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Get to Know your National Program Manager, Lisa Barkhouse


Get to Know your National Program Manager, Lisa Barkhouse

What’s it like to be the National Program Manager at Hercules SLR? We talk to Lisa Barkhouse, who trains and develops learning programs for Hercules SLR branches across Canada.

We sit down with our National Program Manager, Lisa Barkhouse, to discuss her role at Hercules SLR, learning styles and why she’s passionate about training.

Tell us about your educational/professional background:

I made the principals list in high school and received a bursary to attend Mount Saint Vince University, however for me, learning has been a continued process.

I’ve completed many programs like Dale Carnage, Life Coaching by Eleanor Beaton, ISO training with BDC, Steven Covey Leadership Coaching, and Woman in Business sessions, and this training has been so valuable for me to improve in my role.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Before starting at Hercules SLR, I worked at a variety of places! My very first job was in customer service as a cashier at Canadian Tire in 1985—This experience was key to learning how I wanted to treat other people.

My first full-time job was at a family-run trucking business, ‘County Trucking’ doing manual accounting and using a two-way radio to communicate with the truckers. This was an interesting experience as we made the switch from a manual to digital system, which was called Business Visions.

In 1991, I left this role to work for my a family’s business, Darose Controls, which my uncle owned at the time. During this time, I had two kids, and decided to take 3 years off to enjoy my family, leaving this role.

When I decided to re-enter the work-force, I worked as a bookkeeper for Gartec Industrial—Ann Kelly, one of the owners was a huge influence for me, as a mentor in business and leadership. Eventually, I went back to accounting then made the shift to sales in Gartec—In this role I built relationships and realized I loved getting to know people, which was a nice change from accounting.

I ended up working for a company called IMP Marine, now ‘Spartan Industrial Marine’. For the next 3 years, I learned about rigging, inspections and inside sales, and built great relationships there.

What made you decide to go into this industry?

Well, in high school, I had the best marks in was accounting! I was drawn to the start and finish process accounting provides.

But, I truly believed customer service chose me! Growing up, at the supper table my father would talk about his day building furniture, and later, as manager of trades at a university and tell us “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

He really instilled in me to learn, and take training and education on in all forms, in each roll I was in. Accounting was just the start of my business understanding—Leading, influencing and getting people to see how they impact business in every roll is what excited me about leadership.

When did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

I needed to work for an organization that challenged me and I could put all I learned to work. I understood rigging practices and inspections from IMP, and Hercules SLR stood out as an opportunity to improve even more.

I actually frequented the same coffee shop every day, where Matt Corey (Hercules General Manager for the Atlantic region) went to. After seeing him there over a year, I asked him one day “What’s exciting at Hercules SLR? I’m interested if there might be an opportunity for me there.” He told me he’d be in touch, and the rest is history—I’m a firm believer that it never hurts to ask a question!

Soon after, in October 2009, I started as a CSR (Customer Service Representative). I wanted to be the best CSR in the world—Yes, in the world! In my mind, if customer service was what life had in store for me, I’d do it with greatness.

3 months in to the roll, I was meeting all my KPI’s! Matt knew I could do more to help the branch and I was offered the role of Operations Manager.

Picture this: There’s a new lady in-charge of a rigging shop, shipping department and webbing department—At my first Toolbox meeting, one of the riggers asked me, “What can you do we don’t already know?” After 3 months I was a leader for them now, and I had to show up much different than I did before. Eventually, I moved on to a new area of the company that focuses on the marine industry, which I was familiar with�. When I delivered the news to our rigging team that I was leaving, let’s just say they were sad to see me go. I knew I’d earned their trust and proved I supported them. We had good profits, moral and built relationships, and I knew I’d be missed from this branch.

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Where have you traveled during your time at Hercules SLR?

I’ve traveled to so many places throughout Canada! As National Program Manager, I’ve travelled to train in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Calgary and British Colombia to support the branches in operations, and leadership.

You’ve been all over! Where have you enjoyed traveling to most?

I enjoyed working and helping throughout Nova Scotia with their operations, inventory & fish shows.

Over the last 3 years, I’ve spent most of my time in Ontario teaching the operations of Hercules, building the leaders to be effective, and understanding how they can impact the business in a positive way.

We’ve been hard at work to influence, support and teach this region—I believe their leaders are set to stand out and lead their teams to a profitable region with a culture of outstanding leadership Hercules will be proud of.

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

This year, Hercules will take me coast-to-coast—It’s important to me build relationships personally, and in my role. I’d like to work more in the East and West coast regions, and help them strengthen relationships with their customers, and show them the impact it has on operational & sales strategies.

What’s something you’re most proud to have accomplished in your career as Program Manager at Hercules SLR?

I’m most proud to help others see their potential accomplishments—I stand for the success of others first.

When you work in service for others, you reap the rewards of success you could not have ever imagined. I love helping others be successful in their roles, but I can’t talk about my accomplishments and not share who’s given me support along the way. From the beginning with Matt Cory, Linda Kettle, Darlene Vickers, Chris Reid, Cory Young, Paul Johnston and Rose Efford are just some of the great people here that have pushed me to be better.

Overall, my greatest accomplishment is earning trust by delivering results to the business, and be given a role to help others, and myself work in an environment that values continuous learning and growth.

Can you give us a piece of advice on leadership?

It’s been said many times that “Leadership is a choice.”

Hercules works hard to make our roles better & easier—Each morning, I look into the mirror and ask myself “How will I help make Hercules better?” Make the team’s work easier?” I think big about my role and how I influence others to perform.

If you’re not engaged, I think it’s important to ask why, and seek a support team to surround yourself and learn how you can get engaged. It’s way more fun to be apart of the team than sit on the bench.

As leaders, we need to educate teams on what we do each day to deliver results of the business objective. Delivering results to the business, this builds trust.

One of your core responsibilities as Program Manager at Hercules SLR is to create training plans—Can you give us some of your best tips to plan a training session? What do you focus on?

When I build training plans, I know time and learning styles can be the biggest constraints.

It’s up to me to build something to start with—Then I share, get feedback, and build on what we already know to make it as efficient as it can be. My vision is to make training easy, useful and actionable.

This year I want to groom the on-boarding that has been built, and make sure every Hercules SLR team member, new or old, has the same base level of understanding of how our systems work.

This year, the topics I’m focused on supporting and training our staff in are:

  • Margin building
  • Freight training
  • Inventory accuracy & adjustments
  • On-boarding CSR’s in sales, shipping & receiving
  • Branch Management handbook on roles & responsibilities
  • CertTracker training roll-out—Labour recovery, department training
  • National Sales Strategies training and score boarding
  • Quote conversion

Before you took on the role as Program Manager in a national capacity, you had a lot of success as a Branch Manager—What kind of things did you achieve?

One undertaking that was an enormous success, was improving operational strategies by delivering 93% labour recovery in our manufacturing department during our first 6 months in business. Last year, this department hit their 85% target, improving by 10% in the last 6 months, and they did it with 1½ fewer staff members.

Another project that was a major accomplishment was work on a CSR-confident sales approach. I worked to launch initiatives like the Air Miles program, new product programs and product & services training to give CSR’s better tools to provide the best customer experience they can. We’ve put CSR’s on the road with our outside sales representatives to learn more about our customer’s lives, actually see the sites & projects they work on and be able to build stronger relationships with them and give the best service possible.