International Women's Day 2024 - Rising Star Award Winner 2021: Jess Speed, Continental

Wednesday 6th March 2024

On this day, we hear from 'Young Person in LPG 2021' winner: Rising Star Award Jess Speed, Continental

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role?

 Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, I naturally established an understanding and comfort within business and development. With a desire for bustling environments, I left school to study Law at the University of Lincoln while simultaneously serving in the Army Reserves and playing rugby for both the University and Lincoln RFC. The discipline instilled by rugby, the analytical skills honed through studying law, and the leadership experience gained in the army reserves have collectively prepared me for a career in business and development, blending strategic thinking, adaptability, and teamwork.

This led to me becoming a joint Director of an online business in 2015 and later joining Continental Product Engineering Ltd. Starting in marketing, I transitioned to business development and now excel as an LPG Sales Manager, overseeing cylinder sales and contributing significantly to equipment sales. My role encompasses customer visits, product promotion, sales material creation, and fostering partnerships through various channels. I also play a vital role in sales forecasting, customer account management, and collaborative projects with key suppliers, ensuring seamless business operations and growth.

2. What attracted you to come and work in the LPG industry?

Several factors attracted me to work in the LPG industry. The industry offers various career paths, including engineering, operations, sales, marketing, and management roles, so there is a lot of potential for career advancement and growth. The LPG industry is undergoing a transformative evolution driven by technological advancements, offering a cleaner alternative to traditional fuels. This shift towards sustainability and efficiency makes working in the LPG sector increasingly attractive, aligning with environmental consciousness and future-focused initiatives.

The LPG industry's global reach also presents exciting international prospects, aligning with my interest in diverse cultures. Moreover, its stability within the energy sector, vital to modern society, appeals to my aspiration for long-term career security and growth opportunities.

3. What do you love most about your job?

What I love about my job is the diverse range of responsibilities that blend my passion for sales with promoting cleaner energy. From maintaining and developing major LPG accounts to providing guidance and support to various teams, every task contributes to the growth and success of the business. Engaging with both internal and external customers, attending industry events, and identifying new business opportunities keep me motivated and fulfilled in my role as an LPG sales manager.

Building lasting relationships with clients, guiding them towards efficient energy solutions, and witnessing their success fuels my enthusiasm. The dynamic nature of the industry keeps me engaged, continuously learning, and striving for excellence in every aspect of my role.

4. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given? What advice would you give to any young person looking to start a career in the LPG industry?

The most important piece of advice I've been given is to never stop learning and to continuously seek opportunities for growth and development. This advice has helped me navigate various challenges in my career and stay adaptable in an ever-evolving industry.

For any young person looking to start a career in the LPG industry, my advice would be to embrace curiosity and initiative. Take the time to understand the complexities of the industry, from production to distribution, and stay updated on emerging technologies and trends. Seek out mentors who can provide guidance and insights, and don't be afraid to ask questions and learn from experiences, both successes, and failures. Additionally, start networking as soon as you can, as this is a great way to open doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

5. What did winning a Young Person in LPG award mean to you?

Winning a Young Person in LPG award was a great experience. It acknowledged my dedication and early career contributions, validating my efforts to innovate within the industry. Additionally, it offered a platform to advocate for young professionals, sharing insights and inspiring others. Personally, it boosted my confidence, reinforcing the importance of continuous learning. Overall, it marked a significant milestone, fuelling my drive for excellence and growth in the LPG industry.

 6. Why should people apply or nominate a young person for the Young Person in LPG awards?

People should apply or nominate a young person for the Young Person in LPG awards to recognise and celebrate the contributions of emerging talent within the industry. By doing so, they support the development and growth of young professionals, fostering a culture of innovation and excellence. These awards provide visibility and opportunities for young individuals to showcase their achievements, inspiring others and driving positive change within the sector. Moreover, by acknowledging the efforts of young professionals, these awards encourage continued investment in mentorship, education, and professional development, ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future. Ultimately, nominating or applying for these awards not only honours deserving individuals but also strengthens the LPG community as a whole.

7. What do you hope to achieve in the future?

In the future of the LPG industry, my goal is to drive transformative change towards greater sustainability and accessibility. I aspire to head initiatives that promote renewable energy integration, reduce carbon emissions, and expand LPG adoption in underserved regions. By adopting innovation, forging strategic partnerships, and advocating for supportive policies, I aim to position Continental as a leading supplier in the global transition towards cleaner and more efficient energy systems.

8. The theme for this International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion – what does that mean to you? Do you think the LPG and RLG industry Inspires Inclusion?

To me, Inspire Inclusion, for International Women's Day means actively promoting an environment where everyone, regardless of gender or any other characteristic, feels valued, respected, and included. It's about fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and belonging, where all voices are heard and contributions are celebrated.

Regarding the LPG and RLG industry, while traditionally male-dominated, there's been a growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion. Efforts are being made to encourage more women to enter and thrive in the industry through initiatives such as mentorship programs, diversity training, and advocacy for equal opportunities. However, there's still progress to be made to ensure full inclusion and representation of women at all levels within the industry. Continued efforts to inspire inclusion will be vital for the industry's long-term success and sustainability.



The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK