Women at Reflex…Donna Giles, Purchase Ledger Clerk

We’re very proud of our team at Reflex. You may already be familiar with some of our friendly and hard-working colleagues, but we wanted to take the opportunity for you to get to know them a little better. This series of interviews celebrate the women who work at Reflex. Not only their valued and varied roles within the company, but also their passions and interests outside the office. Stay tuned to find out who has a passion for the theatre, who keeps ponies, and who’s mad for athletics!

How long have you worked at Reflex?
It will be 3 years in October.

As Purchase Ledger Clerk at Reflex, what does your role involve?
Paying people!! I process all of our invoices and ensure all of our suppliers are paid on time. In addition, I check and input all of the employee expenses.


What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like investigating and resolving queries. It makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes! I also find it very satisfying to help my colleagues and our customers and suppliers when I can.


How did you end up working in AV?
I was made redundant from my previous role and ended up working with someone I previously worked with 30 years ago. I work in finance, so I don’t have much to do with the AV products or solutions. Having said that, AV products and solutions are everywhere and such an integral part of our daily lives. I probably should be more au fait with them!

“AV products and solutions are everywhere and such an integral part of our daily lives.”

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love athletics. I normally go to the World or European Championships every year and occasionally the Indoor Championships, as well. This has taken me as far east as Daegu, South Korea, and as far west as Portland, USA.


Fascinating! How did you get interested in athletics?
I’ve always been interested in athletics. I joined the local athletics club when I was about 11 years old. Rolling forward about 30 years, I took my husband to Crystal Palace, which was the first time he had seen live athletics and he was hooked. However, it took another 5 years before we ventured abroad for the World Championships (Helsinki), and then another 4 years after that for our next trip in Berlin. This was the event that started the annual trips, after seeing Usain Bolt break the 100 & 200m world records.

“This was the event that started the annual trips, after seeing Usain Bolt break the 100 & 200m world records.”

What is your favourite athletic event?
This answer changes annually due to whichever event is producing the best results. Currently it’s the 400m hurdles as both men’s & women’s world records have been
broken this year.*


Do you have a favourite athletic moment?
Yes, I have several!! One that stands out is David Rudisha breaking the 800m world record at London 2012, as it’s unusual for the 800m record to be broken at a major championships and without pacemakers.

Who is your favourite athlete?
I can’t say that I have a favourite athlete. However, a special mention must go to Renaud Lavillenie and Gianmarco Tamberi** who I have a photos with!

Has watching athletics taught you anything over the years?
Certainly. The main takeaway is that success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s years of hard work. Most people would have only been aware of Bolt at Beijing 2008 games, however he was at the previous Olympics and was knocked out in the 1st round. I think he did ok in the end!!

“success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s years of hard work”

Photo of Donna with Italian high jumper,
Gianmarco Tamberi, taken in 2016.
Photo credit: Donna Giles

As well as enjoying athletics, you’re a long term supporter of Reading Football Club. 12 years now! What is one of your best memories from supporting them over the years?
I think my favourite game was when we were playing away at Southampton in the 2011/12 season. It was a top of the table clash where Reading won 3-1, which pretty much guaranteed us promotion. The atmosphere was electric with lots of hugging of strangers – clearly not COVID times!


Who is your favourite footballer, and why?
I don’t have a favourite footballer, purely because the players I rate highly will change throughout the season. That said, Marcus Rashford is a footballer who stands out purely for everything he has achieved outside of football.


Who inspires you?
That’s Marcus Rashford, again! Some have said he should stick to football, but I admire the way he used his influence to ensure the government reversed their decision to stop free school meals in the school holidays. He’s also run a literacy campaign. He puts most of us to shame!


What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Think before you speak. Sometimes, I don’t follow that advice and always regret it!

“Think before you speak”

Links:
Fun Facts

*Since this interview, these records have been broken for a second time in 2021, both at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics:
The men’s 400m hurdles world record was set 3rd August 2021 by Norwegian Karsten Warholm in 45.94 seconds
The women’s 400m hurdles world record was set 3rd August 2021 by American Sydney McLaughlin in 51.46 seconds.


**Since this interview, Gianmarco Tamberi (high jumper for Italy) and Mutaz Barshim (high jumper for Qatar) decided to share the men’s high jump gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

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