Here’s How Sky is Paving the Way for Women into Leadership

We hear from Vicky who gives advice for women in law and leadership, her top tips for women trying to conquer leadership and what her role entails.

Vicky Sandry was recently appointed to the role of Group General Counsel when James Conyers, Sky’s current Group General Counsel announced he is leaving the company this summer.  This appointment follows Claire Canning’s promotion to General Counsel, Sky UK and Ireland, who will be taking over Vicky’s current role as General Counsel.

Life as a GC: What is the best part of it? On the contrary, what is the worst?

The best part of my job is the diversity of work. Sky has grown vastly since I joined the business in 2000, a year before Sky+ launched to the market. Since then, Sky has grown to become Europe’s leading media and entertainment company, serving 23 million customers with multiple products across seven markets. It is this diversity in work that makes my job so interesting. But the breadth of things that the GC has to be across also bring its challenges. Knowing enough about the right things is a constant challenge but it certainly keeps things interesting!

Self-belief and learning from your failures is key.

In your opinion, how should lawyers handle [potential]  failure?

It’s inevitable that lawyers will experience failure at some point in their careers. Self-belief and learning from your failures is key. Don’t be overwhelmed.  It can be hard to maintain your self-confidence after a set-back.  Keep a list of your key strengths and if your confidence has taken a knock, go back to the list.  Make time every so often to look back at how much you’ve developed in the past year.

Get support where you can: from your boss, your network or a mentor.

Working part-time but getting everything done: how do you manage it all?

It’s a combination of having a brilliant team and also working for a company like Sky who help people balance home lives and their careers.  Get support where you can: from your boss, your network or a mentor.  I have been lucky to have some incredibly supportive bosses and mentors during my career.  It’s also important to look after yourself as it can be very frantic!  For me, taking time out to exercise or simply to spend 10 minutes enjoying a coffee is an important part of managing the challenges of a part time role.

When working flexibly you need to be determined to make it work as it comes with challenges.

How can lawyers use flexible working to their advantage?

I firmly believe you can work part time, or leave at 5pm every day, and still be committed to your job and your career development.   It is what you put into the hours, not the hours, that counts. When working flexibly you need to be determined to make it work as it comes with challenges.  For example, make sure that you speak out about your career goals so that people don’t make assumptions about your commitment.

We see the past 30 years as a floor, not a ceiling, for us to build on as we begin our next chapter as part of the Comcast Group.

Your best moment at Sky, so far?

It’s really difficult to pick out just one moment but if I have to pick I’d say it’s my recent promotion to the Group General Counsel role, which means that a girl from a small village in Devon who didn’t know the difference between a barrister and a solicitor is now one of the most senior women in this amazing company.  That gives me an incredible platform to talk about career progression, as well as diversity and inclusion, things I feel really strongly about.

Since starting at Sky, what has been the biggest change?

I would say the biggest change is the one that has just occurred, with Sky being acquired in late 2018 by Comcast. We see the past 30 years as a floor, not a ceiling, for us to build on as we begin our next chapter as part of the Comcast Group. I think the next few years are going to be full of collaboration and innovation and  I’m already enjoying working closely with our new, US colleagues.

What do you feel you couldn’t live without?

Coffee is definitely one thing I couldn’t live without.  Music is another!

How do you measure your success?

I get my greatest motivation from seeing others develop and progress and from creating an environment where people enjoy coming to work whilst feeling that they are making difference and are able to progress.   As a woman working part-time in a senior role, I try to have a positive impact both within and outside Sky, particularly by communicating how we are striving to achieve greater diversity and inclusion.

Who would you invite to your dinner party?

Coco Chanel, David Bowie and Pablo Picasso.

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