Sarah Phillips

Career Stories: Meet Sarah Phillips, Director, Sales, FIXR

Meet Sarah Phillips, Director, Sales, FIXR

Sarah Phillips

Sarah leads the sales team at FIXR. She has spent the last five years growing FIXR from a start-up to a scale-up challenger brand. Sarah studied English Literature and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds, where she ran a small business selling branding and design packages to start-ups.

What area of work did you see yourself doing when you were younger, and do you think this connects at all with what you’re doing now?

I always imagined that I’d end up doing something super creative within marketing, or film/production, but have also always had a bit of a business/commercial way of thinking so I am not surprised I joined a tech start-up early on. I love that I have a big impact on developing the business and that it keeps me on my toes.

I’ve always thought long-term rather than the right-now. When I was a recent graduate, the ‘right-now’ was “how do I make money – to pay rent or fund my social life?”, and in the meantime, figure out what I want to do long-term because in five year’s time, I want to have achieved a valuable set of skills in a progressive career that I actually enjoy. I was very much afraid of following the steps everyone else was taking and finding myself in a role that I didn’t enjoy and feeling that I’d eventually have to take a step back and “restart” in order to move forward.

How did you decide the tech sector was for you?

I love that technology provides endless possibilities. I get to work in an environment where we are always coming up with new ideas and developing solutions to problems. As part of my role, I get to identify issues that event organisers face on a daily basis, communicate this with our team and input into product development. Every new product or feature that is developed brings new life to FIXR and what we offer as a brand. I’m not selling the same thing, the FIXR product is constantly evolving. That keeps me on my toes!

What has your career progression looked like since you started working?

I am fortunate to have found FIXR early on and was one of the brand’s first employees. I started as a Business Development representative, travelling up and down the country meeting event organisers and doing my best to convince them to sell tickets to their events on FIXR (this was at a time when our technology was very limited, and no one had heard of us). Over time, I built a network that allowed us to grow the business and develop better technology to meet our client needs. I am now Director of Sales, working with some of the largest event organisations in the UK, selling tickets to many millions of customers per year.

I work closely with many of our clients, taking suggestions on board and communicating them to our product team, who are ever developing our technology to better our service, and ultimately giving my team and me a better, easier product to sell.

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What motivates you day-to-day?

My colleagues and growth. Working with people who share the same vision and drive to succeed is really important in a start-up environment. You can’t do it alone. Surrounding yourself with people who have different skills and diversity of thought that you can learn from is key. Then growth, seeing your efforts rewarded is really an unbeatable feeling, it makes you feel more powerful and more capable.

Best part of your job?

I love meeting new, interesting people and hearing their stories. I also love learning and seeing the hard work pay off – I think this is easier to see in a smaller, growing company!

I love to feel like I am constantly moving forward. In a scaling business, making mistakes are inevitable, and they are almost as important as your successes because you learn from them and (hopefully) never make the same mistake again. I’ve made many mistakes at FIXR, but I am very grateful for them as I feel they have fuelled my progression. It’s funny how doing something wrong can immediately whip you into shape!

What has your experience been like in the tech sector as a woman?

My experience is that there aren’t enough women in the events industry. This is also true of the tech sector, but I haven’t felt that this has limited my potential to be successful. In a sense, being a minority – in my case being a female salesperson in the events industry – makes you stand out (in a good way). However, we have hired many wonderful, talented, hardworking women into the FIXR team, so I don’t really feel like part of a minority anymore!

What are your top tips for those, like yourself who haven’t followed the traditional career path but would like to get ahead in tech and/or sales?

 Test the waters, don’t be afraid to take risks, and be bold. Apply for work experience in different roles and even industries. Find what makes you tick, a subject that you are interested in and something you feel you are good at. Finding a long-term role is a very important decision, and a significant part of your life, so it’s important that you find something that is right for you. If you’re genuinely interested and passionate about what you do, and the values of a company match yours, then you will be motivated and fulfilled. Work won’t always feel like work, and you’ll be most likely to progress faster in this position.

