Sophie Ramsden

Joined in: 2010

Job title: Product Operations Business Partner

With an excellent work ethic and willingness to help others succeed; Sophie Ramsden is the epitome of the type of character we like to employ at Advanced. Since joining the Advanced legal team in 2010, she has continued to grow in a variety of roles within two spells with the company.

Little did she know that after leaving Advanced to join Tikit in January 2019, that the lure of becoming a Product Operations Business Partner would see herself back in employment with… you guessed it, Advanced; as a result of an opportunity presenting itself, as the two companies became one.

Sophie has been awarded the One Advanced Values Award for embodying one of the core principles of the business; working tirelessly to support the rest of the product team and help them in any way she can.

What’s the best career decision you’ve made?

That’s a really difficult one because there have been quite a few things that if I hadn’t done what I did back then, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

The first one, back in the day when I had my PDP (Personal Development Plan), with my manager it was a voluntary decision [to take on a new role]. I know a lot of people on the support desk who didn’t take up the offer.

If I hadn’t taken that opportunity, to have that conversation I’d probably never have thought of product management, and I would probably have never ended up as a product owner for the best part of 8 years.

It’s [all about] taking opportunities when they arise.

I’ve got a couple of mottos that I try and live by and the first one is: regret what you do, not what you don’t do, and the other thing is if you don’t ask you don’t get.

"if you don’t ask you don’t get"

I often think what’s the worst that can happen? Someone can say no, and yes it might hurt if someone says no, but you’re never going to get something if you don’t go for it.

Nothing’s going to be handed out on a plate, particularly these days; so, you’ve got to go out there and grab opportunities when they come along.

What would you say makes a career at advanced unique?

I think it’s very varied; that’s the benefit in working with a large organisation is that there are a lot of opportunities and there’s a lot of support, and if you’ve got a supportive manager, I think that can definitely make a big difference.

The benefit of a larger organisation is there is more of an opportunity to grow, and if you do want to try something a bit different there’s an opportunity out there to do it.

How do you keep on learning and developing within your role?

Trying new things is one thing.

If there’s something I haven’t done before I’m quite keen to give it a go.

Particularly within product management, there are a lot of resources available, there’s quite a few focus groups that you can join to learn new things through LinkedIn: that’s also a good tool within a career like product management.

"we’ve got a really good team culture so we’re always happy to help each other out"

I think as a team we’ve got a really good team culture so we’re always happy to help each other out, so if there was something I was a bit stuck with, I know there are people there that will help me.

It’s also my responsibility to look quite often for that information: LinkedIn has some really good product management groups; I subscribe to a number of newsletters.

I suppose the challenge is carving out that time to make sure that you actually take advantage of it and read the information out there.

It’s about being proactive and finding the information.

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

Probably my philosophy in life; my dad was the one who said to me regret what you do not what you don’t do. So, although that’s not necessarily career advice, that’s probably the best advice I’ve been given.

"regret what you do, not what you don’t do"

It can apply to all sorts of things in life. I probably wish I hadn’t bought myself a nice fancy car a few years ago, but if I hadn’t got it, I would have missed out on driving it. So, you can apply it to all sorts of things.

It is very precious, and it is, life is too short. It’s not something to be taken for granted, you’ve just got to make the best of it because you only have the one chance.

I apply that to my personal life and my professional life, and really try to live by the same sort of values.

When we moved down to Lincolnshire, it was a massive risk. Neither of us had jobs to move to. So, we literally were selling up in Bradford and moving down, and it could have gone horribly wrong.

But it didn’t, and it was probably the best move for us personally was to move down here and it’s all worked out well.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

In my current role, it’s being able to help a team of product managers. So, as I said before one of the things that attracted me about the role was being able to help people because that’s naturally in my nature.

"the benefit in working with a large organisation is that there are a lot of opportunities and there’s a lot of support"

It’s when somebody’s got a problem and you can just say look, leave that with me I’ll sort it for you. Yeah, that’s definitely the most rewarding thing.

I think that one of the other nice things about the product operations role is that there’s a lot of variety.

There are lots that we can be doing; I think as a team we all have our natural strengths and areas that we naturally slot into which is quite good as well, but we’re still there to support each other and help each other out when we need to.

How do you feel about working remotely?

Julie Edwards [Head of Product Operations], is great at pulling us together as a team.

For example, on a Monday morning, we have a sort of virtual cuppa; where the five of us get together and talk about what we’ve done at the weekend, which is quite a nice way to break in the week.

Because typically if you’d all be in an office, you’d have a natter about the weekend. And again, we have a Friday afternoon week winddown before we finish for the weekend.

It’s [all about] making that extra effort to make sure that we do all work together as a team, so you don’t actually notice so much that we’re remote.

But I suppose I’m used to it now.I’ve been working remotely for 5 and a half years so I’ve definitely adapted.

I’ve got my own space; I’m not having the 2-hour commute to Grantham every day that I used to so that was a massive benefit.

But certainly, in the early days, it [WFH] wasn’t without its challenges.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their career journey?

Take any opportunities that come along; don’t be afraid to ask because the worst that can happen is someone says no. If you see something and it looks good go for it, life’s too short.

Going forward, what are your future career aspirations?

I have no idea is the honest answer.

Probably the corny answer is a better version of myself.

Where I want to be is just a better version of what I’m doing today.