My Life through the lens: Julia Phillips

As part of our new ‘My life through the lens’ series, we’re discovering how our people ‘live their best phone lives’. The new series is all about learning more about how some of the moments saved on our phones have shaped our people and how they contribute to #LifeAtThree.

Today we’re getting to know Julia Phillips

Job title: Head of MVNO Operations

Function: Finance

Tenure: 8 years

Tell us about early Julia, what’s an early memory and what was she like?  

My early memories are all around holidays. One that particularly sticks out is that my parents took my brother and I on a boat trip down the Siene and as part of that you obviously need to tie up outside locks whilst you are waiting for your turn. One day my brother was on rope duty (jumping from the boat onto the bank and holding the ropes or mooring up dependent upon how long the wait would be). On this particular occasion he completely misjudged the distance between the boat and the bank and just jumped straight in the water – still makes me smile today. When I was younger, I was always on the go, and it was always about spending time with friends (I was not very scholarly) and having fun – some would say that hasn’t changed much.

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

Probably for the longest time being an air hostess or travel rep (Travel again), it certainly wasn’t working in telecoms.

If you had one photo to sum up how you’ve lived your best phone life, what would it be and why?

When I looked back through my phone of my photo’s it is all about family, friends, travelling and my dog who sadly passed away last year. So, the photos that I would say are the ones below.

How did you get into your role?

I started as an administrator at Vodafone in the early 90’s and then moved into a business analyst team providing them with support, this evolved into a role of supporting a team who were delivering billing and IT changes to 3rd parties.    At this point I decided I wanted to actually be the person supporting the partners, rather than the person supporting the team so I moved into a partner facing role.   During this period I had my daughter, Jessica and after spending my time driving up and down the M5/M6 for a few years I had my son, Harry at this point I decided that I wanted a role based closer to home and moved into the Vodafone Wholesale team as a business analyst – this was probably one of the jobs which I learnt the most in  as we were integrating new MVNOs into Vodafone and this meant you needed those key stakeholder skills but also the ability and negotiation skills to work cross functionality and work out what was the best for the long term benefits of both the MNO and the partners.    Following on from doing this for a number of years I moved into a more commercially focused role as this was an area, I hadn’t really been involved with previously but was an area that would prove beneficial in the long run.      Eventually after 18 years at Vodafone I decided enough was enough and I jumped ship to EE, when I left VF I wanted to go to a smaller MNO rather than being part of a big corporate, however within 3 months of joining EE they were brought by BT – exactly what I didn’t want.    From there I moved to Three just over 8 years ago and have worked consistently within the MVNO team, with a short secondment away from the team to launch Superdrug Mobile in 2018.

What has been a career highlight so far?

There have been a number of highlights and some of the key ones would be:   Going to the Vodafone Balls (they were legendary) and I got be part of The Guiness world record for the largest Silver Service dinner to ever take place at Earls Court (11,483 in April 2001) this has since been broken, but the main reason for these balls becoming legendary were the artists that performed I got to see Robbie Williams, Elton John, Madness & Sheryl Crow to name a few. Launching Talk Mobile (the first iteration from Dixon’s of ID Mobile),  Going to the X-factor final as a guest of TalkTalk (although the music sounded awful there, was great when you watched back on TV), Launching Superdrug Mobile – although a small team of us were shut away for approx. 9 months we had a lot of fun getting there (and a lot of stress), being one of the Three Superstars and going to the overnight event at Celtic Manner – does seem to be more about the social aspects rather than the directly work focused ones

What do you like to do outside of #LifeAtThree? 

My kids are now in their late teens and so I have a lot of freedom back, so my husband, Rich and I are enjoying being able to go away more (although often as my husband enjoys participating in Ironman events these trips are focused around where they are and him spending the day swimming, cycling, running whilst I am spectating (spectating is harder work and more tiring than you would think – you need a lot of stamina and patience)), but I also enjoy going to the lake and going open water swimming as well as spending time at the gym – this is required as my other favorite hobby is eating and drinking with my family and friends.

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