Lynsey Briston is User Satisfaction Manager at Skyscanner and part of the Special Edition Class of 2017. In May 2018 Lynsey was recognised in the BIMA100, which celebrates the people shaping the British Digital Industry. TRC caught up with Lynsey at Skyscanner’s Edinburgh offices to chat about her experience of Special Edition.
“Special Edition came highly recommended from a friend who had been on the programme two years previous to me applying. Seeing the changes that she had gone through in terms of confidence and career progression that she made since being on the course was definitely something that appealed to me. I was at a point where I was feeling quite low in my confidence, and I was lacking the skills to really push my career to the next level.
When I applied for Special Edition I had a business idea but wasn’t sure where to take it at that point. I was also at a point in my career when I’d been at Skyscanner for two years and it was time to move up, but I wasn’t sure how to get there or what I needed to do to get to that next level. I felt that by applying to Special Edition, it would give me the skills to not only think about my business idea and how to move it forward, but also to think about my role at Skyscanner and how to reach the next level.”
“Right from the start it was brilliant to have a new network of people who were sharing similar situations. It was really reassuring – we could share amongst ourselves and someone might have a hint or tip about how they had gotten through a particular situation, which was really great. One of the biggest things that’s boosted my confidence is the incredible support network I now have with the rest of the Special Edition women. We talk over Slack and WhatsApp, about everything from conferences that others in the group might be interested in to shared opportunities to meet investors, to choosing an outfit to deliver a presentation at a conference. I think that we’ll continue to be friends for a very long time.”
Biggest takeaways from the programme
“In some respects, the course has taken me in a slightly different direction to what I initially imagined it would. There was one session in particular – Pitching with Confidence – which has helped me pitch my business idea to Gareth [Williams, CEO and Co-Founder of Skyscanner].
Through the course I was also promoted in January when the programme was still ongoing. This is without a doubt due to the tools and skills learnt on the course. In terms of moving forward, Special Edition has also helped me discover that I’m passionate about how we can get more women into tech, which is something I hadn’t really thought much about before – the course gave me an awareness of it and spurred me on to get me thinking about what I could do to help that.”
“Special Edition made me realise that inspiring the next generation is something I actually want to do. I’d done previous work with youth groups and Special Edition has made me realise that this is something I really enjoy doing and can be passionate about. I’m now in a position where I work with a company that is very supportive of how we might be able to implement a programme. It feels like the perfect opportunity.”
Women supporting women
“During the field trips to London and Amsterdam, it was so inspiring and refreshing to have top female talent welcome us into their businesses when they are very busy, to take time to speak to us and to honestly answer any questions we had for them. They didn’t sugar coat anything, were open and gave us sound advice for how we can tackle issues, progress our careers, present ourselves in the way that gets the outcome we want but also, showed that they have the same struggles and issues that we do too.
I don’t know of any other course that provides such a high calibre of trainers and appointments with inspirational, motivational leaders, covering topics that are relevant and providing actionable tips and tools for such a nominal fee for the delegates. Every single training session and person we met with was immensely valuable and there wasn’t a single subject or area we covered that I didn’t get benefit from.”
A transformational programme
“Special Edition has completely transformed me. In just six months I’ve gone from a girl with some ideas but lacking in confidence, skills, contacts and knowledge to push those ideas further, to a confident, driven, focused woman making things happen, with an ever-ready toolkit of skills, a quickly expanding network and incredible support group! I will be forever grateful to TRCmedia, my fellow delegates and everyone that we met along our incredible journey for helping shape me over that time period.”
Special Edition is funded by Scottish Enterprise, BBC, Channel 4 and Creative Scotland. There is a delegate fee of £300. Applications for the 2018/19 programme are now open and will close on 2nd July at noon. More information on the programme and how to apply can be found here.