Another of the volunteers around the country for ‪#‎VolunteersWeek‬ where we celebrate the work of ‪#‎BloodBikes‬.
Kim Brewin, 43, Data Manager at a large Oil & Gas company. I trained as an analytical chemist, worked at a government laboratory and then moved here. I have worked for the company for 20 years and in this role for 14.
Data Manager
It is not as boring as you think. I get to talk to people all over the world on a daily basis. It is not always about work, you find out about their surroundings and their likes and dislikes too. My day starts with talking to my colleagues in Indonesia, Australia and Egypt and then goes through many other countries and time zones before hitting Canada and Alaska at the end of the day. It can vary from giving advice to discussing improvements to the systems we work with.
You need to be happy to help. Although a great deal of my job entails assuring the quality of the data I am given and then analysing it or reformatting it for various different people, the most important part of my job is the coaching and training I give to the teams around the world. I need to talk them through how to use the systems I run, but also advise on the type of data they are providing. Dealing with the many different cultures and ways of doing things is both interesting and educational. We have processes to follow, but the way different regions approach them can be surprising at times.
Good networking skills. It is impossible to know everything so having a good network of people to go to is extremely important. I have built my network up over many years and I am confident that no matter what question is thrown at me, if I can’t answer it myself then I know someone who can. I also have a secret network of people who can fix things for me – very important when your whole job relies on your IT working.
Go out of your comfort zone. When I started this job I had used excel, MS access and Lotus databases, but all to a basic level. I was most comfortable playing with chemicals in a laboratory, not sitting at a desk discussing oil reservoirs and running applications. Over the years of being the business contact for building our new systems I have become fluent in techno geek speak, I can now write SQL Queries and handle most IT queries from my team. This was not in my original job description!
Get creative and active. My days are spent staring at two giant monitors and only leaving my desk for cups of tea. So, in my spare time I dance (modern Jive and West Coast Swing), I am attempting to make jewellery and I volunteer with a Blood Bike Charity. I have been volunteering with SERV since 1997 and started as a controller, answering the calls from the hospital and sending the bikers out on their jobs. Within a year I had got myself a ‘big’ motorbike and started on rota myself, from 7pm to 6am once a fortnight (and yes I did then go straight to work the next day) riding round the quiet roads of Surrey with blood secured tightly on the back. We deliver blood products to hospitals across the SE England, a lot by bike, but some by four wheels too. I became involved in the committee, first at a local level and then as part of the Central team. Eventually an old injury got to the point of needing an operation and I had to stop pulling the all night shifts, so I moved into the training side. I now help to train all the new recruits who come through our doors in the safety and procedures of blood delivery. I still keep my hand in with deliveries by doing a bulk run once a fortnight and I am still a biker at heart and ride to events to help promote the charity.