Joined in: 2017 (2004)
Job title: Chief Product Officer
Amanda is our Chief Product Officer, having worked her way up through a variety of different roles from a trainer to pre-sales. After spending 15 years with Advanced across two spells, she talks us through how the organisation she rejoined has been transformed.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I did a degree in information technology, as it was called! I think it was one of the first courses in its time which focused on technology, focusing on all sort of things from robotics to psychology of computing! Once I did this, I worked as a Microsoft trainer in a time where no one knew how to use Microsoft Word, Excel etc.! I did this for 4-5 years, developing some other software training courses in this time and then my next step was Advanced!
What has your journey with Advanced looked like?
I’ve done a lot of roles in my time – from a trainer to pre-sales, product management and market development. I’m always the one who will raise my hand and say ‘yes OK, I’ll give it a go’. I might still have some fear about it, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it because I’m always open to trying something new and going for it.
This is the second time I’ve worked at Advanced. After my first 13 years, I decided I wanted to try something else and I left to go to try something different. Then, two companies later I was working for a company with only 60 people enjoying a very varied role when they were bought – by Advanced!
The organisation I re-joined had been transformed in that time, thanks to the new ownership of investor Vista. They helped to drive the business forward and, at the same time, bring us together as one Advanced team. I’ve now been back with Advanced for over 2 years, firstly helping with the integration of the company I used to work for and then moving into a Director of Product Management role before being promoted into my current of Chief Product Officer.
What advice do you have to anyone looking to start their career?
When I started, I didn’t have a plan. I’ve always believed that you need to enjoy what you do, and be passionate about what you do! Be the first person to put your hand up and volunteer for things, get stuck into new activities and new of ways of working. Not being afraid of taking on a new challenge is paramount to success – you don’t know what the future holds and neither does anyone else; so enjoy the moment, enjoy your work and take it one step at a time.
What makes a career at Advanced unique?
The thing about working at Advanced is that anything is possible. If you’re open-minded about where you start – where you end up can be a whole different story. And every step of the way, there are people to support you and help you get there.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I feel very responsible for people’s happiness at work and what they want to achieve. Having fun at work is part of what we do as a team. Caring about how our teams are feeling is critical. There’s nothing that warms my heart more than seeing people supporting each other, giving each other advice, and celebrating in each other’s success.
What’s been the most challenging part of a new role?
In November 2019, I was promoted to Chief Product Officer. I’m really excited about driving our products and technology forward. Yes, we’re a business with big ambitions, but it’s not all about numbers. Fostering a team culture is really important to me. I’ve worked really hard to try to break down silos, share what we’re doing with all the product teams. I also involve our R&D teams in India as much as possible. We try to share our learning and experiences from events such as Advanced World for example and do regular updates – we all have a key part to play in the success of the business. We’re a very dispersed organisation in many ways, so getting face-to-face time with people is really important. It can make a huge difference if you can put a face to a name.
If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?
I would be playing netball! A dream job would be an international netball player, or a Coronation Street stalwart who enjoys a pint in the Rovers week in week out.