Welcome to the first in our series of blogs where we introduce you to one of the brilliant team members here at Digital Mums HQ. As of this week there are 28 of us who work here! So first in the chair is the awesome Roanna Capes, our fantastic project manager extraordinaire...
I’m Roanna, 35, and live in Bracknell with my husband Chris, 33 and two children Milly, four and James, two. Number three is due in nine weeks too! As a family we love a festival - Chris’s parents live in Pilton so they get free Glastonbury tickets every year. Chris has been to every Glastonbury since he was born so we have continued this by taking Milly and even James went for a few hours at just five weeks old. Turn’s out taking a tiny one in a sling to a Festival isn’t as fun as you think! My favourite social media platform is Pinterest. I love that it is so visual and creative. I used it initially for my wedding planning back in 2013 but since then I mainly use it for kids party planning and recipe ideas!
IN THE BEGINNING
I was born in Whitby in Yorkshire and stayed there until I turned four. We were lucky enough to then move as a family to the Island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean where my dad worked in the Island hospital. St Helena, better known as ‘The Island of Sharks’ that Napoleon was exiled to, is tiny. Back in the 80’s there was no television there and just an hour of radio a day. My childhood was spent outdoors, swimming and walking. My mum loves dressing up, still does - we were always having ‘viking’ days or ‘cowboy’ days and would really go the whole hog creating teepees or ships to play on with our friends on the Island. When we moved home, I spent my early teenage years going back and forth to Saudi Arabia in the school holidays to see my dad who worked there for four years.
I was not a school lover. If I applied myself I could do well but it just wasn’t me and I decided not to go to University and travel instead. I travelled across America when I was 18 and then spent a year working for Disney in Epcot, Florida. I had so many experiences, but by the time I was 22 I decided I needed to settle down and start growing up! I then met Chris, my husband, at work and we got married in 2013.
WORKING LIFE BEFORE DIGITAL MUMS
By 22 I found myself a job working for a facilities management company on a Helpdesk. Over the next four years I worked through four promotions and then spent most of my career until Milly was born working in business improvement. I focussed mainly on projects like improving systems and processes within the business from research to implementation. It was a stressful job; I rarely spent much time at home and was constantly travelling up and down the country with strict deadlines. I would often work until the early hours of the morning and for not much thanks! My only godsend was that Chris, my husband, was on the same team as me, so we were often together on the same projects.
I really enjoyed the role but I was also the only woman on the team and I found that hard sometimes. If I had a pound for every time I was asked to make tea and coffee as they thought I was a receptionist, I’d be rich!
When James was six months old I was really unsure what to do next career wise. I just wasn't sure that my old role in business improvement really fitted with family life. The idea of a stressful environment, long hours and lots of travelling seemed wrong - I wanted something flexible around the children that I knew I'd enjoy. That's when I found out about Digital Mums and started the Associate Programme in November 2014 and graduated in April 2015. I landed myself a social media client but I was also lucky enough to be asked to do some freelance work for Digital Mums on graduation and have never looked back!
The team was much smaller last April but I was immediately struck by the banter, closeness and amazing rapport they had. As the mothership has grown, this rapport and team spirit has amazingly continued despite there now being so many of us and most of us working from home!
DIGITAL MUMS LIFE
I am now the Project Manager at Digital Mums and work four days a week. I do two days a week on the training side of the business and two days in operations making it a hugely varied role. My role can involve a lot of research, training and random admin depending on the project. So far the biggest project has been implementing Moodle, the new virtual learning environment we use to deliver our courses. It has definitely caused a few headaches along the way, but I have loved seeing how the courses have evolved!
TOP DIGITAL MUMS MOMENT
I love my varied job and feel privileged to be able to work flexibly, from home and around my children. It makes a huge difference having approachable bosses and colleagues that have such bright, happy attitudes and a sense of humour to boot. When I found out I was pregnant, I was nervous about feeling that I had let them down - but I was given a huge congratulations and was told, word for word by Nikki - ‘Why would you be worried, we aspire to be the best employers for Mums so this is great news for us! We might make you do a blog though…!’
MY #DOTHEHUSTLE TIP
Manage your time to make it work for you. Working from home can mean it’s difficult to switch off the phone! The temptation to check emails, social media or Slack is always there. I became very aware of it around my kids when James started crying if I wouldn’t give him my phone! On the days I work, I now make sure that the dinner/bedtime routine is totally uninterrupted, which lets me focus on the kids and it seems to have kicked James’ addiction to the iPhone too!
I was once arrested by a religious policeman in Saudi Arabia for the ‘Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue.’ I was 12 and was showing my hair...luckily they agreed to follow us to a nearby shop so we could buy a head scarf. Scary times though!
Look out for the next in our series of team blogs as next Friday we'll be hearing from the lovely Tasneem Sharrem, our supersonic Social Impact Officer.