Women in Leadership series: Amy Holland
‘Be clear with yourself about what you want to get out of it’
Tell us about yourself/your career journey at Sky
I joined Sky as a PR executive in the consumer PR team (my first day in a plaster cast!) and was so excited to join a team responsible for product launches including Sky Q, NOW TV and Sky 3D as well as Rainforest Rescue and Sky Ride. More recently, I held a role that worked closely with the Group Director of Corporate Affairs, learning quickly about how our broader department worked and how I was able to get heavily involved in transforming the department’s culture for good. I learnt so much in a short period of time – about stakeholder management through to financial planning and the importance of not sugar-coating things.
I currently work in the Corporate Comms team at Sky, heading up responsible business comms. My role involves planning campaigns that showcase how Sky does the right thing – from our community initiatives like Sky Cares through to Sky Ocean Rescue or our Women in Tech scholars programme. It’s a huge remit that allows me to learn more about every corner of Sky – and provide guidance on how we can do the right thing for our customers and staff as well as our community.
What’s been the best thing about the course for you?
Since joining the WIL programme, it’s safe to say that the best thing about this course is the people that you meet through the journey. It’s reassuring that you’re not alone when struggling to think about how to say no to a stakeholder as your priorities evolve; or what others in the business are finding to work when it comes to supporting direct reports to help them blossom.
Have you learnt anything about yourself since being on the programme?
Without doubt this programme has helped me to think about my own self-awareness. One module encourages you to think about how your actions can be perceived. I’ve learnt more about myself particularly the importance of giving people context to how I have approached something, and the importance of understanding that people do not always run at the same pace – which is categorically no bad thing. As the wisest man I know, my dad, often reminds me – in any team different people pull at different weights and speeds.
What do you think makes a great leader?
I believe that there are three core traits that sit aside from the ability to deliver results:
1) Clarity – They know what they want for the team – their vision is well articulated. Not only this but they provide honest feedback (good or developmental) and know what they need to reach goals.
2) Self-control – They are motivated – but their business decisions are not driven by emotion, but instead arrived at in a controlled, rational way. They are committed to their role but keep their emotional involvement out of the picture.
3) Social skills – how they react to people. I might have good – or bad news for a leader that relates to a priority campaign. A great leader I would feel confident in updating them either way knowing that they have your back to resolve a conflict or, are expert at giving the right level praise. You feel like you’re on the same team.
But, beyond this, a great leader is one who knows their people and takes time for them. A director I don’t work with directly recognises the odd off day I may have. She won’t realise how powerful an ‘are you sure you’re ok’ email or text can be.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Time – it’s a finite resource. It’s hugely challenging to manage a demanding role while also trying to keep time available for study and coursework.
What would you say to anyone thinking of putting themselves forward for a similar course in the future?
Be clear with yourself about what you want to get out of it, and ensure you’re updating those around you so that they understand why you are required to take time to study out of your week.