I've always been able to be myself at work...
I'd like to share with you why I have the drive and passion to make a difference and raise awareness and promote inclusivity and diversity within my team, region and department.
When I joined Sky just over 10 years ago it was no secret that I was a gay woman. I've always been open about my sexuality and will continue to be; I've never felt any judgment or discrimination at work and have always been able to be myself.
However, where I work and where I live can sometimes be a different story. I'm from Pontypridd, a little town in Wales and even now to this day when my partner and I are holding hands in public we often get funny looks or derogatory comments made towards us.
My partner and I have recently had our second daughter - she’s ten weeks old now (growing way too fast!), while our first little monster is two going on twenty. When my partner was pregnant and we would show any sort of affection towards one another in public, we'd get people having to take a double look realising that a pregnant woman was kissing another woman. It’s funny because you can see the cogs ticking away, as they think to themselves: "How is that even possible?".
Now that I'm a mother to two beautiful daughters, it scares me more than ever that they could be at the brunt of someone’s hatred or narrow mindedness towards myself or my partner. So my fight is not only for me and my partner's rights but for my children's, and your children's. I'd love to help pave the way for people to be free from hate and hurt by teaching my daughters to love, no matter what colour, religion, sexuality or ethnic origin.
They will know how to be kind and how to stand up for what they believe in.
They will know that being different doesn’t mean you’re not normal.
They will know that we live in a world full of diversity and that is the true beauty of it.
I believe the way we'll change things is by teaching the next generation that equality is a basic right and we'll never be free until we are all equal. I for one will never conform to what society deems as appropriate because, to me, my life and my amazing, loving and caring family are very much "normal".
“I am continuously impressed by the quality of talent at NOW TV. It’s incredible being surrounded by such smart and ambitious people, all experts in their respective fields.”
Name: Mags Zielinska
Job title: Media Planning Controller
What NOW TV team do you manage? I manage the Media team within Sales, Marketing & Brand.
What do you love most about your role? I love the fact that with the media landscape continuously evolving, being part of an innovative and entrepreneurial brand like NOW TV allows us to test new opportunities and evolve at speed.
What is the best thing about working at NOW TV? The people, NOW TV is full of talent and everyone is super friendly!
Tell us about a project that you are most proud of and why? October will see the launch of an advocacy programme for NOW TV working with online influencers as well as media partners to bring our proposition to life. This is a step change in our media approach, driven by media consumption insight for our target audience. I am very excited about this and hope it will deliver on our business objectives.
Tell us about a manager who has really supported your development and how they did this? My first ever manager Helen Burford, who I like to call my “Media Mum,” is a role model who shaped my career. Her tenacity to develop her team and utmost dedication to supporting and mentoring her direct reports was second to none. This really demonstrated the importance of people management for me early on in my career, which I continuously strive to focus on.
What’s the most useful bit of feedback you’ve received? Let go. Being quite organised I sometimes find it quite difficult to step away from the detail, but progressing in my career I have had to learn how to do that.
Over the past 12 months at NOW TV what new super smart skills have you learnt? Since joining NOW TV I think my storytelling skills have improved. While it might sound a bit boring, selling in ideas though presentations is super important in my role, and NOW TV has certainly developed my skills in this area.
One thing that has surprised you about working at NOW TV? I am continuously impressed by the quality of talent at NOW TV. It’s incredible being surrounded by such smart and ambitious people, all experts in their respective fields.
TV show or movie you’re most excited about seeing on NOW TV? I am really looking forward to season 2 of ‘The Night Of.’
Diwali celebrations - Anil explains the traditions behind the festival of light
We caught up with Anil Jhand, VOD Scheduler (right) to find out more about Diwali...
Diwali, also known as the ‘The Festival of Light’, is celebrated by the Sikhs, Hindus and Jains. Each religion celebrates the occasion with a common theme in mind; the triumph of light over dark and good over evil.
Samosas, pakoras, gulab jamuns and ladoos; these are just some of the things that bring me joy every year at Diwali. However Diwali isn’t just about indulging in traditional Indian dishes to the point of oblivion, for me it’s also about getting together with people, to celebrate life in the most colourful and loudest way possible.
We’ve been celebrating Diwali as a family for many years now and I can quite happily say that although we’ve grown older and times have changed, the tradition remains exactly the same…
A typical Diwali evening in the Jhand household usually begins at around 6pm and involves lighting small Indian candles known as ‘divas’ or ‘diyas’ and safely placing them in a large bowl in each of the rooms in our house. A handful of divas are also placed outside the house and the purpose of this is to get rid of any lingering negative or dark energy and replace it with good, positive vibes.
