"I don’t know of anywhere else I could have had all of the opportunities I’ve had, it’s been amazing!"
Name: Danny Chumbley
Job title: Head of Development & Test
What area of Sky do you work in? Data Technology & Operations
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I started out working weekends in the Contact Centre to fund myself through university. I had a variety of roles from technical support, installation enquires, supporting engineers in the field, coaching new members to the team and working on a CRM application roll out across the estate, which very helpfully formed the basis of my university dissertation. I then finished university and left the business for a year to travel the world.
Twelve months later and a phone call to an old manager and I was back in the same team while I looked for something full-time in the technology world. After two weeks my manager arranged a very informal meeting with a project team that needed technical support for a month. Before I knew it, that one month secondment turned in to a job as an Application Administrator, a round of recruitment later and I was the manager of the business application team. After just over a year in that role I moved in to the Technology Directorate, designing, developing and supporting a range of Enterprise Content Management solutions. I continued to progress within technology to Application Support and Development Team Leader, to Component Manager, to my previous role Platform Manager of over 100 components and a department of over 100 people in the UK, Barcelona and India.
I’ve just been promoted to the role of Head of Development & Test, leading a data technology department across five sites.
I don’t know of anywhere else I could have had all of the opportunities I’ve had, it’s been amazing!
What does a typical day working here look like for you? It might sound cliché, but there is not really a typical day, it’s always different. I’d say the only constant is starting with coffee, after that, it’s working with great team, all over the world, creating and supporting technology that is at the heart of our operation.
Sometimes our focus is on something a year down the line and ensuring we get the foundations right, sometimes are dealing with a production incident that needs urgent attention.
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? In my last role we had the freedom, support and autonomy to develop an SMS chat platform that had a return on investment calculated in days. Once the trial was seen by wider audiences, it was quickly funded to become an enterprise solution, now we’re having millions of conversations a year with our customers over SMS, providing a convenient communication channel our customers love.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? I’ve had the amazing privilege of working with some very talented people and teams here. By far and away the proudest moments are seeing people I have supported, grow, develop and progress their own careers.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Working with great people that area really passionate about doing the best for our customers.
Describe your work/life balance? I’d say I’m better at supporting and encouraging others in this area. I love what I do and this can sometimes mean a lot of time and effort being spent, but it’s my choice and I wouldn’t change it. That being said, I’ve always got enough time to spend with my young family or hosting a legendary BBQ with friends.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Whatever you’re doing and wherever you are doing it, give it everything you’ve got, it will be noticed and opportunities can come from the strangest places. I’d also recommend finding a mentor, I’ve seen the huge benefits this can bring first hand.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? As a teenager I was awarded a scholarship to Space Camp, for winning a physics competition.
Joanne joined us as a Project Manager and has work and family life balanced with our support
Name: Joanne Stewart
Job title: Project Manager
What area do you work in? UK Information Systems (North)
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I’ve worked in technical project management for over 10 years, but most recently I have been taking a career break to care for my young children.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? I haven’t been back in work long, so at the moment meeting new people and learning new things are part of each working day. However, I think that the nature of Project work is that it can be quite varied from day-to-day, so I’m not sure that there is ever a typical day for a Project Manager!
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Having been away from the workplace for 5 years, applying for jobs, interviews and just stepping foot back into an office for the first time in so long, was all quite daunting. It’s early days, but each day back is filled with small victories, which are helping to re-build my confidence. I’m proud of myself for pushing past that anxiety and just getting back into the workplace.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Meeting and talking to new people (adults!).
Describe your work/life balance? With two young children, balancing work and home life, can be difficult. Some days, it can feel a bit like I’m playing a giant game of childcare Jenga. Prior to starting work at Sky, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to make it all work, but through flexible working arrangements, the business are supporting me to do just that.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? To others who have taken a career break and are worried about whether they could re-enter the workplace successfully, I would say that you can definitely do it, but that finding the right employer is key. I would advise applying directly to companies, who are known to support flexible working arrangements.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? In my spare time I assist in running a Baby and Toddler group in the village where I live.
Would you like a job where you can make time to still do the things you enjoy?
