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Sara Whitney
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Product Owner - PlanviewSantander Technology, Milton Keynes
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Trainee Retail Manager, Sainsburys PLC, Hemel Hempstead

This was an intensive years training including taking responsibility for managing people, locking and unlocking the store, working at a variety of stores along with a lot of physical work, learning and performing all the roles within the store. There were offsite training sessions and work books to complete through the time to reinforce the on the job training. This year allowed me to work with multiple different people in different locations building my knowledge and confidence at an early stage in life.

Manager, Sainsburys PLC, Milton Keynes

During the 4 years as a manager at Sainsbury's I held a couple of different roles at different locations, the first being the Cash Office manager at a brand new store in Milton Keynes. I was responsible for setting up the team and the office functions to ensure all tills and takings reconciled and were banked.

Analyst, Santander (formerly Abbey National), Milton Keynes

Analyst and 1st line support for Personal loans on TAMAR system (VOS operating system).

Career Break to have a baby

During my time as an Analyst, I had 2 brief breaks to have baby number 1 and then baby number 2.

Analyst 1- Team leader, Santander (formerly Abbey National), Milton Keynes

Led a team of 5 people from being just the "Analyst", Learning and developing throughout taking on more roles and responsibility as knowledge and experience gained.

Project Manager, ISBAN UK (Part of Santander UK), Milton Keynes

Responsible for the migration of ATM network from Legacy system to new Santander brand system. Main point of contact for counterparts in Madrid and UK for the 24 x7 system."Managed teams in the UK and Spain to ensure functionality and requirements transferred and understood, breaking down knowledge and technical barriers to ensure successful migration eliminating impact to the Santander Customer base.

Fraud IT Delivery Manager, ISBAN UK (Part of Santander UK), Milton Keynes

Built team and Systems for Fraud Detection and Customer Contact capabilities from batch process to online 24 x7 system for Card and Electronic payments. Role included building 3rd party relationship with external supplier, managing multiple teams on multiple sites, implementing new technologies to the bank and designing the Architecture to build new feeds and data connections to the fraud detection system.

Transformation Leader

Part of Isban Transformation team looking at Internal change to improve, processes, tools and project delivery within a changing world. As Isban Uk move into the Agile world it is still necessary to ensure best practices continue to be embedded as many project still remain in the traditional world of Waterfall with many overlaps into Agile methodology and development. it is a chance for me to make a difference and help direct how the company is moving and facing new challenges.

Product Owner - Planview
Santander Technology, Milton Keynes

Created team and implemented new PPM tool for Santander Technology. Using agile techniques where possible to enhance and improve current deployment and then to bring on additional users now totalling 3000. Tool perform project management including financial estimation and tracking, project planning, resource management and also bank wide investment planning.

Accounting, banking & finance

The main thing is it is never too late to change. If you are adaptable, flexible and willing to have a go and look for opportunities and to be one step ahead then you are half way there to being that successful woman. Celebrate your achievements. Seriously consider apprenticeships as well as University routes, search and find out what is there. Go to a variety of Career fairs and talk to people, find out what they do, how did they get there ? Find a mentor to help you no matter what stage in your career, maybe this is someone in the next level up to where you currently are or if it is the CEO of another company, just find someone that empowers you and gives you the motivation to stretch and take risks. If you outgrow your mentor find a new one and then pay back and start mentoring someone as well. My growth and happiness has come from sharing my knowledge in seeing my team grow as well as delivering high profile (and not so high profile projects) to time, cost and quality.

My Education
Retail - Although I never went to University I learnt my skills on the job alongside a structured Trainee scheme which set me up for life.
Sainsbury's Trainee Management Scheme
Hemel Hempstead
French, Home economics
Astley Cooper, Hemel Hempstead,
More about me

I never wanted to work in an office and work Monday to Friday, I thought I would be working outdoors or running a hotel.

I would have liked to have understood in greater detail what opportunities were out there for me so I could have considered options sooner.

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