Rick Healy & Dan McGraw join digital engineering

I’m delighted to welcome Rick and Dan to CoopDigital.

Picture of Rick Healy & Dan McGraw
Rick Healy (left) and Dan McGraw (right)

Rick Healy has been promoted to the role of principal architect in the Digital Engineering team. He’s been doing a lot of work on our new Membership platform, we’ll tell you more about that on the blog later this week. Rick’s worked with me on a number of projects over the years and has been a real leader in cultivating the solution architecture community at Co-op.

Dan McGraw joins the team as an architect. He’s  been on our graduate programme for the last 2 ½ years, where he’s taken roles as a Business Analyst, IT Project Manager and finally as a Solution Architect, working with lots of our businesses and most recently on the membership platform.

Welcome to both.
Danielle Haugedal-Wilson

For the latest vacancies at CoopDigital visit http://coop.uk/digitaljobs and search digital.

Highlights from the Co-op senior leadership event.

Last week I attended an event with group of around a hundred senior leaders from across the Co-op. It’s the first time I’ve been invited and I was proud to be included. It all sounds formal and intimidating, but that’s not what I felt when I got there. Everyone was warm, friendly and keen to know who I was and what I did.

The two days consisted of presentations and workshops. I got to see lots of exciting and insightful things from every area of the Co-op. The exec welcomed feedback on what we could do better.

Co-op Enterprise Leaders Event

 I learned so much in a short space of time – I thought I’d share my favourite bits:

 Richard Pennycook and  Rod Bulmer  showed just how much they care about the Co-op. They’re approachable, grounded and witty.

 Andy Phelps shared some great tips how to best engage your team through change. He’s even lending me a few books.

Robert MacLachlan exemplified the spirit of  our Funeralcare business.

James Holland from Co-op Electrical brought a tear to my eye. He talked about his best friend who suffers from a severe health issue. We employed him and supported him through his treatment. This reminded me the Co-op has a good heart.

I’ve never felt so positive about the future of the Co-op.


Being the only girl in the room.

After having my daughter I decided to take a more active role in the promotion of women and girls in technology, it’s a subject really close to my heart. So last year I joined Ladies of Code Manchester  and ran my first solo event a few weeks ago, which was a screening of CodeGirl here at the Co-op. Mike Bracken talks more about the event in his blog post.

The reason for choosing to screen the film stems from a personal experience. When I was 15 my school entered a national engineering competition.  I was the only girl on the team and it made me feel special – I loved what we were doing….and we got into the finals in London. It was all very exciting – until I walked into the room with the other finalists and it hit me –  I was the only girl in the room. There were about 60 people and I went from feeling special to feeling very self-conscious.  I stopped enjoying myself and wanted the day to end – quickly. That moment was the first of a few steps that led me away from a career in engineering.

As part of International Women’s Day  I’ve made a pledge to help women and girls achieve their ambitions – I don’t want any other girl to have their confidence dented because they were “the only girl in the room”.

I’m really happy to say that since the event we’ve had requests to screen the film to girls in schools in Leeds, Manchester and Leigh. Also a 15 year old girl who is learning to code has asked to come to Co-op Digital for work experience in the summer.

If you want to make your own Pledge for Parity just click the link.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Haugedal-Wilson


A little Co-op digital history & me

Hello, I’m Danielle Haugedal-Wilson, working as an Architect with the Co-op Digital team. For the past 16 years I’ve worked in every business area the Co-op has owned (about 10 unique sectors) and was involved at its digital beginnings.

The accidental marketeer

In 1999 I joined as a finance undergraduate on a degree placement. I fortuitously landed in the Retail Marketing Development team and their spirit was immediately different to how I viewed a stereotypical future in my chosen field. This nine-member strong team pioneered new marketing ideas, new ways of trading and also ran the ‘Divi’ scheme launched in 1995. The team was small, and what they lacked in numbers they made up for in enthusiasm and drive.

First there was wine & whisky

My first assignment was to administer the online wine site, Grape & Grain, launched a few months before I arrived and thought to be the very first in the UK. You may chuckle at its appearance but it did rather well.

blog - Grape and Grain

Then there was Christmas Shopping @ Work

During the winter of 1999 we trialled Christmas Shopping @ Work using leaflets and our email client at the time Lotus Notes (of all things). It enabled colleagues in Manchester to order their ‘big’ Christmas shop and collect it during the last week before Christmas on their way home from the office. Collection week was hectic. Lorries were parked up opposite the Manchester Office complex (where 1 Angel Square now stands) and the entire Marketing Development team, along with store colleagues, handed out orders from 4pm till 7pm and beyond.

To me? No….. Co-op2U

Setting up a trial of the Co-op2U Home Delivery service in 16 locations around the UK was quite an undertaking for my next project and for someone who had no direct experience of this kind of thing. Before I knew it I was choosing the colour scheme for the logo, the look of the driver’s uniforms, and running the photo shoot for the marketing material. It was as terrifying as it was brilliant.

The Home Delivery and Shopping @ work were the roots of our own online grocery proposition. In 2000 Co-op2U launched on a store-based fulfilment model in five stores and was the third grocery retailer to go online after Tesco and Sainsburys. Given our relative size, that was a bold move.

blog - Co-op2ublog - IMG_1891blog - FullSizeRender

I created the end to end process of how a customer’s shop was picked. Some of the flow and layout of the online design was my work – I was doing UX and didn’t know it. Even working on data set-up, I loved it all. Seeing that first order come through brought such a sense of achievement and pride. The site, as you can see, was simple and we went live with an e-commerce site, yet we also offered a CD-ROM disc so you could shop offline back in the slow, slow days of dial-up internet. I still own a copy, it’s possibly the only one left and I wonder if it should be in our museum!

This is when I got hooked on digital and retail. This is when I knew that a career in finance was not for me.

…..and trials end 

The trial was over just over two years later and the sites closed. The Co-op is different and so is the market in which we operate, something which Richard Pennycook reflected on in his recent Radio 4 interview with You&Yours. His opinion that online delivery is expensive to operate and not something we’ll be taking on again any time soon is one I wholeheartedly agree with in the current climate.

I’m still here – and that’s a good thing

The pioneering spirit of that Retail Development team changed my views on what I wanted out of a career. The diversity of the Co-op appealed – where else can you work on Farms one week and Funerals the next? But my feelings went deeper. It was its heart, the Co-op model itself and what it stands for – more than just profits but for the values it was founded on: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.

So, I look forward to the revival of that pioneering spirit in digital at the Co-op with the arrival of Mike Bracken and his team.

Thanks for reading. I also tweet as @MrsDHW