Intel's Hannah Freeman

PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Stars of the industry: Intel’s Hannah Freeman

Back in May we announced Intel’s Hannah Freeman as one of two winners of PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Stars of the Industry. Here we speak with Hannah about what lead her to pursue a career within the channel, how the channel can look to attract a younger workforce and what life is like in the fast lane as one of Intel’s most up and coming members of the team.

This is what Hannah Freeman told us.

Can you tell us a bit about your professional and academic background?
I studied a two-year fast track Business Management Degree at the University of Plymouth. This was perfect for me as the intense summer school kept me focused and enabled me to achieve a First-class honors degree.

Growing up in a family business provided me firsthand insights into how a business operates 24/7 and the importance of a successful customer relationship. From this I knew that I wanted to work within a business environment, specifically focused on managing a customer relationship. And if you are going to go into business, where better than the innovative, exciting technology industry!?

What lead you into your current career path?
I started my career path in Intel operations, working with MNC customers. This provided me with great experience and an end-to-end understanding on how a supplier/customer relationship works – from supply chain, revenue & allocation management, pricing, and contracts. I loved my time in operations, however I wanted to expand my learning into sales and marketing.

Working in consumer sales enables me to bring my personal consumer perspectives into my job and influence our relationships with our customers to drive success for all. It’s very rewarding to be a part of a team that creates marketing campaigns targeting UK Consumers. I also have a strong interest in Macroeconomics, something which now forms a part of my daily conversations and understanding how they will impact the UK retail space.

Working in UK Retail has provided me visibility on how the channel operates, enabling me to grow my network across the sector and work with great teams!

What interests, motivates, inspires you in regards to working in the tech channel?
I love being part of a company that, through collaborating with partners, we play a key part in the technological transformation the world is going through. Technology is enhancing the way we all live, touching every aspect of our lives. It’s very inspiring to be immersed within technology and getting a glimpse of what the future looks like with the key technologies that are being developed.

I understand you are a bit of an expert in your field. What can you tell us in regards to current tech trends and the latest developments in this particular field?
I lead the UK gaming segment in retail for Intel. And what an exciting segment to be a part off! The gaming industry is growing at a rapid pace. The gaming community is like no other, whether you’re attending an E-sport stadium event, streaming game play or competing with other gamers. And that’s not even talking about the thought and attention that goes into creating a customised rig at home, with Gaming Desktop & Notebook at the centre of all the action.

It is very exciting to be working with our customers to bring gaming to retail, not only showcasing great products and technology but also bringing gaming in front of customers within the store environment.

How have you focused on your own professional development?
I’ve never been one to have a ‘5-year plan’, I don’t have a single, specific goal, so I have consciously built a broad foundation, which has and will continue to bring me opportunities to learn and progress.

I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who I’d almost say know me better than I know myself, providing me with opportunities and encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone (which, prior to Intel, I was very good at staying inside) eight years ago when I started my career I didn’t know where I would be now, but by following advice and taking opportunities has got me into a place where I’m loving my job and I have had a great career journey with great experiences along the way!

I also love supporting interns and graduates as they begin their careers. Being able to see them grow and thrive through advice I’ve been able to give them based of what I’ve learnt through my own experience is very rewarding.

What advice can you offer other young aspiring individuals looking to pursue a career within the channel?
When starting your career, be open minded, grow a strong network, look for opportunities and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! It’s key to ensuring you are in a role that you are passionate about because that will bring the best out of you.

Don’t ever feel like you’re not good enough. Sometimes when in a room with more experienced colleagues, it’s very easy to feel like your comments/suggestions aren’t relevant because in your head of course everyone else would know more than you! This isn’t the case so be fearless and share your thoughts and ideas. Just because things are done a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way or can’t be changed, don’t be afraid to suggest new different ways of working – out of the box thinking is often where some of the best ideas start! And ultimately, something that I believe in is that ‘no question is a stupid question’. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you will learn something new and there’s a very high chance that most of the room were thinking the same thing anyway!

How can the channel look to attract more young people into the channel?
As an 18/21-year-old starting a career is very daunting. There is a lot of pressure for people to know what they want to do and how they are going to get there. If I’m being honest, I felt exactly like this, and it wasn’t until I got my placement at Intel that I saw the opportunities to grow a career. Once you’re within a company your able to see the vast array of different job roles that are available and different experiences they will bring.

I think as an industry we need expand our job adverts to really be showing the younger generation of what life really is like whilst working within a technology company. The cool experiences like traveling and working with people from around the world, the learnings and of course the perks!

I also think it would be valuable to have career coaches within the industry to help people to know how to manage their career, an organisation that’s agnostic to any company. So many people starting out in their career are constantly thinking; should I stay at one company, or should I move to another, if so when and how? It’s very overwhelming!

What are your experiences of diversity, equality and inclusion for younger members of staff within the channel?
I’ve had a great career at Intel, starting as an intern, moving to a graduate position and then with a blink of an eye years years has passed! Initially, I had minimal self-confidence and never really believed in myself. However, my intern year was one of the years that I grew most as a person in my life to date. I have been very lucky that all through my career I have been surrounded by people who have continually supported me and pushed me to do my best.

How do you plan to drive your career forward?
I believe that everything happens for a reason and through each job role I have gained valuable knowledge and experience, which has enabled me to build upon that in the next role within my career. I am really enjoying working within the retail world as it enables me to bring together my personal experiences as a consumer into my job. I love that I can walk into a store or see an advert and be able to say to my family and friends, I worked on that! Covering both operations and sales in customer facing roles has made me realise that account management is where I want to focus and continue my development. You never know what’s around the corner, and as scary as sometimes that may feel, I like to think it’s exciting! As long as you’re doing a job that you enjoy, you’re continually learning new things and are surrounded by a great network you can’t go far wrong!

What does being a winner of PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Stars of the Industry mean to you?
For a girl who grew up in a small village in the countryside to enter the corporate world of technology and win industry recognition is unbelievable and something I never thought I’d achieve. But honestly, I wouldn’t be at this place in my career without the great supporting people I have met along the way! Having people to share different perspectives, pushing me out of my comfort zone and challenging me to different opportunities has got me to where I am today!

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