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In Interview |

We sat down with Rebecca Bromwich 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 have worked in the telecoms industry since 2000, when I started in a corporate sales role at Orange. This was at a time when there was only a 2G network and phones had only just made the leap to being able to text someone who wasn’t on the same network as you. In the last 20 years I have worked almost exclusively in telco companies, with only a short break out of industry in between - I missed the fast pace and innovation of technology and soon jumped back to what I knew and loved. Since Orange, I have worked for O2 twice (totalling 10 years), Virgin Media and another smaller telco company. Starting in telecoms was by accident rather than design and for progression in my sales career - but I'm glad to have been a part of the industry at such an interesting and pivotal time.

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

My current role is working on the other side of the telco industry - rather than working for them, I work with them. I am a Senior Account Director for the telco industry at TransUnion. My focus in this role is working with the consumer side, rather than the corporate side, which has been a great career move as it has exposed me to a whole new side of the business. It's also a great insight into how the different telco's operate, in ways that are similar but also in ways that stand them apart from their competition. My focus is on all parts of the customer journey but right now I am looking at how fraud rates are rising since the start of the pandemic, and how telco's can protect themselves and their customers.

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?

It would be great if telco's would promote or share the group details as a safe place to be able to discuss technology and innovation, or anything to do with our industry, in an agnostic fashion. For people from different companies, roles and backgrounds to be able to share knowledge and insight, to network with each other, mentor, be mentored and gain knowledge and support one another.

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

I remember a piece of advice I was given at the European Women in Sales Awards, which has stuck with me. Apparently if a job spec has 20 "must-have" criteria and a woman feels she only hits 19 of these, she won't apply for the role. If a man sees the same job spec and only matches 3 of the criteria, he will apply. The advice was to just go for it anyway, you can learn that missing skill(s) on the job. I wish I'd had this advice earlier in my career, as I think I could have opened up other avenues for myself and exposed me to other areas of the businesses I have worked for.

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

The areas I have worked in have always been male dominated - technology and sales are two areas that are underrepresented by women, and particularly when they are combined. That said, I do feel that telco companies on the whole have taken huge strides in recent years to address the male/female gap and I have seen more women rising through the ranks than ever before.  Unfortunately that is not the case for all companies - there have been times when I have not only been the only woman in a team but I have actually felt like the only woman in my team, which is a much different and more challenging position to be in. I think attracting talent from the ground up is key - school-leavers are the women that will be running departments and companies in years to come. Women need to feel like the industry is embracing them and that there are opportunities outside of the more traditional roles, and that they will be taken seriously and able to contribute.

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

More women running departments, projects, teams etc. Women making a difference and getting their name known will show the next generation that it is not only an exciting industry to be in but that it is also possible to progress their careers.

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

The fast pace of the industry keeps me motivated. There is never a dull day in telco, and I love keeping an eye on what is the next big thing that's being talked about, and what the movers and shakers in the industry are doing. On a personal level, I am really enjoying writing my Telco Tuesday (#telcotuesday) blogs every week - it ensures that I keep myself fully abreast of events as they happen, and I love that others tell me how useful that have found them. I am also in the process of setting up a podcast to go alongside this, which I am excited about. My ambition is to be a thought leader in the telecoms industry and see where it takes me.