Getting ahead in any career

  1. Be prepared to work from the bottom up: Hard work won’t go unnoticed, and you will really fuel your own progression if you’re seen to make the effort, and that you really care. If you want to make an impression, be the first in, last out.
  2. Ask questions: You’re not expected to know everything when you first start a new role. So, ask away, fuel your knowledge and build your armoury.
  3. Be you, be bold, and take risks: Employers want to be surrounded by unique people who aren’t replaceable, so don’t just copy what the next person does, find yourself and the unique value you can bring to the company, and don’t be afraid to show it off.
  4. Be a good salesperson: In any job, sales or otherwise, it’s important to believe in what you are selling and want to build genuine relationships with people. Very simply, selling is communicating something you are passionate about to others. Passion combined with an extensive understanding of your industry, the company you are pitching to, and perseverance will help you get ahead in a sales career. Find your rhythm and when it starts to work (i.e. you sign up some clients, big or small) use that momentum to your advantage and stay ahead of the curve


Jenny Wong

Career Stories: Meet Jenny Wong, Global Partnerships Director, Thoughtworks

Meet Jenny Wong, Global Partnerships Director, Thoughtworks

Jenny Wong

We caught up with our Global Partnerships Director, Jenny Wong to discuss her 16-year career journey with Thoughtworks. Jenny tells us what it means to be a Thoughtworker, and the advice she would give to women looking for a career in tech.

Tell us a bit about your Thoughtworks journey

I’ve worked in 12 Thoughtworks office locations, 10 countries, and on over 60 client projects.  I started as a Graduate Business Analyst at Thoughtworks University!  I’ve worn SO MANY hats, from Business Analyst (BA) and Product Manager, to now where I’m advising C-suite executives on how to build new organizations.

Over 16 years there have been so many highlights it’s impossible to choose one. One would be advising a client chief information officer from a 110-year-old railway company on how to innovate with tech, such as mixed reality, 3D printing and smart contracting was incredible. As was creating a first-to-market product that reduces the time planes are stranded on the runway for another client. Or re-architecting roadmaps for a company within the automobile industry on their electric vehicles, and revamping a subscription service that predicted the future of fashion – the list goes on!

Life as a consultant is hectic – we live in the fast lane. But I love the variety of businesses we get to work with, and the impact we can have on them through technology – it’s such a privilege. We really get to walk a mile in their shoes which has led me to so many experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have had. I am always learning, and that’s why I’ve stayed for as long as I have.

Growth looks like an explorer’s journey. But the key is not the roles you play, the projects you are in. It is the impact that you will create, the positive change, and the knowledge or the tools you have shared with the people you have crossed paths with.

You’ve had an amazingly varied career so far, what have you learned about managing all those transitions and taking on new opportunities?

Taking on new opportunities is part and parcel of the deal.  It’s embedded into the culture of learning inside Thoughtworks.  You have to embrace it. That doesn’t necessarily mean saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way; it’s about identifying what’s right for you and being smart about what you bring. Trust yourself – you are more equipped than you think you are.

All that said…Luck favors the prepared; don’t just go with your eyes closed.

What value do you think mentoring brings, and what advice would you give to anyone either with experience to share, or looking to learn from others?

The best advice is to build a robust network so that you navigate this journey together.  But it’s not networking, it’s building your foundation, your mirrors, and finding your champions.  Going at it together is better, it gives you far more chances to succeed than going at it alone. Whether you have the advice to give or are looking to learn, always make the time – whether it’s a formal cultivator or coach relationship, or just a serendipitous interaction – use it!

I would encourage everyone to consider mentoring others. You don’t need to be an expert (please don’t worry about thinking you’re not enough; as long as you can provide psychological safety, trust, and respect. Reflecting on what you’ve learned is how you discover where you are – start sharing your experiences and learn from it.

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Cynthia Anyaeriuba, Graduate Software Developer, Thoughtworks

Career Stories: Meet Cynthia Anyaeriuba, Graduate Software Developer, Thoughtworks

Meet Cynthia Anyaeriuba, Graduate Software Developer, Thoughtworks

Cynthia Anyaeriuba, Graduate Software Developer, Thoughtworks

We caught up with Graduate Software Developer, Cynthia Anyaeriuba who gave us an overview of her journey into the tech industry. Cynthia started her career as an Orthoptist, however, it was her passion for the tech world that would guide her to Thoughtworks.

