Never stop learning

| 4 mins | 4 mins
In 1980, I entered a world where university seemed like a distant dream for a girl from a working-class family like mine. With shy demeanor, frizzy hair, purple glasses, and eczema, I was never poised to be the most popular in school. But within the pages of books, I found solace, igniting a passion for learning.
Kelly Mills

Despite the odds stacked against me, I remained steadfast in my pursuit of knowledge, often burying myself in extra work, filling countless exercise books with stories, thoughts, and even the odd invention… it brings back smiles now of trying to build a recyclable teapot !! Maybe being an inventor was not my destiny!


However my hunger for learning was insatiable, driving me to chase teachers down corridors for feedback and conversation. Looking back now, I understand why I was seen as different.


My journey into the professional world began unexpectedly in logistics. At 17, I boldly approached a managing director on a building site, recognizing the opening of a distribution center in my small town as a golden opportunity. The more manager must have thought this frizzy-haired 17 year old with her uncle's HiViz jacket and safety boots (4 sizes too big!)  was worth a shot if she was willing to stand outside a huge building site not knowing who she was looking for or what to really say when she found them – just that she wanted to be given a chance and would learn. This is where I managed to spread my wings not only was I successful in getting a junior role, but I learned and absorbed everything I could from the people around me and within 6 months I started climbing the ranks swiftly, I never stopped pushing boundaries though or seeking new challenges.


However, my resilience was tested when I encountered gender-based setbacks in the haulage sector. During a job promotion interview, I was told that as a woman, I couldn't handle the occasional coarse language of truck drivers. Despite this setback, I refused to be discouraged and I carried on being open to opportunities.

Six months later, an opportunity emerged at Volvo Group, where I found my home in the Volvo Action service team. Over the next twenty-one years, I thrived, empowered and unapologetically myself. Within Volvo Group, I seized every opportunity to learn and grow, often venturing far beyond my comfort zone. I learned that career paths aren't always linear; sometimes, the greatest growth comes from taking unexpected detours. I have been a part of working groups, networks, been a key user, put my hand up for so many opportunities and everyone has brought a lesson and growth.


At the age of 40, with the support of Volvo Penta, I pursued my dream of obtaining marketing qualifications, juggling three certifications simultaneously during the challenges of the COVID era. This achievement was more than just having certificates saying I could do my job; it was a testament to the power of perseverance and the willingness to seize opportunities, regardless of setbacks.


Now, as I reflect on my journey, I am proud not only of my accomplishments but also of my unwavering commitment to continuous learning and growth. Every setback became an opportunity, fueling my determination to push boundaries and inspire others to do the same. In a world where barriers often seem insurmountable, I stand as proof that being bold and embracing learning can lead to extraordinary heights.


It helps choosing an amazing company who supports this though!


Kelly Mills

Global Web Manager, Volvo Penta, United Kingdom


Do you want to connect with Kelly? Check her LinkedIn page here.

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