Could you please introduce yourself? How did your career
progress at AB InBev?
My name is Kat Vickery, I am the Digital Employee Experience (DEX) Lead for Europe. I have been with AB InBev for 5 years, starting in the UK in 2016 as the Solutions Manager responsible for the IT in the UK. I then asked for a role to lead a team and to experience life in another country, which is when I got this fantastic opportunity to lead the DEX team of 30 people in the Prague Digital Hub.
What is your secret for successful leadership?
I believe strongly in the ability of the team we have built. By putting the right people in the right roles, I am confident to give my team the freedom to deliver, whilst providing a supportive environment in which they feel safe to fail.
How do you cope with challenges in your department?
We openly discuss challenges as a team, share insights and experiences, and agree on an approach. And while results are important, people should always come first - there is nothing more important to me than my team’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Our dream for 2022 is focused on providing an outstanding digital employee experience, with world-class, seamless and accessible IT support for all employees – no matter their function or location. However, our team is more than that! We're also working on exciting projects such as Self-healing IT, driven through automation; shift left and self-service; and more bespoke projects for our business and employee experience.
Talking about the skill set of our talents, our team is working on a range of expertise:
- IT Service Desk - providing end-user support across 9 countries in 5 languages
- IT Service Management – delivering and improving services in line with ITIL processes e.g. Incident, Service Request, Problem and Knowledge
- User Experience – focused on improving the overall digital employee experience
- Analytics – drive decision making to improve end-user satisfaction
- Automation - Reduce manual interactions for incidents and service requests
- Agile Methodology - Allow rapid onboarding of new and changed IT services to the Service Desk
- Centre of Excellence - Development capability of Global COE for services, e.g. ServiceNow
How do you balance your personal and work life?
I always try to not take my work home with me and I have set time limits for when my meetings will start and end in the day. Taking time to refresh and re-energise makes me a stronger leader, and also encourages my team to do the same.
I am also very open with my team about when I need to take a break for personal issues – the past few years has taken a toll on all of us mentally, and whilst work has been an outlet, it can also overtake. By being transparent with my teams about when the balance is tipping for me, it makes them feel secure to do the same. However, I have found in my 5 years at AB InBev, that many of my colleagues have gone on to be my best friends outside of work, and I often enjoy winding down with them over a beer or two.
What advice will you give to our future leaders?
Go where the women are….
I have worked in IT for 12 years, and it is traditionally a male-dominated area. I have always paid attention to where I have seen strong female leaders, and aim to join the teams they are in. This is because it normally means that they are in a hierarchy where women are respected and listened to. And my advice for future male leaders – be a true ally bringing women into your circle of trust. Women alone cannot drive the change we need in the workplace – we often need male allies to be the voice which speaks first, so that we can then be listened to.