Karen Laycock | Verizon

I've worked in IT and Telecoms for 20 years, but I don’t care about technology- I care about how technology helps people.

In one of my first product management roles, I had a moment of truth: a debate raged on whether to deploy equipment from the latest, technologically superior vendor, or the one that was more established. After doing some customer research, I found that all our key customers had already committed to working with the established vendor- the decision was not a technology based one at all, it was all about the customer.

Keeping the human element at the heart of my work is a mantra I have held to throughout my career- whether that is creating product material for our customers that is easy to understand, providing useful information to sales to help them position the product correctly, or training internal users with a fun "ninjas" programme.

It is also important when it comes to people management, something that I found when managing an internationally based team through Covid, and trying to support their emotional as well as practical needs.

I also believe in supporting other women in the workplace, and feel very privileged to have helped two female direct reports to achieve well deserved promotion. I hope to continue to evolve along a management path at Verizon, to build a world where my two daughters will find it easier to succeed.