A Quiet Achiever: How Monica’s Become a Leading Light at Tradelink

[content] Monica Robinson, our Senior Branch Assistant / Showroom Consultant at Canning Vale, has been part of our team for 14 years. In that time, she’s become one of our go-to people for advice and product knowledge. It doesn’t hurt that Monica firmly believes there’s no such thing as a stupid question! Her humble and genuine approach is a blessing to the wider team and greatly valued by our customers. 
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A real team player

If you spot Monica Robinson on the showroom floor, engaging with customers, you’ll quickly realise she knows her stuff. It’s taken commitment on Monica’s part to learn many different parts of the business and become a role model for others. But Monica’s never been one to blow her own trumpet. When she found out she was the recipient of our top employee award in 2021 for leadership, her first thought was, "Why me?".

I don’t expect anything like an award because I’m just doing my job. I just like to be organised, make sure everything’s here and that the customers are happy and the builders and designers I work with are well-looked after.

But if Monica sometimes sells herself short, at Tradelink, we back her 100% and value what she does. She’s secured countless new accounts for her store, can talk plumber-speak with the best of them, and loves nothing more than tackling a challenging problem. And while her current role involves splitting her time between the trade desk, office and showroom, she’s also experienced in the warehouse and builder’s division - a true all-rounder. 

Guts and heart 

Part of the secret to Monica’s achievements at Tradelink is that she’s never been afraid of hard work. When Monica’s kids were young, she worked night shifts filling supermarket shelves, so she could be there for them during the day. And she’s up early every morning to open the Canning Vale store. Monica says her strong work ethic is something of a family trait. 

Growing up in Blacktown, in Sydney’s western suburbs, Monica’s parents ran a busy market garden. Before school, Monica would be out in the garden, digging potatoes and picking silverbeet and corn to sell. 

In the evenings, my mum would come in from the garden, cook dinner, then head back out again. It was hard work but the thing is, it didn’t harm us at all. My husband was brought up the same way - his mum worked two or three jobs to make ends meet. Our kids are young adults now, and they have that work ethic too.

True customer care

Another secret to Monica’s success at Tradelink is her genuine, caring approach to customer service. 

The customer might say to you, I’ve got a stupid question, but nothing’s ever a stupid or silly question, and there’s always an answer! 

Monica has worked in customer service and sales for most of her career, starting with a role in her local Kmart when she was 15. At 20, she left home and spent four years travelling and working around Australia as a pop-up hairdresser, before settling in Perth, where she met her husband. Monica worked in clothing and sporting retail in WA’s growing capital before joining Tradelink in 2008. And while she’s honed the art of sales, she’s maintained a vested interest in helping each customer find the solution that’s right for them.  

I like seeing the smiles on people’s faces and hearing the feedback when you help them. They’ll send you photos of their renovations and you can see it’s turned out wonderfully.

That’s not to say Monica doesn’t still get thrown the odd customer curveball. Apps like Pinterest have raised the expectations of many home renovators, such that part of Monica’s job is to bring them gently back down to earth.  

I’m careful not to deflate them when the bathroom they see on Pinterest won’t fit in their space. I tell them there is always a compromise, there’s always a solution. I ask them to measure what they can fit in. They’ll come back and say, ‘This works.’ And in the majority of cases, they’ll then come back again for another room!

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