Louise Thompson became Auxilion’s Head of Central Administration just over a year ago. She told us about her first year with the company, her background before joining, and her plans for the future.
What was Louise’s background before joining Auxilion?
“Before Auxilion, I worked in a creche. I worked retail part-time during college. Then I started with a company called Giraffe Childcare as a Deputy Manager, and then worked my way up to Manager. I was with them nine years and I was Manager for seven of those. It was great, I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot that I still apply to this day in terms of Health & Safety, First Aid, Facility Maintenance, etc. As a Centre Manager you cover a lot- running the centre, customer service with the parents, who are your clients. And obviously you’re looking after their most precious thing in the world, so if you got that wrong you’d be in trouble!
“I managed three different centres in the time I was there. The smallest had about 16-20 staff, and the largest had about 26. It was really enjoyable, but it got to a stage when I had my own children and I decided I needed more of a work-life balance. The shifts in the creche were opening at 7am, finishing at 7pm. And you still had to complete your managerial paperwork. I decided to change career altogether.”
Louise decided to move to a new industry.
“While the kids were young, I decided I needed a bit of a change. I decided to look for office-based business roles, and I went for an interview with a company called Townlink, a construction company, for a Junior Office Manager role. The role involved assisting with Health & Safety and Quality & Environmental and ISO accreditations, as well as managing reception and front of house. It was quite a small office, I didn’t have a team of people, it was just me in this role and then I had two days a week on-site, the other days managing the office. Over time I built up more duties, roles and responsibilities.
“I worked there for about five and a half years and decided I was ready to move on. It was a small office and during Covid a lot changed, I helped with a refit in the office. We completely changed the design. I was involved in the planning of this project and managed it which was really interesting. That was great, it was an interesting experience. But once that was finished things got a bit quieter again. The natural next step would have been to go out onto sites and look at a career in that area, and that’s not really what I was interested in.
“Like a lot of people, I also had some time to slow down a little and think about my next move during Covid. That was part of what got me on the path for a change.”
Louise then found her role with Auxilion.
“Once I’d decided I needed another change, I looked online at some jobs, joined a recruitment agency, explained what I liked and what I didn’t like. Because I live in Lucan and didn’t want to travel too far, I had a look at roles in Dublin 12 and that kind of area. And I found this one!
"Head of Central Administration! I was wondering what that involved, and when I went through the job spec there were a lot of things I was already doing as part of my previous job. It looked like the challenge I wanted to take on.
“I phoned Auxilion’s number and got through to reception. I asked to speak to someone from HR and got through to Josiane [Vaciloto, Resourcing Partner]. She took my details, gave me her email address, I forwarded my CV, and had an interview with Niamh [Cray, Head of People & Talent], and here I am!”
Has Louise’s role changed significantly since the emergence of remote working during the pandemic?
“A lot has changed with office environments, but the department I’m in is as busy as ever, everything still comes through Central Admin. A lot of places went paperless so that’s been a change, although obviously with some documents we still use hard copy, but in general that’s been a change in terms of who’s attending the office, paperwork, events being held online. But in my department, it’s as busy as ever.”
Day to Day
What is a typical day for Louise in her role, if there is such a thing?
“There are no two days the same which is part of what makes it really enjoyable, I don’t really like monotonous work. It’s nice sometimes to have something repetitive, but in general I like to be kept busy and I like having a diverse task load instead of the same things over and over. With health and safety, facility maintenance, central admin, there’s a good mix between all of those.
“Then within Central Admin and the queries we get, they’re so different. You could have simple travel requirements where somebody needs their travel booked, you could get a contractor request where a new contractor needs to be onboarded and their experience needs to be smooth and positive, just like with an Auxilion direct employee. You could get a more technical query where an employee can’t log their time and we need to investigate and look at the portals and the systems we have running to see what the issue is before we’d flag it with SOC.
"There’s a whole variety of tasks, event management as well if we’re running an event- we had Pride month in June for example, St. Patrick’s Day in March, someone might be running a charity event. Then you’ve got the summer and Christmas parties as well.
“There’s something for everybody- some people really enjoy the events management, some people don’t like that at all and prefer the technical queries- Huddle forms, finance queries, etc. It really depends. You want to try to stretch people and challenge them in a positive way but also respect their personalities and preferences. If someone really doesn’t want to manage someone, for example, you’re not going to assign them somebody. It depends on what experience they’re looking for and what their abilities are at the time. I enjoy that as well, the people management and training. I love figuring out what people’s abilities, preferences and interests are and helping them to build their role.”
How has Louise found the culture at Auxilion during her first year as part of the company?
“Everyone is really helpful and friendly. I’m very conscious that everyone has their own work to complete, and you need to be respectful and mindful of that when you’re looking for help or advice on a particular task. But everyone is very helpful and collaborative which helps to get the job done. Regardless of what role you’re in, people are very eager and happy to help out. There are a lot of different puzzle pieces within Auxilion but everyone works together to get the job done. There’s a really good atmosphere in the office as well.”
Looking to the Future
How does Louise see her future with Auxilion?
“I’m here just over a year, and in the last six months I feel like I’ve really found my feet. I’ve put faces to names, I understand people’s roles. In Central Admin we kind of work with everybody, everyone is our customer really, which is great. I am focusing on strengthening my skills within my own role, and also to review what we have in place and see if I can add anything to further develop the processes that we have. We’ve made some changes already, but I suppose to develop those processes a bit more and to establish myself further in my role.
“In terms of progression, I’m really just focused on developing in the role I’m in. Year one is the first for everything, obviously different companies have different policies and processes. Now that I’ve completed that first year, it’s really just perfecting all of that.”