Stepping Stones: DAZN’s Mari Carmen Aguirre talks giving 100% and being confident in your abilities
In the next in our Stepping Stones series, DAZN’s Mari Carmen Aguirre, lead technical assistant in the virtual global operations team, talks to us about giving 100% in your job and working hard to get ahead.
What is your job role today and what do you love about it?
Currently I’m a part of the virtual global operations team as the lead technical assistant in DAZN. I love to manage a team of sport passionate technicians in such an innovative broadcast company.
What does your current job entail on a day-to-day basis?
The global virtual production operations team are responsible for running the operations for the innovative virtual content enhancing tools across the business.
On a day-to-day basis my job consists of managing a ten-person team of technical assistants across our offices in Leeds and Madrid. We are responsible for supporting production teams and overseeing the correct delivery of our main rights like LaLiga, Premier League or Formula 1 in Spain and Women’s Champions League for DAZN Canada in Leeds.
We are first-line support for all post production across our virtual production system and for delivering the correct set up for our remote commentary platform. I manage and create all the different workflows the team utilises and are in close contact with and liaise with clients and third parties to ensure our content is top quality when delivered to our customers.
Can you give us some top tips that really helped you get where you are today?
The main tip I would give you is to always give your 100% when working and to not be afraid of proposing ideas or reaching out. Especially when you are in an entry level role, like I was when I joined DAZN, just know that your opinion matters and it’s valued by your seniors.
Do not be afraid of asking questions or getting involved in different projects. People notice when you are passionate about your job, and they will value the fact that you care and want to learn and develop your skills.
Can you give us some tips on things not to do or to avoid when trying to get a role you really want?
I always advise against showing or being cocky about your knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, show confidence in your skills but do it in a respectful and considerate manner. I’ve interviewed people before who were passionate about the role and the company, and that’s something that makes them stand out from everyone else.
Be natural, try to connect with your interviewers, ask questions, make them remember you, because even if you don’t get that job, they might keep you in mind for future opportunities.
“Determination, assertiveness and confidence in yourself are important as is surrounding yourself with people you admire and whose example you want to follow”
What would you say are the barriers to getting a job in the broadcast industry?
I would say stereotypes are our worst enemy in the broadcast industry. Historically women tend to apply for production, admin and middle management roles while the technical and lead roles go to men.
Working in a male-led environment is always a struggle and can make you feel insecure about your capability, especially when we are talking about a sports company and higher roles. Doing the mental work to not let that affect you is crucial.
Determination, assertiveness and confidence in yourself are important as is surrounding yourself with people you admire and whose example you want to follow. I’ve been very fortunate to be in a department lead by two strong women over the past couple of years, and they’ve become role models for me and an example of how to make a difference.
What would you recommend to other people thinking of working in the broadcast industry?
The broadcast Industry is extremely competitive and constantly evolving. Keep yourself informed of new developments, take an interest and never stop learning.
Can you talk us through your relevant education that helped you break into the sports broadcasting industry?
I have a Media and TV degree from Universidad Jaume I in Castellon, Spain. I had the opportunity to do multiple internships in local TV channels as a gallery director assistant for a variety of different shows which gave me confidence in the broadcast world and different editing systems by the time I finished my degree. I then studied a Masters in Broadcast Gallery Direction, New Formats and Designs from Universidad Complutense and Televisión Española (the Spanish BBC) in Madrid.
I have always had a passion for sports and I’ve followed all different broadcast companies and formats ever since I started studying. When DAZN started in Spain in 2019, it caught my attention. I applied to DAZN six months after I finished my Masters and I have been here for over three years now.
How did you get your first job in sports broadcasting, what was the role, and when?
My first role in sports broadcasting was at DAZN as a technical assistant. I started in November 2019 and have been at the company ever since.
As a technical assistant my role consisted of following workflows to ensure the delivery of quality content to our subscribers. Our main responsibility was giving technical support for our virtual editing and remote commentary platforms. In this role you are also responsible for media management, implementing file-based workflows, setting up production suites for live edits, commentary and voiceovers, and managing the ingest of media.
What happened next to get you where you are today?
DAZN has evolved a lot during my time at the company and I’m proud to say I’ve evolved with it. I am very driven when I’m passionate about something, so helping create new workflows and having innovate ideas about how the team could be improved came naturally to me as I really enjoyed it.
I got promoted to senior technical assistant around a year after I joined. While I was a senior, I became interested in taking the team to the next level and started creating ways to measure team workload around KPI data (which hadn’t been done before in our team). At the same time we were getting more and more responsibilities as the company grew, which led me to be involved in huge projects like delivering LaLiga for DAZN Spain.
Around the same time after a year of being a senior, the lead role went live, and I applied to it. All the work done the previous year had given me the skills to obtain it as the heads of our department had been following it closely.
Where job would you like to be in in five or 10 years’ time? What are your career goals?
In the next five years I would like to be an operations or workflow manager at DAZN in both our post production and live environments. We have some interesting long-term technical projects starting their discovery phase that I would love to oversee and be a part of. DAZN is a very innovative company being a pioneer in the development of things like our virtual platforms, so being there to lead those projects is my main career goal at the moment.