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Inside the award winning data team at The Very Group: Meet Claire Hunwick

The Very Group: Meet Claire Hunwick

ARTICLE SUMMARY

We spoke with Claire Hunwick, data portfolio product owner, at the Very Group about her career journey and her role at the company.

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

I’ve been in product ownership-type roles for over 10 years, mainly in the digital space supporting websites and mobile apps. I spent much of my career in the Financial Services sector but decided 18 months ago it was time for a change. That is when I joined The Very Group. I still have a Product Owner role however the focus is on Data rather than Digital products.

I’ve always had a keen interest in data due to the value creation it can drive for both the business and the customer, so this role was a good fit for moving my career forward.

WHERE DID YOU TRAIN? ARE THERE ANY QUALIFICATIONS THAT YOU THINK OUR COMMUNITY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IF THEY ARE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN DATA?

Claire and pet dog

I have a BSc in Information Technology and Computing however, in my case ‘She Can’t Code!’ I struggled with the coding side and realised early on that it wasn’t for me. I still enjoyed the subject matter and my degree gave me a good grasp of how technologies work together so I decided to progress my career in technology but via a non-coding path. As the Product Owner role has become more established there are professional qualifications that can be obtained but I have found that as technology advances and changes all the time so the most important thing is to be curious and have a growth mindset balanced with a good commercial sense to see how value can be achieved within an organisation.

WHAT IS YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIKE AT THE VERY GROUP?

No two days are the same in my role, I could be running a new initiative discovery session, planning and prioritising backlogs cross-functional data squads, working with business partners to showcase how data products can help them achieve their goals, or partnering with a third party to run proof of concepts on new data platforms.

WE HEARD THAT YOU AND YOUR TEAM RECENTLY WON A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT AWARD AND THE DATA PROJECT THAT ENABLED YOU TO BE CROWNED A WINNER?

The Very Group Retail Forecasting team were recognised by Data IQ for ‘Most Effective Stakeholder Engagement’. This award is for the data and analytics team which is best able to demonstrate how it engaged proactively with the business. The submission was based on a transformational proof of concept that the Retail Forecasting team did in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Over 13 weeks a scrum team of TVG and AWS data professionals and business users came together to complete over 70 experiments, through four differing algorithms and generating eight million+ forecasts. Adopting agile ceremonies and remote collaboration tools the team was able to test, learn and adapt at pace. This resulted in an investment to grow retail demand forecasting capabilities in 2022. It was a fantastic example of using the Agile stakeholder principles of communication being ‘early and often’ to accelerate data transformation.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN IN TECH WHO ARE CONSIDERING A CAREER IN DATA?

Claire and family

I think there is a misconception that to work in data or technology in general that you need to be very technical and have a coding background in order to progress. This simply isn’t true and there are many non-coding roles that rely on different skill sets such as strategy planning, problem-solving, communication, and initiative/project delivery. Many organisations strive to be data-driven so it is an area that is constantly evolving, in high demand, and underpins pretty much every stream within a business making it a very exciting and diverse area to be in.

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