Kate Wendelboe is Director of Media & Broadcast at BT. We caught up with her for our In Focus series, which highlights the work of inspirational women from across the sector.
Hi Kate great to catch up! Tell us more about your team and what your role is at BT
I’m the Director of our Media & Broadcast business, which sits in BT’s Enterprise division. We’re a 40 person team operating as a global end-to-end business. My team is made up of sales, product, technical consultancy, and customer service, and we’re headquartered at the BT Tower. The Tower is also home to our International Media Centre which is always on, monitoring the 16,000+ hours of live TV content going through our networks every day.
What does a day in your working life look like?
Every day is different! I live in North London, so it’s relatively quick and easy for me to get into the office. I tend to be in 8.30, reply to emails that have come in from Asia, check in with my team, and the rest of the day is filled with catching up with customers, talking to the operational division that supports us, or meetings with other parts of BT that are relevant to our customers – we work closely with EE on roaming SIM solutions for transmitting video back from the field, BT Security on a range of security solutions, and are a part of the working group on 5G. On most days I pick up my two sons (who are 1 and 4) from nursery, and love spending the evening with them before – I must admit – tending to get back onto my laptop again before the end of the day.
How did you begin your career and what inspired you to look at jobs within the broadcast technology sector?
My career started at Reuters where I worked in marketing and then journalism – I helped create their video platform Reuters Insider which is where my love of media began. I loved telling stories, but my passion was also in strategy and management, so I went and did an MBA, specialising in Culture, Art and Media Management, and joined BT straight afterwards. I started in our Technology business – a great place to get an understanding of how BT works – then joined Media & Broadcast initially in propositions development, then taking responsibility for strategy and business development. I then moved into another strategy role looking after a number of BT’s smaller businesses, but I couldn’t stay away from the broadcast industry for long! After taking a break for maternity leave I re-joined Media & Broadcast as their Director in September 2018.
What are the main challenges facing the sector over the coming year?
The industry is changing dramatically – although linear TV is still the ‘bread and butter’ of TV viewing, consumer habits are shifting towards greater ‘on-demand’ viewing, lots more content across many more devices, and the traditional broadcasters have got tough competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. So they’re looking for more bandwidth that’s cost-effective, flexible, secure, safe and reliable, and to be guided through the move to all-IP networks, and adopting cloud-based services.
What are your main challenges over the coming year?
We have to gear our business up to support our customers through these challenges, and make sure that the services and solutions they buy from us are future-proofed. They shouldn’t be considering buying products today that they’ll have to replace tomorrow. We’re increasing the capacity of our media network around the world, and keeping the reliability and security of our networks at the forefront of everything we do – we’re proud to be accredited for the DPP’s Committed to Security programme. It’s such a big time of change in our industry, and there are a lot of problems we can help solve by combining technological innovation with commercial innovation.