Get to know Coresteel Buildings South Canterbury's General Manager Heather Harding, with 10 quick questions.
- How long have you worked for Coresteel?
We took the South Canterbury Coresteel franchise on at the end of 2013. I was a complete newcomer to the construction industry, having come from a primary teaching background. My focus within the business has always been marketing, sales and HR.
- What do you enjoy most about sales?
Sales is remarkably like teaching – both are about convincing my audience that I’ve got a good idea and now’s a good time! I really enjoy being creative and thinking of different ways to get messages across. I’ve always enjoyed problem-solving and helping people, so sales ticks that box for me. It can be daunting meeting people and trying to establish relationships, but it’s very satisfying when it works!
- Before working for Coresteel what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had?
I taught at a primary school in Tanzania, East Africa for 2 years. It was the highlight of my career and I’m still in touch with some of those students 20-odd years later. Mwanza was the 3rd poorest city in the OECD at the time. There were scorpions, snakes and monkeys in the playground, water was trucked in daily on the back of a ute and the electricity only worked for half an hour during the day, so there were plenty of challenges!
- What awards and accolades have you achieved?
Our building company, Harding Construction, won Special and Bronze awards at the 2016 Master Builders Commercial Project Awards, Best Company Culture Award at the 2017 Asia Pacific Business Excellence Forum and was a finalist in the 2016 South Canterbury Business Excellence Awards. Our Coresteel franchise was a finalist for the 2018 Coresteel Marketing Award.
- What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“Be sure to create an outstanding week” – Paul Dunn, business mentor and chairperson of B1G1. I like the instruction to create my own success. Stuff happens. It’s up to me to shape it into a good outcome.
- Where’s your hometown?
I grew up on a beef and cropping farm in Methven, Mid-Canterbury. I still love driving tractors and working with stock. I’m a country gal at heart.
- Who lives in your house?
I live with my lovely husband Simon and two gorgeous girls Elizabeth (10) and Rose (7). Jack the dog and Billie the cat make up the rest of the dependants. Amy, our eldest daughter is a QS in Auckland.
- Of all the countries you’ve travelled to, which is your favourite?
Tanzania! You just can’t beat it for experience, heart, people, animals, scenery, smell, taste… It’s a life-changing place.
- What’s on your bucket list?
I’d like to climb Mt Kilimanjaro – or at least, get up to the snowline. I wanted to do it when I worked in Tanzania, but I couldn’t afford it. Kilimanjaro is the highest peak people can climb without needing oxygen tanks.
- What’s one of your hidden talents?
I sing opera! Or rather, I used to. I studied classical singing for years. I competed at national level and was a member of the NZ National Youth Choir. We sang with Dame Kiri at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.