E9 - Gabrielle Hase at Ultra Commerce

Maddy Norris
Gabrielle Hase

By Maddy Norris & Gabrielle Hase

Our host Maddy Norris was joined by Gabrielle Hase, the Non-Executive Director and Board Advisor for both PLC and private companies including Ultra Commerce, Planks Clothing, K3 and Tate Galleries. Gabrielle discusses what is like running various businesses including both the failure and successes that come with that.

Gabrielle knew she wanted to do some sort of business concentration at university. She ended up in the School of Management and took a Computer Networking course during her time there. As opposed to Computer Science which is very programming-focused, this course was a blend of understanding computers with a business perspective. She knew she liked business, and she knew she liked computers, but she also knew she wasn’t going to go down the software development route because she was not solely skilled in that area. What she has found though is that she’s worked with Software Developers her entire career and she loves it because she understands it from her time at uni.

Her first job out of university was at a start-up in NYC where they took packets of information and transferred them from one machine to another. She was in a tech support role, and I gave her a good understanding of how a business works. She made the leap to work in consumer magazines and publishing and her main role was developing Excel sheets. She blagged her way into the role by saying she knew Excel (when she didn’t) but it was a chance for her to learn very quickly on the job. At this point, she went to business school to get a broader perspective and got herself down the e-commerce route. She found that getting a cert in something future-proofs your career.

Going back to college taught her she can go toe to toe with people who are really at the top of their game. There is a tonne of people whom she found were smarter than her, but it gave her the confidence to ask them relevant questions and pushed her to gain valuable knowledge for her future. “I’m not going to be able to solve every problem, I’m not going to be the smartest person in the room, but I know I’ve got the tools to be able to make a go of it”.

She met her husband, moved to the UK, and continued with her business for a year. Eventually, she found that running a business overseas just wasn’t feasible and she didn’t have the money to do it. she closed the business down which was sad for her but also a very proud moment for her to reflect on what she had accomplished.

She took her experience and worked with a variety of retailers and brands in the UK and was exposed to different-sized companies from start-ups to large enterprises.

Diversity of thought…

Diversity of thought is something Gabrielle is heavily involved in. They get people on the table that can see the same thing in different ways. People like to hire themselves, people they are familiar with but actually making that effort to get a group of people who are from different backgrounds to you will ultimately achieve better business outcomes.

Gabrielle shares some valuable advice for any woman that is looking to get into the industry. Tune in now to hear it!