By Sally McEllistrim
Focus on NCBI Retail Area Manager Orla Butler.
They say that a change is as good as a rest but while NCBI Area Manager Orla Butler changed careers she is far from resting!
The former qualified Secondary school teacher joined NCBI in 2015 in the busy role of Area Manager and she laughs as she recounts her frenetic career saying that her phone can ring nonstop! She reveals that she did actually count the number of missed calls one day and the tally came to a staggering 70 calls! Her area is diverse and stretches from Cavan to Navan with parts of Offaly, Kildare and Laois also under her remit.
Since Orla came on board she has overseen the opening of 6 shops in her area namely Ardee, Balbriggan , Whitewater in Newbridge , Dunshaughlin, Maynooth and Leixlip as well as relocating NCBI’s Edenderry shop and renovating the Kells and Tullamore shops.
“Yes it’s a hectic job but as they say find a job you love and it’ll never feel like work. I think I have done that!”
“I love the diversity of the role and the fact that no two shops are the same, what works well in one shop may not be as successful in another and that’s fair enough. I love trying out new ideas in the shops and hearing everyone’s ideas…. my attitude is always let’s try everything and if it works ,great, and if it doesn’t we try something else! Each shop has its own unique strengths.”
“No two days are ever the same but generally day to day involves traveling to shops, meeting the managers and the team, checking stock levels, prices, shop layout, discussing any staffing issues, any further training needs, interviewing new shop managers, liaising with Tus/CE supervisors, liaising with head quarters fundraising and communications team, builders, electricians and Retail head office.”
Orla says “At the end of the day I’m happy when I’ve done my best to help the shop manager and his or her team to achieve the very best for the shops and that’s all I ask of anyone. I am very competitive and I don’t like the word “no”!!”
“Many of our shop managers were previous volunteers and scheme participants, I love recognising good talent, helping people learn and develop and I will always support and encourage someone to progress.”
“I am so fortunate with so many good managers in my area who train up their volunteers and scheme participants so that when a new shop opens they are ready to apply for new roles if they so wish.”
Orla is keenly aware that the money raised in NCBI’s shops is an integral part in the overall fundraising effort of the charity.
“Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. The NCBI does incredible work for people with sight loss and it’s a privilege to be able to support it. There are also coffee mornings taking place, street collections, Tesco bag packs, lots of fashion shows , we will have quiz nights also so fundraising amongst the shops is always busy but a necessary part of raising funds for people visually impaired and living with sightloss.
What really amazes me about the charity sector is how brilliant our volunteers are. I have met the most fantastic people who give up their time so willingly and work so hard be it in the shop and/ or fundraising. We could not survive without them and they are a very important part of our organisation.”
And as to any downtime Orla says “On my day off you will not get me in a car for love nor money unless I’m being chauffeured around.”
You can understand why!