Can you tell us a bit about your background?
My professional journey has been a diverse and dynamic one, encompassing various industries and roles. I initially pursued Mechanical Engineering at university, and my career took an unexpected turn right after graduation when I ventured into the IT industry. For a decade, I honed my skills as an IT system administrator and IT project manager, gaining valuable expertise in overseeing complex systems and projects.
Seeking new challenges and opportunities, I pivoted once more to support a friend in establishing a small business within the recycling industry. My role was as Business Operations Manager so I was involved a lot of team management, customer care, process design and oversight.
In 2019, I earned an MBA, leveraging this advanced education to deepen my understanding of business strategy and management principles. In 2022, I embarked on a new chapter by joining The Project Foundry, where I continue to bring my diverse skill set and adaptability to drive impactful initiatives within the company.
Can you tell us about your role with The Project Foundry?
My role at The Project Foundry is as a Strategic Project Manager. My core focus is to project manage the pipeline of internal projects to deliver the tools and processes that will support The Project Foundry in achieving our goal of becoming a world-class, sustainable professional services provider. In addition, I support internal governance and reporting activities with our Professional Services Hub in cooperation with other internal business functions.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I love the structure and process of the Project Management discipline. My best performance comes from a structured and process-driven approach. So, my motivation comes from continuously seeking a better process or a better structure for the work I am engaged in.
How have you evolved personally and professionally over the years?
At the start of my career, I believed that structure and process were the opponents of creativity and fresh thinking, and so I undervalued them. I’ve learned (from many sources like study, family, business, sport, and reading history) that structure and process is worth the effort for me personally and professionally. I get better, more predictable, and more repeatable results when I apply structure to my efforts.
What does Culture in a work environment mean to you?
There are many aspects to a strong work culture, but for me, the top two are “problem and solution ownership” and “shared knowledge”:
- Ownership of Problems and Solutions: It is crucial to identify and address problems, irrespective of whether they relate to another team or role. What holds more significance is the willingness to collaborate with the designated “owner” of the problem to contribute to its resolution. I actively steer clear of adopting a “not my job” philosophy, striving to balance this proactive approach and the demands of my role. By fostering an environment of equal participation in addressing issues, I firmly believe it leads to greater mutual benefit production over time compared to approaches that foster siloed work methods.
- Sharing Knowledge: Like the previous principle but not limited solely to problem-solving activities, sharing knowledge and experiences within your team can inspire and amplify creativity, even when not explicitly aimed at resolving a specific problem. The insights or tips shared today might ignite innovative ideas for another team member in the development of a new product, service, or process. This act serves as a catalyst towards creating a mutually beneficial and enriching environment.
Why is it Important to you?
I believe that environments that value mutually beneficial problem-solving (win-wins) leverage people’s creativity and resourcefulness more than siloed environments. It’s the “more than the sum of the parts” mindset. They are also more fun to work in.
How do you maintain a healthy balance between your work and personal life?
Working from home has been a great help in this regard simply by giving back the journey time. With that said I still place value on the time when I can talk to my work colleagues in person: it leads to a different and valuable type of conversation often. My personal life is primarily focused on family, we have three small children. I do get out for a walk with a podcast on as often as possible and I find this great for clearing my head.
Is there a particular aspect of your work that you are especially passionate about?
I really like getting people talking. I love bringing groups together to work out a problem or create an idea which might not have happened without a group discussion. I love leaving a group discussion when I know the group feels a sense of achievement and purpose. It’s not always easy to achieve, but very satisfying when it works.
How do you deliver value to clients?
I try to remember that no solution is ever perfect, and that improvements can always be made. I try to ensure that sustainability and scalability are considered in solution design. Without sustainability and scalability, there is a tendency toward a quick-fix mentality, which typically results in more problems over time. I try to bring the sustainability and scalability mindset to dealings with clients (internal and external) with the hope of building long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.
I also try to maintain a “value-add” mentality. I operate under the assumption that superior value must be delivered in every engagement.
What is the one thing that very few people know about you?
I can fly a plane, though I’m out of practice. I once had a private pilot’s license which I studied for in George in South Africa.