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Clare Bottle

Clare Bottle

Clare Bottle FCILT

Associate Director of Supply Chain at Coca-Cola

Q1: Please introduce yourself and give your potted career history to date.
I started out in logistics in an admin role and soon joined a graduate training scheme that gave me a taste for the industry.  I’ve been poacher and gamekeeper: working in both 3PLs and also as the client. Once I had enough experience, interim management was a good option for me to widen the breadth of my logistics knowledge and earn good money. Over the past 20 years I’ve worked for some great companies and met lots of inspiring logisticians.

Q2: What is the most rewarding thing about your career?
Logistics is both intellectually challenging and also very real & practical – it’s a dichotomy that I love. Our sector is very labour intensive too, which means there are huge teams to be managed: great if you’re passionate about people. And really efficient logistics is like a secret weapon that gives companies a competitive advantage. That’s the fun bit – using brains and pragmatism to be part of a winning team!

Q3: What is your favourite part of your day?

Waking up in the morning. I usually get up at 5:45 and spend the first 20 minutes whilst I’m in the shower, planning what to do that day and making sure I’m focussed and motivated. At that time, it’s quiet and there are no distractions. I love the peace and the promise of an exciting new day.

Q4: What is your primary measure of success?
Does it make the world a better place? When I’m working with the transport charity Transaid, the answer is obvious. But equally, with every endeavour, I ask myself whether my team, our customers or the logistics industry will be better as a result of my contribution. If the answer’s yes, that’s success.

Q5: When you’re having a really bad day but you have to just keep going, what do you tell yourself?
I ask myself how someone brilliant at the top of their game would handle this situation. Then I try to play that part until I’m back in control. It’s important to be authentic, so you can’t do it routinely, but I still believe that great management includes an element of play-acting from time to time.

Q6: Did you have role models when you were younger? Do you still have them now? Who were/are they and why?
My drama teacher Mrs Grey-Lloyd taught me for an hour a week from the age of 9 to 18. She was always elegant and in control, she knew how to really listen and she wouldn’t accept anything less than my best performance. Early in my career I had a very patient and experienced boss at Exel Logistics called Frank. Even when I made a mistake, he backed me and believed in me. Now I admire Ruth Waring, for her driving commitment to make it ‘normal’ for women to succeed in our industry.

Q7: What advice would you give your younger self?
Cheerful is successful. Don’t let other people get you down: you choose your mood, nobody else can do that for you.

Q8: What advice would your younger self give you?
Don’t assume you already know who’s got something valuable to suggest. A junior role shouldn’t be a barrier to making an important contribution.

Q9: What does the word ‘balance’ mean in your life and how do you achieve it?
Personally, I love to work, so my balance is all about finding a way to incorporate Transaid and Women in Logistics into my working week. I also find that exercise (in my case, walking or cycling) is a good way to stay emotionally stable and focussed.