Blog 53

kate running
Kate, Senior Project Manager

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m one of the Senior PMs in the agency and my role is to plan and manage projects, working with both the client and the project team to deliver as efficiently and on budget as possible. In addition to managing my own projects, I am also involved with assisting other project managers with budget management and planning, along with helping resolve any issues where I can. I have recently started looking into a number of metrics across the agency which will ultimately help us to better analyse the agency as a whole.

Who are you inspired by?

Since having my baby boy last year, I’m inspired by all Mums who are striving to be the best version of themselves in both their career and home lives. Having a baby doesn’t have to mean that career dreams are compromised – I want to show my little man that “This Mummy Can!”

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

This leads me nicely into what I love outside of work, which is fitness, whether it’s running, lifting weights, hiking up big hills or trying to do yoga. I never wanted to give these up when I became a Mum, and there is nothing more I love than running through the countryside with my co-pilot in the buggy. Total bliss! Aside from fitness, I enjoy all things Spanish – speaking it, watching cheesy telenovelas, and planning my next Spanish adventure (whenever we get out of lockdown!)

Another one of my passions is the environment and Greta Thunberg has my full admiration. She has brought an awareness of climate change to the younger generation, which is something we desperately needed. Catastrophic things are happening to our planet all the time and without Greta and her incredible activism, the stark reality of what’s to come if we don’t change our ways wouldn’t be so talked about by children and young people in schools. All we need now are more grownups to listen!

Amna
Amna, Digital Project Manager

Tell us a bit about your role

My role entails managing large projects to a set budget, timeline and scope. Being a project manager requires you to essentially be a Jack of all trades. One of the most challenging aspects is the sheer volume of topics I have to keep abreast of to confidently run projects successfully. Clients can ask me anything and everything, and I need to have at least an understanding of what they are talking about, even if I don't have an immediate answer. It really helps to build confidence with them, as well as a good relationship.

My "secret ingredient" to being a successful PM is to charm everyone! Really work to build relationships with clients and team alike. Always, always, always look out for the wellbeing of everyone involved in the project, and recognise that each person is a valuable cog in the machine.

Who are you inspired by?

One of my first roles after university was an internship at a Housing Association in the HR department, which was mostly run by women. It was awesome to see how they were using their skills and teamwork to affect every area of the business and enforce change.

There was a Director of HR who was unique in terms of what I had experienced from senior leadership traditionally in the past for two reasons: she was a woman, and she was an ethnic minority. By observing her over the course of my time there, I learnt how she used her intelligence to benefit her in a white male-dominated industry. She used her softer skills to push policies through and gain popularity.

This way of working has very obviously been adapted into my current working style and has served me well over the years. I'm not sure I would have got to where I was so quickly without Lubna Taj as my inspiration and mentor!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy trying to inspire/push other young women to pursue their dreams no matter how tough the obstacles may seem: friends, cousins, children, strangers - no one is safe!

I went to work at an all-women's university in Saudi Arabia for a year in a drive to help Saudi women gain the skills they need to start integrating diversity (both gender and ethnic) into the economy there. Many of my students were from wealthy families but were the first women in their families to ever go into higher education. It was a struggle to move somewhere so different and restricted from what I was used to but I'm so glad I did. I'm still in touch with some of my students, who have moved on to start careers in finance, medicine and engineering.

Moral of the story: even if something seems impossible, it only takes a few people with the right mindset to make a massive change!

Laura
Laura, Project Coordinator

Tell us a bit about your role

I absolutely love it here at Degree 53. This is a fun team to be part of! Having started in the admin department, everything I have learnt in the industry is down to Degree 53! It's such a great place to grow and learn, and full of supportive women and men!

Who are you inspired by?

I'm a very driven person and am inspired by some of our very own women in the company who have so much knowledge and experience to admire, as well as my mother. She's always been an inspiration to me, having a successful career alongside raising two children (and did a pretty good job if you ask me!). She's always been admirable to me.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I love being active. I'm obsessed with my Fitbit, so anything to get those steps in! Lockdown has really got me into cooking too, so I often spend my weekends working on some concoction in the kitchen...and in the home bar!


Daisy
Daisy, Project Manager

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m a Project Manager, and day-to-day I manage web and app builds ensuring the project is delivered on time and to the budget. Also, I manage client expectations and ensure the team are happy and have the support they need.

Who are you inspired by?

I am inspired by my fellow colleagues and all their knowledge and their willingness to offer support and teaching.

As well as my teammates, I look up to Dolly Parton. She's an amazing businesswoman, does so much for those less fortunate, and not forgetting she's amazingly talented.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside work, I am often found roaming the hills with my dog. 

Sabina
Sabina, Project Manager

Tell us a bit about your role

Hello! I'm Sabina and I'm a Project Manager here at Degree 53. I feel very blessed to work with such an incredible group of women, who all have such varied roles within the agency. Degree 53 is such a supportive and empowering place to work as a woman in tech - I always feel like my voice is heard and I have the freedom to express myself and my ideas and be taken seriously - even when my ideas aren't directly relating to my job role.

Who are you inspired by?

