“WORK HARD AND ENJOY WHAT YOU DO”: CLARE BUITELAAR – JUGGLING HOME AND WORK LIFE
2022 is a particularly special year for the Buitelaar Group as we turn 100 years old – a serious milestone! Behind all the hard work throughout the Group, lies a truly passionate and dedicated team. Despite our rapid growth in more recent years, we remain a family business at heart and that’s the way we like it.
To tie in with our celebrations, we caught up with Clare Buitelaar, to find out a little more about her work-life as Director of Buitelaar Group and raising the next generation of the Buitelaar team.
Hailing from Ireland, Clare Buitelaar grew up in a small village in County Kildare, the County known as the Thoroughbred County.
How was life growing up?
“At home there were my parents and four children, including my two older brothers, my younger sister and I; we’re a very close-knit family. We are extremely lucky to be living close by each other now – one of my brothers lives across the field from us. This is right beside where our head office is.
Irish people are very family and friends orientated – family gatherings are always noisy affairs and great fun as there are now 15 grandchildren. The whole family were involved with horses, particularly as kids - so we had a very competitive nature. We did a lot of hunting growing up; my father was a field master, so he was really involved. Even when we hunt now, we still wait for one of us to fall off, so the others can have a good laugh!”
FIRST JOBS TEACH YOU TO THINK ON YOUR FEET
What did you do as your first job and how did it help shape you?
“First jobs are essential and teach you plenty of soft skills and how to manage people effectively. I genuinely feel the best thing you could ever do is be in a job where you must make people happy. As a 13-year-old I had a job washing people’s hair at the local hairdressers. On the first day one of the clients had a huge amount of makeup on, I wasn’t the best at washing hair and half of her makeup ended up down her forehead by the time I’d finished – I had to try and blend her makeup back in before she saw the outcome!
For a couple of summers, I also went out to the Hamptons in New York and worked there as a nanny.
Following university, I decided to travel Australia with a group of friends – it was fantastic! I worked a few night shifts at a pub; it taught me to think on my feet and improve my communication skills - you must be able to handle anybody that walks through the door. Living near Bondi beach meant it was easy to commute to my day job, where I worked at one of the major banks in Sydney. Not only did these jobs enable me to travel Australia, but I gained valuable life experience working alongside different people from all walks of life.
I trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and spent three years working in audit. This gave me valuable insight into how different companies operated. However, I had always been more interested in the commercial side of accounting, and following my time with KPMG, I worked for two other companies as a Financial Controller.”
What is your role at Buitelaar and how has it transformed?
“In 2008 I joined Adam in the business as Financial Controller - having an experienced accounting background has been very beneficial for us as a business and a family.
Since then, the company has expanded hugely, and these days we have a team of 18 in our finance department, at our Head Office in Ireland. In the last couple of years, I’ve taken more of an overseeing and strategic role as Director of Buitelaar Group. We have surrounded ourselves with great people right from the start and we pride ourselves on that. In recent years Adam’s younger brother James and cousin Mike have joined the Group developing our pet food, raw materials and meat areas of the business, which has been hugely successful.”
IT’S IMPORTANT TO GIVE IT YOUR BEST AND BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO
Why is culture so important at Buitelaar?
“Our family values are work hard and enjoy what you do. Both Adam and I have the same feeling on that, and it’s important that we maintain it. For us the business is more than just a job, but with any job it’s important to give it your best, whatever it is, and be proud of what you do.”
What do you do in your down time?
“Socialising with friends and family is a very important part of switching off for me. I also really enjoy sport. I still love to hunt, although I broke my knee two years ago from a fall! I love to play team sports, basketball, tennis, or just like to go for a good run or swim! Sport was an important part of my life as a child and I have transferred that love of sport to the children, whose sports diaries now pull rank every time! I’m incredibly proud of our four children and being able to keep everything going, it is not always easy to juggle family with work life in a busy and continuously growing work environment.
What is the best thing about working in this industry?
“By far the people! I think we deal with a ‘real’ calibre of person, which I love.”
CELEBRATING 100 YEAR’S AT BUITELAAR!
How important is it that we can celebrate such a massive milestone?
“It’s great to be able to celebrate! I think everybody has worked very hard and are always pushing onto the next thing. I think it’s very important to stop and take stock every now and then and appreciate how fantastic this is; we’ve got a great team around us, and we should be celebrating, especially as the last couple of years have been worrying for everyone. Onwards and upwards now!”
The last century has seen some amazing people work with the Group, helping to guide the company through all sorts of terrain. To commemorate this fantastic milestone, we plan to celebrate as a family and incredible team who share our passion for the future. Throughout the next year we’re going to be rolling out some exciting content, including special competitions and giveaways – keep your eyes peeled.