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A flexible mindset inspires a creative career – Si vous pouvez l’imaginer, vous pouvez le faire!

Jo Hewlett
10 Oct, 2023

At first glance my CV is what you’d expect from someone typically working in marketing for 13 years but then goes a bit off-piste…and here I am in IT at Capgemini.

I currently live with my teenage daughter who is in the middle of her GCSE’s. I’m learning to play the piano and dreaming of doing Everest base camp, or an epic bike ride (I haven’t decided which yet) to raise much needed funds for brain cancer research.

Like many people, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I was younger. Through some very basic careers advice, ‘Oh you did well in Economics and French, why not try for something in business?’ ended up on a very dry degree of Economics & Business in Hull.

What I can tell you is that IT was never on my radar, not for a minute. My younger self could not have perceived anything more dull (Pre 2000 this is probably more understandable!).

At first glance my CV is what you’d expect from someone typically working in marketing for 13 years but then goes a bit off-piste…Commercial Assistant, Assistant Buyer, Assistant Brand Manager, Senior Brand Manager, European Brand Manager, Local Marketing Manager (France), Category Manager, Design Technology Teacher (Secondary), French Language Teacher (Primary)…….and now…….Engagement Manager. A complete career change into teaching followed by a move into the world of IT!

I’d forged a successful career in marketing, but after I had my daughter in 2008, I was unbelievably, the first employee to return from maternity leave to complete a successful business case for working a part time (4 day) week in order to maintain my role.

In a pre-Covid, non WFH world, I looked forward and saw nothing that inspired me. A distinct lack of flexible working and childcare issues for school holidays were only a few years away – I needed a plan, to do something differently. I had spent a lot of time training graduates in my previous roles and slowly came to the idea of teaching Design Technology. I had the experience, the subject knowledge but did I have what it takes…I’d presented at sales conferences and board meetings in front of demanding audiences but teenagers, hmm? There was only one way to find out.

I managed to get my friend’s husband to talk his head of department into giving me some work experience. She dropped me straight in at the deep end in the middle of GCSE groups to see how I’d cope and I never looked back. Doing my PGCE with an eighteen-month old was a challenge, but I managed and was offered a 3 day a week role from the first school I worked in before I’d even finished the placement. The school really appreciated having someone with industry experience and high standards.

Fast forward a number of years, something wonderful happened. An old friend, who knew my CV almost as well as I do, reached out and asked if I had ever considered working in IT project management. They thought my experience would be perfectly suited and although I couldn’t see it straight away, I suddenly wanted to know more.

Within days of starting at Capgemini I felt as though I’d come home, back in a commercial environment. I was excited, if a little daunted, by the sheer scale of the company but it felt familiar and although I knew I’d got a steep learning curve ahead, I shadowed the existing engagement manager whilst completing my introductory training and it started to come together.

After a few months, the parallels with my previous roles were becoming clearer, whereas previously my role had been to project manage and deliver new, more tangible food products or consumer electronics, now I’d be delivering/onboarding new client services to a Service Desk as part of Managed Services. Once the similarities between roles became clear, my confidence grew. I’ve had to work hard to acquire the technical knowledge and each new onboarding projects brings it’s own challenges but I’m a natural problem solver and love learning something new so it’s a great fit.

I’m just at the beginning of my journey with Capgemini and very much looking forward to everything this has to offer. I’ve already managed, and more importantly being encouraged, to get myself onto the Fastrack programme to help me understand Capgemini more, create a network outside my existing team and develop my awareness of the company and my skillset through team members completely outside of my day-to-day role area.

After spending several years thinking about everyone else but myself it feels amazing to have refocussed and used all the knowledge and transferable skills I’ve built up to transition into a career in IT. The future is bright.

Our Making an Impact blog series will feature stories from women across Capgemini UK and how they’ve made an impact on the technology sector.

Jo Hewlett

Project lead – Onboarding Team | Managed Services | Cloud Infrastructure Services (CIS)
Jo Hewlett, based in South Yorkshire, Sheffield. Worked across a range of industries including manufacturing, education, consumer electronics and now Tech for the past year, predominantly specialising in anything with a deadline. Passionate about working in a meritocracy and making working from home as sociable as possible. I live with my daughter, Taylor, who’s on the cusp of her GCSEs. Lucky to have the Peak District on my doorstep, I like to keep active by getting outdoors as much as possible and managed to explore some of the Highlands this summer too. I do enjoy a challenge and so far this year have started learning to play the piano and tried my hand at learning to sail, setting off in Montenegro and sailing through to Corfu.