Julia Veall

Julia Veall | Vodafone

Julia Veall

My career in IT started after a last-minute University career change from teaching to IT where I was one of a handful of women amongst a cohort of men.

Since then I have worked in a number of roles in Service Delivery and Service Management but over the last 15+ years I have found a passion for Asset Management, which has traditionally been an underrated role within Organisations. During my time at Vodafone I have developed my role and built a diverse, multi-national Centre of Excellence for Software Asset Management which provides support and services to other countries within the Vodafone group. As an original Trustee for the ITAM Forum and continuing member, I share and gain knowledge and experience from others in this Industry. I have spoken at both UK and overseas events as an ‘expert’ in my field and am happy to share my mistakes, insights and thoughts on the future.

Within Vodafone, I have mentored both external students, through a business buddy scheme to prepare them for life beyond school and apprentices to support them in their career journey.

Outside work, I am passionate about empowering girls to reach their full potential in a safe and supportive environment, embracing the world around us through diversity and inclusion and encouraging them to learn skills for their future and give back to their community. I am a qualified volunteer youth worker and a Unit Leader for both a Brownies and Guides group and last year took on the District Commissioner role where I am responsible over 40 volunteers and 150 girls.

Vodafone #ChangeTheFace

Vodafone launches industry-wide initiative to improve diversity within the tech sector

Vodafone #ChangeTheFace

Vodafone has launched an industry-wide initiative to improve diversity and represenation within the tech sector.

Ahead of International Women's Day, Vodafone has announced #ChangeTheFace, calling on technology leaders to join and make a pledge to increase diversity and equality in the sector.

An international survey among 8,000 people highlights the need for change across the industry. When asked to describe technology as a person, the majority of respondents answered that the person would be young, white, middle-class and mostly male.

The survey also found that only 13 per cent of women in the UK, 18 per cent in Ireland, and 20 per cent in Germany think jobs in tech are for people like them.

The #ChangeTheFace initiatives aims to build a community of individuals and organisations who can be a force for positive change within the industry. Ericsson and Nokia are the first to join Vodafone in making their pledges.

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group Plc. said, "#ChangeTheFace is Vodafone's commitment to improving our diversity and inclusion at Vodafone."

"We are urging the technology industry to act now so we build a digital future that reflects society and works for everyone."

By signing up at www.change-the-face.com, individuals can make their own pledge to address inequalities and eradicate bias and discrimination in the sector. The launch will kick-start an ongoing programme of activity, includig an inaugural, industry-wide #ChangeTheFace awards in 2021, to recognise champions of inclusion.

Prakriti Karthauser

Prakriti Karthauser | Vodafone

Prakriti Karthauser

I started my career in networks and infrastructure in 1997 quite by accident.

A friend had started a company providing dial up internet and was hiring. My first job was working overnights in the Network Operations Centre. I didn’t understand the job description but I very quickly learned the ropes and realised that I had a passion for all things networking.

Over the years, I’ve worked for a number of global internet service providers, equipment vendors and consulting groups. My passion and my career is architecting and designing large, complex networks. As a committed mentor, I actively work with new or junior members of staff to share knowledge and help.

In my previous role as Architect at Nationwide Building Society, I was the lead network architect for a number of key strategic network initiatives including their Corporate WAN transformation and Data Centre SDN transformation.
In addition, I also worked with a team of colleagues to create a STEM outreach programme within Nationwide that focuses on children ages 11-17. The programme includes hackathons and career education for teenagers helping them to make informed career choices and encourage them to understand what is available within technology.
As a STEM Ambassador, I am privileged to be able to go into schools be the role model that I wished I had.

I’ve just recently moved to Vodafone Group where I’m working as a UCC Domain Architect and I’m looking forward to bringing my unique perspective and passion to their products and service offerings.

finding the right career, applying for jobs featured

Finding the right career that fits you and your lifestyle

job application, right career

Emily Alpert is a UX/UI Designer at Vodafone and a proud mother. She had spent the majority of her adult life, until recently, in the non-profit campaign sphere. Whilst this is a rewarding sector, she had not been completely satisfied in the role for a long period. Sadly, the barriers in place for a woman’s career progression post-maternity leave are hard enough to overcome, even when simply returning to your previous job. Now, imagine being a new mother and knowing you want to pursue an entirely different role. This was the exact position Emily found herself in before changing her career and studying an intense, hands-on course in a brand-new subject.

Emily made a number of attempts to move away from her non-profit campaign role prior to becoming a mother.

But a mixture of not knowing exactly what it was she wanted to go into and the need to sustain a regular income left her unable to secure the career shift she so desperately wanted. She knew she needed to go into a role which enabled her to be creative and hands-on, but had been unable to find the necessary support to make the switch. “I wanted to explore and do something different, something more creative,” Emily says. “But the only thing I seemed qualified for was exactly what I had been doing.”

