Every year, BIMA celebrates 100 of the people who are leading the industry right now. We’re not talking about work and projects – we’re talking about the leaders, pioneers, entrepreneurs and changemakers – the people we look up to. In the BIMA100 Voices series, LBB is publishing enlightening conversations with these inspiring people.
Shey Cobley, global head of studio-as-a-Service at TCS Interactive had planned to lecture in politics. Then the internet arrived and she decided that was where her career lay. Here, she talks about her inspirations, her excitement at emerging working models and the pride she feels in her team having navigated the past year.
Tell us about your career path – what led you here?
I did not have a traditional path into design and UX - I was destined to lecture in politics – but then the Internet came along and I decided that instead of just researching its impact on politics I should shape it. I could see it was going to have a huge impact on the way people live their lives.
The rest they say is history. Now I don’t just create government services but work across industries to ensure that people are at the heart of the products and services we create.
Who has been your greatest inspiration/mentor to date and why?
My greatest mentor has been my first boss in digital – Peter McQuitty at Oxford City Council – who sadly passed away this year. He took a chance on someone with no experience but lots of passion to learn. He was generous with his time and support ensuring I never suffered imposter syndrome - I was just learning like everyone else. I hope to continue to manage his image taking a risk on passionate, dedicated people and supporting them to have the types of careers they want.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you love about what you do?
My colleagues - and literally my kids that get up far too early! My team are passionate and enthusiastic about making the best possible products and services for people. They advocate to make the greatest possible impact in everything they do - and deeply care about the quality of what they make – it is inspiring to be around. I love supporting and watching them grow.
Workwise, what’s exciting you most right now?
Right now I am excited by the new working models that are emerging. While the digital industry is more modern in its approach than most it has still not been a parent friendly environment, and has largely been London centric. I am excited that habits have been broken and we can look to have more flexible working models which will bring more diverse voice into the industry.
In your career to date, what has given you the biggest sense of pride?
In the last year I have had the greatest sense of pride in my team. Beyond continuing to deliver to clients I have been impressed with the support and compassion with which they have come together. It is easy when you are all remote to forget there is a person at the other end of the email. The team has taken time to support one another not just with the work but at a personal level. They have blown me away.
What difference has being part of the BIMA100 made – or what difference do you hope it might make?
Being part of the BIMA100 has been a great recognition of not just myself but the team. We are looking to change the way that things are done when delivering design, UX and content services - and break some of the stereotypes of international team working. I am hoping by winning this award it will keep the debate going so we don’t just all fall into old habits.