A day in the life of a Director of Sales and Commercial Partnerships at Haymarket Automotive

We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Kate Hannam, Director of Sales and Commercial Partnerships at Haymarket Automotive, to hear more about her typical working day.

In this interview, Kate details her love for her varied role and explains how Haymarket allows her to have a work-life balance. Kate believes that her role in automotive allows her to be able to make a difference, and highlights her love for 'to do' lists as a Mum of 2!

What is your job role?

I manage the sales operation across part of our Automotive Division, which comprises What Car?, Autocar, Classic & Sports Car, and Car Aftermarket Trader. I had been working exclusively on What Car?, leading the sales team in signing dealers up to our online platform that connects them in real-time with in-market car buyers. More recently my portfolio has grown to include our e-commerce business, awards sponsorship, and the Classic & Sports Car and Car Aftermarket Trader brands too.

What was your route to this job?

I started at Haymarket 20 years ago, straight out of university. I saw the job advert in 'Prospects' - a career magazine that I found in the university library (long before the days of LinkedIn) and remember thinking that the personality profile they were looking for was an exact match to how I would describe myself. I'd never considered a career in media sales but was moving to London and needed a job. I applied and within a week I was on the payroll - and I've not looked back since.

I have always been a strong believer that if you are not happy then you have the power to change that, but I can genuinely say that I have pretty much bounced out of bed every day. My whole career has been spent at Haymarket but it has been so varied, which I feel is one of the reasons I have never looked elsewhere.

I started selling classified advertising in print and quickly progressed to manage a team. I've sold to West End agencies, as well as client direct. I've sold print, digital and creative campaigns as well as being made Publisher for our caravan portfolio, which was a great experience. Whilst I have only worked for one company, I have worked across a number of sectors and met some amazing people along the way.

Why do you love your job?

My job is so varied that no one day is the same and I love that. I am also very driven and love a challenge - and I have certainly faced a number of challenges over the past 20 years!

I work with great people, which makes it fun, and everyone seems to want to succeed. It is understood that at times we may get things wrong, which we do, but we learn from those mistakes and somehow come out stronger.

Being a working mum of two, I am also lucky to be able to work 4 days and so my work-life balance is where I would like it to be. I remember asking my husband to remind me, as I went on maternity leave with my second, that I would want to go back to work at the end of the 12 months. I felt a number of emotions; guilt, excitement, fear, exhaustion just to name a few, but work has been supportive and now my children are getting older I am so happy to have built up my career over the past 20 years and happy that they can see me succeed in what I do, with a smile on my face too.

What does your typical working day look like?

I tend to be the first up in my house and try to be ready before the kids get up for school. I like to be one step ahead, getting myself organised before focussing my attention on getting them dressed, fed, and off to school. Working remotely for the past 18 months has meant I have been able to fit in an early morning run a couple of times a week too, which always sets me up well for the day ahead and I am hopeful that this can continue when I return to the office from next month.

I love a list and always start the day writing out my ‘to do’ list. I review my calendar to see which meetings I have booked for the day and then I like to check in with each of my direct reports. As we are all still working remotely I think it is more important than ever to ensure we speak every day and check-in with one another. My days are varied but comprise a mixture of team calls, client calls (some would have been physical meetings pre-pandemic); account managing or pitching for new business, as well as working with teams internally to discuss projects we are working on or new revenue streams that we would like to explore. I might work on client proposals that I need to send out or internal presentations reporting on my parts of the business. No one day is the same but they are always busy!

At the end of the working day, I turn back into ‘Mum’ again, chat with the kids about their day and run through any homework or reading that they have to do, as well as watching their various football or swimming clubs that they attend. I am very lucky that I am able to work a 4 day week, I live near work and so have a reasonably short commute (London traffic permitting!) and have a job that I genuinely enjoy.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your current role?

I am driven to succeed and it became clear a number of years ago that Automotive was a division that our business was keen to invest in. I wanted to be part of that investment and part of the team that delivered results. I don't think I am inspired by any one person in particular but I enjoy a challenge and knew when my current role was offered to me, that there was an opportunity to be able to make a difference.

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