Jazz Johal has been at DAZN for over eighteen years – an incredible length of service. She is currently VP of Data Ops. I sat down with her, and we spoke about her journey here. This is a story of steady career progression set against a backdrop of ‘mum guilt’ and a constant battle to find that perfect work-life balance. Here’s what she had to say…
Tell me about your journey at DAZN
I joined as a database administrator eighteen years ago. I quickly realised that you don’t just do your job here, you are exposed to so much more. I was getting involved in so many different projects, seeing workflows – it was the first time I’d ever seen a product come to life from start to finish.
After a year, I was promoted to team leader – looking after the entire infrastructure team. Shortly after that, I had my first child. She’s 15 now!
I returned from maternity leave, working part-time as I wanted to balance my family life with my work life. Three months after returning I was promoted again. I have been part of some high-profile projects – moving a data centre overnight, migrating implementing a whole data warehouse in the space of six weeks, setting up our sister company ‘Stats Perform’ – the list is endless. DAZN has always been such a fast-paced company. That pace is hard for other companies to replicate. If you go anywhere after working at DAZN, you will definitely be told to slow down!
As a mum, how do you balance your work and personal life?
I have two children and over the years I have been extremely lucky to get lots of support, not only from my family, but also my managers and my teams at the DAZN. I think it’s very common for mums to feel guilt and worry. When I came back after my first child, I worried. However, as soon as I returned to work, I was still taken seriously. It was the first time in a long time that I was addressed as Jazz rather than ‘Mum’.
DAZN made it so easy for me to establish that work-life balance. I went to all the sports days, all the plays, I didn’t miss anything and DAZN were so supportive of that.
We must remember that children learn. My daughter knew that I was going to come back, and that mum had a job, and that mum goes to work. You soon realise that they will be fine, and we shouldn’t feel that guilt. Your job is part of your identity. You may also be a mum, sister, daughter or wife but your job is also part of who you are. You get joy out of being a mum, you get joy out of working and you get joy out of spending time with friends. If one of those is missing, you get an imbalance.
What advice would you give to women who are perhaps doubting themselves from a career progression perspective?
Take every opportunity you are given. There is no such thing as a wrong decision. To accept something and fail is not failure, it’s just a learning curve. I fell into this industry. Growing up, I didn’t see any women in lead engineering roles. I always liked fixing and building things and that’s what’s got me to where I am today.
Be your number 1 champion. Be your biggest fan. You don’t need anyone else to champion you. You know your strengths and weaknesses. Have faith in yourself even if you feel you are out of your comfort zone.
One thing that I’ve noticed about DAZN right from the start is that people recognise your value. Sometimes you don’t see the value of yourself but the people around you do. You wouldn’t be offered an opportunity if people didn’t believe in you. I have taken many opportunities that have put me out of my comfort zone and caused me to doubt myself. However, when you look back, you realise that you were capable and appreciate what you have achieved. That’s one piece of advice I stick by – Enjoy the journey and always take time to look back and see how far you have come.