Career spotlight on Sandra - celebrating our WOW
It's International Women’s Day this Thursday and we're celebrating it our way. We're starting by celebrating our WOW (Women Of William Hill)
Sandra Cockayne, our Head of Trading Delivery, tells us that it isn't always easy being a working mother: "Determination has played a key part in getting to where I am today".
Head of Trading Delivery, under the Trading function which serves both Online and Group
How long have you worked with us?
I used to work in our shops and on our phones back in 1999 for a period of four years, and on my return my second stint for William Hill started in 2007 until now - so 15 years all in.
What got you here?
I’m not really sure to be honest! What I would say is it is a tough environment to work at WH for both men and women alike. You have to have a thick skin and be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. As such I would say determination has played a key part in getting to where I am today.
What's been your biggest career challenge so far?
I would say returning to work after having children. It was the fear of the unknown due to the reasons below.
The first time I was pregnant and shortly after I had Jack I was placed in an at risk situation. Rather than wait until after maternity leave to go through consultation etc. I asked for it to happen as soon as I could manage. As a result I remember applying for roles in the organisation and I remember two interviews I attended. One was a skype interview for a position within the call centre in Dearne Valley where we outsourced some of our customer service operations to. I remember being glad they could only see my top half on screen as PJs perhaps weren’t the best interview attire.
The second was only a couple of months after having Jack and I came to see Andy Brawn and Paul Durkan in the office. They made me feel really at ease and it was great to come in for the chat. I was offered the position shortly after. I remember panicking slightly as I was feeding Jack myself at the time and he would not take a bottle. This meant my husband literally had to sit in a coffee shop outside the building in case Jack needed feeding! Coming back to work was hard, it was a brand new job in a different area. Plus my manager, Andy, was on holiday the first week I was back in the office.
In hindsight it was the best induction he could have given me as I just had to get on with it. I had to learn very quickly.
The second time it was also a fear of the unknown. I was placed in a team that weren’t sat with the rest of the team so felt isolated at first but soon managed to get back in to work and get back to where I needed to be. Very quickly became a senior within the team and deputised for my manager in the area. This has then led on to me gaining the role I’m in today.
And your best piece of careers advice?
Stick with it and don’t worry if you muck it up. Have another go and keep trying. It took me a few goes to get the position I’m in now. Each time I learnt something from the process and feel I have come out stronger as a result. "It'll do" will never do.