Priya Sachdeva

Security isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when you think of BT, but when it comes to keeping everyone safely connected, ‘We Are The Protectors’. We had a chat with Priya to learn more about the recent internship programme she led for aspiring Cyber and Operations Security professionals in India as well as how she’s played a hand in promoting diversity and inclusion for women in the business. 

Can you tell us a bit about your role and the work you do?

I am working as a Transformation Manager. My current role focusses at leading the transformation projects to drive productivity improvement initiatives, embed governance, continuous improvement performance and achieve operational and strategical goals.

As part of this role, I led an Internship program which aimed at building our talent brand and boost campus presence by interlocking apprentice hiring program as part of long-term recruitment strategy and resource plan. As part of another initiative, we also collaborated with cross functional teams and created employment retention strategy following the proven processes with increased effectiveness, revenue and reduced operational cost.

Recently, BT selected Rackspace Technology as their Cloud Partner, so at present my whole focus has been around evaluating the candidates on technical grounds, hiring the right people with the right skills, and building the resource pipeline for the BT-Rackspace collaboration. I am confident the workforce from Rackspace and BT will enable us to deliver the outstanding customer experience and ensure that customers benefit from the best of our services, backed by Rackspace’s leadership in cloud.

What do you enjoy most about working in a global organisation?

There are countless things I enjoy about working with BT. My favourite being the freedom of speech and growth opportunities within BT. BT as a global organisation also increases exposure to multiple areas of the business and provides numerous opportunities for movement within the organization. BT heavily invest in their employees’ career development through internal and external continuous education and on the job training. The senior leadership team is supportive and allows you to shine and stand out. Six years with BT and still counting!

How has your career developed at BT?

I feel very lucky to be part of BT. For me, BT is no less than an ocean of opportunities, if you have courage and zeal to excel then dive in deep to explore the unlimited potential and opportunities for yourself.

I started my career as Technical Designer for a leading insurance company customer in BT and delivered many LLDs (Low-Level Design). I was the first one to get a sign off on my LLD and there were none who received sign offs on LLDs in past. So that was a proud moment for me and that too coming from the major customer I was working with was like cherry over the cake. Within few years I moved into LLSD (Low Level Service Designs) role and delivered LLSDs for other major customers in the consumer goods and insurance industry.

Based on my stakeholder management and cross functional expertise, within two months of me joining, the LLSD lead asked me to take up all of the customer’s LLSDs and with the course of time I also started getting on resource estimation effort calls, on her behalf, for all WB (Winning Business) deals within India. My lead believed in me and let me take up new assignments. I delivered certain frameworks around lessons learned, checklists for successful deliveries etc and also actively contributed to Product Line transformation team tasks.

Later, I moved into my current role that is Transformation Manager. BT has given me the opportunity to develop myself by allowing me to move roles and responsibility both laterally and vertically, as well as to gain experience in many different technical and strategic areas. Leadership team within BT always showed trust in me, encouraged, and supported me throughout this journey. I have gained multi-faceted experiences since joining and I am sure I will continue to progress my career in the years to come. 

You recently lead a programme for interns in India… Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Yes sure, it was one of its own kind and very special to me. I nurtured this program as my own baby. This was the first time an Internship Program of its kind was conducted in India.

I was given this opportunity by my manager to lead and drive this program whereby five interns were selected from different colleges and regions across India who joined the Cyber Security & Operations team as direct reports under me. And few others were also put into other CFUs (Customer Facing Units) like Enterprise and Group Business Services.

The interns were able to gain diverse experiences and insights into our different key business areas thereby instilling in them a positive work attitude and motivation at the onset. We focused on offering the interns a tailored approach whereby they were able to work with highly in demand, niche, market-leading products within the security and wider technology industry in addition to receiving soft skills training. Technologies and topics like Fundamentals of Network and Cyber Security, Palo Alto, Checkpoint and Fortinet, to name a few, were covered in this programme. Interns also got the opportunity to meet the senior management and leadership team in India, including Damien Childs, Director of Cyber & Security Operations, during their time with us.

What kind of feedback did you receive from the programme? What have been its key achievements?

Feedback was great from both interns and managers. One of the interns described our work culture as ‘phenomenal’ as ‘everyone is welcomed to put forward their ideas and opinions’. Interns also mentioned the unique opportunity to work with leading vendors in the Networking Security industry as well as developing and learning new technical and soft skills.

One of the managers mentioned the interns were able to get ‘leading first-hand corporate experience, providing strong foundations in Cyber Security’ in addition to experience ‘what it is like to be part of a diverse and global company and one of the world's leading providers in the security market’. The internship program has also benefitted us in a number of ways, including being offered invaluable support from the interns as well as gaining new perspectives and feedback on our day-to-day business, policies and strategy.

As far as key achievement is concerned, I believe the training programs and on the job training really helped the interns grow in every aspect. We assimilated interns with BT ways of working, supported them in day-to-day queries/challenges fostering an environment of active listening, approachability, and open communication. In their final evaluation, they really came out as more confident and mature individuals. All five interns were converted into Fixed Term Employees within the BT Cyber and Security Operations team and presently are delivering their deliverables successfully.

How does BT support the diversity and inclusion of colleagues in India?

Some of the key measures we’ve taken in India to support diversity and inclusion includes the ‘Re-ignite’ programme, whose first iteration started in 2018, which aimed at nurturing potential future women employees who have taken a career break but aspire to rekindle their professional aspirations. The programme has modules which cover a series of technical and soft skills sessions to enhance the women’s current skills and bring back confidence for those potential job interviews. This the third year of Re-Ignite programme. For Re-Ignite third iteration, over 400 profiles were received and out of which 140 profiles were shortlisted, with plans to cover topics ranging from technologies, processes, and current trends alongside relevant soft-skills topics with the current cohort.

We also have the India Security Women Squad (ISWS) which was formed in 2018 by women employees in Security. The idea was well supported by our senior leadership in India, to provide not only technical trainings to employees, but also developing women’s current skillsets, in addition to focusing on other areas like personal wellbeing, financial advisory sessions, personal development and much more. Together we built many success stories ranging in all the areas starting from implementation, design, and project management, in addition to increasing our diversity and percentage of women in the business.

Finally, I have also been involved in creating the ‘Diverse Interview Panel’ for BT Hiring across the globe. For this initiative, we encouraged people from diverse backgrounds to be part of interview panel to provide a unique insight to the whole interview process.

I strongly believe that when diverse minds with different experiences and perspectives coalesce, we build stronger and more skilled and capable teams, benefitting not just individuals but the business too.

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