Giffgaff’s Sophie Wheater on dealing with the career impact of cancer

In the latest episode of Marketing Week’s podcast series, Giffgaff’s CMO shares the story of her cancer diagnosis and outlines the change she wants to see to support people suffering from long-term illness.

Sophie Wheater assumed the top marketing role at mobile network Giffgaff in 2018, after more than a decade in senior roles at O2. However, within two years of taking on the CMO role she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Not only did she have to navigate breaking the news to her family and friends, she also had to find a way to tell her colleagues at Giffgaff and the wider organisation in the middle of the pandemic.

Always conscious of how her news would affect others, Wheater communicated with colleagues about her diagnosis, dealing with chemotherapy and surgery while also being a marketing leader and – most importantly – mother to two young children.

Wheater is a passionate advocate for the thousands of people working and living with cancer in the UK, a group that is sadly growing. According to Working with Cancer statistics, 1.1 million people of working age will have a cancer diagnosis by 2030.

In this edition of the podcast, Wheater discusses the challenges of managing a career and cancer, why her own personal authenticity – and that of the Giffgaff culture – makes having tough conversations easier and how she turned her health crisis into an opportunity to promote empathy.

From opening up about mental health issues to closing the career confidence gap, you can listen to previous episodes of Marketing Week’s This Much I Learned podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud and Spotify.