Gemma helps to keep us connected
Gemma Hauxwell graduated in 2004 with a BA (Hons) in Drama Studies and now works as a Regional Leader of presales at Verizon, the international telecommunications company.
As Gemma herself says, a role in telecoms is not an obvious step from Drama! She worked in retail for a while before securing a full-time position in an office, working in network support and her career since then has been in that industry. She started at Verizon twelve years ago as a Project Manager and has progressed through three other roles to leading a team involved in work underpinning the vital systems we are so reliant on at this difficult time.
Her team are involved in improving network, increasing bandwidth and enabling home working for their customers including National Grid, Tesco and TNT. Gemma says “Although we’re not on the front line, this is really valuable work to enable these pivotal companies to keep running. My team support all of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and I specifically run operations for the UK and Ireland. The team working for me are in the Philippines so it’s been a battle getting some of them working from home but all except two are now fully connected at home.
“My degree has helped hugely in my career. Although I’m not performing on stage any more, I often have to present to large rooms full of people and the experience and practice of acting has given me a really good basis. Especially as I’m often the only woman in a meeting full of men, so it can take real confidence to speak up.
“I absolutely loved my time in Winchester. My three best friends now are still the same best friends I met there, and we’ve all grown up together, been at each others’ weddings and now our children play together. Winchester was definitely the right choice for me.
Gemma has also found time in her busy life to get involved with various charities. Her voluntary work for Christian Aid and Street Pastors was recognised when she had the great honour to carry the Olympic torch on the relay for London 2012.
Working from home is nothing new to Gemma because she had been doing that two days a week before the lockdown. She and her husband, who is also working from home, have a three-year old son. Their biggest challenge is keeping him busy while they work and finding a good balance between work and playing with him.
Gemma says, “I’m not really enjoying being at home all the time. I love routine which is greatly lacking, and the main thing I miss about being in the office is random chats with people from other teams in the kitchen.”
Gemma’s tip for others juggling work and homelife during this difficult time is “to be kind to yourself. You never took on your job or career expecting to be a full-time parent as well, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’re not excelling.”
Are you working or volunteering in a key role to support your community to cope with the impacts of the Covid-19 virus? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you are doing. We are so proud of - and can't wait to hear from - you!
Or do you know a Winchester graduate who is going the extra mile to help others in this unprecedented time? Nominations are still open for the Alumni Recognition Award 2020.
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