Interview with Shane Nolan, National Sales Manager at RXP (also part of the Aliaxis group)
How long have you been at RXP and what’s your current role?
I’m Shane Nolan, and my role is the National Sales Manager at RX Plastics. I manage a team of six sales reps and territory managers. I’ve been here for about eight months.
Tell me about your journey at RXP
I’ve always worked in the agricultural sector and sales. However, I’m pretty much new to the water industry. RXP and Aliaxis have been very active in terms of training, certainly from a product point of view but also through sales and leadership coaching.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Working closely with my team members, helping them develop their skills and grow their career. Watching my team improve, develop, grow, enjoy the culture – now, those are the things that I really enjoy and the environment I endeavor to create.
Can you talk a little bit about the makeup of your team?
Honestly, at this point, it’s not particularly diverse. We have one female on a six-person team. We are working to change the makeup of the team to make it more diverse, not only in terms of gender, but also ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It’s a real challenge trying to attract a younger more diverse pool of candidates, especially females. I’m recruiting for a role currently. The applicants have all been male, and of a similar age.
Whose responsibility is it to increase diversity?
It’s everyone’s responsibility. The company has a big part to play, that could be through targeted outreach, or continuing to build and maintain a culture of inclusivity. It’s crucial to be seen as a desirable place for people of all genders and backgrounds. The sector as a whole has a role to play as well – young people need to see Ag-tech as a place of opportunity for everyone.
Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Look, I’m conscious that I’m a white male – so I was a bit bemused that anyone should want to hear my opinion. It’s vital to celebrate and recognise the impact that women have on the world. I’m in a household of three women. And I think it’s great to acknowledge what women have accomplished, and what they offer us all in terms of their unique experience and perspective.
How can men in business support women and promote equality?
It’s important as a leader to acknowledge that female members of the team may have additional responsibilities and commitments outside of work. Whether those responsibilities should be falling on them as women is another discussion – but we all need to be supportive and provide flexibility. Equality won’t just happen. It’s a continuous process. Men, and everyone really, need to be conscious that there’s always more to do.
“Equality won’t just happen. It’s a continuous process. Men, and everyone really, need to be conscious that there’s always more to do.”
Did you have any female mentors coming up?
Absolutely. I had a great sales leader, early in my career, who was really helpful and insightful. She was the first female sales leader that I came across in a very male dominated industry. It must have been hard for her, but it didn’t show. She made a great place for herself in that business and a great career. She was someone that helped me greatly.
How does RXP fulfill its promise to support equality and work-life balance?
Through the lens of where I’ve been in the past, RXP is more inclusive, more welcoming, and more diverse, so that’s great. We have quite a good mix of female employees in the business, particularly in our office in Ashburton, and right through into the manufacturing and leadership roles.
You are undoubtedly busy; how do you take care of yourself and maintain wellness?
I make an effort to get exercise, time with my family and time just to switch off and relax. I love to get outdoors here in Canterbury with running, cycling, or hunting. And my children join me on some of those pursuits, which is great. I suppose you could say I relax in an active way.
Do you have any advice for young people starting out?
The agriculture sector is a fantastic place to work. It’s not just farming, there’s actually loads of innovation and exciting technology involved – and It’s a sector where you can have a real impact on society. I came into it straight out of high school and found that it was extremely varied, with lots of different career options.
Consider sales. People don’t generally plan to go into sales. Often, they will sort of, fall into a sales role. But sales can be extremely rewarding in terms of the variety, the flexibility, and the people you meet.