Emily Stevenson

I’m proof that you don’t need grades to reach the top of your game, and nor should we be limited by our gender or upbringing.

I decided not to complete my A-Levels, and instead joined the workforce as an outbound sales advisor for M&S Money. The experience gained in this role proved to be a valuable life lesson and has been pivotal in helping me to define my career path. It also helps to explain why I’m so passionate about delivering an effortless customer experience.

I decided to return to education, and first completed a foundation year at Harper Adams University before going on to study for a degree in Food and Consumer Studies. After graduating, I became a Product Technologist for Tesco during the peak of the financial crisis. During the toughest trading conditions, I was fully accountable for driving continuous improvement and ensuring that all suppliers complied to rigorous manufacturing standards. On many factory visits, often overseas, I was the only woman. It was hard at times but I learned to embrace being different.

I excelled at Tesco. I loved my job, and all that the food industry offered. I travelled the world sourcing products and developing innovative product concepts; it was a dream come true. But I refused to let myself be limited by expectations that I would become a specialist in food product technology. The opportunity to join the Customer Strategy and Development team at O2 was too appealing and so I took a leap of faith, and followed what I wanted to do.

Whilst at O2, I realised that many of my skills were transferable. Being different was to my advantage; I was able to define and realise a customer vision and deliver market differentiation through cross-industry innovation expertise. I was integral to numerous high-profile product and service evolutions and pioneered entry into the family market; a completely new audience for the business.

Today, I’m at the forefront of Vodafone’s journey into convergence, obsessing over how we attract new customers, and how we help them up the value chain, to deepen our relationships. I lead the strategic customer plan to transform the ease at which our customers interact with us; adopting agile principles and designing with a digital first mind-set.

I am proud to work for Britain’s first mobile network and one of the world’s largest communication companies, providing connectivity to over 530 million mobile customers in 25 countries. The reason? I like getting people excited about the things I’m excited about. Right now, that’s about becoming the #1 UK MNO for Customer Experience and connecting for a better future.