Name: Joe Strudwick
Job title: National Sales Manager
What area of the company do you work in? Sky Business
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I started my career in Sales in a Graduate / Management progression scheme for a national leisure & fitness provider. I worked there for 4 years, initially in Sales and then moving through different positions in Project Management and First Tier Management. From there I became a General Manager and managed a small group of sites.
I joined this company as a Business Development Executive (BDE) looking after Devon, Cornwall and the Channel Islands. I’d not worked in a Field Sales role before, so it was quite a big learning curve and a large area of the country to get around. After 4-5 years as a BDE (with a couple of territory changes) I progressed to a National Sales Manager role, this has been my job for the past two years.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? I’m not sure there’s such thing as a “typical day”. As I type this, I’m on a train to Manchester to meet with my peer group. I could as easily be making my way to spending a day with one of the team in Trade visiting potential new customers, or in an induction / training session with some of our field teams. The role is very varied but allows me to continually challenge myself to get better.
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? I’m now in my seventh year and one thing I’ve tried to be involved in, is how we develop our staff. As a management team we really strive to ensure our people are listened to and we work hard to ensure they’re able to get as much opportunity to grow as possible.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? As a BDE I was given an award for building collaboration between areas of the business. This was voted on by the teams and it was a really proud moment for me.
I was also really proud to be promoted in the National Sales Manager role from being a BDE. I’d put in a lot of hard work and was really delighted for it to be recognised.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love spending time out with the field sales team 2-3 times a week. This means that as well as ensuring I’m not getting rusty, I’m also able to spend time with the team (who work remotely) to see how I can best support them.
Describe your work/life balance? Living in Cornwall, I love the outdoors & I make sure I’ve some time to surf each week. Whilst I travel a fair bit, I’m able to balance this out really well with my home life. This company really encourages a healthy work/life balance.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? It’s there for the taking, but don’t bank on anyone serving up opportunities to you on a plate. A company the size of ours has lots of available resources – you just need to go and get them (along with some good old-fashioned hard work).
An interesting fact about you? I’ve travelled to every continent (apart from Antarctica). I love to travel, so you’ll rarely find me using annual leave to get housework / DIY done.
"Analytics is a hard discipline... it takes time and experience to get good at"
Name: Anthony Bates
Job title: Head of Insights
What area of Sky do you work in? I work in Insight and Decision Science. We’re a one stop shop for insight and analytical capabilities.
What’s your career journey been like up until now? Varied! After university I took some time out to teach English in South Korea and travel around Asia. After that I came back to London and started out in a small IT consultancy. I then went to live in Edinburgh for 10 great years, for the first half working on the civil service Fast Stream Graduate programme and the second half in RBS. In RBS I got into analytics as I was fascinated by really understanding why things are happening and what you can do about it – being able to work with data gives you a huge advantage here.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? My role is part Business Partner and part Team Leader. I spend a lot of time with the Customer Retention team, building relationships and getting a deep understanding of their business and what their problems and opportunities are. Then I work with my team on how we can help solve these problems using data and insights, and then implementing our solutions. It’s great as I get to see things through from start to finish.
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? Raising the level of aspiration. When I joined the business the level of value add using data was quite low, focused around simple data or profiling requests. My attitude is why can’t we do things differently, why can’t we be leaders in this area? I always try to think about new ways of using data to make better decisions and get people excited. After that comes the tricky part of delivering but I always aim to be creative and innovative and do new things. Work should be fun and interesting, not a daily grind.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Having the privilege to lead the Customer Retention team in IDS, which I think is the best performing team in department (I know, I would say that!). I work with some highly intelligent people on a day to day basis and it’s my job to make sure their efforts are well directed into useful projects. It’s really a pleasure on a day to day basis.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Getting to see our ideas put into practice. I think in analytics we’re all in the industry to make a difference, and it’s a great feeling to see your ideas put into action.
