Name: Vicky Sandry
Position: General counsel
Trained at: McKenna & Co
In Hot 100 for: A series of successful innovations in the legal team at Sky. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I was a trainee at what was then McKenna & Co, and I have very vivid memories of the social life there and in particular the Thursday night drinks! On a more serious note, my seat in the EC and Competition team resulted in my passion for this area of law. This turned out to be a key feature in my career journey, leading me to spend time in Brussels before a secondment to what was then the Office of Fair Trading to work on the Competition Act. I moved in-house to Sky as a competition lawyer in 2000.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
Sky’s Group General Counsel, James Conyers, has been a huge supporter of my decision to continue working part-time, enabling me to balance work and family life. He remained supportive through my promotions to Director of Legal and then to Sky UK & Ireland General Counsel in 2016. Balancing work and family life is not always easy.
Working part time can be challenging, but it has enabled me to have the best of both worlds – I enjoy a demanding and stimulating career and I am able to spend time with my two boys. James has mentored and championed me throughout.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
The best career decision I ever made was my move in-house to Sky. Although I’ve been at Sky for 18 years now, it really doesn’t feel like it! Working in a dynamic organisation that operates in a constantly changing industry means that I’ve rarely had a dull day in the office. Not only do I work with incredibly talented people who make me raise my game, but I’ve also had access to inspiring speakers, coaches and mentors through Sky’s development programmes.
As a result, I’ve been able to develop both as a lawyer and as a leader of people, and now have the privilege to lead Sky’s fantastic legal team for the UK and Ireland.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
When my children were younger, I almost ruled out taking on a bigger job because I couldn’t see how I could take a step up without compromising my work life balance, which is important to me. I was lucky enough to have a coach who enabled me to see that it made no sense to rule out a bigger role before an opportunity had even come up. With my background as a competition specialist, I knew I’d need to broaden my legal experience to be considered for a GC role, and so I looked for opportunities to do this while working really hard to develop my skills as a manager and leader.
My advice would be: don’t rule anything out in advance – have a plan, look for opportunities, don’t give up, and be brave!
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
Although we’ve made great strides in the legal industry with around 60 per cent of newly qualified solicitors being women, we still have a long way to go to get more female lawyers into senior positions. Our Women in Leadership programme at Sky is a great example of an initiative that encourages and supports women move into senior roles to increase representation of women at all levels of our organisation.
I’ve enjoyed playing an active role in the programme and would love to spend more time supporting women to get into leadership both within and outside of Sky, as well as mentoring men and women who are inspired to develop their career and maintain their work life balance.