The Importance of the ‘Permission to Have Downtime’

One of our most passionate, enjoyable, and fun podcasts to date was with former EVP Human Resources, SES Networks, Dara McCann with her deep expertise in diversity and people.

John Clifton and Laurie Scott sat down with Dara and really learned some fantastic insights into her unique perspective on fostering an engaged and hard-working team while we’re increasingly virtual. Her advice on ‘permission to have downtime’ was especially resonated with us that we’ve shared it below:

I think people must have permission to have downtime.” 

And I think people are concerned about their jobs in this environment, they are very keen to be seen to be doing all the right things and seen to be working hard. 

When people were going into an office, it was easy for a line manager to know, who’s doing hard work. It was superficially easy for people to see who was working hard and who wasn’t, who was in on time, and who was late. It was easier to have that little interaction that you could check “How are you getting on?”. 

Nowadays, people are relying on email and video to communicate. This leads some feeling like they have an obligation to be always ready for their camera.  

So, I think, in today’s world employers need to be a little bit more accepting of the fact that people are trying their best. People may be trying to school their children or trying to take care of people. 

As employers it’s important to give people permission to take a break, which is one way that we can improve their mental and physical health. 

But there can’t be a lip service where you simply say “Oh, of course, take the afternoon off” or “of course, go for a walk” and then secretly in your mind think: “I wonder if they’re actually doing any work?” when they’re back working. 

The challenge of today’s business environment is to be flexible and agile. Ensure you are connecting with your employees one on one, asking how they’re doing as it slows down a bit, but don’t forget that everything will get faster again soon enough. But it’s really that permission to take time out of the screen and really sort of recharge. 

And I think you need to look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that a person’s psychological safety is just as important to them as their physical well-being.  

If an employee does not feel they can take time off without asking for permission, then there is a lack in the trust of that company, and it will most likely suffer from this deficiency. 

And so, you’ll find people with a lack of trust or demanding jobs often find themselves feeling guilty for taking time off. They know their boss or line manager wants that report or deadline and they don’t want to disappoint them, so it’s important that these relationships are built on trust as well. 

Leadership, people and dviersity are important topics that we cover on nearly every episode of our Podcast. So don’t hesitate to go through our podcast archives and listen to some of our fantastic conversations with business leaders and experts.

Lessons on Leadership from Lawo COO Jamie Dunn

We recently interviewed Jamie Dunn, COO of Lawo pioneering IP-based video and audio technology company for broadcast production, on an episode in our weekly podcast The Tech That Connects Us.

John Clifton and Tegan Lloyd Williams discussed a wealth of insightful information from taking opportunities, lessons learned, the boom of audio, and his thoughts on leadership; which we thought was especially poignant during these strange times.

So we’ve shared our version of his thoughts on leadership and communication below:

There are many ways to be a good leader, but one thing I think is fundamental in these times is communication. 

I always thought that it was about reading a lot of books on leadership, but they were just talking about this difference between management and leadership.  

And I concluded myself after thinking about this is that leadership for me is just about personality. Leadership can’t be trained, it’s something ingrained in someone whether they have a good idea of what it means to lead people and know-how their actions are going affect others around them or not. 

Leadership is about belief. You have to give people the confidence that what they are doing matters, and you should be able to do this without face-to-face contact if your messages are strong enough; from my point of view empathy in messaging is key for producing effective leadership. 

Empathy is all about leadership as well, understanding that what people are going through and where they want to go can be very important. 

I always loved the leadership aspect of my work. As a leader, I can help guide and empower those around me to be their best selves while also being well-connected with them. One area where this is really apparent is communication – as someone who has built his career on great communications skills it’s paramount that all leaders are proactive about listening and understanding what people go through to communicate effectively. This way we can support others during difficult times or celebrate together when things get better! 

It’s not easy just to say, you must do this, you must do that. Because of safety and traveling restrictions we have lots of limitations for what used to be a walk in the park. This is not an easy task; however, it starts with listening and understanding what people need to make adjustments that will help them succeed any way possible. 

Understanding how our guests excel in their respective market’s is always a great talking point of our weekly Podcast The Tech That Connects Us, So don’t hesitate to go through our podcast archives and listen to some of our fantastic conversations with business leaders and experts.

Tegan Lloyd Williams – ‘Wondering am I good enough to loving the Tech Tribe’

“Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt.”

Shirley Chisholm. 

Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to US Congress in 1968. She must have been an incredible individual, and though she is not a household name, her life has a direct impact on my own, as a woman who proudly works in Tech, half a century later. 

Though undoubtably my own journey has been far easier, like Shirley Chisholm, I know how it feels to be the only woman in a room. I know the deep-seated reality of being “different” and the whispers that follow of “am I good enough?”.

The first eight years of my working life were spent in education, either teaching itself or recruiting into the classroom. Surrounded by female colleagues and young children, this was where my reliance on coffee was born! Back then I couldn’t have imagined being passionate about anything else other than being involved in providing an exceptional start in life for our children. 

If anybody had uttered the words: “OTT, VOD, AI, Machine Learning, VSAT, LEO, GEO, Cyber Security, RF, End-to-End” or even “Content or Connectivity” to me I would have thought they were speaking a different language. At this point, as an avid reader, I didn’t even own a TV! In fairness, these terms are akin to their own language, but what I would never have dared to believe was that this would be a language I could speak and a community I could be a part of. 

And yet, here I am… AND I now own a TV! 

