A few words about me:
Hi, I'm Lucy - a go-getting, tenacious, people & process focused professional - who is also a dog-mama and modern day feminist.
After earning a degree in Computing (which feels like a lifetime ago), I entered the world of work: starting out on a Service Desk in Banking to navigating my way into mid-senior roles focused on delivery and continual service improvement in high-end retail and telco.
A real mix of industries, allowing me to find the art of the possible - everyone and everything has a unique standpoint - just like me. I don't believe in a cookie cutter approach and that spans across everything I do.
Are there any professional experiences you've had that are quite unexpected compared to what you do nowadays?
I followed quite a linear path which wasn't on purpose. It wasn't until I turned 30, that I realised that I wanted more from my life and career. So, boldly I side-stepped off that linear path to explore the 'what else'. Over the last 4 years I gained a globally recognised Coaching Diploma, where I built a brand focused on empowering women with their careers and launched a podcast for the ambitious, career focused women.
Alongside that, I started to become a regular Speaker for female-focused conferences and events sharing actionable insight on self development and career growth. All this alongside my career in ITSM. Following this journey gave me clarity, thus, widen my path.
So, after months of careful consideration and ensuring that I was financially stable and mentally ready to do so - in December 2022, I quit a secure well paying job at a well known household name to follow my ambitions and enter into the world of self-employment. My mission is to add value to businesses and contribute to their success as an ITSM Consultant and ICF Coach. If you would like to find out more, visit my website Ither.co.uk
Is your background more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or non-STEM related?
Although a background in computing, I work in tech but in a non-technical role. I guess it is fair to say, I have enough technical knowledge to be dangerous, but I utilise my power skills to get the job done.
Where did your professional journey start?
Before I even finished my degree, I secured a role at The Pensions Regulator working on the Service Desk. This wasn't a grad scheme, so I was literally thrown into "corporate life" from the off-set. I remember doing my first official week and wondering what I had done.
Before that, I had only worked in retail (I guess that is where my customer service skills came from). It was a huge shock to the system. However, I look back at the time as my part of my foundation. This start to my journey taught me about jumping into the deep-end, figuring out what and who I wanted to be and the power of a network. To this day, I am still in touch with a few of the colleagues who basically taught me how to do corporate.
How did you get into tech and what motivated you?
I know lots of people say this and I so wish I could give you a more profound answer. But I really just fell into this world.
Yes, I did my degree in computing - which to be honest, I didn't really enjoy. And very early on, I looked to find a way out of tech.
But something that motivated me, specifically in the roles I am in now, is the variety. Each day is never the same and each day is also an opportunity to learn something new.
Have you experienced any 'career in tech' challenges / stereotypes?
Misogyny and sexism - I am not going to sugarcoat it, because it is important to note. Early on in my career comments were made on the way I look, I was told to make the tea and asked out on dates by married men!
And sadly, even recent events has really made me question progress! There was one guy who couldn't look at my face, too busy staring at my chest and there was a chap who struggled to take direction from me as a female Line Manager - with comments made to me about staying in my box.
Those early days, I changed the way I dressed, wearing blacks, greys and muted colours. I only wore trousers. I also changed my behaviour and language so I could be one of the boys. This actually really impacted my own identity. I had do a lot of work on myself, to now be this vibrant, colourful and authentic woman, that I am. And proud to be!
Yes, this story, will sound familiar, because I am not the only one.
I don't have the answers on how we can change it and I do think it is changing. A theory I have is that we should start raising future leaders and arming them with knowledge, training, and give a real focus on DE&I.
"Working in tech doesn't mean you have to be technical such as a Coder or an Analyst. Tech careers are crying out for those power skills such as communication, leadership and collaboration."
What you wish you knew before getting started in tech...
You'll make business impacting decisions, that not everyone is going to agree with you on. But ultimately your guidance, fix or decision will play a part in the brand, reputation and service of that business. So learn a way to be resilient, to stand your ground and trust in your knowledge.
What has been your biggest 'wow!' moment related to working in tech so far?
I am going to switch it up a little here. My wow moments, are my clients / people I work with. It is their wow moments. When you have guided or coached someone through either a specific problem or puzzle - and you see that lightbulb moment they have. To me this beats any awards and recognition I have received. Making a lasting impact. Seeing change. Seeing growth - that's what make me go 'wow' - go you!
What do you like / not like about working in tech?
Working in tech allows you to think outside the box and often I have had the opportunity to see new technology first hand. I remember years ago seeing the first ever 3D printer and hearing talks on cloud technology! The industry allows you to be curious and creative. On the flip-side the only thing I don't like about working in tech is the hero-culture. There is always a single point of failure holding all the cards, which can make delivering the job a challenge.
"Each day is never the same and each day is also an opportunity to learn something new."
What's been your favourite / most memorable / funniest 'career in tech' moment so far?
Having a career in tech, has meant that I have been able to create and contribute to internal women specific communities.
My most memorable moment, is when I was representing the VMO2s Women Network at a DE&I session with the CEO. I was able to utilise that platform to share the work the community co-creates and challenge both the CEO and his ELT on what they are doing for women in the business.
Alongside this, I was able to utilise my coach training and deliver a number of training session to the 3K members on topics such as personal branding, CVs and even co-hosted a fashion week.
And to wrap up, is there any advice you'd like to give to others interested in a career in tech?
My two-part advice is to be curious and don't put up barriers. Working in tech doesn't mean you have to be technical such as a Coder or an Analyst. Tech careers are crying out for those power skills such as communication, leadership and collaboration.