Women in Technology: a quick Q&A with Chief Technology Officer, Vicky Wills
What’s your role at Zego and where do you sit within the organisation?
I’m the Chief Technology Officer at Zego and so I sit on the senior leadership team.
What did you do before you worked at Zego and where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Before Zego, I had a number of roles in software engineering and team management. I’m a backend engineer and have been lucky enough to work in some fantastic teams to solve technical problems across a range of industries.
I love the startup environment, even though it’s incredibly challenging at times, so in 5 years I hope to be doing a role similar to the one I’m in now - leading teams and solving exciting technical challenges. In 5 years I also hope I’ll have learnt a whole lot more and so be able to bring some more great experiences to the table too!
What do you love about your job?
There are so many parts of my job that I love! Number one for me is the people you get to work with, in our tech and product teams. I just love the energy, inspiration and learning everyone gets from each other. The teams I’m leading are building systems and solutions to a wide range of problems - some of which might never have been solved before. It’s an exciting space!
Who have you learnt the most from at Zego so far? What have you learnt from them?
I’ve learnt so much from the engineering leadership team here at Zego. My rule for hiring into the team is to hire people to specialise in their roles who are far better than me and focus my efforts on giving them the best environment to work in. The experts we have are incredible, and I couldn’t begin to list all that I’ve learnt along the way from them.
What advice would you give to a Zegon on their first day?
The people who thrive at Zego are the ones who immerse themselves in the company culture and are not shy to dive into a challenge. My advice would be to ask people across the business about their role/department and what they’re working on - everyone here is so welcoming and loves exploring challenges and possibilities.
How would your 10-year-old self react to what you do now?
Haha, amazing question! Probably with surprise and a bit of confusion - I grew up in a small town in Yorkshire and I didn’t have much of an interest in computers aged 10. Living in London and working in technology wouldn’t have occurred to me at all back then!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be more confident in your convictions and place far less weight on what other people think about your opinions. I still need that advice from time to time if I’m completely honest!
Tell us about your typical working day...
Before I do anything I need a (large) mug of tea! My working day usually starts with a quick check-in with Sean King, our Head of Engineering, to align on our days and update each other on anything important. From there, I will embark on the day's meetings and the work I need to get done. My meetings vary between leadership strategy sessions, management 1:1s, project check-ins and ad-hoc sessions about important topics that week. And the work I do in between is usually centred around team planning, hiring plans, budgets or technical strategy documentation - with plenty of emails and spreadsheets in the mix too!
If you could entice one (famous?) person, alive or dead, to work at Zego, who would it be and why?
I’m going to dream big here and choose Eleanor Roosevelt as I find her such an inspirational figure.
If you had unlimited money to start your own business, what would it be?
I would most likely focus on a tech startup in the education sector. I think there’s so much that can still be done to level the playing field in education and open up opportunities to disadvantaged groups especially, and technology has a huge part to play in this I’m sure. If I were going to move away from technology though, I would love to open a business in food, probably a gastropub in the countryside.
What’s your favourite way to spend a day off?
I love to go for long walks in the countryside. I find the exercise, fresh air and change of pace very refreshing.
Where’s the next place on your travel bucket list and why?
My partner and I love to explore Greece and so the next area on our list is the south of the mainland in the Peloponnese. We enjoy getting off the beaten track and exploring new areas. We’re incredibly lucky to have experienced the amazing people, food and scenery of Greece, and I can’t wait to discover more.
What was the last thing you read?
I read Untamed by Glennon Doyle and very much enjoyed it.
If you had to choose a song to personify you, what would it be?
This is a tricky question! I’d probably go for Feeling Good by Nina Simone.