Cheryl Voller – 25 years in the industry

2nd December 2020
Hailey O'Riordan

With 25 years in the industry our very own Director, Cheryl Voller is here to share her experiences on juggling a career with family life.. and everything in between!

Cheryl’s dedication and success speak volumes, as she strives to offer nothing less than excellence. 25 years of service is certainly a milestone for us to celebrate!

So, Cheryl why recruitment?

In all honesty, I fell into recruitment having worked in retail management and HR for ten years previously. I really enjoyed the recruitment aspect of HR, so when an opportunity came along to join one of the largest national specialist recruiters, I jumped at the chance. I loved the buzz of the office and the fact that I got to work in London some of the time. I grew up in the North West, so the bright lights of the capital city were a pull for me. I remember winning a sales award not long after joining and going to see my first London show. Blood Brothers, with an overnight stay all expenses paid. I was hooked!!!

What made you decide recruitment was for you?

Recruitment is all about building relationships, talking to people, listening, and having a real understanding for the needs and wants of both businesses and candidates. I really like people, and recruitment puts me in a very privileged position where I have an input into people’s career goals and businesses “people plans”. I love the fact that I get to travel that path, with both people and businesses and having worked in the industry for such a long time now I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people, and made friends along the way too.   

For me success is not just about my path, it is about the impact you have on others too. I have worked alongside some great people who have been brilliant role models. This has allowed me to gain knowledge and wisdom from their great minds, it’s invaluable, and whilst I reflect, I can honestly say they have helped me along the way.

How have you developed as a leader within the industry?

I would have to say that most of my development came from understanding, and working all desks throughout the industry sector I specialised in – I love tailoring to the needs of my clients, and ensuring we adapt and mould to their requirements.

As I progressed through the years, I quickly learnt that you needed to take people along for the journey, ensuring you built a strong team around you, with a foundation to last. Like many females in the business, or in fact many industries I’ve always had to work hard to stake my worth… With a young family at home, the juggle and balance of being a Mum and having a career was a task. Looking back, these factors really developed me as a leader, I ensured I had people on board, mentoring them, and offering support and guidance along the way. Anything was achievable, you just had to believe in it, set a goal, and then make a plan.

What changes have you seen in the past 25 years in recruitment and how the industry operates?

Like many industries, the landscape is ever-changing… it’s fiercely competitive and becoming more and more automated. I have seen two recessions and now sadly the global pandemic COVID19… Whilst I am positive we will come through this and luckily have managed to tick over, we have of course had to baton down the hatches to protect the company and our team, to enable us to future proof MacKenzie King. In times like these, you need to be resilient and robust, being able to adapt to the market is a must. I hope, like many others, we will continue to succeed and play our key role in providing recruitment solutions within finance teams across East Anglia for many more years to come.

Would you say that you have had to adapt your recruitment style over the years? 

People are my passion; I love how they work, and I love getting to know them. My recruitment style is probably more old school… I would rather meet for a coffee than organise a zoom call. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed organising Zoom calls in recent months… some weeks they are all that keep me sane! I just like the more personal touches, and I feel that is probably one of the things that make MacKenzie King stand out from the crowd.

I also try to live by the old adage of ‘ treating people as you would like to be treated yourself’ We mustn’t underestimate how important it is in recruitment to ‘ be human’ Candidates are often going through tough times if they are looking for another role, and businesses need us to care about finding the right people within their finance team.

It’s never just another sale to me, I really do care, and whilst we can never get it right all of the time in recruitment (we are dealing with people after all) I can say I will always care 100% of the time.    

So, how was MacKenzie King started?

In a time of another corporate reshuffle, I felt it was time to try it for myself. I must have been mad looking back for various reasons, none more so than we were in the midst of the financial crash. I truly believe that the recruitment process needs to be a personal experience for all involved, and MacKenzie King was born from a passion of ‘wanting to do better’ working with local businesses to fulfil the potentials within their finance teams. We were taking the concept of doing a good job, upscaling, and in turn doing a great job, whilst continuing to grow and develop our brand into what it is today. 

What might many people not know about you?

I have a love for music, and if I had my time again, I’d love to try my hand at becoming a DJ…. I’m definitely possessive over a playlist at a party! I also have a passion for red wine (some may say a hobby) I do balance this with going to the gym and keeping fit, it really is an essential part of my routine. 

I was born and grew up in the North West and relocated to Suffolk with my husband Edward in the early 90s. My career was in retail at the time and I took a promotion to be the HR Manager of a brand-new department store, Owen Owen in the Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich. I loved that role too and still miss the buzz of a busy department store at Christmas. 

We have now been here in Suffolk for 28 years and love living here although I do miss the hills and the northern countryside. After living here now for so long I’m almost a local! I am a very proud Mum to two boys, Christopher is training to be a helicopter engineer in the army and Matthew is about to embark on a career within financial services.   

My friends are incredibly important to me, they are an extension to my family, and I would not be without them. I think they would say I’m a loyal friend who is able to see the funny side of life, always being optimistic, and able to pick myself up from the darkest of times.

Biggest challenge:

Juggling my career and being a mother was, and still sometimes is a challenge. Prioritising workloads to ensure I could work to the best of my ability at a high performing level, whilst being available for all children’s activities was an art in itself. This was made more difficult due to us having relocated to an area new to both of us, with no family or friends to support us. It was tough but looking back it was actually one of my biggest achievements.

Let us talk a little bit more about you Cheryl, 25 years’ service to the recruitment industry is a fantastic achievement! Do you have a favourite memory?

Too many to count and recall, but one that stands out for me was getting on the train to London to visit a business on Pall Mall – we were pitching for, and then delivering the relocation of their finance team to Woodbridge. It was huge, and a great success! I had taken a new recruit with me, I wanted her to get a feel for how we operated, there’s nothing nicer than giving the team an insight into winning business, especially when we are still supporting that business 16 years on… 

That new recruit obviously made a great impression on me as she is now my ever-capable business partner -Catherine Vickery, what an asset she is.

Who’s inspired you?

My inspiration definitely comes from strong women, and I have worked with many throughout my career. Most of those people aren’t famous but if I had to choose celebrities, I would choose Michelle Obama & Sheryl Sandberg – they are proactively ensuring girls grow up to be confident, resilient leaders, running companies as well as countries. With women continuing to make significant strides in the business world, founding innovative companies, introducing revolutionary new ideas, and building pathways to workforce equity, what’s not to be inspired by!

Thanks again for your time today Cheryl, I am sure the MK team will be raising a glass of bubbles to celebrate your dedication to service very soon.