Organic growth and the desire to work with people’s strengths are behind Linda Edwards’ success as a local business woman.
The Operations Director of The Sussex Sign Company received the Highly Commended Award this week at the Johnston Press East Sussex Women in Business Awards – an accolade that is well deserved according to her Managing Director, Norman Mayhew.
‘Linda is resourceful, tenacious and confident and her strength and resolve have helped bring our business phenomenal success,’ he said, adding that having a considered and realistic approach has been ideal for the company’s growth.
‘There is no doubt she is a genuine asset to the development of The Sussex Sign Company, she offers a voice of reason and a natural balance to my more risk-taking personality. We would not be the same without her.’
Linda first experienced working within the sign industry when she was at school on a work placement and continued throughout her higher education.
Linda started at the Portslade-based organisation 16 years ago, as the company’s first ever official Graphic Designer.
She was soon promoted through the ranks and became an integral part of the company and subsequently the senior management team.
‘My strengths were recognised and it was fabulous to work in a business where I could put all my abilities to use, above and beyond my job description.’
Within five years she was managing her own branch in Newhaven and consequently took on greater responsibilities for the growth and expansion of the company as it amalgamated through acquisition.
‘At the start of my employment we were a team of six, in 2018 we are proud to employ at team of twenty four, having successfully exceeded Norman’s original ambition to have a £1m turnover business.’
With the organisation having achieved in excess of £1.4m, as a Shareholder, Linda has further ambitions to continue to develop a profitable, sustainable business.
Linda continually strives for the achievement of collective successes for all team members, regardless of their role and or responsibilities within the organisation.
‘For me, it is paramount to recognise and acknowledge where individual team members’ strengths lie and elevate them to the foreground.’
She added that there have been many obstacles and encounters along the way but Linda has always ensured that she has utilised these as an opportunity for professional growth and progression for both her and the organisation.
Even when the country suffered the deep recession following the financial crash, Linda was determined that the organisation would withstand the crisis which saw revenues drop dramatically, with the business reaching a critical point for survival.
‘It was an incredibly challenging time, nevertheless the experience provided the opportunity for me to develop and demonstrate a much wider skill and knowledge base – incorporating skills such as; leadership, crisis management and problem solving. I was confident that collectively, Norman and I would lead the organisation to ensure its continued existence – which included personally investing to become an additional Shareholder.’
Linda’s award reflects the philosophy of The Sussex Sign Company – with Norman commenting that there is no doubt that she is a deserving recipient – ‘She has been critical to all our success and her approach has been dynamic, genuine and compassionate.’
The awards were announced at the Cavendish Hotel and presented by guest host Vicky Edwards who stage work includes seasons at Chichester Festival Theatre, a stint in the West End and several national tours.