Describe your work/life balance? I’m just about to have a baby (or just had one, depending on when you read this) so this is something I’ve really been working on in the last year or two. Speaking honestly I used to work too much but I’ve learned to focus on where it’s important for me to be involved and where I can step back and trust my team. I work about 45 hours per week. What makes a real difference is being able to work from home one or two days per week.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Think about depth not breadth. Analytics is a hard discipline with technical elements as well as commercial. It takes time and experience to get good at. Many Analysts make the mistake of thinking if they work in lots of different areas or companies they will keep motivated. Actually they end up getting demotivated often but avoid dealing with this by moving around frequently. Focus on getting better at what you do and working through the difficulties. It’s easier to do that in an area you are familiar with rather than with a completely new set of products / data / stakeholders. Also remember you don’t need to get a promotion every year! You’ll be working for 40 years+ of your life, so don’t put yourself under too much pressure to always be moving upwards. If you’re a hard worker and good at what you do, people will notice and opportunities will come up as you get more experience.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? Last year I had a two month sabbatical so I could walk the Camino de Santiago, which is 500 miles from start to finish. I couldn’t recommend it enough and met some wonderful people. It’s been a theme for me in this interview – hard things are rewarding.
Is a career in software development for you?
Name: Clare Devine
Job title: Software Developer
What area of Sky do you work in? I work in Digital Service, in the Digital Help teams based in Leeds.
What’s your career journey been like up until now? It’s been a whirlwind to say the least! My introduction was back in August 2015 when I joined on the Software Engineering Apprenticeship. At that time I didn’t know how to code or anything about programming! Fast forward two and a half years and I’ve worked on projects such as the releases of Sky Q and Sky Mobile, not to mention all the great stuff we do in Help!
I was recently promoted to a mid-level Developer, so I’m also dipping my toes into line management now too. I’m loving my experience here as I never know what’s around the corner!
What does a typical day working here look like for you? My day starts quite early; I aim to get to work between 7:30-8am. I generally catch up on anything that took place after I left work the night before and then start on whichever ticket I’m working on at that time.
My team has stand up around 10am so we generally just work up to this time, with the odd trip to the café thrown in. After stand up is generally the time that most meetings begin, so I’ll check my calendar to see what my day looks like, this gives me a good overview of how much of my ticket I’ll get to work on that day, and at lunch I will generally head over to the gym with some of my colleagues.
If you’ve been here over one year, how have you made a difference in your role? Since I started in Help in February 2016 we have done some amazing work for our customers experience while they are on www.sky.com/help. Over the time I’ve been in the team we’ve released Help v2, which was a Sky Pages application, navigated through tiles and panels, and most recently Help 3.0.
We’re moving towards personalising our customers’ journeys. Letting them be in control of how they search for help, by search bar, buttons or quick links ensures that the customer has a smooth experience and can navigate at their own ability.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Other than my graduation with a Distinction through Sky Early Careers, it’s definitely the most recent project I worked on.
As well as online help, our teams also look after broadband, and over the past year we have built Future Assurance View, which is for both customers and advisors in the call centres to help diagnose what is wrong with a person’s broadband and then directing them on how they can self-serve, without the need to call Sky to fix an issue.
In January this year, we were told the system would be changing significantly. I became Lead Developer on this project, working alongside my colleague, Sam. We successfully accommodated the new system, as well as ensuring that the current one still worked too. It was challenging, mainly because I’m a front-end developer, and this was a back-end project, but this made it all the more interesting and enjoyable. When we went live with this project it was one of my proudest moments as I was so proud at how our small team had achieved such a huge migration with very little side effects!
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love that the work’s always changing and evolving and that we’re constantly challenging ourselves to improve our products.
Describe your work/life balance? To aid my work/life balance I make sure that my phone’s switched off out of working hours, my phone’s always pinging!
I think it’s also important to make sure you leave the office on a lunchtime. I generally go to the gym or walking into Leeds city centre to hit the reset button.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Don’t worry if you think you’re not doing as well as you could be, this is just self-doubt! You’re great at what you do or else you wouldn’t be doing it. My advice is to keep learning and developing yourself - you’ll be flying through the ranks in no time!
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? In 2017 I was on Code First:Girls Ones to Watch list, and this gave me the confidence to do public speaking and start my own blog (clarecodes.com).
“I’ve developed so much in the last 12 months and it’s amazing to see what I can achieve”
Name: Emma Stewart
Job title: Stepping into Management
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I work in the Retentions team at our Contact Centre in Glasgow. On a day to day basis, I lead a team of 14 Advisors, supporting them with their performance through effective coaching & leadership.
