#WeAreCondeNast: Natasha Forde – Global Product Support Manager

1 April 2022

"Make EVERY individual embrace all cultures rather than discriminating against them. If everyone could focus on the beauty of others rather than continuously trying to find faults. The world would be a much nicer place to live in."

Global Product Support Manager Natasha Forde, shares how Kendall Jenner helps her explain her role, the one thing she doesn’t regret and how she would make the world a better place.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you find your way to Condé Nast?

After finally deciding to get certified as an Agile project manager, my best friend (who was temping in the accounting department at the time) sent me a job description for an Agile Project Manager and asked “Is this what you do?”

I read the spec and after some debate and doubt that a company like Condé Nast would even want someone like me, I decided to just go for it. After three interviews and waiting another four weeks for an offer I joined as the first Project manager for CNI (as it was named at the time) to manage moving all brands onto the Copilot (Compass) platform. Since then I have been involved in various projects and changed roles a few times.

Five years later I now find myself heading up Global Product Support and directing five teams with 38 people: four Global Product Support teams who provide L2 support for our Revenue, Business, Editorial and Data product applications and the IT service management team, who deliver Problem, Change and Knowledge management across the business.

How do you describe your job to friends and family?

My friends and family have never understood what I do. When I was a project manager it was near enough impossible so I just said IT (LOL). Now I find it’s much easier to describe what my teams do rather than what I do — because let's face it, leading five teams, we could be here forever. I tend to keep it simple and describe what the Revenue Product Support team do (because it's the one that most people will relate to) and tell them a true story:

One Saturday evening at midnight, I was scrolling through my news feed on my phone. An article published via Vogue came up but they had spelled Kendall Jenner’s name wrong in the header. It said “Kenell Jenner.” So I Slacked my team and showed them the mistake (they work 24/7). Within three minutes it was fixed…that's what my team does!

What does Women’s International Day/History Month mean to you?

This is a day that makes me proud to be a woman. I’m a mother of two, a partner of 20 years. On top of that I am a leader of 38. This takes a lot of multitasking, strength and creativity. These, I feel, are all key components of a woman and it's great to be able to showcase that and be openly proud about it on this day of recognition.

What are you most proud of achieving in your career so far?

Before joining the Global Support team I never had experience of actually managing a team. It makes me proud to have taken away all my likes and dislikes from previous managers/leaders and mix it with my career knowledge and to have created the amazing team that I have. This time last year I had one team with about four people in it, with the task of building an offshore team of six. My aim was to exceed expectations but I don’t think anybody thought this org would expand in the way it did, least of all me.

I am so proud of each person on my team and it warms my heart when I hear my team talking about how appreciative they are of me. It tells me that I’m supposed to be a leader and am doing a good job.

Do you have any goals you’d like to achieve this year?

Workwise, to ensure that all teams under my org get the recognition they deserve. The support teams within an organization are so often forgotten, but often are some of the most hard working. My teams are so passionate about what they do and are so loyal to the business. I would love to see them succeed and grow as a team as well as individuals. It's my goal to work with them to ensure this happens.

Personally, my goal is to succeed in going on the three holidays I have booked this year. I NEED to get on a plane and enjoy some well-deserved breaks with my family. COVID please don’t dash this dream again!

What question do you never get asked that you’d love to answer?

Do you ever regret NOT going to university? Honestly, the answer would be NO because I think for ME if I did I wouldn’t be where I am now.

If you could snap your fingers and instantly make the world better, what would you do?

Make EVERY individual embrace all cultures rather than discriminate against them. If everyone could focus on the beauty of others rather than continuously trying to find faults the world would be a much nicer place to live in.

At a company field day, what is the event you would most likely win?

I’m competitive but not that great at winning LOL. So I would make my own event and be the DJ for the party at the end of the day. I’m always the life of the party and I'm a good selecter when it comes to music.

If you could take a year off from work, what would you do?

Without a doubt I would travel to as many countries that I could afford to with my family. Work holiday allocation is nowhere near enough, especially when you have kids who are still in school (I swear these kids spend more time out of school on breaks than in it LOL).

There are now 25 hours in a day! How do you spend your extra hour?

Asleep…I’m tired! Hahaha.