As our Office Manager, Michaela Keohane is the power behind the throne. She’s recently passed an apprenticeship so can now support our drivers even more and serve our clients even better.
Michaela recently passed an apprenticeship in Team Leadership and Management, with a Merit.
As our office manager, her role is to oversee everything, make sure there are no mistakes, that jobs are put on correctly, that drivers know what they’re doing, and that staff do what they’re supposed to do.
Her team say she’s “completely changed” since the course, having grown in confidence. For example, she used to ask them to do things saying: “Would you mind doing this? If you’d rather not, I’ll do it myself.” Now she says: “This is your responsibility, but I’m here if you need me.”
Peter is pleased that she doesn’t just sit in meetings and let the others talk. She now contributes: “Hang on a minute” and puts her two-penneth in.
She has now delegated tasks such as invoicing. This allows her more time to ensure the office is being run smoothly, and that the drivers are happy.
“I’m no longer somebody in the background. I’m here to talk to if they have any issues and to help with their wellbeing. They’re all individuals with their own quirks and ways of doing things, so I ensure the people in the office deal with each of them in the correct way.”
As part of the course, Michaela also had to complete English and Maths Functional Skills level 2 (because they only recognise GCSEs, not CSEs). She says: “This may sound easy but for someone who struggles with maths, it was a major achievement. It’s helped a great deal. Now, when I go through the finances, I actually understand them!”
Michaela joined Cars in Camera in 2015. She’d never worked in a car company or managed a team before and remembers: “I was thrown in at the deep end.”
For the previous 11 years, Michaela was working in a local Catholic school, where she’d progressed to the role of Events Co-ordinator. “I wouldn’t say I ran the school, but everything had to go through me, even teachers’ meetings”.
The school had been “like a family where everyone was willing to do things for you”. But then a new head teacher arrived. “It was a different atmosphere. Horrible. He reduced me to tears and I hated going to work. I didn’t have the confidence to stand up for myself and say: ‘Don’t talk to me like that’.”
By contrast, Peter has always told Michaela: ‘You CAN do this’, and it was his idea for her to do the course.
“He saw something in me, really helped build my confidence, and has been a great support,” she says.
Michaela is a Yorkshire girl at heart, having moved down from Doncaster in 1988 for six months. She met her husband and stayed. “You can still hear my accent when I say Bath, Glass and Laugh,” she says.
The couple have three boys. The oldest has just bought his own house, the middle son is at university, and the youngest is training to be an electrician.
“I have three children at home and 10 in the office – the drivers are like another set of children!”
Asked about hobbies, Michaela says she’s a “fidgeter who can’t sit still”. She likes anything crafty, such as sewing and knitting. During lockdown, she got into jigsaw puzzles. “If I’m not doing something with my hands, I’d drive my husband to distraction,” she says.
Dancing to a different tune
Michaela danced every day from the age of seven. At school PE classes, she even told the teacher: “My muscles are made for dancing, not for running around a field!”
She did tap, ballet, acrobatics and modern dance. “I do miss it and still have my last pair of pointe shoes gathering dust at the back of a cupboard.”
“I literally lived for dancing,” she remembers, “I was back on stage just four weeks after my youngest was born.”
You might wonder how performing affected her confidence.
Michaela explains that, although she would sing and dance on stage “to my heart’s content”, she couldn’t see anybody. “It was just a blur of faces.”
Before the course, she didn’t have the confidence to sit in an office and talk to three or four people. Now she can, and is happy to ask questions so she can understand.
Peter suggested the Level 5 Business Manager course, but she says: “It would be a waste of time and money as I’m never going to manage a massive office. I enjoy my job and I’m quite happy to stay here.”
Instead, she wants to do the CPC qualification that drivers do. “It’s to do with legislation and what drivers and can’t do, so it will help with my work,” she says.
It seems there’s no stopping her now!
Michaela’s message to clients
“We’re always here to help. We’ll do everything in our power to get the end result you require. No matter how difficult, we will always try our best to find a way. 99% of the time, we can do what you want.
“As well as delivering cars and providing precision drivers, on a current shoot we’re also sourcing pretend chargers, wrapping vans, tinting windows and adding details. The driver even needs a stylist. We have no idea what he’ll be wearing!
“As long as you’re happy, we’re happy.”
If you want to move high value or hush-hush vehicles anywhere in the world, give us a call on 01727 836773.