Poppy Dowell Women in 5G.jpg

In Interview | 

We sat down with Poppy Dowell to discuss her experiences in telecoms and her thoughts on Women in 5G!

Please tell me a little bit about who you are, your background &  how you ended up working in Telecoms? 


I started my career as a management consultant looking after anything from large scale change programmes for private sector clients through to governance reviews for energy companies. This lead me to working on an innovation programme for a government client which is where I really developed a love for innovation and emerging technology. I moved from this role into Wayra, Telefonica’s start-up acceleration business, and launched and ran their cyber security acceleration programme which I absolutely loved, the passion and drive of the amazing start-ups I worked with during this time was infectious. It was also my first real insight into the telecoms sector. I moved from my role in Wayra to work for a government funded start-up on autonomous and connected vehicles and was exposed to the importance that 5G can play in enabling CAVs and the services that would come with them. I decided however that I missed working and supporting start-ups and so moved back to Wayra to lead on their 5G 5PRING programme in the West Midlands helping organisations of all sizes understand and develop 5G commercial propositions and services.


What is your current role and what are the key things you are focused on? 


I am Head of 5G Acceleration for 5PRING at Wayra UK. I lead on designing and delivering our 5G open innovation programmes which include ideation workshops, 2 week incubation programmes and 3 month accelerator programmes across the west midlands. We connect technology disrupters to corporates to solve business challenges using 5G.


Women In 5G aims to empower and promote the women in this industry, what do you think the industry can do to support and engage women to get involved? 


I think there are so many things we can do to support women get involved in this industry. First of all I think it is opening doors to women, making it clear that not all roles require years of technical experience. I am a strong believer in mentorship and women supporting women and am extremely proud of my all female team at 5PRING (and yes they were the best people for the job). We need to make it a safer place for women to be and to get involved, I love what women in 5G is doing to create this and provide a platform to showcase female talent.


If you could give advice to your younger self at the start of your career, what would that be? 


It’s going to be tough but always remember you are tougher. Find your tribe, they will make everything better.


What are the biggest blockers you feel that remain in the industry for Women and how do you think we can overcome them? 


Where do we start, I think the resistance of a large number of men in senior positions to believe that the system isn’t still broken holds us back a lot and the acceptance of so many that there is nothing we can do. We can do anything together.


What things could we change in the industry to inspire the next generation? 


More showcasing of female talent. More women in leadership positions. More initiatives like this.


Finally, what are your future ambitions and what keeps you motivated? 


I am passionate about innovation and emerging technology so being a part of the start-up space is really important to me. What keeps me really motivated though is helping others and changing the environment we as women work in so that the next generation of women get the support they need to be there most amazing selves.