Tell us about your role?
Telstra Enterprise (a division within Telstra) helps organisations stay competitive in the fourth industrial revolution where businesses are facing major disruption such as digitisation, hyper-connectivity, competition extending beyond borders and consumers expectations drastically changing- businesses must adapt, often through using technology!
No day is the same at work. I am always finding new use cases for technologies that I have never thought of before! I spend my days speaking with customers- which for me are small and large businesses, government organisations and local councils. I focus on understanding their problems and solutions for them using technology. Customers come to us with all types of problems they are trying to solve, and the customer is always at the heart of what I do at work.
Sometimes we go out on-site to our customers to better understand their needs, and other days we may be at large technology events to demonstrate Telstra’s different technologies and build a pipeline of customers.
I work specifically in an area of technology called the Internet of Things (IoT) which uses sensors and other devices to help analyse and monitor the environment and then turn this real-time information into data insights that an organisation didn’t previously have (or perhaps did, but in an inefficient and delayed manual process). It’s what we do with this data, and our ability to understand it that really matters. For example, sensors we use for water utilities to measure water flow and pressure can predict water leakages early - before it lands on a customer’s bill! That’s an incredible use case for this technology as it helps protect one of our most precious resources (water!), saves money and creates a better customer experience.
What can you share about your background?
I moved to Australia from Zimbabwe, where my parents worked, at the age of 3 and grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria (1 hour from Melbourne). Although I’m Australian, I also feel very connected to my mum’s Swiss heritage as I was born in Switzerland and I often go back to visit my uncles, aunties and cousins.
I have a few key stages that really shaped my life. In year 9, I left home to spend 6 months going to school in France. It was extremely difficult studying in a foreign language and living with a family I had never met before. However, it taught me strength, independence, cross-cultural communication skills and how to deal with the unknown.
Another key time of my life was leaving a friendship group I knew wasn’t healthy for my health or wellbeing. It’s a hard thing to do, to walk away from certain people or things, but who we surround ourselves with helps to shape the people we become. So, it’s important to spend your time with people you can help and those who bring out the best version of yourself.
I also spent a couple of months during university working in Bangalore, India, for a Social Enterprise where we built social businesses for people in need. Beyond the people it connected me with, who I still speak with every day, it taught me so much about business skills I use so often now. This includes team-work, team leading, design thinking, lean start-up skills and how to deal with conflict. I really recommend people do work experience with small organisations as well as big corporates, as you can learn so much when trying to build a business from the ground up!
I really had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished university and I was very open-minded to where I may end up. I applied to many Grad programs just through searching ‘best grad programs’ in Australia, as most graduates do. I remember being rejected for the first few and saying to my mum that I had no chance. It’s a harsh process and it’s best to never give up! I got rejected by so many organisations and received 5 different offers including Telstra. It’s difficult choosing where to go but my advice is always to go with the organisation that you feel shares your values, where you can grow, and one where you felt you could be yourself through the hiring process! I rejected a six-figure salary because I didn’t feel like I was truly myself during the process and I don’t regret it one bit!
Once I was in the program at Telstra, my options of what kind of area I wanted to work in are endless. From Customer Success managing, Technology consulting, UX and UI designing…. etc! That’s why graduate rotations are so great, so you can try different jobs out first.
Could someone with a different study or interest background work in your role?
YES- DEFINITELY. I had absolutely no prior knowledge about technology, other than how to use my smartphone. I didn’t even know what, nor had heard of IoT beforehand. Now I am so passionate about technology and work in this area every single day. When I share with my family and friends what I do at Telstra, they are amazed by the new knowledge I have and how passionate I am about tech. You can never stop learning, as every day at work I am learning more and more about this industry. My opinion is that university is really just a base where you learn some important skills, but what degree and knowledge you come out with do not always determine what you do afterwards- it just opens a door to many possibilities!
If you possess a willingness to learn new things, ask lots of questions and work hard you can always learn on the job. The other two characteristics I believe are important to carry in order to succeed at my work are courage and a willingness to be vulnerable- to not only believe in yourself and your ideas and opinions but to have the courage to be vulnerable and share this with others! I believe the best leaders in the business possess these two characteristics.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I have two favourite moments that come up in my job. The first one is when my team are together in person and working as a team rather than in silos. The second is when I am able to make a real difference to a customer’s business when they get that ‘ah-ha’ moment and realise how transformative what we do could be. I also really love attending technology events where I can walk around, learn new things and speak to customers about what we do.
I also know I’m doing the right thing because I look forward to coming to work in the morning… (mostly)!
What are the limitations of your job?
For me, the limitation to my job is that often I am not working in-person with other team members or have much direct contact with others in my team. In a sales role, often it seems we are working in silos or we are in different states. I enjoy working closely with others, and I work best collaboratively bouncing off ideas from one another. Another limitation is all the jargon I hear at Telstra, and of course, learning about the technology which is quite difficult for me too. I never leave a meeting without questions running through my head!
I have a lot of responsibility as I carry a sales target and represent Telstra to our customers. I am also helping customers transform their businesses and it’s important to me to always have the customer at the heart of what I do, and always do what is right for them. I don’t have to work on weekends, I just work hard during the week and sometimes that means long hours.
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