My name's Sally Lait (you may have known me as Sally Jenkinson). It's pronounced like 'late', not like 'lay'.
I’m a consultant and digital solutions architect based in the UK who helps global organisations from big to small with their discovery, planning, transformation, and strategic digital decisions. This is how I got here.
Originally starting out as a generalist web developer (front-end/back-end/Flash) coming into the industry through a university placement, I realised that I’d learnt so much more from a year of real-world projects and experience than I had in two years of traditional lecture halls and seminars. It was then that I made the difficult decision to leave my course, and instead to continue working professionally whilst completing my degree with the Open University to get the paperwork. This worked out - I got to do fantastic projects for people like Electronic Arts, Manchester United FC, Fulham FC, Nokia, D-Link, and Eurotunnel, plus also managed to get a First class degree.
I began to focus on back-end development and architecture for several years, evolving through roles including the management of a team of developers, Solutions Architect, eventually working my way to Head of Technology at a global full-service digital agency.
During this time I had numerous responsibilities, but I most enjoyed working alongside UX designers and strategic consultants in order to complement their work with a technical perspective during consultancy. This merging of user thinking and technical principles is what drives my work today: helping clients to understand what they need, the choices they have, and how to practically make these happen.
After many years and a change in geography in my personal life, in December 2012 I decided to leave the agency world and told myself that I’d “freelance until I found the right ‘proper’ job”. Shortly after, having had a taste of self-employment I decided to turn down some excellent offers, instead wanting to focus on building something myself.
Websites are no longer the end stopping point, and are instead usually just the starting point for my work; an indicator of wider opportunities or challenges. I find it important to dig under the public-facing surface - into improving older systems and processes, admin/back-office user experiences, and helping people to gain the skills and knowledge that they need in order to best support their teams. Technology and systems are an important piece of this puzzle, but my goal is to never talk about them in a way that’s scary or boring.
I now operate through my company Records Sound the Same, which I founded in 2014, and bring in trusted collaborators when there’s a need to scale up. The company provides strategic technical consultancy services focused on helping with digital transformation, planning appropriate solutions, and teaching people new skills. We try to do some good, and work with nice people, including the Manor Racing F1 team, RNLI, and Inghams.
Head over to look at the site for more extensive information on our capabilities and projects, or here you can find a few examples of notable projects that I’ve worked on along with nice things people have said.
My time is currently split between client work, side projects, and regularly speaking (/keynoting/MCing) at global industry conferences as an invited expert (events like Adobe MAX, From the Front, Fronteers, The Lead Developer, Responsive Day Out - have a look at the speaking page for more). I’ve also written for notable publications including Net Magazine, Web Designer Magazine, 24 Ways, The Pastry Box Project, as well as publishing a book.
I’m now based in Suffolk in the UK, but my clients are spread over this country and far beyond. When I’m not doing things online, I’m usually reading books or comics, cooking up all sorts of meals, or playing Xbox One games, most likely with a glass of wine close to hand. I hold slightly elitist views on tea, take photographs of hotel carpets, and have spent most of my adult life fighting my body’s reluctance to be a redhead.
As you heard above, I hold a First Class BSc (Hons) degree from the Open University, plus I speak a variety of languages at a different levels, including Japanese, French, German and Indonesian (I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for eight years).
You can find more recommendations and endorsements on my LinkedIn page, or if you’d like to discuss my full CV please get in touch. I tweet as @sallylait if you’d like to say hello about anything else.