We then visit our nearest Sikh temple to say a prayer or two before lighting more divas outside the temple – this symbolizes the worshipper giving light back to the Gurus as a thank you for guiding us through the dark when times have been tough.
After a brisk walk back home from the temple, we head straight through to the kitchen and start preparing the food for the night. Five samosas, three pakoras, three gulab jamuns and a ladoo later, I make my way out in to the garden with a bag full of fireworks, spreading them out in formation ensuring they’re at a safe distance away from us.
With the help of my father and brother, we light the fireworks together, sprint back to our ‘safe zone’ (I take safety during Diwali very seriously!) and turn our eyes to the sky to enjoy the bursts of colour before us. The last firework is always the biggest and brightest one and serves a great purpose in that it is in memory of those we have lost over the years. The great thing about Diwali is that it has taught me to continue loving the people I have in my life now, but at the same time to continue cherishing the memories of those who are no longer with us.
Once the last firework fades away turning the sky from light to dark, we retreat back in to the warmth of our house to enjoy a nice warm cup of Indian tea. It’s at this point that I sneak in to the kitchen and increase my gulab jamun count from three to six, ending another year’s Diwali on a sweet note!
Happy Diwali everyone!
Part of #NIW2017, our people shared the assumptions made about them and why inclusion is so important
Asif in our IDS team tells us about his first year
Name: Asif Baig
Job Title: Database Marketing Executive
How long have you been working for our IDS team? Just over one year
What does IDS stand for? Insight and Decision Science
What area do you work in? Trading (Campaign Planning and Delivery)
Tell us about your role... I currently work in the In-life campaign team. During my first year I worked in various product areas ranging from Broadband, Sky Q and most recently with our new Sky Sports proposition. I work closely with the marketing team and wider business; building and delivering marketing campaigns across a range of channels. I ensure that appropriate tests are continually implemented against all campaigns to ensure performance can be accurately evaluated, in order to maximise engagement and return on investment through relevant targeting. My role also involves analysing past marketing campaigns and providing recommendations to improve current or future campaigns. Understanding what has happened and what will likely happen in the future is pivotal and this analysis normally culminates in impactful presentations that I present back to the business to answer questions that were originally purposed.
What was were your first few days like in the IDS team? My first days at IDS were somewhat of a whirlwind. I remember being amazed with Sky Central, the building and facilities are the best work facilities I have ever seen. The IDS department itself was quite overwhelming at first, trying to get a sense of where you sit within any big organisation can be challenging initially. However, thanks to the welcoming and friendly culture and great introductory sessions I was able to settle in with ease.
What do you enjoy most about your job? What really surprised me was how much work and skill goes into the analytics and insight produced by the team. Having so many talented people provides countless opportunities to learn and acquire new skills and knowledge. It’s also great to see that IDS is an integral part of the wider organisation playing a key role in strategy and business decisions company wide.
We hear from Alasdair on Software Development in Leeds
Name: Alasdair Munday
Job title: Associate Software Developer
What area of Sky do you work in? Digital Platforms – Digital Engagement tribe.
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I graduated from an Electronic Engineering degree at York University in 2016. My studies consisted of a wide variety of technologies including desktop applications and low-level digital signal processing algorithms. It also involved an industrial placement which I spent working for a software company building web applications for competency management and assessment. I’ve also spent time volunteering in schools and managing websites.
I joined through the Software Engineering Academy in July 2016, spending 4 months working with other graduates on a TV content recommendations engine before moving into my current role in Digital Engagement.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? Arrive on my bike at around 9am (hopefully not too wet from the rain). A few of us make a coffee in the kitchen and chat about life, this usually declines into geeking out about some new development in the tech industry or some exciting project that we’re working on.
At 10am we have our stand-up; a short meeting where we discuss what we did the day before and what we’re going to do today.
Beyond stand-up, the rest of our day could involve a number of things: I might develop a new feature or bug fix either pair-programming or solo. I might be involved in a community meeting about a shared platform or a particular technology. I could be participating and/or facilitating a retrospective or a showcase
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? Our tribe culture is to have an open table for discussion on how we work and how we could improve. This means that we’re constantly evolving through the input from across the team. It has been a privilege to be able to contribute to these discussions and advocate for good working practices and high standards across our projects.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? I’ve had the opportunity to deliver presentations in a variety of contexts. Once I was able to deliver a presentation on creating a culture of innovation at the Sky Leeds All-Hands. An event attended by all employees at Leeds Dock. Pretty scary - but a great opportunity to share some ideas and represent my team.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? In our team we have the freedom to approach problems as we see fit. We’ve a very flat hierarchy and everybody feels like their views are equally valid. This has resulted in a culture of ownership, transparency and empowerment.
