Every workplace has its challenges and in the last couple of years, businesses of all shapes and sizes have faced more than their fair share. From supply chain disruptions to staffing shortages, the knock-on effect of the pandemic continues around the world.
The pandemic forced a rapid acceleration in the digitisation of customer and supply chain interactions, which experts estimate has leapt forward by three to four years. Businesses were forced to work quickly to develop tech solutions to keep the wheels turning, and Lion was no exception.
For Lion’s Deanie Smock, finding digital solutions is what she does. But if you’d told her when she started at Lion as a temp in 1998 that down the track, she’d be project managing a build of world-class digital technology for Lion, she probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Describing herself as a ‘boomerang’ employee, Deanie has worked at Lion three times in several different roles. From customer service to Systems Leader and CSC Analyst (where she assisted with the planning for Workforce, but more on that later), Deanie found herself drawn to solution-focussed roles. As System Support Leader she led the 02C stream for the implementation of Lion’s Siebel system and was also involved in the implementation of Lion’s game-changing SAP system – all stepping-stones toward the role she’s in today.
The path to her current role wasn’t necessarily a comfortable one, as Deanie was on ACC recovering from injury. “I desperately wanted to return to work,” she recalls. “I moved to Auckland to get a new start with my husband and my cat and applied. The only caveat to accepting the role was that I had to change my name as my leaders name was Nadene, so I went from Nadine to Deanie – and a lot of people I work with don’t even know my name is Nadine now!”
Creating customer-focussed digital solutions
Deanie is now the Digital Program Lead, a role that sees her immersed in digital innovation at Lion.
I am responsible, as we all are, for making Lion easy to do business with, and to grow with, through digital platforms for our customers and consumers.
“We do this by partnering with customers and the business to ensure everyone’s needs and expectations are aligned.”
So, how would her friends describe what she does all day? “Always on,” says Deanie. “With a lot of pressure to get things fixed and always implementing new systems.”
While her role is demanding, Deanie loves that it’s rarely dull. “I get involved in a lot of different projects that interest me, and that keeps me engaged,” she says. She also appreciates the trust and autonomy that working at Lion for so long has given her.
Celebrating innovation and reinvention
With a total of 20 years at Lion under her belt, Deanie has seen significant change and innovation, especially in automation and digitisation. But the technology she sees as a real game-changer is also one she knows intimately, having worked on its creation and implementation. “I believe the Marketplace app that we have just built is the biggest change in tech innovation for our customers at Lion,” she says. “This is something we wouldn’t have dreamed of pre-digital. It is an app that our customers can use to self-serve on the go – and it’s awesome!”
It’s clear to see Deanie gets a kick out of projects that put user experience and people first, and it’s echoed in her passion project. Together with her husband, she has been gradually refurbishing an old hospital, now their home, over the course of seven years.
While their home is finished, they’re not putting their feet up just yet, choosing instead to share their labour of love with love of a different kind – couples wanting to tie the knot. “We have turned a portion of our home into a wedding venue,” says Deanie. “So now I’m concentrating on the garden to make some areas for beautiful wedding photos.”
When Deanie does decide to take a break, she intends to fulfil her (pandemic postponed) dream of cruising the Mediterranean.
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Every day at Lion, collaboration powers our business. We never stop looking for ways to make genuine connections with our customers. We believe our people have it in them to achieve something outstanding.