Katrina Wallbank – Finance Director (Or Tina to her friends), has a big responsibility for the financial health of the business.
You will hear Tina’s dulcet tones as she is the first point of contact for our customers. After 30 years of working at T. Forrest, she is a familiar face and voice of the T.Forrest brand.
Before life at T Forrest, Tina had a successful career in the health and beauty sector.
After meeting Shaun, it wasn’t long before the Wallbank family recognised Tina’s natural ability to make people feel welcome. They were so impressed with her natural interpersonal skills. They asked her to join the team.
12 months into her new role Mr and Mrs Wallbank Senior decided to retire. To keep the business and family tradition alive Shaun and Tina bought the business.
That was 17 years ago. Since then they have been instrumental in building the T Forrest name to what it is today. Let's see what Tina has to say.
describe a typical day in the office
My main responsibility is the financials of the business. A large proportion of my time is taken up by number-crunching spreadsheets, processing customer orders, preparing all the invoicing for the business. I also have the very important job of organising everyone’s wages.
I’m the main point of contact for our customers. My time is spent on the phone helping customers with their orders, answering any stock-related questions, and preparing their invoices.
Over the years I have got to know our customers really well. I speak to them on a regular basis, some have even become close friends so it’s always nice to catch up with them.
I’m not always chained to a desk. As a family business, we all muck in to get the job done. If I’m needed in the factory packing boxes you might find me knee-deep in boxes and packing tape or if our customers need something urgently, I usually nip out of the office to make a delivery.
We would not be where we are without our employees - past and present. I feel extremely privileged to have worked with some amazing people of the years.
The best thing now is that both of our children want to carry on with the family business. Working together as a team is a dream. Shaun and I know we are leaving the business in their capable hands. It's nice to know the company will stay in the family for the next generation.
one interesting fact about you
Not got anything interesting yet to feast on, as been committed to putting other people first. I will work on this.
what do you do in your spare time?
The Lake District holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the most beautiful regions in the UK and it’s our go-to place to walk the dogs. We love to soak in the stunning landscapes and just chill out. We have met many of our friends from spending time there. Who we like to meet up with whenever we can.
We’ve owned a boat for many years since the kids were in nappies. We’ve spent countless weekends with friends enjoying all the activities on the lakes.
I don’t get in the water as much now, however, we still enjoy getting out in the boat. Having fun with the kids, their partners, friends, and our dogs all these years later. It is my idea of heaven.
When we are not messing about in boats, we try to get out on the open road. Exploring in our motorhome, it gives us a great sense of freedom. The world is our oyster.
best piece of advice you have received
On a personal level, mindfulness, self-care, and compassion. Bringing yourself back to the moment is key.
One piece of advice that has always stuck with me, that is so true is your suppliers are equally as important as your customers, and “CASH IS KING!” – not as in spending money, as in without cash flow, NOTHING Flows!