60 Seconds With

“I consider myself a ‘forever student’ as I’m continuously learning,” — 60 seconds with Noelle Long of Maxi Zoo

By Business & Finance
26 July 2022
Pictured: Noelle Long, Purchasing and Marketing Director, Maxi Zoo

Noelle Long is the Purchasing and Marketing Director of Maxi Zoo. She began her career in the pet retailer 15 years ago without a formal education and has progressed through the ranks of the international corporation to her current position.

What was your first job?

My first job was working as a sales assistant in Blarney Woolen Mills. I gained a wealth of experience here and loved the fact that the customers came from all over the world.

Dealing directly with customers gave me invaluable insights and really cemented the foundation for my career in retail. 

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

I have always enjoyed retail and the ever-changing trends.  Every year seems to bring a new challenge, so you need to be able to adapt quickly in order to be successful and continue to move forward.

I consider myself a “forever student” as I’m continuously learning. I approach new challenges with an open mind. It’s certainly an industry that keeps you on your toes and I love it.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

Becoming a director in Maxi Zoo. I have always been hands-on and dedicated to growing the business. I’m very proud of the fact that I started out as a general office admin and worked my way up to director.

I love being part of a business that has gone from strength to strength.  I have trained and mentored new employees, opened 29 stores and we are just embarking on launching online.    

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

No. I didn’t have a clear career in mind when I set out but when I take on a new job/project,  I invest myself fully into it and work hard to ensure that it’s a success. This strategy has served me well so far.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

At the end of the day, if I reflect back and feel that I have helped someone to achieve their target/goal then it’s a day well spent.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Treat people the way you would like to be treated. It’s simple but effective. It doesn’t matter what position you hold within a company, at the end of the day we are all human. I will speak to someone the same if they are CEO or if they are in the most junior position. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Setting goals and having clear and open communication.  It’s very important to celebrate the wins. 

How do you handle adversity?

Every event in your life can teach you something and you need to remain open, develop inner strength, be resilient and stay positive. Retail is ever changing and you need to take a step back every now and then, take a deep breath and look at the challenge and reframe the problem in a positive way. Always keep adapting and learning.

How do you relax?

I love to hike. I’m at my happiest when my hiking boots are on and surrounded by nature. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful places to visit here in Ireland.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

To launch our online shop and have a very successful omni-channel business.

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