Continuing our series of profiles of women of colour making their mark across industry.
Shivani is Head of Women in Leadership at Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company, serving 22.5 million customers across five countries – UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
The company has annual revenues of £12.9 billion and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with annual programming spend of over £6 billion. Sky has over 31,000 employees and is listed as one of The Times Top 50 employers for women.
Briefly, describe your current job responsibilities
My role involves me working across different departments to ensure we are attracting and retaining female talent and have a level playing field for men and women. This includes developing a sponsorship programme for our high-potential women, creating a positive external reputation through working with MPs and external speaking. Internally; raising awareness of unconscious biases that may exist in the workplace.
What were the key decision points that were important in deciding your career path?
My career path has been in finance. From my BSc in Economics and Accounts to my ACA with PwC and the move to commercial finance at Sky. I have always been one to get involved in ‘extracurricular’ activities outside of my day job whether it be being part of a social committee or the diversity agenda. This has turned out to be important both for growing my professional network, but also giving me the opportunity to work in a very different role to what I have been doing in my secondment as Head of WiL,
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
The feedback from people is very rewarding. Whether it is after a motivational event, or a development workshop – knowing that the work we are doing is making a difference keeps me motivated. What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?
What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?
Hmmm…it is challenging to keep diversity high on everyone’s agenda, not because they don’t think it is important but everyone has day jobs. One of my strategies was to ‘recruit; volunteers across different business areas who would champion and push forward initiatives in their department. This helps to embed diversity into our company’s DNA.
What has been the most defining moment in your career to date?
Taking this secondment has been defining, as it has made me realise the wider skills that I have outside of the finance world. It also took me way out of my comfort zone which has been brilliant for my both my confidence and resilience – as I have realised that making mistakes is a key part of learning.
Best piece of career advice you have ever received? And who was it from?
When I was debating about taking my current secondment. One of our directors told me to follow my passion and do what I enjoy, and if I worked really hard and believed in what I was doing, success would follow.
Away from your work role what are your passions?
Travelling and good food. The world isn’t as small as everyone says, there is so much to see, and new authentic cuisines to try! Italy and Thailand are some of my favourite places to travel to.
I have recently become a mum to a little girl – so all things babies are also currently my passion!
What are the three (professional or personal) books/websites/ or resources that you would recommend to others?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
I don’t know how she does it – A great book, given to me as a gift when I went on maternity leave. It helped keep me sane!
Ted Talks – I love a Ted talk. There are so many that are so inspiring. Amy Cuddy’s talk on the power of body language is one that stays with me and I try to use in my day job.
What do you know now, that you wish you had known as you started your career?
That it is long! Most of us work a long time, a few decades at least, so it’s fine to take a sideways step to learn a new skill or take a break from your career to pursue another passion. In fact, it will probably make you a more rounded person and when you look back in 20 years’ time – one year ‘out’ won’t feel like such a big deal.
Do you have any advice for women entering your industry?
Be yourself. You will be the best version of yourself when you are truly comfortable. I don’t believe in the ‘fake it, till you make it’ theory. Be you. Let people get to know you. Follow your passions and you’ll be great.
If you weren’t in this role what would be your alternative career?
Probably a travel writer, or actually better a food travel writer – does that job exist??!
Connect with Shivani on Twitter: @Shivani_uberoi