Women of Delta: Andie’s Story

Our Health and Beauty Director Andrea Porter-Keel talks to us about her respect for those who have fought for our rights, balancing motherhood and leadership and her message to those who are just starting out.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

For me, IWD is a time to reflect and look back and remember the courageous women who came before us, so we could be seen, heard and have equal rights.

It’s a big deal and it’s an honour we carry as women, and it’s our responsibility to carry it forward

To you this day is about honouring that legacy?

Absolutely, how amazing is it that you, or I, can pursue any career path we want too, in whatever sector that maybe, I think that’s pretty amazing compared to where we were just over 100 years ago.  

Equal pay allowed me to look after my family and give me my own independence. I honestly think that women are pretty amazing beings and they bring a different perspective to business.

How hard was it for you to be a woman and be in business?

I sat on the Board of Directors at a previous workplace at age 37. With little experience at that time of being on a board, and no real examples of woman in the same position, so it was quite overwhelming at times but also inspiring too.

Is there anyone who influenced or inspired your career path? How? 

Absolutely, I had a great mentor, who I have known all my life and who still inspires me today. He taught me to do many things (too many to mention) but in the main, to always do everything with integrity and if you say you’ll do something, make sure you do, never let anyone down.

What was it like for you as a young girl starting out? What were your career aspirations? 

Initially, when I left college, I wanted to go into nursing. I spent this summer in London and decided to get a summer job, and I loved it, so decided to change direction.

I went on to work in radio sales, and then moved into print sales just over 20 years ago. I loved the variety and creativity.

So how did you go from starting in sales to senior management? 

Lots of hard work and late nights …..she laughs….(that wasn’t all of it) the company had a really strong vision to grow, that we all bought into, combined with an amazing team of people from the CEO to the shop floor, and of course a few lucky breaks.

Sounds simple I know, when you say it out loud, but I had the best mentor and teacher, I was willing to learn, be wrong, re-learn and of course work hard.

You have a son?  Did you feel you had to pick motherhood or work in those days that you’re talking about?

Not at all, I grew up with both my parents working full time and never really thought I would be any different, my mum was amazing and I had a lot of support and work was super flexible which made it easy for me.

How can we encourage more women to pursue senior leadership roles in print? 

We need diversity within companies, it gives new and different perspectives. We are evolving all the time in business and women can add real value to situations and as more women are promoted into leadership roles, the culture evolves, we should all strive for positive change.

What made you join Delta? 

Culture and vision are the key drives for me in any business, when I met Delta, they were so passionate about their vision.  The business is exciting, agile and they are open to change.

So, what would you say your experience has been like in the last year at Delta?

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but an exciting one. You need to be agile and a self-starter, but it’s been great.

Why would you encourage more women to come into the industry?

Print is not just ink on paper, print is about creation, it’s about vision, and it’s about bringing something that can be 2D or 3D… it’s bringing something to life, adding shape and form, its team work, detail, organisation, passion and enthusiasm.

I’d like to see more women structural engineers and artworkers. When we create marketing comms for female consumers, it’s great to have female designers and engineers to understand the intricacies

And what about the next generation of women planning their career?What would your message be to those young women? 

I think that anybody that’s deciding on their career, I would say take time, consider what you are passionate about, anything is possible and work will always be challenging at times but if you are passionate about what you do, it will give you a sense of purpose and enjoyment as you grow.. never give up.