Alfa - Linda Connolly
Name: Linda Connolly
Job Title: Manager
Sectors: Computing & IT, Consultancy, Engineering, Finance, Science & Technology
Linda studied Information Technology at National University of Ireland, Galway.
How did you choose what industry you wanted to work in?
I knew that I wanted to go into the consultancy sector as I’m a problem solver, love interacting with people (not just computers) and like a challenge. My degree, whilst predominately technical, offered a minor in Business so working for a software-led consultancy seemed like a great fit for my skillset and interests.
What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?
At CHP, I’ve been lucky to have had a wide variety of roles from delivering sales demos to XEO level and industry experts; involvement in requirements definitions; business process optimisation; design; development and supporting a client from UAT all the way to go-live. Every day needs to include a challenge or an opportunity to learn something new in order to keep my interest and that’s what the consultancy and technology industry offers me.
What have you struggled most with since starting you career, and do you have any advice on how to overcome it?
I’m quite ambitious and have a very “can do” attitude but this often means that I have a tendency to take too much on. You know you work too hard when your managers are actively encouraging you focus more on your work/life balance! I think being based in London for longer stints has allowed me to get back into sport and meet up with friends during the week so that helps get me out the door at 6pm (or at least close to it!).
Do you feel diversity is an issue where you work?
At CHP, females currently make up only 20% of the entire workforce. This may not feel like much but when I joined I think it was less than 10% so we’ve made good progress in the last eight years. There isn’t a “boy’s club” culture at CHP. It’s just a bunch of smart people, getting stuff done and trying to have some fun doing it. That said, at senior management level, the number of women is still quite low but hopefully things will change and more of our projects will be managed by us girls.
What difference do you believe being a woman has made to your career?
I’m going to go out on a limb a little here and say that from a recruitment perspective, I think being a woman helps. There’s a great shortage of women in the IT sector so if you are head to head, in terms of skills, with a male candidate then most organisations will choose a woman. Companies are faced with more and more evidence that a diverse work environment fosters a more creative, inclusive and innovative workforce. At CHP, I truly believe that I am where I am today because of what I bring to the company in terms of hard work, experience and leadership.
What have you had to risk/sacrifice to get to the position you have?
I’ve spent quite a bit of time away from friends, family and partners due to overseas projects which can be quite hard. However, I’m quite ambitious, enjoy change and love to travel so when great project roles come around the temptation is often too much for me.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
You will sometimes find yourself faced with opportunities for which you feel underprepared or underqualified. Put yourself forward, embrace this kind of opportunity, have confidence in yourself and give it your best shot – it’s usually more than good enough!
What advice would you give to aspiring graduates looking to work in your field?
Speak to people at graduate fairs and find out as much as you can about the kind of work they do on a daily basis. Look at small companies or those looking to grow - they often expose you to more variety and you feel less like a cog in a big machine.
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