Day in the Life – Stuart Drake

Vital Stats

  • Job title: Head of Business Delivery
  • Function: Portfolio & Change Office
  • Tenure: 2 years

Tell us a little about yourself?

I live in the Bristol, the UK’s ‘silicon gorge’. I’m a big fan of classic cars, especially those built in Italy during the ’70s. I spent quite a long time rebuilding a Fiat (due to some slippage in the project plan…) and I’m now enjoying driving about in the sunshine. It’s also a nice way to spend time with my sons which doesn’t involve Minecraft.

I lead the Business Delivery team in Three’s Portfolio & Change Office, which manages a real variety of projects and programmes – from new products, annual price changes, projects enabling Three to comply with regulatory requirements or the 3Vision transformation – it’s a broad spectrum. The team works closely with stakeholders across Three to plan and deliver change for the whole business. They’re a very talented bunch and I feel lucky to have such a range of skills and experience around me to help problem solve.

Three recently launched their Project Management Academy – tell us a bit about it.

Getting work done in an increasingly complex and fast-paced business poses different challenges for different teams, but we’re all seeking to achieve the same outcome: effecting change for the better.

The Academy provides learning in a vast range of project management skills at several levels, and we have modules that could benefit everyone at Three, as well as qualifications for those whose roles involve going deeper into this space. And it’s not just for people with ‘project management’ in their job description. If you’re wanting to structure work in a new and consistent way or bring groups of people together from different departments, there’s some great learnings from the Project Management Academy. This is a great platform for anyone seeking to build new skills or develop existing ones via a structured pathway. I’d encourage everyone at Three to take a few minutes and visit the Academy.

What has been your career highlight so far?

I’ve worked in telco for 20 years in a number of different roles and always loved the idea of working in an industry that provides something so critical that if you left home without it you’d have to turn around and go back and get it, it’s that integral to our lives.

I’ve had some great opportunities to make a difference, but being part of the team delivering 3Vision, our major transformation programme, has been a real highlight. Although it’s certainly not been an easy journey, it’s a massive achievement. I say this as I’ve seen first-hand the challenges this level of transformation can present in other organisations and sometimes not getting out the blocks.

How have you supported your personal wellbeing during the past few years?

I’ve always enjoyed running but really came to value it during lockdown. There’s something about the combination of being beneficial for the head as well as heart. I’m trying to get back into a more consistent pattern, so Samarathon, which Three sponsors, has come at a great time to nudge me into achieving that! And if the weather’s bad there’s always something to fix on the Fiat…

When you were a child, what job did you see yourself doing?

I wanted to be a pilot and fly jets or just fly anything really; I was mad about planes. Recently I was lucky enough to meet Jo Salter who gave a talk at our team conference. Jo was Britain’s first female fast jet pilot and is an amazing inspirational speaker. It reminded me of my childhood aspiration.

Give us a fun fact about Stuart Drake

I worked a bit as a PR photographer whilst at uni and took a picture of Boy George cutting the ribbon at a restaurant opening. A few days later he commented in his Sunday newspaper column that I arrived late (although I’d dispute that!).

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