60 seconds with Paul Giles, Regional Sales Manager at Portwest

Paul Giles, Regional Sales Manager Australia/New Zealand at Portwest has been working with the company for over 14 years. Paul has been involved in the company growth as the world’s fastest growing work wear and safety manufacturer, offering a complete head to toe safety range and recently winning the Private Irish Business of the Year Award in 2019.

We sat down with Paul to find out what he believes the cultural challenges Irish business in Australia face and how he motivates his colleagues:

What was your first job?

I was an early starter when I was 9 I got a job at the local butcher shop on a Saturday morning washing up, I remember my Mum going back to the shop with my first pay telling him they paid me too much, to this day I’m still not sure how that worked.

What do you put your success down to?

Persistence and being prepared to change.

If you were to start your career over, what advice would you give yourself?

Think fast, talk slow and that listening is more important than talking.

What are the cultural challenges for Irish businesses in Australia?

I don’t see a lot of cultural differences, however I did learn early on that a thong in is a very different thing in Ireland.

How do you motivate yourself and your colleagues?

I have always believed that a big part of motivation is an intrinsic trait, however Family, friends and colleagues would be the main driver. Setting clear goals, working collaboratively to achieve them and not having pointless meetings is a good start to motivating colleagues. 

What are your aspirations for the future of Portwest?

Portwest is the world’s fastest growing work wear and safety manufacturer, offering a complete head to toe safety range. Our aspirations are to be the market leader of Safety and PPE products in Australia and New Zealand, we are constantly innovating and improving products we are also working collaboratively with a brilliant network of distributors/re-sellers to deliver our range.

Finally, if you could invite three people to dinner who would they be and why?

  1. Vincent Lingari, he inspired great change mainly through being persistent and standing up for what was right, he inspired Paul Kelly to write “From little things big things grow” I would like to hear his story first hand.
  2. Graham Norton, he would be a great laugh with plenty of stories to tell about all the interviews he has held over the years
  3. Richard Branson one of the best entrepreneurs or our time, I am sure he could pass on a few tips.

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