12 Faces of Arb - Nursery Sales Manager, Ellen Thurman-Carvey
Mist in a dark forest

Published on

November 27 2019

Welcome to 12 Faces of Arb where in our ninth edition we hear from Women in Arb member Ellen Thurman-Carvey. Ellen gives us an insight on her route into the industry and her career so far as Nursey Sales Manager.

"Making the decision of the direction in which your career is going to go is a tough one, one I am not sure any of us are ready to make at the time we end up doing it; predominantly with very little experience of life or work."

A photo of Nursery Sales Manager, Ellen Thurman-Carvey

For me, I had finished university and was ready to earn a wage for a while. I studied Environmental Sciences at Southampton University, it was a great undergraduate degree, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The pathway I had taken had exposed me to a huge range of topics, any I could have decided to pursue; from Green Politics to Environmental Law to Environmental Economics. I was the definition of a jack of all trades and master of none when I finished and had no idea in which direction to head.

So, I joined an environmental recruitment agency and did some temping locally until Keith Sacre, the Sales Director at Barcham Trees and a life-time friend to my family, approached me to see if I fancied helping with an Environmental project Barcham were embarking on. It was going to be good for my CV and help out Barcham, so I started working for Barcham on a consultative basis, with very little expectation. In time, Keith recognised I fitted in well with the people I was working with and when an opportunity arose for me to join the sales team, he offered the role to me. I was a little hesitant, as I knew nothing about trees, but I could see the benefit of having some more experience and thought it was worth a go…. I started with Barcham on the Sales team in May 2005 and since then have been exposed to a whole new world and industry which I simply did not know existed and I am sure many young people still do not know exists.

"During my time with the business I have done some more studying, supported by Barcham, completing both a Foundation Degree in Arboriculture with Myerscough and a Masters in Business Administration with the Open University. These courses have helped to equip me with additional skills that have been useful to my role as it has developed."

Initially starting in general sales, I have been a part of many interesting and unique initiatives at Barcham, from attending the Chelsea Flower Show for the first time to helping to plan and deliver our first Ecommerce website, to getting a planting team up and running. As my experience of the business increased and the needs of the business changed, my focus became providing a more comprehensive experience to our retail customers, which I very much enjoyed. This allowed me to start to run a small team and a component of the business on my own, which was a great stepping stone to the more general role that I have now.

As our business grew over the years, so did our Sales team and Keith’s involvement in the wider industry, which has essentially formulated an enhanced role for him at Barcham, and therefore the opportunity for me to step into the Sales Director role in the autumn of 2017. On a day to day basis I now manage the Sales operation at Barcham, with a diverse sales team that are dedicated to both our customers and our business. We have a great mix of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm which helps us to deliver the high standard of products and customer service that we are all very proud of.

I really did not know how interested I would be in trees when I embarked upon this journey with Barcham, but the more I have learnt the more I have wanted to know. I have found trees fascinating and the long and poignant impact they have on the landscape, the urban environment and indeed the entire planet makes for rewarding work on a day to day basis for all of us at Barcham Trees.

I find immense satisfaction in developing ideas and people, from customers, to our team and our business and am fortunate enough to be working for a company that has a positively forward-thinking approach. We have a great team at Barcham and much to look forward to in the coming years as the business continues to grow and evolve.