The importance of embracing diversity and inclusion
We caught up with Amelia Mansell, Head of Lightning Business Architecture and Data Analytics, who shared with us the great things about working for Virgin Media, what it's like to be a woman in a telecommunications company and the importance of gender equality.
Here's what Amelia had to say:
Can you tell me about your role?
I currently lead the Process, Data and Insight team within the Lightning Division (the part of our business which is growing our network to reach more homes across the UK). I’ve been working in this role for one year now. I really enjoy the challenge and pace of work that the role brings and it’s exciting to work in a space, which directly contributes to the growth of our business.
What’s great about working for Virgin Media?
It has to be the diversity of the people I work with, and how we all have something to contribute to the overall success of Virgin Media. We all have the opportunity to make a difference and it is within our gift to make things happen. From a practical point of view, I find the technology we have available in the business enables flexible working and balance of managing a family and career.
What’s it like being a woman at Virgin Media?
I would say it’s different yet equal. Different in terms of the some of the perspectives we may bring, equal in terms of opportunities that are available. More than any organisation I have worked in before, I feel Virgin Media embraces inclusion and diversity. Being a woman, for me, at Virgin Media has been about being treated equally – having the same opportunities as my peers, regardless of gender.
What does Press for Progress mean to you?
Press for Progress for me means gender parity at all levels of the organisation, across all areas of the business – both technical and non-technical. I believe it should be about developing and encouraging our female talent for roles across the business, supporting our emerging talent pipeline (apprentices, interns, graduates) and encouraging experienced female talent into Virgin Media through a Returner pipeline (experienced professionals who have taken a career break for personal reasons, such as raising a family).
In your opinion, what does Press for Progress mean to Virgin Media?
For Virgin Media, I believe Press for Progress should be about ensuring our people are equipped with the right training and understanding to remove unconscious bias. Also, ensuring our leaders and managers has the right tools and framework to recruit and create inclusive and diverse teams. That each of us takes accountability for ensuring we have balance and diversity in our teams.
What more could we be doing to promote gender equality?
I would like to see us share our successes more widely, proactively engage communities that can support the equality agenda (e.g. STEM communities) and have active dialogue with our female talent to explore roles in the less ‘balanced’ areas of our business where they can add real value.
What challenges have you faced? How did you overcome them?
Working in a technical space, there can be pre-conceptions that females aren’t technical. This perception has been changing since I first started my career some years ago - though still exists in some pockets of the industry. Overcoming this for me has always been about demonstrating competence, not accepting a ‘label’ and working collaboratively to recognise that value and contribution can come in many different forms.
What impact do you feel you’ve had?
Both personal and professional for me – I began my career at Virgin Media after a 7-year break to raise a family. I have been able to show that people who have taken long career breaks are able to return to the workplace and deliver value. Subsequently, I’ve been fortunate to run a pilot ‘Returner’ programme through 2017/18 to bring experienced professionals into Virgin Media after a voluntary career break. Two of these Returners have already landed permanent roles and I hope to see this attraction route as a regular pipeline for Virgin Media going forwards.
What advice would you give to someone interested in working for Virgin Media?
Just go for it!