Paul Bradley, 5G Strategy and Partnerships director, Gemalto
What was your first job?
Paul Bradley: As a student growing up in Dublin, my first job was working in AOL technical support for the UK customer base. I often found myself advising people to “turn things on and off again” and helping customers with their modems; getting them online.
I was fortunate because most students work at Burger King and McDonalds part-time, but I managed to join an exciting tech company, which was perfect for me.
What led you into a career in telecoms?
Paul Bradley: I was a converted computer science graduate. During my fourth year, I worked on a project in collaboration with a travel software company, which involved developing early methods for putting plane tickets on to a smart card in the days before eTickets. Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals, as part of Gemalto was then known, found out about my project and invited me for an interview.
These were the days of GSM being developed, so it was really exciting to be offered the chance to work on the company’s SIM range at such a pivotal moment. Of course, Gemalto’s numerous acquisitions have shifted the business away from smart card technology, which was my initial focus, and towards securing all digital interactions (locally and in the cloud).
Without naming and shaming, tell us about your worst ever boss
Paul Bradley: Well, I wouldn’t want to name and shame, but I enjoy working under supportive, hard-working, and reliable leaders, who plan activities well and give clear direction. I tend to dislike management styles that are disorganised and chaotic. Someone who regularly cancels at the last minute and disappears for long periods isn’t really for me!
What has been your most memorable business travel experience?
Paul Bradley: That would have to be my trip to Rio de Janeiro for a training session, back when I was running customer training courses. I managed to visit the Copacabana and Sugarloaf Mountain, which was amazing. The place was so much fun and the people very accommodating; the experience really stands out in my memory. What’s more, Air France upgraded me to first class on the way back (that hasn’t happened since)! Overall, a fantastic trip.
What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Paul Bradley: There have been a lot of proud moments. Back in 2001/2002, I was really excited to work with Hutchison, helping them to launch the world’s first 3G network and manage interoperability testing. I was involved in a similar role at Verizon, getting LTE projects off the ground.
However, my proudest moment would be working on the SoftCard joint venture in 2012. Throughout my career, my dream has been to store various credentials – transport, payments, telecoms – on a single secure element, and this project marked its fruition.
While it didn’t fly commercially, we succeeded in making this multi-purpose secure vault a reality, enabling people to transmit coupon, loyalty card and payment information in a single tap. Other wallets still don’t have these features!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Paul Bradley: I’m currently in a strategy role, which I enjoy. I work with various product lines and solution owners, leveraging their portfolios to build a secure 5G digital society, while influencing the industry through standardisation to achieve that goal. However, I do miss the day-to-day management of customers in a field role, so in a few years I’d like to look after a sales team and get really stuck in!
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category: Career snapshots