Branch News
March 8, 2021

International Women’s Day 2021: Joanne Thomas

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 we reached out to some of the fantastic females at MKM to find out how they got into the building merchant industry and how they are choosing to challenge in a traditionally male industry.

Jo is Business Development Manager at MKM Hull, our first and longest serving MKM branch. Jo’s role is to scope out new sites and potential business in the local area. She is determined, tenacious and always goes the extra mile to ensure customers receive the best experience, and no stone is left unturned for potential business in Hull. She was also runner up in the Women In Merchanting award at the 2018 Builders’ Merchant Awards.

How did you get started in the builder’s merchant industry?

I worked at a local construction company for many years, MKM were our preferred supplier so I knew of Bill Acton and David Kilburn, I approached them about a role in the contracts division at Hull.

I then had an interview with Mike Thomas and the role expanded massively,  because I  was able to demonstrate I knew most of the major decision makers in the Hull area down to my previous role so the plan was to capitalise on the knowledge I was able to bring to the branch.

What do you think are the biggest challenges for women in the industry?

Getting the men to accept you on site. Whilst there are more women in the industry, it is still predominantly male. But as long as you have the knowledge and the confidence, you can win them over – it’s the personal relationships that matter, not gender.

What would you say is your proudest professional achievement?

My first £1m order.  I had found the lead that Fortem were coming to regenerate an area of Hull, I had found the man, created a relationship, received the enquiry, my team had priced it and we had won!   – Massive smiles when I saw the £1m order on my email and very proud of our team.

How do you choose to challenge a traditionally male industry?

You need to go the extra mile, your knowledge correct at all times, your response immediate, provide the banter, have  a smile on your face, understand and love the game (football)  and always ask for the order –do all this and you’ve got them!

What’s your advice to other women who want to work in the building industry?

You are in charge of your own destiny. You’re an equal, so be tenacious, driven, dedicated and never accept 2nd place.