This International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate by sharing some of the inspiring stories behind the women who work here at Vodafone. We were excited to catch up with Becki Lake, who helped bring Curve to life with her team as the Global Product Lead. She speaks on the way company culture and adaptability have been essential throughout the pandemic. Becki also touches on some of the most exciting developments that happened over the last year and how she wants to leave her mark here at Vodafone. Let’s have a look.
As you led the product team for Curve, what were some of the challenges you face with developing the product and how have they shaped you professionally?
It would be remiss to not call out the most obvious challenge we’ve all faced over the past 12 months. COVID-19 and the initial struggles that came with the pandemic added a real level of complexity to the development cycle. We went into lockdown just as we entered the point of hardware verification; so, approvals that should take a matter of 2-3 weeks suddenly started to take months. We were also building a new development squad and integrating people who had never worked together before and roles that didn’t previously exist. While agile ways of working and cloud-based tools help to bring people together, there’s nothing quite like being in a room with everyone feeding off the same energy and atmosphere especially at kick-off, and definitely in those weeks before launch.
These challenges though have shaped the way I view adaptability and patience. It has also become clear that as long as you and your team are aligned to the same vision, then time zones, flexible working, and distance aren’t a blocker. It’s all about building and nurturing the best culture for the squad (and you can do that from anywhere). The best culture ultimately drives the best customer experience.
What strengths do you utilise the most when fulfilling your role at Vodafone?
Successful products are never finished; they evolve. And to continuously deliver the great experiences our customers deserve, I have to bring to the table a never-ending need for curiosity, customer engagement, strong (and sometimes harsh) prioritization, and measurement and analysis. I find as long as these are coupled with softer skills like empathy, humility, and clear and concise communication, then you’re off to a great start.
How has your department grown and changed and what excites you about your future at Vodafone?
Vodafone Smart Tech has undergone a significant strategic shift in the past 18 months. We’ve moved away from focussing solely on enabling network connectivity in consumer products and have moved towards designing and building entire end-to-end product experiences. Vodafone has great ambitions to become a true tech-co and the continuation of investment into driving and building nascent categories is a huge opportunity for us. We build our products the right way, prioritising by focussing on solving true customer problems. This is the ethos that feeds into my excitement; it’s not often you get the opportunity and autonomy to genuinely improve people’s lives for the better.
In what ways do you think Curve and the power of IoT will transform our everyday lives?
It’s a common misconception that IoT will reach a point where our lives are transformed in an instant. IoT is already improving the way we live, and most of the time we don’t even realise it. With every technical milestone, life just becomes a little bit easier, and the problems we used to have become less problematic, or even non-existent. Curve for example removes the mental strain on wondering where the things, people, or pets you love are. It leaves you with the peace of mind to go about your day, knowing that if something’s wrong, or a little out of the ordinary, we’ll tell you about it.
In what way are you aiming to make an impact on the company culture at Vodafone?
Culture for me is very simple and often hugely underestimated. We spend so much time at work, so why not prioritise making it fun! Simply put culture revolves around vision, values, and people. I’m doing my job right if my squad loves turning up every day, feels recognised, appreciated, and proud of the product they’re building. Good people can go anywhere, but when fun, value, and vision are prioritised, your squad is stronger, and so are the products you’re building.
Want to learn more about women in tech at Vodafone?
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If you would like to learn more about roles in roles at Vodafone please don’t hesitate to have a look at our careers page or get in touch. You can also look at our career advice for women looking to start out, progress or lead in tech.