Meet Carly Williams
I was working in the health and fitness industry and was looking for a challenging and rewarding career, Carly Howard – a close friend of mine who is now Head of Sales at Explore was a Centre Director at the time, and I was always fascinated by the sound of her job and knew how much she loved it so she encouraged me to give it ago.
Working for a fitness company for nearly 4 years was fine, but I felt that I wasn’t being challenged enough and that there was no heart or soul to the company. With Explore you only had to meet the people to know instantly why they do what they do and the passion they have for it is evident in abundance! It was infectious and I remember coming out of the interview thinking “I must work for this company”.
I started as an AD in St Albans where I was for 11 months before becoming a CD there for a year. Next I launched the Welwyn Garden City centre and was then lucky enough to work my way up to a Head Office position becoming the Learning and Development Manager. I have since taken over the Head of the Department position for my manager who is on maternity cover. My 4 year anniversary with Explore will be in September!
I don’t really have a typical day as my week is so varied. Currently I am spending lots of time with different departments re-writing their classroom training days, or I could be out in centres doing observations, chatting to the teams about their training needs. I love our monthly team meetings as that’s when we pull all our ideas together and work on our team vision, this allows us to plan and adapt our strategy. I work best bouncing off the team!
I can honestly say that working with a lovely bunch of people in centres and in Head Office that I have respect for is the bit I love the most. Every day I am inspired or learn something new from someone. I miss having lots of face time with the kids in a centre but I always try and get some surf club time whenever I am in a centre.
Stepping up into a Head of Department role after just 6 months in the Learning and Development team was pretty daunting. I had little understanding of how to run a department and just threw myself in. I made lots of mistakes and learnt from other people, got feedback and it got better. Pretty much the same as being an AD really!
I love working in the training and development field so I can really see myself staying within this department for the foreseeable, there are so many exciting projects that we have up our sleeve it’s going to take us a good couple of years to put all of our amazing ideas into place, whilst it feels like a big task the challenge really excites me!