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Spotlight on TECwomen: Suzanne Manson - Head of Delivery and Business Analysis Apprenticeship Mentor

What is your Name?

What do you do?

I have two roles - Head of Delivery at TECwomen and Business Analysis Apprenticeship Mentor. I’ve also set up my own business, Digital for All.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I've worked in the tech/digital sector for over 20 years. I'm a naturally curious, analytical person who loves to get to the root cause of a problem, but I'm also very organised. This has played out over my career and I tend to oscillate between roles in Business Analysis and Delivery Management. Currently, I have the best of both words as I have two jobs with a foot in each camp!

What was your favourite subject at school?

At GCSE level, I loved all the commercial related topics and took Business Studies and Information Technology. However, there was no A-Level IT at my (girl's) school which I definitely would have taken. There was also poor careers advice at school so I had no idea what tech opportunities were out there. I wonder sometimes if I missed my true vocation! It's one of the reasons I volunteer to help involve primary and secondary girls in technology, engineering and creative-digital activities so they can get a taster before they select their subjects in school.

What do you do in your role at the moment? What does your day to day work look like?

I work for TECwomen which exists to inspire more girls and women to participate in t.e.c (tech, engineering, creative) related activities, subjects and careers. My role as Head of Delivery is to turn our ideas for participation into a reality so that we can make a real impact towards having a more diverse tech/digital workforce. My day to day is diverse; fundraising, researching, creating new activities, acquiring delivery resources, seeking volunteers and delivering our activities.

I also work as a mentor for apprentices on the Level 4 Business Analysis Apprenticeship and work with a range of client organisations. Here, I am providing training to apprentices on business analysis techniques such as investigating problems, modelling business situations, solutions options evaluation, feasibility assessments, requirements engineering and tech-enabled business change.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I feel that I am making a difference to the lives of young people - whether that be highlighting the opportunities and getting people to try out new skills or helping them on their chosen pathway in their careers.

How did you get into the job your are doing now? What did you do to get started?

I thought I wanted to be an accountant, so took a job in the Finance department within a tech organisation. As part of my job I needed to test that the new tech products being developed were being charged for correctly. That gave me a seat at the project team meetings and from there I learnt about how new tech products were designed and delivered and the variety of tech jobs that existed. I first took at job in the IT & Networks test team and then moved onto a Business Analysis role. I read up on the tools and techniques, sought advice, offered to take on extra tasks and put myself forward for promotion. My job titles and levels have changed over the years, but I've always been in area of digital transformation. That is to say, tech/digital enabled business change.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and how did you overcome them?

Not really, which is testament to the fantastic leaders I've worked for. I've had line managers who have believed in me, put me forward for roles outside my comfort zone and have been there to support me when I've needed it. This experience has shaped my own leadership style to be an advocate and sponsor for others.

What advice would you give to young girls?

Be curious. That is, be eager to explore, discover and figure things out. Ask questions and seek answers, but don't be satisfied if you don't like the answers you find. These are skills that will help with life-long learning as well as being very much in demand by employers!


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