In my late teens I made the decision having spent my upbringing in the North East to move South to be closer to my family roots. Back then in the late 90s, Vodafone as a company was a well-known business in what was, and still is, the small market town of Newbury as one of the biggest employers locally.
My first experience with Vodafone was naturally my first ever mobile phone – a very dashing Mitsubishi MT430 bought from a dealer store in town which had the ability to both make phone calls and send this new technology called SMS! I was instantly wowed and never once considered other networks largely due to the legacy that began in this very town. If I remember correctly I got a whopping 30 minutes talk time for the simple cost of £35 a month. A bargain for sure back then!
After a largely Retail and sales-led CV so far in my career I took a temporary job working in the Vodafone post room, which at the time looked after all 52 offices in the town long before the headquarters were built, to gain experience in a more operational office environment. Whilst sorting the internal memos it was there I first saw the internal vacancies – one of which was an entry-level administration role responsible ultimately for logging all letters and faxes on a spreadsheet for what was called Vodafone Corporate LTD, now referred to as our Enterprise business. A couple of interviews later and the role was mine. After a week-long induction which I’m glad to say I passed (and still have a laminated copy of my certificate to this day!), I began work in the back office function of the call centre in what I clearly remember as being a really friendly and fun, family-like environment. A thriving social calendar I quickly established a social club and went on to form part of the Vodafone Sports and Social Committee including helping organising the first of many Vodafone representations at the UK Corporate Games.
During my time in Corporate I did a number of roles ranging from disconnections, Mobile Number Portability (MNP2) and soon moved on to running ‘Customers For Keeps’ the churn prevention programme where I had the pleasure of creating internal marketing campaigns every six months to encourage fellow employees to voice their customer concerns. I still have my ‘Churnbusters’ mug and lasting memories of the ‘I’m a Competitor Get Me Outta Here’ video made in a local friend’s garden.
After this I moved on to gain my first full line management experience by managing one of the Corporate Collections teams which gave me my first insight into the financial world and the banking and manufacturing industries. Thankful for the many, many experiences in Enterprise I then moved onto my next challenge as a Treasury Analyst where for three years I managed a variety of currency books through short term liquidity at our Vodafone Group function.
From here my heart was still drawn to the UK business, and in particular to the Consumer business unit where I could have the opportunity to change and influence things for the better for people, well, like me I guess. I love working with likeminded people who in the very simplest of explanations have great passion for just making things better. And that’s where I am now – through omni-channel projects like our first true pre-order tool and buy online collect in store. Retail process improvement to Time and Motion efficiency studies. Readiness & Change Management overseeing handset launches, technology projects and propositions such as Black Friday, Christmas and January sales in Retail.
And now my latest challenge - for the last 18 months I’ve worked exclusively on the concept, design and implementation of the Partner Agent Programme otherwise known as Vodafone UK Franchising. Being able to launch something completely new to our UK business in exactly one year is definitely one of my biggest career highlight so far. Seeing our pioneer Partners grow from strength to strength whilst in the midst of on-boarding our next batch of entrepreneurs is so rewarding and continues to leave me beaming with pride. Creating a new career opportunity that just didn’t exist before is such an incredible achievement, and one that has been met with so much positivity from my colleagues in the field and beyond.
Over 18 years at Vodafone is testament to what a fantastic place this is to work – I’ve been so lucky to have been given such a variety of opportunities of work to get involved in, and great people to collaborate with. Developing my career here has also really helped me learn a lot about myself too which is absolutely priceless. Training through experience is how I learn the best and working here there is so much chance to do this, every day. I’ve done so many things. I’ve learnt so very much. I’ve somehow managed to grow a young family of my two beautiful daughters along the way. I’m grateful for every opportunity passed my way, and thankful for every experience which has helped me grow. And now I’m excited for what comes next, whatever that may be!
My advice to anyone thinking of joining Vodafone is grab it with both hands. Take every opportunity. Don’t underestimate the impact on peoples’ lives you can really have. And embrace change. Because the future is exciting…..ready?
Partner Agent Programme Manager