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Making an impact – From hairdressing to a career in tech with Capgemini UK…how?

Jill Macpherson
3 Jul 2023

An abrupt ending to one career led to a surprisingly successful change in direction. The Making and Impact series features blog entries and stories from women across Capgemini UK. This series of stories are from women who have made an impact on the technology sector, and whom have been impacted by the technology sector.

Little did Jill know that putting the comb and scissors down and taking on a role in Capgemini UK would be the start of a successful career in an industry which couldn’t be more different from where she started in the world of employment.

A question I get asked a lot is how I came to work for Capgemini UK? Anyone who’s close to me knows I was never really technical or interested in IT when I was younger. I preferred changing clients’ hairstyles and colours as well as my own.

A skin allergy to the dye and chemicals that I was using daily cut short my career in the hair industry.
A chance conversation with a friend led to a successful interview at Capgemini UK and started my IT career as a First Line Analyst. I was used to dealing with people face-to-face but talking to users and assisting with IT related queries was a completely different ball game.

The panic of “will I understand their problems, can I help solve this?” always plagued me. But the more time that went on, I developed my own technical skills and understanding. I took great pride in helping the users on the clients I supported and I suppose the direct interaction with the users also suited my chatty nature!

Jill soon became the resident superhero as she made her way up through the ranks in Capgemini UK. She then started her trailblazing mission.

My natural ability to pick up the tech jargon and various first-time fixes shone the spotlight on me as a candidate for moving to the Second Line Remote Desktop team. Again, resolving problems for users was at the fore front of this role and the fact that I was getting stuck into solving more complex issues for users and hearing the gratefulness in their voices when I’d sorted it was a great feeling. To quote one user I was their “superhero” and I channelled Wonder Woman vibes for the rest of the day.

I was then presented with the opportunity to apply for the Team Lead position on the support group I was part of. I’d just began to feel fully comfortable with being a technical resource and helping people. To then go in another direction within Capgemini UK gave me that weird, excited but worried feeling. I am such a people person…but could I manage 15 of them? And to add another element to the worry, I was also the youngest person and the only woman in the team. The trailblazer in me wanted to be the first female tech team lead in our office so I put my big girl pants on and went for it – and I got it. My first leadership role!

Managing a team of 15 people, covering 4 clients, was not easy but somehow, I naturally picked up the skill of leading the team and achieving good service delivery results. Having worked in our Monitoring/Hosting business area for 8 years in 2021, I decided it was time for a change and was lucky enough to move to End User Service (EUS). I now manage a team of 18 covering the technical areas for Packaging, SCCM, SOE and Evergreen on one of our secure accounts. Our Evergreen work means that everything is subject to a lifecycle process and has to be as up to date as it can be; anything new that’s introduced is subject to rigorous testing.

The team Jill manages keeps the lights on for clients, amongst other things, but Jill also leads those team members to more successful and greater things.

All the work we do matters because it feeds into keeping the lights on for our clients. It’s weird to think that my group of remote colleagues, who are hundreds of miles away from client HQs, plays a key part in ensuring their users can function.

My role as a manager has taken many forms as a leader, a mentor and a support system to my team.

Every day is a new challenge because you never know what’s going to come your way, and for me, it’s trying to find the balance of doing my day job, but also finding the time to focus on myself and what I want out of my career. What do I need to do, or who do I need to speak to, to make that happen?

The greatest satisfaction I would say is seeing the people I manage progress; I always work under the assumption that I won’t manage my team members for long as they’ll soon move onwards and upwards to better things and I’ll have played a part in that. Capgemini UK has provided me with so many great career opportunities and I try and bestow the same onto the people I manage.

For me, the defining moment in my career was becoming the first woman to lead a Tier 2 team, and that gives me the confidence to know that I can do anything I put my mind to. No imposter syndrome for me!

It has been an exciting journey and I know there is more success to come in my career.

Jill Macpherson

End User Services | Cloud Infrastructure Services
I have worked for Capgemini for 15 years starting at the entry position as a First Line Analyst. I progressed through to Remote Desktop Support before undertaking my first manager role as a Team Lead. Since then I have managed various technical teams across many clients. I currently work in EUS (End User Services) on a secure account managing 18 people of varying grade/skill/technical fields. Recently I have also undertaken an assignment as a Key Events Lead covering a high profile event. Outside of work I am a keen hiker, festival goer and bookworm :-)