I love seeing women in senior positions doing great things! It makes me feel so inspired. I think it’s because I want to be as successful as them one day and they prove that nothing can hold you back if you have the ambition.
I’ve always heard that Hemna (our VP for Global Live Operations) has an amazing story to tell. I sat down with her and we spoke about the balancing act between her career and commitments outside of work. Here’s what she had to say…
How did your journey at DAZN begin?
This is something that is close to my heart. Prior to working at DAZN, I lived in India and was working as a Software Developer. Back in 2011, my husband was asked to relocate and work for a company in the UK. This was a huge lifestyle change for us – our son was only four years old at the time and all of our family stayed back home in India. However, it was the right decision for us as a family, so I started looking for jobs. I saw a role at Perform (what we now know as DAZN) as a Support Specialist. It was a couple of steps down but at that point, finding a job in London was the main goal. I applied for the role, went through the interview stages and was offered the job. Since then, the journey has grown organically.
Tell me about your journey at DAZN
My journey at DAZN has been an exciting one. It has come with lots of ups and downs.
Firstly, moving from India to the UK was a massive culture change. When I first joined Perform, I used to think ‘how will I adjust?’. Very quickly I realised that the people and the culture were amazing. At no point was I ever made to feel like I had moved from another country. Right from the start I was welcomed with open arms. This helped me massively.
Let’s take it back to 2011. The operations function here was immature – it was still a start-up at that point. All the processes had to be created from ground-up. I set up the support teams from scratch and twelve months after joining, I was asked to take the next step up as a Team Leader. At this point, I didn’t have any leadership experience, however, I have always been confident in my own ability and my hard work. I don’t ever hesitate to take on challenges. So, I took the opportunity with both hands.
Since then, it’s been a journey. Moving on to 2020, we set up our Support Centre in Leeds. Prior to this, we didn’t have a 24/7 function. The teams and I worked really hard on making this happen working under tight deadlines and various challenges. Within 3-4 months, the support functionality was up and running. Since then, it’s grown and grown and I am really proud of it.
Now, as VP of Global Live Operations, I am responsible for keeping the DAZN platform running 24/7, 365 days a year. DAZN has given me so many opportunities over the years and given me a platform both internally and externally. I am constantly learning here. I learn something new every day and that’s what I love.
How do you balance work with commitments outside?
I have a son who is now sixteen. Throughout my career, I have been blessed with lots of support from my family. Many people ask ‘how do you manage to run 24/7 teams when you are married and have a son’? The truth is, there is a relentless amount of effort that goes into this role. An incident can happen at any time – 3am in the morning or 8pm on a Saturday night. It takes a lot of commitment. I have been so lucky that I have lots of support from my family and husband. I know that if I didn’t have this support, I wouldn’t be able to achieve the things I have.
There were often so many points in my career when I asked myself ‘is this the right thing to do?’. I had the challenges of childcare, making sure my son went to school, making sure he adjusted from life in India. The list goes on! Being a mum, you go through these phases of ‘mum guilt’ where you feel like you’re neglecting your child or you’re not spending as much time with them as you should be. However, kids will learn to adjust. It’s all about being persistent, not giving up and having a balance.
What advice would you give to women who are doubting themselves about taking the next level up in their career?
I’ve always believed in one thing – success doesn’t come without hard work, dedication or self-believe. As my career has progressed over the years, I tell myself ‘if I’m not going to grab this opportunity, at what point am I going to progress?’. When you take an opportunity or try something new, what is the worse that’s going to happen? You might fail, but you learn from those mistakes. There’s nothing better than experiencing it yourself and learning rather than shying away.
I was nominated for future CIO of the year. Something that myself and a lot of women would dream of and want to be! Success is no accident. It is truly your hard work, your self-belief, your dedication.
This is your life. Your journey. Never stop believing in yourself. Go for it, get it and win it.