Numbers tell a story. It’s a snapshot in time but can also paint a picture of the future. Lucy Young investigates and explores the numbers every day as the Head of Subscriptions Insight and Analytics at Telegraph Media Group (TMG). In our chat, Lucy shares her love of data storytelling and the importance of finding balance in ambition.
Data drives decisions
In the media and publishing world, readership is everything — what people are reading, when and how. She reports back to the business on these figures and most importantly, how many new people are subscribing. Lucy and her team understand performance and the impact of various changes we are making to drive subscription growth.
Lucy has achieved so much in her 18-months at TMG. She is really enjoying her role and shares her many reasons why.
“The people are great. They work very hard, are smart and motivated. I love how it’s a data-hungry organisation. Since starting here, I have helped to influence better data decision making in the business and understanding of our performance. Our goal is to get to one million subscribers by 2023 and we are on track. ”
Flexibility in a fast-paced world
The media and publishing world is a fast-paced industry, but Lucy can find a balance between work and home life — and it has a lot to do with the flexible culture at TMG.
It’s flexible here and there is an understanding that people have a life outside of work. After a year of working here, I was able to drop down to 4-days of work. Having that fifth day free is amazing. I find it’s a good balance between working and spending time with family.
Lucy thrives on the hustle and bustle of her work environment.
“Working in an environment of trust and collaboration is very important both of which exist here. Yes, it is a very demanding environment, but doesn’t feel aggressive. There is a lot of buzz and so much going on, literally never a dull moment!”
Forging a career in big brands
Before joining TMG, Lucy led Strategy and Insights at well-known brands such as McDonald’s and Virgin Media.
“I completed a degree in economics. I joined an agency when I graduated. I was building statistical models to calculate the ROI on brands’ media spends. My clients included Sainsbury’s and big FMCGs such as Johnson & Johnson.”
Lucy then decided to be on the ‘other side’ as the client and be part of driving the big decisions.
“I joined McDonald’s restaurants in 2006, and was there for ten years working in data insights and strategy. My major achievement was being part of the restaurant redesign which resulted in phenomenal sales increase.”
Lucy is anything but complacent and always on the lookout for learning opportunities. She even took on a brand-new role after coming back from parental leave — something which she says many people will see barriers in.
While I built a great career working at McDonald’s, I needed a new challenge. Don’t be scared to take a leap of faith, there’s so much to learn from different company cultures and industries.
Lucy has undoubtedly built a great career for herself. When asked about any challenges she faces, she says,
“It would be managing priorities. We get asked a lot of questions from the business. I have a great team, but I need to make sure we are focused on the most important things. I’m passionate about what I do. I take great pride in what my team does and being the best we can be.”
Lucy takes her leadership role seriously — but also having fun at the same time.
“My team’s growth and development are important. I have exceptionally high standards, but I’m also fair. [Due to COVID] I’m working on making sure we have some fun. In our [virtual] team meetings, it has been tricky to keep people continually motivated and engaged. We’ve been trying to keep things a bit light-hearted where we can.”
Working from home during a pandemic and homeschooling does throw a few curveballs. Lucy is conscious of working on and finding time for self-care.
My personal challenge sometimes is to compartmentalise work and home life. When I finish work, I try to make sure I switch off the laptop and let my team take on more stuff. Empowering and trusting your team is important. Where possible, I make time for fitness classes and cycling. However, I’m really looking forward to getting back into the office next year!
We found it so delightful to hear that Lucy loves to cook up extraordinary dishes, inspired by her mother, and the recipes passed down from generations.
“My mum grew up in Sri Lanka. I’m very good at cooking Sri Lankan curry, using my grandmother’s recipes. I also love hanging out with my children and doing arts and crafts with them (though not the mess it creates!).”
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About the author
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