Fresh from running door to door teams for a Canadian energy company, my best mate and I started at SMART in May 2004. We wore a path around the streets of Victoria running SMART’s very first energy campaign – the one that made SMART synonymous with successful direct energy marketing.
I was hungry for a challenge and on the lookout for new opportunities and a working environment I could love. But I could never have imagined how crazy and exciting my three years at SMART would turn out to be. From the moment I landed at SMART, you could just feel how the company was on the verge of some really exciting change and explosive growth. I wanted to be a part of that.
One of the practical challenges of being part of a company that was growing so quickly was that we were quickly running out of space. But just as the business was run, ingenuity guided our approach to smaller issues too. It’s amazing how a pokey, empty room with a couple of picnic tables and a few old phones could become a 25 seat call centre with state of the art technology (for that time, anyway!) in just a few hours. All of the offices were already packed with up to three management staff each, so we just had to build new ones along the side which we packed with even more staff from the moment people were finished. In total, the number of staff coming in and out of the office grew from a comfortable 50, then to 150 people, then to a packed 300 in just Melbourne alone.
Eventually I had to move our Vodafone operation to a completely separate building just to we could accommodate our growth in Vodafone and the other burgeoning channels. While there wasn’t a lot of room to move, the faces and stories passing through were amazing. The entertainment factor was gold, and friendships were forged that would last a lifetime. Everyone was getting shuffled around all over the place, but people were getting promoted and making lots of money.
At the beginning of my last year at SMART, I was made National Manager for the American Express campaign. It was great to be able to put my most senior manager in charge of my old role running the Vodafone campaign. With Amex, I was now responsible for staff right around Australia, as well as focussing on the corporate sales aspects of the campaign. This was the campaign that brought me to where I am today.
In 2007, I had to go back to Canada, so the prospect of leaving SMART was a very hard personal decision to make. The friends that I made at SMART are friends that I know I’ll have for the rest of my life. My life became all about the people I worked with and I’m sure it was like that for those people as well. The senior management team were like a family. The best part was that everyone worked hard but we played certainly played even harder. From the Ski trips to the Spring Carnivals it was always the time of our lives. Sometimes it just felt like we were a bunch of kids running the company but it worked and we did it better than our competitors.
For so many people, SMART was the first chapter of so many success stories. That goes for my friends who are still at SMART and those who have since left for other challenges. Looking back on my journey with SMART, I’ve got so much to be thankful for. Working side by side my best, the SMART family I’m now a part of, and even my fiancée (yes, I met her at SMART too!).
I can honestly say that my experience at SMART changed my whole life.
Happy Anniversary boys! Thanks for the memories... you’re done very well.