Who am I?
I didn’t want to continue studying when I left school, so I went straight to work in an interiors showroom. I really enjoyed it, but it was basically glorified shop work and involved low pay and working evenings and weekends. (I did however learn how to make curtains and estimate wallpaper!)
After a while, I decided that I needed a job with more regular hours to enable me to do my hobbies and have a full life outside of work. Having been involved in amateur dramatics at school and again towards the end of my interiors work, I yearned to do more of that. So my reason for having an office-based job is all about enabling a good work/life balance.
My IT career
I completed an HND in business and finance and got a job in a local software development company as a project office coordinator.
After three years, I was frustrated by the lack of progression in a small company. I’d heard about Capgemini as an exciting and inspiring employer and joined as a consultant PMO analyst. My first assignment was on a client site with about 100 Capgemini consultants full time for about 18 months.
I was tempted away as a contracting PMO manager and planner for five years. I really enjoyed this but missed the teamwork and career progression options at Capgemini. I was re-employed by Capgemini as a PMO manager on a large public sector programme.
My typical work day
For the last few years I have been working on an internal project looking at project status reporting incorporating Clarity, a programme management tool I’m qualified in, and our other technical tools.
My current day job covers supporting a portal, administering a project bonus payment system, admin and delivery of training, and writing a new training course. It is a constant balancing act – my favourite part is writing and delivering training courses, but I am passionate about utilising Clarity, removing duplication of effort and integrating systems to help people achieve the most at work. So I’m happy with the balancing!
Planning my career
I don’t feel that I have done much “planning” of my career at all really (despite the fact that I am by trade and by nature a planner!).
I initially got into this role because I wanted an office job. I started using a tool on a regular basis, and then became qualified in it so that I would be better placed to use it. Eventually, due to my technical knowledge combined with my performing experience, I began training and have been quite successful in that. That’s how I’ve ended up where I am.
Managing my development
All sorts of things can help with career development. Since 1992, I’ve been treading the boards in my local Amateur Operatic Society, taking part in more than 20 shows. I really love it and it is the ultimate in doing something that’s not work! But I use the skills I’ve learned every time I have to present at work, so it’s certainly not time wasted.
Highlights so far
Some of my highlights have been technical, e.g. being able to present about timesheets with sufficient interest and technical knowledge to make people actually want to do them!
I also use my softer skills to support people in coming out at work via OUTfront, our LGBT network which I founded. After I rejoined Capgemini, I became aware of Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index and how our competitors were listed on it – but we weren’t. Having always had a positive experience as a lesbian at work, I spoke to HR and concluded that I needed to start an LGBT network in Capgemini. I founded OUTfront in 2009. Since then we have become listed and have climbed over 100 places in the listings. Every time someone says there’s no point having a network, I know there is: every year it helps a few more people feel comfortable about this aspect of “being the ‘you’ you want to be”.
Best thing about working here
I love the variety of careers available. There are people who are technically driven, working entirely on technical work – while people who want to work with people are doing that. The options, training and variety available are brilliant. I believe Capgemini empowers you to make your own destiny and rewards individuals.
Having worked in about 10 different companies, both as a contractor and whilst working for Capgemini, I’ve observed that Capgemini is also the best company for getting the job done. We don’t just talk about it – we deliver it.
Support that I value
Capgemini encourages everyone to network in all environments. I have always found it to be a very positive activity; people are always happy to interact and to help and advise.
In the immediate term, I’m keen to deliver the reporting implementation we’ve been working on. I always enjoy writing and delivering training. I might go and do some client-based PMO work (where I started – but which I haven’t done for a while!). Or maybe I’ll move into change management, which is an area I am very interested in. Who knows? There are so many areas available to me within Capgemini.
Advice for new joiners
You make your own destiny.
Why working in tech is great
I like feeling involved in the cutting edge of work. You can see things changing in the real world around you. A project I worked on used a clip about shopping from the film “Minority Report” and that is the real world now, partly enabled by Capgemini. The technology we deliver really does affect people’s daily lives.
Diversity isn’t just women, and being a woman is not the only element of diversity that a woman has. To truly be inclusive we must bear in mind intersectionality. Everyone has multiple elements that need to be considered or maximised to bring alternative thinking to work. I might be a cisgender, white, educated, middle-class woman, but I am also a lesbian, a single (divorced) parent, a non-religious person, an epileptic…
I’d like to quote Robert Hannigan of GCHQ, speaking at the Stonewall conference in April 2016, where he apologised for the way Alan Turing and all the gay GCHQ employees were treated: “To do our job… we need all talents and we need people who dare to think differently and be different. We need different backgrounds, experiences, intellects, sexualities, because it is in mixing all of those together that you get the creativity and innovation we desperately need.”