Meet the people behind O2: Maria Fernandez
A series that looks at the people behind the technologies we support across Britain.
At O2 we employ thousands of talented individuals to support our diverse customer base. From frontline staff working in store with the latest mobiles, accessories and consumer products, to technical specialists who can design your integrated mobile, wifi and fixed-line networks, as well as identify the right managed services and digital solutions for your organisation. At O2 we believe that the solutions we provide are only as good as the people that help you make the most of them.
Maria Fernandez – Director of SMB
What do you do at O2?
I lead the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Sales Division within O2 across direct and indirect channels. I am responsible for ensuring that small and medium business customers get the best experience when interacting with our direct sales teams and partners.
I also make sure that we have the best business solutions to make every day better for SMB customer, helping their businesses to succeed and grow at the same time.
How did you end up doing what you do, and why O2?
Four years ago, I made the move from marketing into sales. I’ve always loved working with business customers and understanding how their organisations work. It’s so important to listen to the real needs of customers, such as where they want to take their organisation, or how they integrate their work and personal life.
I started my career at BT when 3G was being defined, and I was part of the team that listened to customers’ needs about voice and data connectivity. We translated these needs into 3G solutions, such as video conferencing and unified communications. I then moved onto Vodafone, where I developed and grew my marketing and sales career.
I wanted to join O2 as I believe it is a company that really cares about people, customers and employees. After having being at O2 for 7 months, it’s amazing to see the customer-centric culture of this organisation and how we want to make people’s lives better through our technology and solutions.
What gets you energised in the morning for the day ahead?
I’m a naturally positive and social person who sees every day as new and fresh, so I get myself ready to make a difference. I love humour, taking life lightly, and interacting with people.
In fact, my main passion is people. I find it key to create connections that count by listening to what’s important to them and making a difference in their lives. I love coaching and helping those starting their careers to succeed, and find their path of happiness.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
It’s how my mind never sits still! I’m always looking for new ideas for personal projects to do in my free time. Whether it be studying a new area, coming up with a product concept completely unrelated to telecoms, or doing something completely different later on in life.
What’s been your proudest achievement so far in your career?
My proudest moment was when I collected the award for Best Business Network at the Mobile Industry Awards in 2019. This award is a proof that at O2, we’re serious about delivering the best for our business customers through our network and solutions. We work closely with organisations to deliver products and solutions that make them closer to their customers.
What’s the one small thing in life that always makes you smile?
My family always make me smile! Particularly my seven year old son, who’s always ready for action!
How do you see your role evolving in the future?
I always see my role as being very close to customers and improving their lives. Personally, I would also like to increase my impact on those beginning their careers. I love inspiring the younger generations to become responsible individuals who care about making this world a better place.
How do you switch off and wind down?
I rarely do! But being with my family and friends in Spain really helps me to switch off.
What does a healthy relationship with technology look like for you?
I like to switch off from technology at the end of the day. In my view, a healthy relationship with technology is one where you don’t feel dependent on it. I’m happy reading a good book, or having a conversation with a friend or my family.
How long would you survive a full digital detox for?
I once survived for a whole week during my holidays and I am intending to switch off in my summer holidays coming up soon!
What’s the one gig/show that changed your life?
I saw Shakira at The O2 in June last year. It was such an amazing gig, and going with my friends made it a lot more special.
What are you most excited about that the future will bring (tech or non-tech)?
I love how technology is making people’s lives better. For example, IoT (Internet of Things) will give us more time to spend with our families and loved ones, because we don’t have to rush home to do chores like hoovering, as it can be done remotely.
I’m also excited to see how collaborative applications are making it easier for people to work from home and spend time with their families while being productive, and do a great job at the same time.