How Libby at Schneider Electric helped a school in West Africa

How Libby at Schneider Electric helped a school in West Africa

 March 21, 2019

Libby May is one of the inspirational women working with Schneider Electric. As UK & I Customer Care Centre Manager, Libby goes above and beyond to use her skills and passion not only within her day-to-day work but to make a difference on a much larger scale. Through her hard work, a school in West Africa has been kitted-out with new classrooms, resources and teaching staff. Below, Libby shares her story. 

A true passion for helping people

"I have a passion for helping people and making a difference to people’s lives. Seeing people grow in confidence and achieving their goals is so rewarding," says Libby.

"Schneider Electric is an exciting place to work, we have great a great culture around inclusion, diversity and giving people the opportunity to grow, try something different and push people out of the comfort zone. We provide people with a safety net, which enables people to step unknown territory but with support and mentorship of experienced leaders."

Libby says that the opportunities on offer at Schneider Electric offers are endless: from working with different entities, to working with different customer types.

"Your destiny is in your hands," she adds. "You might not fit all the criteria in a job description, but take a risk, raise your head above the parapet and say 'how about me? I can bring this to the table'.” 

Recruiting others with the right attitude

When recruiting, Libby takes risks, she recruits on gut feeling and if she thinks the person has got the right attitude she can train the rest. 

"We have great examples within the CCC where recruitment risks have been taken and Schneider have certainly benefited," she explains. "In 2018, eight people were successfully placed into other business units such as PeopleLink, LVE, SES, the Talent Acquisition Team and many more. This is a great accolade to the high calibre of recruitment and onboard training delivered by Joana in the Transformation team whom also once resided in the Customer Care Centre."

Libby's passion in supporting people extends into communities

Libby also engages with South Staffs College with the Electrical Engineering team, providing them with products no longer saleable from Schneider that will help the students learn and use the best product in the beginning of their career. 

"The college are elated with the support and the collaboration. In time, when these students are ready to leave the next they could potentially be the the next Graduates or Apprentices coming into Schneider," she says.

Supporting others as broadly as possible

Schneider Electric volunteer

Libby is also supporting people in a broader sense, helping them grow and achieve their goals. Back in 2012 she stumbled across a little school in West Africa, where the conditions the children were being taught in were shocking. There were no desks, learning materials or natural light and Libby knew the moment she walked through the gate that she could make a difference. 

"Children's early years are the foundation and it is critical they understand they can break the chains, they are intelligent and they have prospects if they apply themselves," says Libby.

During the time since that visit, Libby and Schneider Electric have been working hard to make a difference to that school. The three classrooms have been refurbished with desks, windows, exercise books, pens, pencils, learning materials, plus two additional classrooms have been built and furnished. The headmaster now has an office rather than siting at the back of a classroom, and solar has been installed as a result of a kind donation from a Schneider colleague. The toilets have also been refurbished and an additional female English teacher and a female support worker have been brought in to help with the children’s personal and pastoral needs. The teachers and local community leaders have all been First Aid trained and they maintain good First Aid records which is critical.

Sharing wisdom with further professionals

Libby's advice to others is ‘you are in charge of your own destiny, take a chance and have no regrets’ . She tries to live by this advice herself and embraces the many opportunities at Schneider. 

Libby continues: "One thing I always say is 'never forget your roots'. I’m a Miner's daughter from Nottinghamshire, who was raised in the 1980s and it was challenging especially as my dad continues to work, to provide for his family. I never forget my roots, there was a point in my life where my previous employer, Capgemini, paid for a life coach for me. In my head I was adamant my accent would hold me back! It doesn’t - you are what you are and are born and die the same, but what we do in the middle is entirely our choice."

She adds: "You need to network. Make yourself known not necessarily for the role you do but it could be for other things, find that hook! Use the tools you have available to get yourself known. I have met some amazing people globally within Schneider as they are interested in the work in Africa."

Community participation is important to Libby

Schneider Electric monty

Maintaining a good work-life balance is also important for Libby. Outside of work, she is a Group Exercise Instructor. She enjoys training and seeing the changes it brings to people's lives, building their confidence and making a difference. She also spends time twice a month volunteering at the Ilkeston Shelter supporting homeless people and helping them build their confidence. And if that does not sound busy enough, she also treads the boards as a performer for charity in productions such as 'The Real Full Monty' which has raised £26,000 for The Royal Marsden Hospital.

Join inspirational women like Libby at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric appreciates the unique skills every employee brings to the business. The global company is looking for passionate people to help innovate at every level; so search and apply for exciting roles today.


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