In Her Shoes: Kerry Appleton-Norman | Principal Consultant, Capgemini

Who am I?

In Her Shoes- Kerry Appleton-Norman | Principal Consultant, CapgeminiMy wife Alex and I have a two-year-old daughter, Edie. I’m a keen runner and completed my first marathon this year on behalf of Cancer Research. An injury four weeks before the race meant I limped for much of the course, but I signed up for next year’s race at the finish so I can run it injury-free and hit my time goal next time!

My background

I studied Politics at Loughborough University and then took a postgrad diploma at Nottingham Law School. My parents moved to Hong Kong while I was at uni, so having graduated I spent a year working at a Hong Kong based law firm. Although this was a great experience, I realised that law was not for me. I moved to the Civil Service and spent the next eight years working at the British Consulate General in New York.

My last role at the Consulate was as Head of the New York office of UK Trade & Investment, the Government’s economic development agency, focused on increasing trade and investment flows between the US and UK. It was an incredible role, influencing policy, advising ministers and working with a multitude of organisations, from Fortune 100 companies to small start-ups, all looking to develop their international footprint.

Moving to Capgemini

Working in government, I met a number of management consultancy firms, including Capgemini Consulting. After eight years in the public sector, it was time for a change. I thought my skill set and experience might be a good fit for consulting, and applied to Capgemini.

I joined the government team and spent my first few weeks wondering what I had done! It was a big change and half the time my new colleagues seemed to be talking another language. I liked the work, though, and Capgemini’s learning & development programmes were great at helping me build consulting skills.

My Capgemini career has been built around complex transformation delivery across both public and private sectors. I love the variety of work, with interesting clients and inspiring colleagues.

I now lead the Capgemini Consulting Programme Leadership and Change Team and am back working in our central government market.

My typical work day

It is a bit of a cliché but there isn’t really a typical day, and that’s what I like about my job. What is constant is that I spend my time managing a major public sector account for Capgemini Consulting, running teams who are delivering transformational programmes to our clients, building the competencies of our programme leadership and change consultants, and supporting the growth of our consulting business.

Planning my career

I didn’t leave university with my career all planned out. I tried law and worked in the Civil Service before becoming a management consultant. Both were rich experiences that provided opportunities I had never anticipated and introduced me to people I could learn from. All of this helped me make a successful transition into consulting.

When I joined Capgemini, I became much more focused on the direction of my career and planning my progression, with the support of the network I built and the managers that I worked with. I set myself a clear vision of where I wanted to go, tested it with people whose views I trusted and built a plan to execute it. I revisit the vision on a regular basis to test that it is still right for me and that I am continuing to do the right things to realise it.

Managing my career development

We say in Capgemini Consulting that “feedback is a gift” and, as corny as that sounds, it actually is. Evidence-based feedback provides you with an objective view of where you have an opportunity to improve. I embrace feedback and use it as the basis for my development.

Highlights so far

A consistent highlight is seeing your work come to life. For example, one of our engagements helped an important transport hub to deal with dramatically increased passenger flow during a high-profile UK event. It was also rewarding to see positive newspaper headlines about a key educational policy we helped to deliver.

Best thing about working at Capgemini

It’s definitely the people. I work with intelligent, fun, innovative, collaborative and trusted teams .

Support that I value

Again, the people. I have a really strong network within the organisation that is invaluable to me.

What’s next?

I’ll continue to build my career within Capgemini, working towards my vision.

My advice if you’re new to Capgemini

Capgemini is awash with opportunities. To make the most of them, you need to be proactive in the management of your own career. Put your hand up for things, build strong relationships and be bold in your choices.

What I like about the tech sector

It’s fast paced, innovative and keeps me interested.

And finally…

At the moment, consulting is not the most diverse industry to work in. Let’s be honest: it’s still dominated by white males, but it is changing and Capgemini is driving that change. I’ve forged a career in Capgemini that I am happy with, and have always felt supported and encouraged in doing so.

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