ST Women in Technology - 42

systems analyst, and then a junior project
manager. From there I moved up the project
management chain, delivering bigger and
bigger and more complex programs. At first,
these were mostly technology programs,
but then they became much more about
business change and business transformation.
Eventually, I became the U.K. Head of IT in
National Grid, and when National Grid sold its
UK gas distribution business (now Cadent) in
2017, I became CIO for the new business.
I've found corporate IT to be very challenging
and creative work. My favorite parts are at the
beginning of new projects and ventures, when
there's a lot of ambiguity about what needs
to happen. You spend a lot of time talking to
people, understanding the problem, bouncing
ideas off each other, and shaping your strategy
and approach into a clear road map. The other
part I really enjoy is building a strong team. It's
satisfying to see people grow and develop.
Information technology has changed so much
since I started, but I think some things I learned
on my journey are probably still applicable:
Train your replacement right away. I always tried
to train someone who could take my place as
quickly as possible. It may seem counterintuitive,
but if you're seen as irreplaceable in your role,
you won't be considered for other opportunities.
By developing people within your team and
demonstrating that they are ready to move into
your role, you will move up faster than you would
if your boss considers you "indispensable."
Get to know your boss's boss. The hard fact
is that your boss can't promote you but your
boss's boss can. If you want to move up, you
need to think beyond your relationship with your
immediate boss. Do your boss's bosses know
you? Do you have any opportunities to meet
them? Is there any way for them to become
aware of you as an individual, and about your
capabilities and your potential?

42

Take only the risks you need to take. Even if
you don't feel confident about a promotion,
chances are it will work out all right. As a rule,
organizations don't put people into roles to fail.
However, you should make sure you have the
support mechanisms you need when you take
on the job. If you think you are weak in certain
skills, you may want to say, yes, I'll go and do
that project, but I'm going to need some extra
support in this or that area. Similarly, if you're
offered a job that doesn't interest you, don't
be afraid to negotiate a revision of the job
description that will make it worth your while.

DON'T LOOK FOR A MENTOR WHO
IS THE SAME AS YOU, BECAUSE ALL
YOU'LL DO IS VIOLENTLY AGREE
WITH EACH OTHER.

Find mentors who aren't like you. Don't look
for a mentor who is the same as you, because all
you'll do is violently agree with each other. You
need to find somebody who will challenge your
way of thinking or your way of doing. You will
make your biggest gains from a mentor who can
open your eyes to a different way of thinking. For
example, one of my most successful mentors was
an auditor from EY, who had a very structured
way of doing things that was quite different from
my style. We would meet about once a quarter.
I would describe a challenge or an opportunity
that was coming up, and he would say, "Well, this
is what I would do," and his advice was always
very different from the approach I would take. I
didn't always do what he suggested, but seeing
another set of options was always helpful.
Offload your weak points. Be aware of your
strengths and weaknesses, what you are good at
and not so good at, so that you can add people
to your team to help you succeed. For example, I



ST Women in Technology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ST Women in Technology

Contents
ST Women in Technology - Cover1
ST Women in Technology - Cover2
ST Women in Technology - 1
ST Women in Technology - Contents
ST Women in Technology - 3
ST Women in Technology - 4
ST Women in Technology - 5
ST Women in Technology - 6
ST Women in Technology - 7
ST Women in Technology - 8
ST Women in Technology - 9
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ST Women in Technology - Cover4
ST Women in Technology - 108
ST Women in Technology - Poster 1
ST Women in Technology - Poster 2
ST Women in Technology - Poster 3
ST Women in Technology - Poster 4
ST Women in Technology - Poster 5
ST Women in Technology - Poster 6
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