Power Outfit: Jess Penny, General Manager – Sales at Penny Hydraulics Ltd
Confident, considered, and classy: Jess Penny is our kind of woman.
One of only a handful of females in hydraulics, we speak to Jess about maintaining a professional image without looking frumpy, and how she successfully combines style and sapience to stand out in a male-dominated industry.
Name: Jess Penny
Current Job/Company: General Manager – Sales at Penny Hydraulics Ltd
Educational Background: Barlborough Hall School, Sheffield; Mount St Mary’s College, Sheffield; BA (Hons) PR & Marketing, University of Central Lancashire
Career to Date:
After graduation, I joined Sheffield web agency Quba New Media as a Project Assistant, progressing to Senior Account Executive in just under three years. In this time I was able to really hone the skills acquired during my degree course, such as: producing persuasive business and commercial copy for print and email campaigns; confidently presenting, pitching and taking product demonstrations with customers; and gaining an excellent understanding of how SEO, PPC and social media channels are used to drive traffic to websites to increase sales.
After working at Quba New Media, I decided to pursue a more challenging role. This led me to join Penny Hydraulics Ltd, a UK manufacturer of lifting equipment as General Manager – Sales. My role is to manage our Sales Department and develop and implement Penny Hydraulics’ marketing strategy using techniques such as: content marketing; search engine optimisation; paid search; trade shows; social media; and email marketing. Penny Hydraulics is a family business and I am a third generation family member.
My power outfit:
What are you wearing?
Shoes: Hobbs London
Clutch bag: Michael Kors
What occasion are you dressed for?
I wear this outfit to important customer meetings, trade shows and events. I also wore it when Penny Hydraulics won an award for “Family Business of the Year” at the Mayfair Hotel in London in June this year. It was a brilliant occasion and we were delighted to win.
Why did you choose this particular outfit?
It is smart, classic, understated and flattering. I think it is really important to not have too much “on show” to maintain a professional image, but I still want to dress for my age. I’m young and don’t want to look frumpy! This dress is a great length and it has a lovely fit which I feel flatters my figure.
Complete this statement: I feel most powerful when wearing______ a dress and heels.
My weekday wardrobe consists of: a dress and heels, every day. I feel it is important to make an effort so I am always ready for impromptu client meetings. I feel most confident when I am smartly dressed. I’m an ambassador for my company and therefore I feel I have a duty to be dressed professionally so as to portray a good image for Penny Hydraulics.
My weekend wardrobe consists of: lycra! When I’m not at work, I am either on the netball court, out running in the countryside, on my bike or doing yoga, so most weekends I spend the majority of the time in sports kit.
How do clothes boost your confidence?
When I feel smart, I naturally feel more confident and ready for whatever challenges the day brings.
What are some of your top tips for dressing for success?
Stay classy. If in doubt, cover it up! Too much leg or décolletage on show when working is not good!
Are you an outfit pre-planner?
I have built up a great corporate wardrobe with lots of suitable outfits for different types of work events. This is great because I don’t have to plan too far ahead. I can grab a few outfits from my wardrobe, knowing they will be tried and tested, and pack my suitcase in a few minutes. I don’t believe in only wearing an outfit once – I have a great selection of pieces that I wear time and time again.
Has your style changed as your career has developed?
I feel my style has come a long way since my student days! As my career has progressed, I give more thought to my outfits and make more effort with my appearance. I am with customers, the media, suppliers and networking with other professionals more now than ever before so it is definitely important for me to always look my best.
What fashion and life advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self with the benefit of hindsight?
Don’t always follow fashion! Find out what styles and colours suit you and stick to what you know looks good.