A/NZ Women in Business Mentor Program 2021: Cathy Giles, Portwest
Cathy Giles, Area Sales Manager for Portwest, the fastest growing workwear company in the world, is the latest recruit to our Women in Business Mentor Program 2021.
Cathy is Australian and joined Portwest when her previous company was acquired in 2017.
How did you join Portwest?
When Portwest moved into Australia and acquired Prime Mover, I had been with Prime Mover for seven years. It has been exciting to see the range grow with the addition of the Portwest products. After we acquired Huski, we are now a one-stop safety solution for our distributors.
What are the greatest challenges and the greatest joys of building the business?
Establishing the Portwest brand in the Australian market has been challenging, as many of our current customers only know us a supplier of clothing through the Prime Mover and Huski brands. We have made good in-roads with our distributors in over the last few years, and while there is a long way to go, many now know we are far more than just clothing suppliers
In terms of greatest joys, it is seeing our brand/styles requested on a tender. Helping our distributors grow with our range and being able to offer an extensive range of clothing, safety and PPE – a one stop shop. The biggest joy is seeing our products on workers and knowing we play a role in keeping them safe.
You mentioned Portwest is a family business, did that resonate with you when you decided to take the job?
Absolutely. The history and story behind Portwest are fantastic. A family business with a global vision, and the family continue to service key leadership roles. The values of the business flow all the way through the 4500+ staff globally.
What are your plans for the Australian market?
Portwest currently lead the way in product development, our range is comprehensive and unmatched in Australia and NZ, we have targets in place for 20% growth year on year. Portwest will establish itself as a market leader in all aspects of the Safety market within the next 5 years, a recognised brand in Clothing, Footwear and PPE.
Why did you sign up to the mentor program?
I’m really excited about the opportunity to meet and connect with other women who are experts in their field and to work on my networking skills.
What are the key benefits you have realised from Enterprise Ireland support?
Enterprise Ireland has been tremendous in connecting and promoting Portwest in the Australian market with multiple opportunities to be front and centre at events as well as being mentioned regularly in social media posts etc. Enterprise Ireland is a great resource that is always willing to help.