What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
It's been a difficult year for many of us, but in the midst of all the chaos I'm proud that Insight is providing a supportive environment for its employees. This isn't just talk - Insight has been recognised a number of times by Great Place to Work for its excellence in employee wellbeing, and this year we added to that even further.
Insight UK was ranked in the top 10 ‘Best Workplaces in Tech - Large' category and also ranked highly for ‘Best Workplaces for Women - Large', paying testament to the opportunities that we provide.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
International human rights barrister Amal Clooney would be my first pick. Strong, independent, she's a force of nature. Although her marriage to George Clooney has thrust her into the media spotlight, she is a success in her own right. There's a wonderful interview with her in Vogue, where she describes not having enough confidence in her own abilities in the early stages of her career and how it's spurred her on to help others. The way she inspires and leads really resonates with me - she would be fascinating to talk to.
I'm a massive Strictly Come Dancing fan so I'd have to have Claudia Winkleman for the insider gossip. I also think Claudia is one of the hardest-working women in showbiz, there wouldn't be a dull moment with her on the call!
When it's time to let our hair down, Calvin Harris could get everyone up on their feet with an energetic party playlist.
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
It's a relatively simple pleasure, but I've really taken to swapping my usual high heels for a pair of carpet slippers during virtual meetings.
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
Everybody has been talking about the $850bn added to Microsoft's value this year. But I've been equally inspired by the way Satya Nadella has achieved it. He has put people first and ensured that the whole business is willing to join him on his journey, while still giving each part of the business the support and freedom it needs. It really resonates with my own philosophy; you need to trust your people, and help them bring out the best in themselves.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Microsoft Teams has played a crucial role, setting me up for the start of the working day and helping me to pull all the threads together before shutting my laptop. Deliveroo has also played a huge role in keeping me properly fed and watered over the last few months!
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
I'd love to be an international journalist working on the front line of world events, getting a first-hand understanding of the real stories behind the headlines and sharing the experiences and stories of my subjects with the world.
Do you miss face-to-face events?
Of course. Whether for a family celebration or work conference, nothing really beats meeting face to face. However, there are also new opportunities that the switch to virtual brings. One of our flagship events, the Insight Technology Conference, is going virtual this year. With no physical restrictions, it is possible for us to hold the event for longer than we usually would, so we can share more content with our clients, and offer tailored seminars to specific sectors.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
Now that we have all been forced to embrace working remotely, many people who were previously nay-sayers have been won over. Of course many people working in the channel will go back to offices when it is safe to do so, but some of our working practices have now changed forever.
We'll see a lot more client contact taking place remotely, which in turn is going to accelerate the speed of business, as people realise there's no need to spend time arranging physical meetings.
We're also going to see a greater reliance on services. Clients need all the help they can get to ensure their business is resilient, not only in terms of technology but skills, support and advice. As a result, we'll see more organisations or partnerships that can give clients all they need.