Before she was able to make this career change, Emily and her partner decided it was time to expand their family of two into a family of three. This meant putting her career ambitions temporarily on hold as she took time out to raise their new born baby. This didn’t mean that Emily was any less set on pursuing a future career change, it just delayed when it was going to happen.

The barriers to success for a new mother

After six months of maternity leave Emily was ready to make the move back into work. She took this opportunity to seriously look at what options were open to her before jumping into anything and make sure the move was right for her.

Emily looked for freelance projects in communications and marketing, thinking that there may be opportunities on offer which included creativity as well as the necessary flexibility a parent requires. Despite numerous interviews this didn’t come to fruition. Emily herself admits this was in part due to her lack of enthusiasm for the roles themselves. “I was trying to be something and do something that I didn’t have a passion for,” she says. “That had come through more than I had hoped.” However, being a new mother and having the financial pressure of needing to get back to earning an income doesn’t leave much space to figure out your true professional calling in life.  Eventually, Emily put her dreams on hold and went to work for a consultancy.

Emily’s eureka moment

Still frustrated by the stasis she felt her career progression had fallen prey to, she once again began brainstorming. But it wasn’t until one morning when discussing the current job role with her husband that she finally found her breakthrough. When she was describing the more creative tasks that she performs for the consultancy her husband, a full-stack web developer, responded “Oh, that’s what a UX Designer does!”. This immediately piqued her interest. “I started reading all the things UX entails and right away I knew it was perfect for me” Emily explains. “It’s creative and analytical at the same time.” She had finally found her calling.

Trying to find training opportunities

Now Emily was equipped with a clear goal; to gain the necessary training to become a UX Designer. You would have thought that this would go a significant way towards simplifying the process of her career change. She looked into a number of UX training programmes but was met with some fairly cynical responses surrounding her ability to juggle the challenges of parenthood and the workload that training would entail.

When Emily investigated the commitments of various different courses, many responded in a way she wasn’t expecting. She explains that mostly she was just met with the response of: “Well, we can’t tell you what the workload is going to be like. You’re just going to have to do 20 hours of work outside of class regardless.”

Making the bold step into a new career path is a daunting process at any point in one’s life and it is vital that the necessary support is provided; especially when having to also meet the responsibilities of being a parent. Emily began to worry she would never find the right fit. That was when she came across RED Academy London.

Just right

During her first meeting with RED Academy, Emily was immediately struck by their understanding nature. “They seemed like they would be supportive of me and my lifestyle at the time,” she says. “They said they would work with me and that we’d figure it out one day at a time.” Emily was finally able to feel like her aspirations were viable again. RED Academy understood that being a new mother should not be a barrier to realising your career ambitions.

More than offering the necessary support they also offered real opportunities to get stuck into gaining actual experience in the industry. “I felt that being able to work with real clients was invaluable,” she explained. “It felt like I would get the opportunities and skill sets that would be valuable in the marketplace.”

However, Emily still feared that despite her best efforts her dream wouldn’t come to fruition and that in actual fact she was jeopardising her family’s financial security. “I felt like it was a big risk,” she says. “I thought, ‘Omigosh what if I spend all this money and I’m no closer to finding a career?’” RED Academy’s supportive nature allayed those fears and allowed Emily to take a step towards her future.

Challenging but successful

The work was exhausting, especially on top of Emily’s responsibilities as a new parent, but it was not overwhelming. This was aided by the fact RED fulfilled their promise to be supportive, and luckily her classmates proved to be equally as caring. She was also relieved to discover that her classmates were of all ages as she had previously been concerned that she would be the oldest in the class.

Along with the invaluable training she received, RED Academy also helped her build her CV and portfolio. This meant that she was fully equipped with the necessary tools to make it in the world of UX Design. So, despite that fact it was difficult to juggle everything, she was provided with all the support she required to feel confident in her new venture.

Once graduated, it took Emily four months to secure a new job. When she finally secured a position, it was the perfect one. She is now the UX/UI Designer at Vodafone, and her new workplace provides Emily with both the creativity she wanted to have in her role as well as the collaboration and support she required.

Of course, working and being a parent is still challenging. “It’s definitely been an adjustment,” Emily admits. “It’s still tiring to work all day and then come home and do nursery pickups, dinner and bath time.” Which is completely understandable.

However, now Emily is in a role that makes her happy and allows her to progress her career the way she wanted to. “I wouldn’t want to do it again exactly, but it was worth it” she quips. And it certainly was. Emily proves that you should never give up on your dreams, despite the barriers you may find yourself confronted with. Just make sure you find yourself the right support and training to help you along the way. Most importantly, trust the process!