Rising Star Awards: What happened next for Georgia Shaw

Georgia Shaw

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their tenth year.

The Rising Star Awards are the first to focus on the achievements of women below Senior Management or Director level – representing the female talent pipeline and the next generation of future leaders.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke to Georgia Shaw, who won a Rising Star Award in the Digital category in 2023.

ICT was one of my most despised subjects in school, so I never expected to begin my career in technology, let alone fall completely in love with it! After being told at school University was the ONLY valid option for me, I made the tough decision to go against the grain and pursue an apprenticeship. When interviewing with them, I had this undeniable gut feeling that Atos was the place for me and so I enrolled on an 18 month Level-4 Project Management apprenticeship with the confidence that ‘earning and learning’ could only be a positive thing.

I was thrilled to be proven correct when I was thrown into a management team straight away, where I led on training and development initiatives for over 600 colleagues, ran the performance management processes & organised and hosted monthly ‘All-Hands Calls’. Then in 2021… I found myself working with the BBC, managing my own IT Projects – having just won the ‘Apprentice Of the Year’ accolade out of our cohort of 50+ other apprentices. This was because, in less than 2 years I became the first apprentice to chair our Graduate, Intern and Apprentice Committee (also creating ‘GIGA’, to benefit our global young talent); I volunteered in 2 fundraising teams which raised over £100K supporting Britain’s vulnerable young people ; I started a BSc degree apprenticeship, and much more. Significantly, I did this all while running a variety of IT projects, including a key BBC portfolio worth over £1Million a year

Nowadays you can find me dipping my toe into sales, commercial, finance and service roles as I strengthen my portfolio of skills on Atos’ Associate Client Executive scheme. I am working towards becoming a Client Partner in my own right and having finished my BSc degree, I am now deciding which Masters degree I can do that will complement my career the most. I truly feel as though ‘the world is my oyster’ and I can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store for me.

How did winning a Rising Star award influence your perception of your own achievements and potential?

Winning a Rising Star award really helped me to legitimize the quick progress I have made in just 4 years. For example, I often felt that sense of ‘imposter syndrome’ when putting my hand up for additional responsibilities and promotion requests on the basis that ‘I am in my early 20’s’ and ‘I have less than 5 years experience’ also the fact that ‘most of my friends are only just coming out of university, so ‘what makes me credible to be taking that next step in my career already?’. I quickly realised that in the corporate world, your best advocate will always be yourself, so if I’m not confident in myself, how will I be able to progress in my career?

When I won the Rising Star award, I realised that it’s not about years of experience, but it’s about what I’ve achieved. I realised that my bosses weren’t looking at my length of service, or my age… rather my personality traits, and whether they saw me progressing in the role. The award has also helped me realise the impact that women have in IT. I am lucky that my boss is another fantastic woman in IT, and I am privileged to be able to learn from her every day. As I train and learn every day as her ‘associate’ client partner, and see her impact, I realise there is a very real path I can take to get to where she is one day.

Have there been specific opportunities or doors that opened for you as a result of receiving the award?

I was lucky to achieve a promotion around 2 months after I won the award, which I believe was expedited by the award. I was also lucky to receive a lot of internal promotion from the award, such as featuring in our UK&I Bulletin, which is read by 1000’s of internal colleagues. This really helped to expand my network and has helped a lot when I have reached out to my different connections within Atos.

I also have had opportunities to present at career events and STEM events, where I have mentioned the award, as I believe it is a fantastic way to motivate young people, and show that there is recognition for working hard in your career.

How has winning the award affected your professional network and relationships within your industry?

As mentioned above, my professional network internally has expanded due to Atos’ fantastic promotions of the award nominations and the bulletin articles that were shared when the winners were announced.

I also met so many fantastic people at WeAreTheCity’s awards – including the Shortlist event and the Awards Ceremony. I met friends that I am still in touch with today via LinkedIn and other social media.

Have you had the chance to mentor or inspire others based on your experience?

I am mentoring multiple members of Atos’ Graduate, Intern and Apprentice community, which I find highly rewarding. I am also an ambassador the apprenticeship provider ‘QA’, whereby I go to various events with schools, collages, networking events etc and share my experiences completing a level 4,5 &6 apprenticeship.

I also signed up to be a mentor through the ‘Ort Jump’ charity to help young people navigate the challenging time of choosing which (if any) higher education to pursue.

I think the biggest shift for me since the rising star awards, is realising how valuable I can be as a mentor by sharing my experiences. I find it so fulfilling when I get to talk to people so early into their career (or even deciding their next steps) and telling them that I was in their shoes not so long ago, and being able to advise on the steps I took… and then them being excited by what I’m saying and expressing their wish to pursue a similar career to me. It’s a very surreal feeling, and one that I’m still not used to!

What advice would you give to someone else thinking of nominating themselves or others for the awards?

I would say DO IT!

On nominating yourself: We are all our own biggest advocates. We don’t like to blow our own trumpets, but sometimes we have to. You may be surprised in how much this investment in yourself pays off… GO FOR IT!

On nominating others: Genuine compliments build relationships, improve communication, motivate people, and boost one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. What better compliment can you give a colleague, than by nominating them for an award like this? You have nothing to lose and you could change someone’s entire career trajectory. It takes mere minutes… GO FOR IT!

What advice do you have for individuals aspiring to achieve success in their careers?

I have a few different key top tips that I have learnt from my own career journey:

  • Set clear short term and long term goals – having a clear vision will guide your actions and help you stay focused.
  • Keep learning and developing – say yes to that training course or webinar – expand your horizons and develop those transferrable skills.
  • Find mentors within the business that you aspire to be like – set up a regular cadence and use your close mentors to bounce ideas off of. My mentors have been invaluable.
  • Be a ‘Yes’ Person – In the first few years of my career, I just kept saying ‘yes’ to such a broad range of opportunities which helped me expand my network, skillset and helped me to find my niche.
  • Stay positive and resilient – challenges and setbacks are inevitable. Cultivate a positive mindset and develop resilience. Learn from failures and use them as stepping stones to success.
  • Finally, build a personal brand – your reputation is a valuable asset. Showcase your strengths and accomplishments.

What is next for you?

I am working through different rotations on Atos’ Associate Client Executive scheme with the view to qualifying as a Client Executive Partner in my own right, ready to manage my own business within Atos.

I have just been nominated for their prestigious talent scheme that Partners with the University of Cambridge , and I have recently finished by BSc Degree in Project Management, and am contemplating my 3rd apprenticeship – a Level 7 Masters Degree.

I don’t know exactly where my career will take me, but I am confident, motivated and ready for the journey!

Where can others follow you?

LinkedIn

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