with her second daughter and this was a fact she didn’t try to conceal. And it was a fact that didn’t worry us in the least. We knew that Mina would do a great job for us in the five or six months available before the start of her maternity leave, and we knew – or at least hoped – that she would want to return to us once baby Jiya was ready to join her sister, Mira, at nursery.
Two years on, Mina balances (or juggles!) family and work, and continues to deliver exceptional account management to our clients. She faces challenges, no doubt, with the curve balls of a service business, but she somehow finds a way to work smarter and to make sure that none of those balls are dropped.
We asked Mina to describe her experience as our very first employee:
Q: How did it feel joining a start-up and stepping into the unknown?
A: It wasn’t totally unknown, as I had worked with Billy before. I am not sure that I would have taken the risk, otherwise! I knew that Billy would make me graft, but I didn’t have any issues with that. I like working hard, and I was keen to do a good job for him. There aren’t many employers that would take on a pregnant employee …
Q: How do you cope with an ever increasing workload and only a limited number of hours in the day?
A: It’s not easy, but I am getting better and better at being organised and systematic. I am on top of the urgent jobs that need doing, and I make sure that the team is updated on any work outstanding. Sometimes I can feel a bit panicked – for example, I got caught in traffic jam today and all I could think about was how far I could fall behind with my work. You just have to be realistic, and prioritise so that you hit all your deadlines.
Q: We’re a growing business. How does it feel for you to see things change on a fairly constant basis – e.g. new technologies, new team mates, new clients, new procedures?
A: I like change – it doesn’t scare me. I like the challenge of making things slicker, better, quicker. I am a process and routine person, so as things evolve at Ink I work out how to build on the systems that work, and ensure that we continue to deliver a great client service.
Q: When you go home at night, can you switch off?
A: I don’t switch off straight away. I’m passionate about my job, so it’s inevitable that I am thinking about what needs to be done the next day …
However, as the kids’ lives are getting busier I am finding it easier to shift my focus back onto family. I am developing my children, not just myself, after all.
Q: What’s the long term plan? How do you see your career developing?
A: I would like to keep building my career with Ink, and when both kids are in school I’ll be able to increase my hours. By that time the bulk of the Auto Enrolment work will be completed and we will be doing more employee benefits projects – and I look forward to that. I really enjoying client facing work, getting to know our clients and building relationships with them.
I have developed a range of skills in my work, and I know that there are lots of ways I’ll be able to apply these as the Company grows.
Q: As an employer, what does Ink mean for you?
A: Bear in mind that I had worked with Billy before and he was the best manager I’d ever had. I wanted to work with him again, and was really happy when this opportunity came about. I pretty much knew what to expect, and I haven’t been disappointed. Ink is a really supportive company – there’s give and take. Obviously I enjoy the flexibility, but I particularly appreciate the fact that we work in a such a trusting partnership.
Q: What constructive advice would you give us, as your employers? What could we do better?
A: Honestly, nothing. I feel very lucky to be here.
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