In July 2011, 27 year old Vicki Lepley was driving a parts van for a living at her local Isuzu truck dealership in Hertfordshire and in a whirlwind of just over 12 months since then, she is now revelling in her latest role as Operations Assistant at Isuzu Truck’s UK Head Office in Hatfield, reporting to the company’s Operations Director and Deputy Managing Director – Bob Haughton.
This amazing transformation in Vicki’s life came as a result of appearing on Channel 4’s ‘Undercover Boss’ programme where ITUK’s managing director Nikki King went undercover, in disguise as ‘Pauline’, to see at first hand how the company was performing out in the field. During the 1-hour programme, Vicki was interviewed about her job as a parts van driver by Nikki, who was sufficiently impressed with her approach to working life that, at the end of the programme, she offered to act as Vicki’s future mentor.
"I didn’t have a clue that it was Nikki King I was talking to when being filmed because I had only been working at the dealership for four months. I can honestly say that meeting Nikki through this television programme has quite literally turned my world upside down," said Vicki Lepley.
Following the programme, Nikki King arranged for Vicki to attend a range of different training courses at the company’s headquarters in Hatfield covering technical, sales and management subjects, as well as holding regular update meetings with her. Vicki’s natural enthusiasm for the job, and for advancing her career, was clearly evident to Nikki and the rest of the Isuzu management team. Owing to the successful expansion of the Isuzu truck business it wasn’t too long before a job became available and inevitably Vicki didn’t hesitate to apply for it.
In January 2012, Vicki was appointed Operations Assistant at Isuzu Truck and has not only developed this role within the company, but also played a key part of the ITUK team working at the Commercial Vehicle Show at the NEC, as well as being in the management team that launched the company’s new telematics division, I-Vision.
"If anyone had said to me last year that, within less than 12 months, I would be working for Isuzu Truck in the position that I’m now in, I would never have believed them. It took a long time for it to sink in that the television programme had given me a real opportunity to be recognised and to develop my personal career opportunities. I now feel part of the Isuzu Truck family who have all been a tremendous help to me as I begin to learn more about Isuzu and the commercial vehicle business," added Vicki.
Clearly though, Vicki felt that the chance meeting with Nikki King was the main influential factor, as she says, "Most of all, Nikki has been a massive inspiration to me. Her achievements within the commercial vehicle industry are quite amazing and I feel very proud, as well as extremely fortunate, that I’ve had the opportunity to be taken under her wing over the past 12 months."
It’s now over a year since Nikki King appeared as ‘Pauline’ on the C4 television programme and as she reflects back on what has been achieved over the past 12 months it is clear that she is extremely proud of the way that Vicki has developed in that time.
"When I first met Vicki in the dealership, her natural enthusiasm shone through. She had a tough job as a parts driver, but she approached it with an extremely mature attitude for someone so young. I could see that, underneath her raw talent, there was a keen and willing individual. My decision to offer to mentor her was inevitable as it was obvious that she had great potential and would be a definite asset to the business. Vicki’s subsequent progression and career development in the last 12 months are testament to this as she has quickly and successfully moved her career forward. Not only that, she’s a really nice person as well, so I am really pleased to have been able to play a positive role in her life," said Nikki King, managing director, Isuzu Truck.