Empowering You – Digital Transformation
Suzanne Maxwell-Brown tells us a little bit about herself – and why she was inspired to join the Empowering Women Programme
I joined PDMS just over a year ago as a Junior Project Manager.
My previous Project Management experience was in logistics - so the technology sector was new to me. I had the pleasure of attending the Empowering Women graduation ceremony last year, to see my colleague Fiona graduate from the programme. Having learned more about the scheme and the course content from Fiona, I approached PDMS to if I could take part in the 2022 programme and I was delighted when Jayne, our Chief Operating Officer, said that I could.
What is the programme and what did it involve?
Empowering Women to Lead Digital Transformation is a unique programme specifically designed for women working in digital transformation roles. The aim is to build a collaborative and powerful community of emerging women leaders in digital transformation across all industry sectors. It is delivered by Empowering You and is run in association with the Scottish Digital Academy, Scottish Government and ScotlandIS.
The programme is run over three months and, unlike Fiona, I got to attend the sessions in person in Edinburgh. The course is very collaborative and lets the cohort explore different real-life scenarios and management practices, drawing on our own and each other's experiences. I have attended other management courses previously and this was one of the most engaging I have been a part of.
The topics we covered were:
- Power of connection, trust, and relationships
- Self-awareness: drivers, strengths and what holds you back
- Emotional intelligence and working with others
- Authentic leadership and optimising your impact and teamwork and community action
What was your cohort like?
The women in my cohort were from a great mix of different job roles, levels and both private and public sector organisations. I found it particularly useful to hear more about the specific challenges those working in the public sector face. This alone has benefited my day job as I work with many public sector clients, and I now have a much better understanding of the challenges that are unique to them.
What was the project you worked?
The cohort is split into smaller groups, where you are given a 'challenge' to work on as a team. Our team was tasked with looking at building a national network for women in digital. At first, this was quite challenging as everyone is a 'stranger' and we had to coordinate meeting up, understand the challenge and also come up with a collective solution. As the weeks passed, this became easier as we got to know each other and our solution to the problem became clear.
The project allowed me to explore the challenges faced women working in digital and how it could be hard to build a network.
As part of the graduation ceremony, as a group, we presented our solution to the problem - creating a mentor network specifically designed to help women working in tech to network. Presenting on stage was way out of my comfort zone but I actually really enjoyed it.
What are your key takeaways from the scheme?
During the programme, I learned the importance of being an 'authentic leader'. It has also built my confidence in my role, improved my understanding of different sectors, and to look at my areas for personal growth. I now feel I am able to adapt my approach when working with different project teams as I now understand individual drivers and derailers.
I am confident that what I’ve learnt on the course, and from others in the cohort, I can implement day to day. I have also built a great network of other women working in digital and know I will benefit from their knowledge and support as I grow in my role.
Would you encourage other women to apply and why?
I would wholeheartedly recommend the course to anyone who wants to experience a different kind of leadership course, who is comfortable with self-reflection and wants to optimise the impact they have on their teams.