International Women's Day
It’s International Women's Day!
Today we’re in conversation with Surinder Khatter, MD Service Delivery FTTP, Customer Transformation and Data. From leading a dedicated team of 4000 to being a proud mother, Surinder does it all! Read on to find out more:
- What’s your role at Openreach? My role at Openreach is made up of a number of different things. One of them is delivering Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) service for our customers. I also manage the relationships with all our key service providers for our volume products. That's across both copper and FTTP. I also manage the transformation teams that are transforming how we deliver service on both FTTP and our copper products. And then I've got a small insights team that essentially provides the data and the insight we need to keep improving our service delivery for our customers.
- How did you get the job? I was at Vodafone running a service delivery organization and I decided that actually I didn't feel very stretched. I wanted a new challenge, and I was really interested in focusing purely on strategy and transformation and a fantastic role came up at Openreach running strategy and transformation for the service delivery unit. I decided that I would go for it. The role then changed as I’ve already had operations experience and after joining Openreach got asked to pick that up alongside strategy and transformation. I think it is key to try something different and challenge yourself. I like putting my time and effort on transforming an operation and delivering a strategic vision for it.
- What’s the best part of your job? I think it’s actually running the FTTP service team and it's knowing that we're connecting customers to essentially what is the future: Fibre. I'm working with a brilliant team to make sure that we're doing our job efficiently, effectively and always try to deliver a brilliant customer service. So it is the operational part of my role that I enjoy the most.
- What’s the most challenging part of your job? Running the operations for sure! The demand for FTTP is very high. We live in exciting times and the demand from customers is very strong. It has been a very challenging year trying to keep on top of the demand and deliver the service that our customers need. And that's also why it's very rewarding.
- What’s a typical day for you? So, no day is the same. There are always new challenges, new opportunities. However, something that I do regularly is I look at lots of data to understand whether things are working, progressing and making sure that we're delivering on our goals. I also attend customer meetings. I'm very often with customers explaining service to them or I'm prepping for meetings, particularly executive meetings where we talk about setting the budgets for next year and other wider ambitions. I spend some time engaging with my own teams as well. Whenever I am in the office I really enjoy meeting everyone. I also try and get out with engineers as much as I possibly can, because ultimately everything that we do is about making things better for our engineers so that they can deliver the best service for our customers.
- Most memorable work moment? Hitting our net adds target and ultimately our highest completions week, which actually happened very recently. In fact, we've had six record weeks which has been absolutely amazing, but we proved the point that we've been able to increase what we're delivering by 50% in a year, which is a pretty phenomenal, so very proud that we've been able to hit that record.
- Who inspires you in your career and why? And what did you want to be when you were a child? I'm inspired by my own daughter. When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor because I want to help other people and save lives. I wanted to do something that I felt was worthy. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't academic enough. I couldn't do it. My daughter, on the other hand, has qualified as a doctor. She wanted to do it and the number of hours she's putting in ,the amount she's working , it's just absolutely inspiring. It is really tough for doctors out there. Junior doctors in particularly at the moment. To have six years of university to get through and reach where she has, it’s amazing. She was working on the wards during the pandemic. So, she worked through COVID while she was still being trained which was obviously very difficult.
- What advice you’d give to women who are interested in working at Openreach? It really is a great place to work. Yes, we've got lots of engineers and we are, you know, predominantly an engineering organization that's delivering service for customers. But there's so many different roles, whether they're field based, desk based, there's flexibility, there’re opportunities to progress. I started here as a director, and I became a Managing Director (MD). I'm a living example of someone that's been able to progress their career here. We've got an exciting future at Openreach building fibre. We are striving to be a more diverse and inclusive workplace. There's a lot of focus on that and we've been started to become more gender balanced.