In conversation with: Sue Byrne – Service Architect, BT Ireland

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How long have your worked for BT?

I joined BT in London many moons ago and had great fun in my twenties – having a blast living in the big metropolis. And now that I think back, even then, BT had a “wellness” theme – we had membership to a Health club with a pool in the city and I used to do Cardiofunk classes in BT Centre in Newgate St at lunchtime. I came back to Ireland in 1992 and joined the new BT venture in 1997. There were seven of us in an office in Harcourt St and we were winging it. Some months later the joint venture with ESB was formed and OCEAN was born. And years and many changes later I am still here – and yes still enjoying it!

What’s your role?

I have had a number of roles in BT starting as an Office Manager, then Bid Manager, building the Bid Team and then Head of Bid Management in the Global Services family. That was really good fun; there was loads of travelling and working with the European Global Services team and the late, great Bill Murphy. I have been in the service design area for far too long which can be challenging, but I am always learning and I have a wonderful team of friends

Why do you work for BT?

It pays the mortgage, let’s be honest if I won the Lotto, I’d not be here, but since I have to work there are lots of reasons why I’m still here.

Firstly, the people. I know everyone says that, but I have made many good friends over the years, shared good times and really stressful times – ate far too much pizza on late nights and weekend bids and have learned loads; which is an ongoing process in this business.  

Secondly, the work flexibility BT offers – I moved to Kerry in 2005 and have worked remotely since then, with the Cork office as my base and mainly working from home.

There are many other benefits that BT offers, including a fantastic health care package, and an internal network called VOICES, which provides a forum for employees to learn and input into decisions that potentially leads to change in the organisation. We also have an active peer to peer network where we can share and learn with others and of course, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. I’ve been a volunteer with this fantastic BT organised event for 13 years and I look forward to it every year. Long hours, but brilliant fun and something truly unique to BT.

What makes working in BT ‘Healthy’ in your opinion?

It sounds a bit corny but I feel a sense of ownership. I have been here since the start; produced the first bid out the door, walked through the office with the folders, with everyone clapping and cheering – and we won it!  I have felt supported through sad and difficult times in my life and we all have those at some point and I’ve been lucky to also share the good times with my work mates.

The flexibility- this is a biggie; BT was probably one of the first in Ireland to offer this and there is no doubt that it makes a hugely positive difference to work/life balance.

Finally, I think we have a relatively open culture here. I feel comfortable to speak up but maybe that’s just me – never the shrinking violet! But I genuinely feel that if you have something on your mind there is always someone to talk to.  I’ve had a few jobs in other industries and health and wellness weren’t even in the vocabulary. I’ve spent a good chunk of my working life in BT, its been fun, fast and even furious at times. But BT provides the tools and support to help us help ourselves and that’s the important thing.

BT Ireland has been awarded the Healthy Pace to Work certification for a 4th consecutive year. Find out more here

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