Describe your work/life balance? I have an active life outside of work, I do some volunteering and play music in my spare time. I’m also involved in the Elixir North meetup for the Elixir programming language community in Leeds. Part of the job is taking on responsibility to support our platforms out-of-hours which is a valuable opportunity to support a platform that sees thousands of requests per minute.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? It’s so important that you care about delivering quality products, constantly learning and improving your process. If you don’t, it’s possible to be ‘Okay’ and slip into the background at best. If you want to excel, you have to care. If you don’t, find a job where you do!
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? My faith is the fundamental driving force behind my ways of working and the source of my confidence and identity. It’s massively influenced how I look at leadership and contributing to community. The value of servant leadership built into our way of working was modelled excellently by a certain Palestinian carpenter/rabbi circa 30 CE.
Amy tells us about her secondment in Internet Matters
My daughter Poppy is already a pro on my iPad. Like most parents, keeping her safe online is something I’m passionate about. So when an opportunity was offered to join Internet Matters on a secondment in Sales and Marketing, it was something I really wanted to do.
Internet Matters is a really unique organisation. A coalition between the four major Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it’s made up of a small team of nine, all seconded from each ISP, including me.
It’s a not-for-profit organisation with a simple mission to help parents keep children safe online. Backed by the UK’s most prominent internet industry players we’re able to offer parents expert advice and information on tackling online safety issues, from setting up parental controls, to issues around cyberbullying, sexting and online grooming.
Also, as the first generation of parents bringing our children up in the digital world, it can be really tricky to navigate and understand how best to help them. Our current campaign encourages parents to ‘decode their children’s digital world’ as they head back to school. Children often hide behind one-word responses and we want to help parents understand if there is anything more to it e.g. “Fine, dunno, ok…” might well be hiding a different story.
Check out our guides, videos and advice, for parents at www.internetmatters.org/start-school-safe-online.
Work Experience in Customer Service - Uddingston
- Duration: 1 week
- Start date: TBC
- Requirements: We recommend you are aged 15 or over and have an interest in Customer Service
- Location: Uddingston
About the programme
With over 11 million customers across the UK, our Customer Service Teams are at the forefront of delivering an excellent service. Our teams work in our Call Centres, as Engineers or in Retail. Would you like to see how they do it and give it a go for yourself? Then come at join us for a week.
Expenses: We’ll pay £15 a day towards your travel and expenses.
“A proud moment for me is definitely being a finalist in this year’s CCA Global Excellence Awards for the ‘Professional of the Year’ category”
Name: Paul Morrison
Job title: Customer Experience Consultant
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? My role is essentially being the voice of the customer. I work closely with our Sales teams and stakeholders from all over the business to ensure we deliver the best for our customers. My days are really varied, I could be analysing customer feedback, listening to sales calls, calibrating team leaders on how to evaluate calls, or facilitating an induction session with new Sales Advisors. Being involved in a variety of things keeps my role interesting.
How did you get into your role? I’ve always been passionate about giving customers an excellent experience. Before this, I was in a coaching role helping to improve the quality of the conversations our Sales Advisors were having with customers, and this felt like the next logical step.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? I work as part of a fantastic team who consistently deliver for, empower and support our Sales teams, which makes me feel proud every day that I come to work. A real highlight was when my site in Dunfermline achieved a record NPS score (a customer satisfaction survey). Our people deliver great experiences for our customers, so to have this recognised in customer feedback was excellent.
On a more personal note, a proud moment for me is definitely being a finalist in this year’s CCA Global Excellence Awards for the ‘Professional of the Year’ category. It’s a very competitive category with representatives from businesses all over the country so to be in the final and recognised for my work is a big achievement. I feel like I’ve won already, but hopefully I can bring the trophy home for the team!
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? It’s all about the people for me. We work really hard and in an ever changing and fast paced environment, but everyone works together for our customers and we have lots of fun while we’re doing it!
Describe your contact centre or area of the business - what makes it a great place to work? I’m lucky to work in a large open space environment so there’s always something fun going on. I sit in amongst our Sales teams so it’s easy for me to stay close to what’s happening on the floor, as well as being accessible to the managers that I support. There’s an on-site gym for employees amongst other facilities but I’m more likely to be found counting down to Wok Bar Wednesday in the canteen!
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I believe you need to take ownership for your own development. Be curious and look to learn from those around you and always say “yes” to every opportunity. You’re given access to excellent development platforms like LinkedIn Learning here, so take advantage of these to learn new skills.
An interesting fact no one else knows about you: I’ve had a gun pulled on me twice and lived to tell the tale! I’d like to add that neither time was because I was up to no good though!