From graduate to UK Head of Commercial Innovation

Jez Collins shares with us his dunnhumby journey.

Tell us about your career journey

I joined dunnhumby in 2010 on their graduate scheme and started in a commercial hybrid insight and media role with some of our smaller clients.

This gave me a great platform to start learning about the company and gave me the opportunity to move to Izmir, Turkey on a six-month placement facing into the commercial team at Tesco Kipa. I really enjoyed facing directly into the retailer in Turkey and I wanted to do the same in the UK. I managed to work with Tesco in the Fresh team for the next few years.

I then moved into a management role and over four years headed up the commercial insight teams for Healthcare, BWS and Impulse at different times, before moving into my current role which is exploring how we can apply our science and expertise to brands.

What drew you to a career at dunnhumby?

Two things really drew me to dunnhumby – firstly, it was the great things the company does with customer data and how the insights can make a difference in the real world.

The second was the culture and the people – dunnhumby has always been, and will continue to be, a company that puts people first and that was hugely appealing!

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve faced in your career to date?

Moving to Turkey’s third largest city in winter was a bit like turning up in Newcastle without speaking any English and starting a new job. It was hugely challenging, but also massively rewarding and I learnt a lot about building resilience and some of my personal strengths.

How has dunnhumby supported your growth?

There are a ton of formal classroom and online courses to complete to ensure you’re up to speed with the technical knowledge you need, but the biggest impact I have seen are through some of the personal development programs that really build you up as an individual and help prepare individuals for a move into leadership.

What motivates you day-to-day in your work?

Improving the experience of millions of people every day. I think shopping is often a bit sterile, boring and frustrating, yet can be a great experience when brands and retailers get it right. dunnhumby is in the best position to help make it better!

What has a career with dunnhumby enabled you to achieve?

To meet so many great people – everyone you interact with from retailers, brands, third party partners and most importantly the people at dunnhumby are hugely passionate and incredibly talented which is really inspiring.

What has been your highlight so far at dunnhumby?

In Kipa we spent a day with some fairly basic customer data and redefined the whole of the Christmas trade plan for the BWS category. It went live as planned and drove 20% YOY growth in a flat retail environment so was a huge success and was referenced in the buyer’s promotion soon after – supporting the success of our clients is a really good feeling.

How would you describe our London office?

I always focus on the collaboration that everyone in the office exhibits all the time. There is always a buzz of conversation and everyone will always make time to talk to each other and share expertise, experience and war stories! It’s never a boring place to be.

Tell us something interesting that not many people would know about you.

When I was younger I was a fencing coach and was taught by one of Team GB’s fencers, James Davies, for five of his most formative years

What is your favourite film?

My daughter and I really love the original Madagascar – King Julian is a legend.

And finally, what is the one item you’d take if stranded on a desert island?

Sun lounger!