|Language and Linguistic Science|
|English Literature and Linguistics|
|Chief Operating Officer|
|Digital and IT services|
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A day in the life of a Chief Operating Officer in the United Kingdom
I like variety and have always sought out quite generalist jobs that allow me to use skills across all business units and are not narrow in focus.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
Featur Labs is a small training and consultancy business working in the UK and internationally. As well as providing face to face training/consultancy we provide bespoke digital learning for companies - especially around Agile, Design Thinking, Innovation and Product Development. We also work with Business Management authors to create learning experiences based on their books that are white labelled as their own.
What do you do?
Meeting clients, understanding their requirements and then coordinating and ensuring delivery of the final product.
Public speaking and delivering workshops and courses
Managing the business - accounts, social etc.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
A number of factors. I started out working for small businesses - and then for corporates across many different roles. I tried lots of different roles and ended up in Product Development. After many years of experience in Product Development I set up a company with some others in order to share our learnings and create a new way balance in my life.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
Well - the internet didn't really exist when i graduated so yes! Most of the product development projects I worked on were digital.
Describe your most memorable day at work
I think generally the five years at Sky TV were the most memorable in terms of the high profile product launches that we delivered. Crazy times and such hard work -but very rewarding.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
A lot! We are a young company, growing fast and it can be hard to juggle many things and we're learning about how to grow as we go. It's fun but we definitely need more hours in the day.
What’s your work environment and culture like?
Very busy but also relaxed. The whole team works from home (though we do a lot of travelling to clients) - so it's very calm in one sense -but we work hard too. When we do get the team together we make sure we have a lot of social time too.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I was on sports teams - and represented the UK at the Student Rider Championships. I also spent a lot of time in the art room following my love of sculpture. I volunteered at local schools.
I think I learnt that I didn't fit university life very well! I wanted more flexibility - I'd previously trained as a pentathlete and loved many sports. However matches were always on a Wednesday afternoon which meant you could only commit to one sport at a high level. I found that frustrating - I like variety and have always sought out quite generalist jobs that allow me to use skills across all business units and are not narrow in focus.
What would you like to do next with your career?
I am working towards creating a business model that allows me to work from anywhere and to be more flexible in how much I put in to the business.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Take opportunities and continue learning. For me, it was the chance to move into this new and crazy thing called a digital team (yes! I am that old!). For you it might be the chance to work on autonomous vehicles or some other new/emerging tech. Grab those chances but also follow your interests. Many of the really exciting projects are where very opposing thing intersect - Art and Blockchain/Distributed Ledger technologies for example. Farming and Radar imaging etc. Don't be afraid to learn about and try different things.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
Anything at all.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I am an experienced mentor and business coach.
If you like the look of Liz’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Liz a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Liz to be your mentor.