Through our Spotlight Series, we delve into the minds of our colleagues to find out more about their roles, what motivates them, who inspires them and much more.
What originally attracted you to BGL Group?
I had just been made redundant by my previous employer so was looking for a new job. When the opportunity came up at BGL it seemed too good to be true. I knew someone who worked in the IT department who recommended it as a great place to work. Once I’d been for an interview and saw the working environment and met some of the people, I knew it was the place for me.
Tell us about your journey since you joined the Group
My first role after joining BGL was in the application support team (DISC line 3 support). This was an ideal role to start in as it gave me a good insight into BGL’s IT systems. From there I moved to the development team for BGL's own brands, working closely with the business to deliver their commercial delivery objectives.
In 2015 I moved to the newly-formed digital team working on the digital transformation agenda and eventually the API DISC integration layer. In 2018, I moved back to application support team – now known as Tech Ops. So, I have had a variety of roles in my time at BGL which, albeit all in a tech environment, has meant I have learnt so much!
Tell us about your role as a Senior Software Engineer
My role in Tech Ops is quite varied; I work in a team of nine people (five software engineers, two quality engineers, one business analyst and one delivery manager).
We work closely with the Incident Management team and the Line 2 Support team, carrying out investigations into system issues, developing software fixes, fast response tasks such as responding to incident management logs and DISC system messages to ensure that our systems are available and working correctly when thousands of customers are using our digital journeys or contacting our customer service teams at any one time. We also carry out regular tasks such as credit card range (BIN) updates and financial month end reporting.
How did you get into coding?
Right place, right time. The company I was working at (as an accounts assistant) needed someone to help with basic IT operations on its IBM system 36, answering consul messages, running cables and setting up terminals. This then led to a programming course and I’ve never looked back. Over the past 30 years I’ve worked in various industries such as manufacturing, retail, logistics and now insurance.
Lockdown highlights and lowlights
The highlight of the lockdown was being able to work from home full-time from March 2020. This was a great enabler for me to make fundamental changes to my life.
The lowlights have been still having to work from home full-time 10 months later, Peterborough going from tier 2 to tier 4 within 24 hours and not being able to see my family over Christmas.
What’s it like working at BGL as a transgender person?
I came out as being transgender in April 2020. I’d been living full-time as a woman since January 2020, apart from when I went into the office to work. After working from home for a month because of lockdown, I decided the time was right to share being transgender with other family, friends and colleagues that didn’t already know.
I’d been speaking with HR and my line managers about how best to do this and the help and support I’d received from them and the Business Technology Exec team was (and continues to be) fantastic. I had no worries about telling people as I knew BGL would fully support me but it was nerve wracking, nonetheless. I emailed over 300 people and was overwhelmed when I received over 90 responses - all positive.
I’ve been fully accepted for who I am, I’ve had conversations with people that I’d never spoken to before and found people to be more open and willing to share their own experiences with me. Being able to live and work as my authentic self has been hugely beneficial for me; I’m a happier, healthier more confident person because of it.
What can businesses do to be more inclusive and diverse?
I know from personal experience that BGL is an inclusive and diverse organisation, but also that we can and should do more. We should continue to educate and inform people about inclusion and diversity and none of us should be afraid to discuss topics such as race, gender, sexuality etc.
Also, by continuing to highlight that we are inclusive and diverse on our external websites and promotional material, we will make BGL an even more attractive place to potential employees, partners and customers.
Who inspires you?
My wife, she is an amazing, inspirational person and has fully supported me in my journey to become my authentic self.
Interested in joining BGL? Take a look at our current vacancies