Tell us a little about yourself and your career journey so far

My name is Cynthia and I’m a recent career changer. I joined the world of tech about a year and a half ago.

I’m a Graduate Developer at Thoughtworks and I took a non-traditional route into the tech industry. I actually started off my higher education as an Orthoptist, which many people aren’t familiar with. In short, it’s essentially an eye specialist.

Through lots of twists and turns, I ended up going into the world of business as an Account Manager. I knew it wasn’t quite the right role for me, and being quite a curious person, I actually started to shadow Business Analysts and other tech professionals within my company which allowed me to gauge what it meant to work in tech and the type of work they did. From then on, I knew I wanted to be in tech in a hands-on role.

After a bit of investigation, I went through a course at Makers Academy and a Bootcamp that gave me all the skills I needed to apply for the Graduate role at Thoughtworks.

It was such a worthwhile experience and something that I am so glad I did because it was a pivotal point in my life – it allowed me to step into this career and gave me the validation that I could actually do this.

You mention that you started to shadow tech professionals whilst at your previous company, what was it about the tech industry that made you want to make the career change? 

I think it would be that you’re constantly learning. Because I reached a point in my previous career where I felt a little bit stagnant and I just didn’t feel like I was using my brain very much in my day-to-day job.

My orthoptic career was inspired by my need to help people. From a young age, my parents were both in health care. So I thought the only way I could do that was through healthcare. Now, working in tech, I realize that technology is another route to help so many people. So it was kind of a combination of both those things, constant learning and also the fact that I can actually use tech for good and make a change to people’s lives.

Can you tell us a little about how you found your way to Thoughtworks?

When I started at Makers Academy, I discovered Thoughtworks. And it was through a webinar that Hackajob posted. I  really liked the fact that the person that was hosting the webinar was a woman. I really appreciated that because I don’t often see a lot of female representation within the industry. Especially at a high senior level. And when she was explaining what working at Thoughtworks was like, there was a huge focus on team, inclusivity and social impact work.

The social impact work really resonated with me, even to the point where in my interviews at Thoughtworks, a huge portion of my interview was around social justice. And that was almost a casual conversation between myself and two other developers. At first, I thought this seems like such a random thing to do in an interview, but I think it was to gauge the kind of personality that you have because you do need to be aligned with the Thoughtworks ethos.

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Career Stories: Meet Becky Green, Senior Business Analyst, Thoughtworks

Meet Becky Green, Senior Business Analyst, Thoughtworks

Becky Green, Thoughtworks

We caught up with Senior Business Analyst, Becky Green to discuss her journey into the tech industry, and what it was about Thoughtworks culture that brought her back after two years.

When did you know you wanted to have a career in tech?

I didn’t really have a moment where I thought ‘I want to work in tech’, it was more of ‘I want to work in a place that allows me to use my skills, work with high energy people and make interesting things happen’ and the tech industry just so happened to allow me to do all of that!

As soon as I joined the tech industry I quickly realised how diverse it was in terms of roles, products, ways of working and people. It’s a great place to have a career for those that enjoy variety.

What’s your advice for growing a career in the tech industry?

My advice (especially early on) is to take opportunities with enthusiasm, learn as much as you can from experienced people around you, and be confident asking questions. If you can build your personal ‘brand’ early on to be someone who is inquisitive and get things done, people will quickly start trusting you to be responsible for larger pieces of work. Other than that I really enjoy working with people who have a positive attitude so try to bring that to work as much as possible.

What is your proudest accomplishment both personally and professionally?

Going into the tech industry I felt like there was a pressure to be very technical, and often found myself feeling overwhelmed at the terminology the developers would use. So professionally I chose to complete a course in financial business analysis which included learning Python and SQL at a basic to mid-level. I would say that course was ‘up there’ in terms of difficulty as it included many submissions of exam-style questions, and that was on top of my day-to-day work so it could get quite stressful! However, it has definitely built up my confidence in keeping up with technical conversations.

Personally, I’ve had a shift in mentality that it is entirely ok to not have ‘hard’ technical skills, as there is a ginormous space for people with other skills that are equally important.

Those professional and personal accomplishments have helped me gain confidence in my role in different ways.

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