Before I had my PM calling, I had dreams of being a professional musician, and I grew up listening to - and was inspired by - strong female vocalists and songwriters like Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan and Cher... amongst many many others! Any woman who unapologetically expresses themselves creatively has been a huge inspiration and role model to me.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

In my free time, I love writing and recording music. I am always in the middle of learning a new song on the guitar or writing lyrics. I'm in the process of recording an album (just for fun!!) so I'll keep you posted when that finally drops!

Another big passion of mine is comedy, and pre-Covid times I loved going to live stand-up comedy nights. My dad was a massive fan of Victoria Wood, Dawn French and Jo Brand so I grew up watching them and being amazed at how outspoken and unafraid they were to make themselves seen and heard. There are so many hilarious female comedians in the circuit right now, and I can't wait to get back out to watch them once the world returns to normality - I love to laugh!

I also love travelling, visiting new countries and eating the local food and then replicating it once I'm back home.

Lockdown has given me the opportunity to nurture some of my "quieter" hobbies, of which I've got many... I've always got a book on the go, love embroidering and getting crafty, and I'm currently learning to roller-skate! I love long walks in the countryside and open water swimming with my husband Michael and our dog, Molly - a 14-year-old springer spaniel who despite being a senior lady still has a tonne of energy and loves the water more than anything else in the world.

I love International Women's day and taking the day to reflect on the many many wonderful women both in my own life and those out there in the world doing incredible things for themselves and other women. Any woman who encourages and elevates other women is an inspiration to me. My colleague Kate, who is a Senior PM here at Degree 53 is a perfect example of that - she was my mentor when I started working here as a junior, and she really supported and empowered me to speak my mind and progress in my career! 


Katie
Katie, Digital Marketing Apprentice

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m a Digital Marketing Apprentice here at Degree 53 and I absolutely love it! My role consists of creating content and campaigns to showcase the capabilities of Degree 53. There is never a dull moment, there is always an amazing atmosphere and great projects to be working on!

Who are you inspired by?

It is an inspiration to be working alongside talented and committed people. I admire that everyone has goals and works hard to achieve, this inspires me to work even harder and try new things!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I enjoy going out for walks. It has become a weekend routine now, I like to put on music or a podcast, and get out of the house for a bit!

I also like to be creative; a hobby of mine is Photography. I love to capture different settings and moments, and then take the time to edit them. It is a skill I continue to improve!

Also, when not being active, I like to browse Netflix and see what new series there are to watch. I enjoy a wide variety of genres, so there is always something new to binge-watch!

Amy

Amy, Business Analyst

Tell us a bit about your role

I’m one of the Business Analysts at Degree 53. I’ve been working in Digital agencies for the past 9 years meaning I was lucky to have a really broad view of agency life, but at the same time felt that I never really had a ‘specialism’. So, I decided to find my niche! Fast forward 9 years and I’ve been involved with internal Finance and HR, Project Management, user testing, data analysis before finding my passion for digital strategy. Here at Degree 53 as a business analyst, I’m responsible for project discovery and requirements gathering, as well as looking at how we can help clients with post go live strategy.

Who are you inspired by?

I’m inspired by seeing the people around me grow and succeed. I think there’s nothing more important in me finding my ‘get up and go’ as seeing other people doing it. I’m a big fan of sharing in other people’s successes and using that inspiration to drive me to push my boundaries. At Degree 53, we have an amazing bunch of people who do just this, celebrate their own successes, those of others and those of the agency.

I’m lucky enough to come from a family of pretty amazing women! I’ve always been encouraged to follow my heart, whether it be in work or home life. These women amaze me on the daily, they are fighters, mothers, daughters, but most of all they are the most inspiring bunch of women I have ever met. I think my biggest inspiration is my big sister. I’ve always looked up to her and always wanted to be like her. She’s got a PhD, and a job, and a wonderful daughter, and she’s fought so hard to have all of those things. I think she’s also my biggest fan (although she’d probably deny that - she wouldn’t want me to get too big for my boots!). She’s always believed in me, and in what I can achieve and for that, I will be forever grateful.

I also love the Degree 53 ladies. We’re a group who big each other up and celebrate our successes together, and that allows us to have a pretty empowering workplace.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work I’m a bit of a gamer, and love nothing more than relaxing by playing on one of my many, many games consoles (my GameCube is my absolute favourite!) and I also present on a gaming podcast from time to time (Maximum Power Up, shameless plug, check us out!). I also love spending time with my family.

To all those fantastic ladies out there, slaying it every day: Happy International Women’s Day! 

Naomi
Naomi, Account Manager

Tell us a bit about your role

Hello, I’m Naomi and I’m one of the Account Managers at Degree 53. My role involves communicating with our clients about their projects and ensuring that their goals and needs are met.

Who are you inspired by?

It sounds a bit cheesy, but I’m inspired by compassion and kindness – people who aren’t afraid to be themselves and to stand up for what they believe in.

Many, many women inspire me including plenty who I know personally but famous women who come to mind for me are Patti Smith, Jacinda Ardern and Adwoa Aboah.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I’ve recently taken up roller skating but am still very wobbly! I’m looking forward to improving over the summer.

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