Michelle- Technical Release & Delivery Manager
We took some time to have a chat with Michelle Moss, our Technical Release & Delivery Manager, to find out what it’s like to work within our Tech team. She shares how she juggles life as a single working mum and what advice she would have for women thinking about a career in tech.
What is your current role at VA and what do you love about it?
My role is Technical Release & Delivery Manager, and the main part of my role is to work with our joint venture partners Delta to ensure that our software releases for our AIR4 systems are seamless and operationally sound. I also work with our partners TCS as to how they deliver agile processes as effectively as possible into our technology projects, all within the Business Systems team.
An average day consists of talking to a range of people spanning the business. Over time I have built relationships with key business groups, ensuring I understand their requests and priorities and linking in with project teams. It’s lots of people and lots of talking!
The reason I love my role is that I have always had a bias for being analytical, but equally I love engaging and talking to people and I’m passionate about being the ‘bridge’ between those that want it to happen and the people who can make it happen. It’s about understanding behaviours, making things easier and bringing value and getting people to be more efficient together.
Describe your career journey into Virgin Atlantic
I would describe my career as the true ‘squiggly career’, making a variety of moves sideways and upwards. I graduated with a degree in Chemistry, but part of my studies I took on a research project covering ‘How the public understand science’. My research took me to work in a school and from there I fell in love with teaching, so it seemed effortless to become a primary school teacher. My natural inquisitiveness for things tech started here- I saw an opportunity for the school to have a website so I took it on myself to build them one, teaching myself HTML along the way. It triggered a desire in me to learn and understand more, so I took the bold move to quit my job and head back to University to complete a Masters in Information Systems.
On completion I joined a software company, living the busy London commuter life, working initially as a consultant moving into a Project Manager role which I did for many years, here I developed communication, and technical skills that translate complex customer business requirements into viable business solutions.
Things changed when I had my daughter 5 years ago, I knew I didn’t want to have a significant commute but still had a strong desire for a job that I could do well even though my priorities had changed. This role came up at Virgin Atlantic and it’s an opportunity I have loved since day one. Joining straight from maternity leave, I received genuine support. For any mother returning to work, naturally we have our own background noise and self-consciousness of trying to establish a new version of yourself. I now leave work dead on 5pm every day and that’s OK. I had to strike a new balance to fit with my daughter’s child care arrangements, but I still want a rewarding job and meaningful career. It quickly struck me that I am surrounded by lots of working mums and dads, all aiming to strike a balance, so equally there were lots of dads with the need to work flexibly as well as the mums.
It’s not a walk in the park, working full time with a young child requires planning, but the trust and relationship I have with my manager and colleagues is that I’m measured on what I deliver rather than my presence in the office. I still hate being the person who isn’t here all the time, but I have been able to build my reputation based on the quality of my work. I have demonstrated that prioritising carefully drives efficiency.
Tell us your advice to women considering a career in tech
How would you describe the culture at Virgin Atlantic?
The thing I love about Virgin Atlantic is when you interact with people, there is always a willingness to help and a desire to say yes, to make things better. It makes my job easy but then creates lots of work streams as everyone is continually improving and finding new ways of doing things. It’s great that I can initiate a conversation with a diverse range of people and roles, for example whilst we joint venture with Delta culturally there are lots of differences between the two organisations– you think you’re speaking the same language but often we aren’t! I love creating solid relationships that ensure our teams understand each other.
Any message / encouragement to anyone contemplating joining or applying to work at VA?
Try and demonstrate how you understand what people need and want, and how you can translate that into actions- that’s a transferable skill and not necessarily tech related.
Career Opportunities at Virgin Atlantic
People are central to Virgin Atlantic’s success and if you’re interested in joining us we have a wide range of roles available from Apprenticeships to Leadership Roles as well as amazing learning and development opportunities.
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