I have forever been inquisitive, in fact (pre-covid), I would be that person who struck up conversations with strangers on public transport and would end my journey with a new friend or having inherited a new recipe – much to my fiancés’ bemusement. Growing up, I must have asked “why” a lot, because one of the phrases I recall my Father often saying was “it just is.” Little did I know, these qualities, not previous knowledge, are what has made me successful in the industry I now inhabit! On deciding I wanted to see what was outside of Education I begun to explore what was behind this mythical term: “TECH”. 

And it was thus how I ended up at neuco. My journey begun in a coffee shop, with a very good cappuccino and one of my now Directors. From my recollection we discussed the Northumbrian Downs, the thrilling 2005 Ashes series, Strictly Come Dancing and Puppies. A few months later, I started at neuco. Did I know what I was letting myself in for – probably not. But what was crystal clear was that this “TECH World” seemingly was made up of friendly, normal people. Ok I was yet to meet somebody who looked like me, but we were certainly cut from the same cloth. Actually, it was deeper than that. I felt like I was coming home. 

Those first 6 months were mind blowing: Discovering just how many satellites were in space, how quickly content could be distributed and crucially how the organisations we worked with were changing the world. My new clients were on a mission to better society for all, they were striving to connect the unconnected, and transform millions of individuals lives. How did I not know about all of this?! I had found myself in an epicentre of passion, innovation and talent. Did I understand all of it straight away – of course not. Though I have come to realise that these industries change so rapidly that even the CEOs are learning daily. 

Within my first 8 weeks of joining neuco I found myself on a plane to Vegas for NAB, whilst I was met with a sea of men in grey suits and was acutely aware of my bright pink nails, the people that I met were only too delighted to introduce me to their colleagues and explain their newest technology. I’ve never learnt so much in such a short space of time as I did on that trip. In fact, in general a lot of the time there is so much going on I am unaware of the fact that I am the only woman in a room. Either a virtual or physical room!

Furthermore, every hiring manager I speak to wants to engage in ways to increase diversity in their teams, not because HR has told them to, but because it is recognised that diverse teams equate to better, healthier companies. I am often asked, what it is like to be a woman in the industry and for ways to increase diversity. I should mention, my friends think I have the coolest job … they would of course be right! 

How do you begin to sum up the creativity, hunger and desire for change that I encounter daily?  How do you accurately communicate the sheer talent and genius of individuals and organisations I get to work with? How can I talk about the closeness of my “work-family” or “tribe” of colleagues that I have the privilege to both laugh and work with, without sounding sickly sweet?

So yes, I am different to a lot of the people I work with, I do not look the same and I come at things from a different standing point. I am a deaf woman, in a world of men! The thing is, that deep-seated reality of being different, that used to worry me, is celebrated and encouraged. Of course, those whispers of “am I good enough”, creep in from time to time. But my goodness, I only need to pick up the phone and I have an army of colleagues cheering me on and showing me that YES! I am good enough!

Here’s the thing – I refuse to be ‘lost talent’ just because I wear a skirt. I will not rule myself out. If Shirley Chisholm were alive today, I would like to think she would be astounded and overjoyed and how different the world is. How far we have come and the energy we have propelling us forwards as we continue to make changes. 

Being a woman in this industry has changed my life. I have never been happier. I have never felt more included. I have never looked forwards to the future more. 

Tegan Lloyd Williams

Companies to watch in the Satellite and Space Technology Markets 2021

In the ever-changing and fast-paced market of Satellite and Space Technology, there are many start-ups and businesses making amazing strides on the bleeding edge of the industry. We spoke to our team of Satellite & NewSpace consultants who work closely with the trailblazers in Space to get their list of the most exciting companies to watch in the Satellite and Space Technology Markets – 2021.

We’ve created an Infographic listing all the companies. Please feel free to share on social and download below!

Satellite Manufacturers:

AAC Clyde Space – https://www.aac-clyde.space/ 

SSTL – https://www.sstl.co.uk/ 

Nano Avionics – https://nanoavionics.com/ 

GOMSpace – https://gomspace.com/home.aspx 

Launch and Delivery:

Rocket Lab – https://www.rocketlabusa.com/ 

Relativity Space – https://www.relativityspace.com/ 

SpaceX – https://www.spacex.com/ 

Astra Space – https://astra.com/ 

Skyrora – https://www.skyrora.com/ 

D-Orbit – https://www.dorbit.space/ 

Earth Observation and Remote Sensing:

Capella Space – https://www.capellaspace.com/ 

Spire – https://spire.com/ 

Planet – https://www.planet.com/ 

HawkEye 360 – https://www.he360.com/ 

Satellogic – https://satellogic.com/ 


Hiber – https://hiber.global/ 

Myriota – https://myriota.com/ 

Astrocast – https://www.astrocast.com/ 

Swarm Technologies – https://swarm.space/ 

Lacuna Space – https://lacuna.space/ 

OQ Technology – https://www.oqtec.space/ 

Upstream Communications:

Starlink – https://www.starlink.com/ 

OneWeb – https://www.oneweb.world/ 

ArQit – https://www.arqit.io/ 

Lynk – https://lynk.world/ 

Omnispace – https://omnispace.com/ 

LyteLoop – https://www.lyteloop.com/

Space Infrastructure:

Astroscale – https://astroscale.com/ 

Orbit Fab – https://www.orbitfab.space/ 

Astrobotic – https://www.astrobotic.com/ 

Redwire – https://redwirespace.com/

Downstream Communications:

Mynaric – https://mynaric.com/ 

Xenesis – https://xenesis.io/ 

Infostellar – https://infostellar.net/ 

Leafspace – https://leaf.space/ 

Quadsat – https://www.quadsat.com/