Bolton School Former Pupils
Victoria Southern (1998-2008)
Victoria is the People Operations Programme Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Google.
What were your favourite subjects and who were your favourite teachers at School?
I always loved languages at School, and I would have to say my favourite teachers were Mrs Patterson and Mrs Garthwaite. You could tell they were passionate about their subjects, which definitely rubbed off on me!
What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?
I continued with languages and studied Chinese at university, and have studied both in the UK and abroad in China and Taiwan.
How did you progress to your current role and what does it involve?
After university I was keen to develop commercial skills, so I applied for the Deloitte Management Consulting graduate scheme, which gave me a great grounding in project management solving business problems across a range of industries. I have recently left Deloitte and continue to build on my project management skills in my new role as a Program Manager at Google
What skills are essential for your role?
Communication is absolutely key, and I think having a background in languages has really helped me here. Studying languages, particularly studying abroad, forces you to integrate into new cultures and communities and make yourself understood. A large part of my job focuses on making sure people are on the same page and persuading them to work towards the same goals, so being able to communicate my opinions or findings from data analysis in a way that resonates with my audience is essential.
What are the biggest challenges?
Google is a huge company, and has a massively complex structure with many different moving parts. Figuring out how I can influence that has been tricky, particularly with the added geographical complexity, as my role is responsible for program management across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
What/who has been your biggest inspiration?
This is very difficult to answer because there have been so many! Having strong female role models has been important, and I have had many of these, from my mum, to teachers at School and university, and senior management at Deloitte and Google.
What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement?
Being chosen to join the team at Google – they are consistently chosen as the best employers in the world, and being a part of such an innovative company, whose work has a huge impact on the day-to-day life of people around the globe, is so exciting.
How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?
Bolton School is great because the students are encouraged to think critically, a skill that has proved essential in building my career – I have seen that companies want people who aren’t afraid to think differently about problems. Moreover, I had teachers who really cared about how well I did, and who really helped me to build my confidence - now I have no issues speaking my mind, regardless of the seniority of the people in the room. I was naturally a shy person, and I don’t think I would be where I am today without that boost from the School!