How did you get into your role? I was a Subject Matter Expert at our Contact Centre for about a year, and always had a passion for coaching and management. I had some great opportunities as a Subject Matter Expert where I shadowed managers & eventually applied for the Stepping into Management position and got the job! The opportunities here are endless and I was supported by my manager to push myself.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? I would say my proudest moment is reading my blog from last year and noticing the difference a year can make. I’ve developed so much in the last 12 months and it’s amazing to see what I can achieve.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love coaching my team and seeing that lightbulb moment, when something clicks, it’s great to know that I’ve helped with that.
Describe your contact centre or area of the business - what makes it a great place to work? Our Contact Centre is in the process of getting refurbished and we’re all excited to see the results, it’s going to be great! The refurb will just add to the already electric atmosphere that you feel when you walk through our doors; it’s such a great space to work.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Absolutely. I was a Subject Matter Expert 12 months ago and have been in the Stepping into Management programme for 7 months now. My next step is Customer Experience Leader, watch this space! My advice would be, if you want to do something you should go for it.
An interesting fact no one else knows about you: I was offered a place in the MENSA society when I was 24 months old because I could read.
“You’re part of a big team who are really supportive… Broadband Tech is a brilliant place to work”
Name: Jamie Whyte
Job title: Broadband Tech Expert
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I work in our Broadband Teach team. On a daily basis, I visit our customer homes to help fix and improve their broadband and Wi-Fi.
How did you get into your role? I used to do TV installations but I had an accident which meant I couldn’t work for a few years. When this job came up, and I was better, I went for it. It’s the perfect role for me because I love all things tech and find helping people satisfying.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? I’ve enjoyed educating our customers about the reason behind the problem they’re facing; I’ve noticed that this really makes a difference to the way that the customer views our service. My proudest moment working here was winning Broadband Tech Expert of the Year 2017. Being recognised by senior management was a real achievement.
What surprised you most about your role? That being a Broadband Teach Expert doesn’t mean working on your own. You’re part of a big team who are really supportive, if you need anything there is always someone willing to go out of their way to help. Broadband Tech is a brilliant place to work.
Describe your work/life balance: I have a wife and 4 children so my work life balance is important to me. I work shifts and have been able to find a balance that works for me and my family.
Have you had the opportunity to progress? No matter how experienced you are there’s always room for improvement, and there are plenty of opportunities to develop and learn more here.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Always ask questions.
Your top application tip for people applying now: Definitely be yourself! Don’t try to be someone you’re not as it’ll hold you back. If everybody was the same, our workplace wouldn’t be what it is.
An interesting fact no one else knows about you: Before this role I was a photographer and fire breather. I was commended by the World Photography Organisation for one of my fire breathing shots.
“I have a gregarious nature so I really enjoy communicating and helping our customers”
Name: George Hanselman
Job title: Customer Service Advisor
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I help our customers with their TV and Broadband, offering them help and support. I’m also a LGBT+ champion which is really exciting for me; I get involved in championing and supporting LGBT+ at our Contact Centre.
How did you get into your role? Before joining I was a Lead Advisor at a cosmetics store, I’m passionate about make-up but wasn’t happy in the role. My friend who was already working here recommended I join, so I applied. It felt like the right decision because I lived in Sheffield whilst I was at university and liked the idea of moving back.
How have you made a difference in your role? I have a gregarious nature so I really enjoy communicating and helping our customers. I also love helping my team, we’re really supportive of each other and they bring out the best in me.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The most enjoyable things about my role is speaking to our customers, having a great support network and knowing that I can be myself at work. My proudest moment was winning Newcomer of the Year which really made me feel welcome and glad to be part of the Sky family (thankfully I had great makeup on when I was presented with the award haha!).
Describe your contact centre or area of the business - what makes it a great place to work? It’s a comfortable and diverse environment. There are great onsite facilities, such as a canteen area and quiet rooms to relax and hangout.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? Even though I’m relatively new to the business, I’ve already had the opportunity to talk to my mentor about my interest and love for the production side of television, as I did a screenwriting degree at university.
An interesting fact no one else knows about you: I’m a part-time drag queen.
