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From 24-hour hackathons to the transformative Data Fellowship programme, there’s always something bubbling within the BEAM Academy – home of data at M&S. Whatever it is, you can bet rising star Fiona Paton will be part of it, having recently won M&S’s inaugural ‘Woman in D&D Award’ for her enthusiasm and excellence in data. She sat down with Head of Enterprise Data Suzanne Howse to discuss her award and life within M&S’s thriving D&D community.


Winning the Woman in D&D Award

“There’s some really tough competition at M&S so I’m absolutely thrilled to win this award. I love solving problems and love challenging myself, which is why I enjoy working at M&S so much.”

The 24-hour Hackathon

This was the third hackathon I’ve taken part in here at M&S. The previous two I worked within our International team but this time I decided to branch out and learn about an area of the business I knew nothing about - looking at the rate of customer returns within our online business. It was great to work with new people and work collaboratively to solve a problem; I’m already looking forward to the next hackathon in October.”

The thriving D&D community at M&S

“There’s a real community feel. Everyone’s looking to help each other out. You can drop a message on one of the Teams sites and someone who you probably don’t know will be happy to help you. I also love all the events – from the hangouts to the hackathons – and how you’re able to learn a new skill, thanks to the range of courses and resources available to you within the BEAM Academy.”

The Data Fellowship

“It’s taught me the day-to-day skills needed in order to deliver insights in a really efficient, easy, and digestible way – a vital skill for my role and career going forward. The course isn’t easy; you have to be up for the challenge, but if you’re a curious person that likes to learn something new and are determined to upskill yourself, you should definitely try it!”