Powerful change: Leading a path for women in Industrial Solutions

After finishing high school, Christie Power wasn’t sure which direction her career would take. Following 11 years in the dental industry and relocation to Mt Isa with her partner, she began working as a Sales Co-Ordinator with Coates, where she was surprised to find a strong sense of community and a team willing to support her growth from day one.

“I honestly didn’t realise before starting the role just how much being around supportive and positive people can impact the day to day,” she reflects. “I believe sometimes as women, we don’t give ourselves enough credit until that door is opened and we are provided the right support. The people at Coates have taught me that work can actually be a fun and exciting place.”

Following another move closer to Brisbane, Christie was offered a transfer position as Operations Coordinator for Queensland Industrial Solutions. Since then, she’s noticed immense growth in herself professionally and personally.

“While I liked working in dental, it’s only now that I can honestly say I love every day on the job,” she says. “The great thing about this type of role is people are always happy to see you and are grateful for the support you’re providing. I genuinely look forward to every new challenge, and it’s a great feeling to have my knowledge and skills recognised.”

As a company, Coates operates on four key values that serve to bolster the everyday work environment and relationships with customers long-term. One of these values – ‘Care Deeply’ – has stood out to Christie as she continues expanding her expertise in a solutions-focused role.

“It’s about caring deeply for the safety and wellbeing of our people, customers, and communities,” she explains. “My team is like a second family to me. A lot of the time they are travelling to remote sites, which can be mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging for them. I love that I can be a there for them to chat to, encourage, and celebrate personal highlights with.”

One thing that has surprised Christie the most since coming on board with the company has been the level of practical knowledge that she has accumulated regarding equipment, engineering and industrial processes.

“I might be at a family barbeque, and someone will ask a question about a topic – lifting for example – that I never previously thought I’d have the answer to. It’s very empowering to be able to back myself on these things and be the person who has the answer.”

As part of her current role in Industrial Solutions, Christie liaises with customers through a digital ordering system, addressing queries and delegating requests to the relevant branches or team members. For her, no two days are the same, and a large part of that involves being prepared for the unexpected.

“I assist the team with anything I can, from sourcing assets around the country and organising site requirements to booking flights, car hire, and accommodation for when out team is travelling to sites,” she says. “Every site has different requirements, for example with PPE, so I do my best to align all those details before we get up there to avoid any hiccups.”

“Sometimes customers come to us with a problem, and they don’t know what the solution will be,” she adds. “That’s when we can step in and make suggestions based on experience, what we have available, and what we may be able to source. We can also cater to different cost and sustainability requirements.”

Christie, alongside her team, uses inventory management technology to quickly produce clear data on things like consumables and equipment such as hand-held radios.

Additionally, a lot of what the team does is reactive work, so she’s had to learn how to act quickly as a single source provider for many of her customers around the Queensland.

“At the end of the day, whether it’s a site shutdown or more complex challenge, people just want a solution or for someone to say ‘yes, we can organise that for you’,” she says.

“I think women are extremely well-equipped to step into roles where they need to puzzle things out, be proactive, and get the job done. I’m proud of how far I have come with Coates and would love to see more women pursue work in this field.”

This feature first appeared here.

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