At #YesSheCan we got the opportunity to have a chat with Victoria Daines, Head of Marketing at British Gas Business. We chatted to her about starting her career, her motivators and overcoming challenges.
I had a fairly varied career in my early days. I left university with a 2:1 in American Studies, wondering what am I going to do now? I was a recruitment consultant for 2 years, before going to work for a small print management company. I then moved to Experian, as an Account Manager, managing the data side of marketing for clients in financial services and retail. I then relocated to live with my partner and went to work for Barclaycard. I had a variety of marketing roles during my 5 years with the company – managing campaigns on and offline, working on the core brand and across different partner brands and managing the Customer Plan. I really enjoyed working here and learnt so much. At the end of 2011 I took redundancy and had 3 months off before joining British Gas Business. Here I have continued my career in marketing, starting as a senior campaign manager, then gaining experience in both Brand and Planning roles before taking on the Head of Marketing role. I’m also a mum to two young, very energetic, boys. Who keep me very busy when I’m not working!
A typical day in your career: A day is never the same. My team of 8 superstar campaign managers deliver the marketing activity for British Gas Business. My day involves meetings for both new and existing projects/campaigns, liaising with colleagues and stakeholders across British Gas Business, and the wider Centrica business. Spending time with my team to support and develop them. This can be in a different office location or working with our agencies in London.
Starting my career
I fell into marketing. I wanted to be a writer. So writing marketing campaigns, magazine articles and customer communications as well as being involved in bringing a brand to life, seemed like something I would love – which I do!
I’ve faced a number of challenges during my career. In particular going back to work after having my first son. I’d been out of the business for 13 months. So, everything had changed but also nothing had changed. I felt like a very different person to the one that had left the business. I had huge expectations of myself to be the same as before. I felt overwhelmed by it all and I didn’t feel that I could talk to anyone about it. More certainly needs to be done to support women returning to work.
I love my job, being creative, learning new practices/technologies/ways of doing things and delivering results. However, first and foremost I am a mum and it is really important to me that we look at gender equality in the workplace and how we provide flexibility to everyone, especially working parents. I’m part of the Centrica Working Parents Network and through this I’ll be supporting new mums returning to work. Providing them with help and advice and allowing them to talk honestly about how they’re feeling.
Being a female in business
The great thing about being a woman in my role is the impact you can make for others. I think the previous generation paved the way, although potentially had to sacrifice some aspect of family life. I want to make sure things are even better for the next generation and we don’t have to choose between having a family and being a leader.
I do think things are changing. More men are talking about flexible working and how it allows them to be present with their children. The sooner there is equality for all – and by that I mean that men leave early to collect their children, go to the school concert, assembly or sports day. Then companies are not making allowances for women, they’re making allowances for everyone and flexible working becomes normal for all.
For me, it’s about empowering your people and enabling them to shine. Allowing them to make decisions and get things down. Also taking a flexible approach with your team. I find if you allow people flexibility they will work twice as hard to get things done. It’s about being a great team and all supporting each other.
If you enjoyed Victoria’s blog as much as we did – why not check out some more of our blogs?