“I’ve been here for almost 9 years, I started my journey as a Customer Experience Leader in our TV Retention team”
Name: John Rankin
Job title: Head of Sales Operations
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I lead our Broadband Specialist Retention team in our Dunfermline Contact Centre. The team is just short of 500 people and we focus on helping our telephone and broadband customers find solutions. Within my team of Sales Managers, we focus on supporting and developing our people to deliver a world class customer experience and bring to life the amazing products and services we have here, to help make the lives of our customers easier.
How did you get into your role? I’ve been here for almost 9 years - I started my journey as a Customer Experience Leader in our TV Retention team, since then I’ve worked in our Customer Service Estate department. Through development and training here I now have the privilege of leading our amazing Dunfermline team.
How have you made a difference in your role/what’s been your proudest moment working here? Nothing makes me prouder than watching our people succeed. Seeing people grow, develop and take pride in their role, playing a part in something really special. I have been fortunate to lead a lot of people who I’ve seen go on to develop. One of my own proudest moments was being a part of the project team that brought Sky Q to life, this is a game changing product for television and watching it come to life from the beginning to now be in over 1 million homes, makes me immensely proud.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love the fast pace, we never stand still. For us to continue to be the market leader and give great service to our customers, we need to continue to innovate and invest. Leading a team that gets to bring amazing things like Sky Mobile, Sky Q, Sky Atlantic (Game of Thrones) and so much more is just awesome!
Describe your contact centre - what makes it a great place to work? At nearly 500 heads it's not a small Contact Centre, but what never ceases to amaze me is the immense community spirit, passion and loyalty here. Everyone genuinely cares about what they do and this comes through in the amazing feedback we get from our customers. It’s this spark that makes the Dunfermline Contact Centre amazing. This breadth of talent and passion means that when we have opportunities, more often than not we are able to promote from within.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I’ve been on an amazing journey here because we’re amazing at nurturing talent, and I am a huge advocate of this. Having started as a Customer Experience Leader and now being a Head of Sales Operation has been a whirlwind but an incredibly rewarding time. My advice would be to always be true to yourself, be the person you are and always look for, be receptive to and act on feedback.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I was once in the TV ads for Norwich Union Direct (Quote Me Happy). Here’s the link: https://youtu.be/NbVG5yzlYKo
Things have come a long way in 30 years, but how far have we to go?
Having two daughters and being brought up by a passionate Greek-Cypriot mum, I’ve spent my life surrounded by women, and I consider myself a better, more rounded person for it.
But it’s even within my working life that I can remember a time when this wasn’t the case at work.
A time when there were no or very few women around the senior table, when women left to start a family and didn’t come back. And where arguably the decisions we made were narrow and not always as considered as they should be.
Things have come a long way in 30 years but it pains me that in 2018 we must still have conversations around why gender equality is a no-brainer, that it’s essential for business and is the right thing to do.
And for my daughters, I want more. I want workplaces that seek out their talent and their views and support their careers.
During the week of International Women’s Day there will be many conversations around the world about the gender balance of teams and how can we close that gap. In some cases some may ask, why bother?
Well from a business perspective, I believe that we will be a more successful, sustainable and better business if we have an equal balance of men and women. It’s that simple
But to make change happen you need a blended approach, with senior leaders championing it, initiatives in place, and targets to track the effectiveness of diversity programmes.
To begin with, driving gender diversity starts with the recruitment process. At Sky we want equally balanced male and female shortlists across all vacancies. Previously, we were 70/30 in favour of men and are now near our recruitment targets for all roles. We set ourselves an aspiration of getting to 50/50 gender balance in our senior leadership, and in less than two years of setting this goal we have moved from around 30% to nearly 40%.
However – the work doesn’t stop there. We also have plans in place to improve the balance in more challenging areas, designing programmes to help change the industry standard, for example our Sky Women in Tech scholarship and our new Sky Home Service Engineer training programme.
Yes, it’s about pressing for progress this International Women’s Day, but that’s one day – a day which I hope we won’t need forever – why would it exist if we had achieved true equality? To make gender diversity happen, ultimately, it’s about being committed to this cause and putting in the effort to make change happen.
If gender balance is a business priority, as I believe it should be, you’ll find a way to put the necessary steps in place.