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Capacity Media: A day in the life of Sharon McDermott

Recently, Sharon McDermott, co-founder and Managing Director of Trenches Law, featured in Capacity Media’s ‘A Day in the Life’ feature. If you missed the interview, catch it in full here…

What is an average or typical day at work for you?

Begrudgingly, I start off with a personal training session at 7am and finish it… glad that I have! I then get my son ready for school. Once I’m back at my desk, I log-on and hold calls, attend meetings, and video conferences before switching off around 6.30pm.

I’ve also got two dogs – Luka and Wilf (named after the Crystal Palace footballers Milivojevic and Zaha) – so I make sure we go on a walk when I can enjoy a bit of a screen-break. And I also love going out for dinner when I can, hence the need for a personal trainer!

What sorts of things do you get involved with outside of work and family?

My son is in two football teams – in addition to his school football team – so I go and watch him play regularly to cheer him along… much to his embarrassment! I also walk the dogs, go to the gym, and enjoy a pub lunch at the weekend.

At Trenches Law we’re big on giving back too, so we’re always on the look-out for ways to help. Recently, we donated technology devices to some worthy causes and provided food vouchers for a school during their half-term.

What has been your experience of women in telecoms/the tech sector?

I feel the industry is vastly under-represented, but it’s getting better. We’re seeing more females in senior roles too, not for their gender or to tick a box, but simply because they’re the best person for the job.

I’m an advocate for women in tech and providing flexible options for parents in general because there is some amazing talent with so much experience out there that may have been previously overlooked because they’re unable to do full-time hours around their family life.

Trenches Law is about celebrating fantastic employees and offering them opportunities to flourish. For example, I’m currently mentoring our head of wayleave, Georgina Rudak, to complete her training contract and become a solicitor. I want women, parents, and young people – particularly those who don’t follow conventional educational routes – to realise they can achieve anything, regardless of their chosen path.

What has been the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on your business operations and how did you overcome any obstacles?

Like many business owners, when the first lockdown happened you do worry about the future because you are responsible for so many livelihoods. It’s been difficult for many organisations, and something never experienced before.

For Trenches Law, it was a case of ‘business as usual’ and we made sure that we continued to stay in touch via ‘Friday Fizz’ social events and regular check-ins for our employees – which we still do now.

I’ve been keen to help others throughout the crisis too and that’s meant providing pro-bono employment law advice to a local taxi service and commercial guidance for small companies.

The pandemic has presented the opportunity for us to explore more intuitive technology solutions to help clients. For example, we rolled out an automation tool to accelerate clients’ builds and handle tens of thousands more wayleaves per week. Following the launch, we achieved 220% growth in revenue in six months which led to us recruiting more wayleave specialists to cope with demand.

What are your strategic priorities for the next 6-12 months?

We recently celebrated our fourth birthday with TrenchesFest 2021 (a company food, drink, and music-style festival) and we’ve also taken this time to sit back and reflect on what Trenches Law provides for clients. We want to be known as the partner that sits in the heart of the UK’s fibre growth, and isn’t afraid to break through barriers to support businesses and maximise their digital potential.

To achieve this, we’re adding even more expertise to the legal side of our business – especially as we’re noticing more client demand for Code Power applications support, legal advice and drafting and/or negotiating contracts, alongside wayleave guidance.

Additionally, we’re already in the throes of organising TrenchesFest 2022, we’ll also be launching products and increasing our service offering in 2022 – it’s an exciting time to be part of Trenches Law to say the least!

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