Working Mum Goes From Part-Time Trainer to Vansdirect Managing Director
Vansdirect a Newport-based online retailer part of the Vertu Motors group, has promoted a dedicated and experienced colleague to lead its operation as Managing Director.
Samantha Ward, who joined Vansdirect in 2016 part-time as a Training and Development Co-ordinator, became Training and Compliance Manager in 2018, before being made Operations Director in 2020.
Samantha said: “When I started working with Vansdirect, I wanted to work somewhere that valued work/life balance. I had young children, so it was important to me to take on a part-time position, but I also knew I wanted room for growth when my children were older, and I was in the position to go back full time.”
Early 2020, when all but four colleagues were required to furlough, Samantha saw the opportunity to demonstrate her skills and highlight her strengths. Along with three other remaining colleagues, she ran Vansdirect’s operation.
Samantha continued: “During lockdown, my husband was furloughed, so he took over our childcare while I worked full time. The time with just the four of us really allowed us to embed the Vertu Motors group values ahead of everyone’s return, evaluating what we were doing to make improvements.
“It was a tough period for everyone, but we made the most of it and came out the other side better for it.”
In her new position as Managing Director, Samantha will be responsible for leading the business into its next phase, with big plans for the future.
Samantha said: “I want to make Vansdirect the market leader in online retailers. When you think vans, I want you to think Vansdirect.
“I want us to be a one stop shop for van owners, whether it’s the vehicle, the insurance, the accessories, whatever! Someone should be able to come to us and, if it’s van related, we should be able to help.
“From a leadership perspective, I want to keep building the business as an ambassador for the Vertu Motors plc values, ensuring it’s always a safe place for people to come to work and be their best self. The culture was essential to me when I joined, and I want to make sure that it’s as welcoming to all current and future colleagues.”
Award-winning Vansdirect was founded in 1999 in Newport and has become one of the top independent commercial van retailers in the UK.
Vansdirect was acquired by Vertu Motors plc in January 2019 and a year later, the Group committed to the brand’s Welsh roots by signing a new 10-year lease on its Newport premises.