Head of Market Development
Fresh from completing her Masters in Environmental Consultancy, Rebecca embarked on an internship with Waterscan.
A decade on, Rebecca is Account Director and Head of Sustainability, helping some of Britain’s biggest companies to navigate commercial and environmental challenges around water while satisfying her own desire for life-long learning.
How did you come to work at Waterscan?
I was pleased to find the intern opportunity at Waterscan because I wanted work related to my degree; to have the chance to put the knowledge and skills that I’d learnt during my dissertation
and industry project work to the test.
I’d been advised that ‘water was going to be the new carbon’ and so the chance to work in an emerging field was intriguing. Waterscan already had a really strong customer base of large companies which attracted me.
What happened next?
My internship project was to develop the methodology and tools for a new service, water footprinting – a fantastic opportunity. At the same time, several customers were beginning to focus on their supply chains, and this gave me the chance to stay with Waterscan as Water Strategy Coordinator in the communications team.
Before too long, I was ready for my next challenge! I approached the management team and was given my next role in account management, giving me the opportunity to put the concepts that I’d been working on into practice with an important customer, Whitbread. Since then, I have taken on many new accounts including Greene King, Carlsberg Marstons and Asda. I find it motivating that the company has such confidence in me to successfully onboard and develop new customers. Most recently, I’ve also become Head of Sustainability. This recognises the fact that companies are now tackling commercial and environmental challenges as one.
Tell us about a typical day for you.
Over and above the recurring administrative tasks like billing, evidencing savings and contract negotiations, I have longer term projects for specific customers such as developing a business case for advanced metering, benchmarking work or creating a rollout strategy for water efficiency technology.
Naturally, there’s a high degree of client liaison because relationship building is absolutely critical to advance water efficiency in any context.
Which skills do you need to succeed in this role?
More than anything, it’s about understanding your customers, knowing what they want to achieve and visualising what our output needs to be to get them there. Then, good time-management is important becauseI have to make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing to achieve all our service level agreements.
I’d also advocate being knowledge hungry; seeking out information yourself and building your knowledge base to have confident, meaningful conversations with customers. I think one of the hardest things to learn is how to own your decisions. That’s why relationships are fundamental, and this isn’t something you can teach. It’s down to experience and being open to learning from customers as much as they do from you.
You’ve been at the company for ten years – why?
I know I can still add value. I need to be working in an industry where there are always new things to learn and, in sustainability, this is a given because nothing stands still in this space. I started here before the environment was ‘big news’ but the thing about sustainability is that you can never say ‘that’s done’ because you’re always moving onto the next challenge. I enjoy learning and working to create good outcomes. I couldn’t do something that I didn’t enjoy doing every day.
Personally, I like working for a smaller company too. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have got as far as I have in my career if I’d gone into a corporate role. The flip side is that you have to contribute more. I know my managers have high expectations of me, and that is good. It makes me feel more valued and I go the extra mile. I want to be pushed and that’s why I like it so much here.
Rebecca Gale’s career journey
- 2013Water Footprinting Intern
- 2013Water Strategy Co-ordinator
- 2014Account Manager
- 2018Account Director
- 2022Account Director & Head of Sustainability