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Power to young manager

Sean Richards, call centre manager for Powershop. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

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When it comes to building a successful career, you’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

That’s the message Sean Richards has for young Wairarapa professionals after being named one of three finalists for Young Energy Professional of the Year in the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards.

Richards, 28, is the call centre manager for Powershop which employs about 110 staff in its Masterton hub in Kuripuni.

He’s been in the energy game since 2009 when he started his working career as a call centre agent with Powershop when the call centre first opened.

“I started when I was 18.

“Before that, I worked at National Bank for a gateway programme while I was in school.

“[At Powershop] I gradually progressed and moved up the ranks here to manage the site.”

Richards, who is Masterton born and bred, said his job was to make sure “all the wheels were turning” at the call centre, which services New Zealand and Australia.

“I make sure we are providing ‘best in class’ service.

“There’s lots of stress, but I handle stress quite well.”

At 28 years old, Richards is on the younger side of the “young energy professional” category, which is classed as anyone under the age of 40 working in the industry.

He said his work ethic and Powershop’s business structure had enabled him to grow his career.

“This is a big office for Masterton.

“Every manager in here has started from the bottom.

“They’ve all worked their way up to becoming managers, so there’s massive career development potential at Powershop.”

He said the key to being a manager was to “build an environment people want to succeed in”.

“It’s a weird saying, but you have to try to make the work environment fun, otherwise the opposite of fun is boredom, and you don’t want bored staff.

“Make [work] enjoyable for them and create an environment where they can build and grow their own careers.”

To succeed, Richards says you have to care about what you do and take ownership of it.

“It’s not luck that you get somewhere or do something – it’s the result of hard work and taking chances.

“If you are interested in something, put the work in.

“If you don’t succeed, the only person responsible for that is yourself.”

Powershop involved Richards in a workshop led by forensic psychiatrist Dr Ceri Evans where he learned about stress management and working under pressure.

“You understand pressure quite well because you know all the stages of anxiety and what you’re feeling, and what’s happening inside your own body that helps in dealing with stress.

“Pressure is what creates your movement – you’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

“As soon as you understand and accept that, stress isn’t so bad.”

The awards will be held in Auckland on August 21.

Powershop has also been nominated for Consumer NZ Energy Retailer of the Year.

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