Recently we spoke with Alyssa Kiel, our service management consultant manager in North America about her career journey and what inspires her. She is also a professional swimmer at US National level. She tells us how a large organization like ours can seem confusing and intimidating, but that hidden behind the matrix-like structures and codified processes is a world full of supportive mentors, inspirational colleagues, and a wealth of opportunity.
In this short article Alyssa tells us how she uncovered hidden opportunities and expanded her career, and, in doing so, ended up in a place she had never expected.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Alyssa Kiel and I am currently working as a service management consulting manager with Infrastructure Services in Atlanta, Georgia. I was born and raised in Ohio but have been living in Georgia for 13 years now. My hobbies include traveling, cooking, and camping and I’ve been a competitive swimmer for much of my life. In high school I won 14 high school state championship titles in Ohio and I was an Olympic Trials finalist and US National Champion. I no longer swim competitively, but I still love to be in the water. I have four wonderful nieces and nephews and have two older brothers, all of whom I’m very close to.
What does Capgemini mean to you?
To me, Capgemini basically represents a large, established company with incredible opportunities. I mean, just the fact that our training facility is a 19th century chateau in France (which I was lucky enough to visit) blows my mind. Having a presence across different countries and in many different sectors means that there are amazing opportunities to find your niche, do what you want to do, and network at a global level. That’s really been important to me.
And the ecosystem will support your goals. I’ve personally found some great mentors (shout-out to Melba Batey – my first boss – at Capgemini). There are also lots of structured and unstructured learning opportunities and I’ve also found that the management is very supportive. If you know what you want they will help you get there. That makes a huge difference.
Tell us a bit more about what you do here.
Well, my current role is as the agency relationship management director for one of our clients. As part of my role, I manage a team of 23 agency relationship managers and we ensure the smooth delivery of IT services that our customers require. In this capacity, I get to interact with CIOs of many different organizations, understand their challenges, provide solutions for new requirements, and handle any issues and escalations as they arise.
What do you like about this job?
There’s a tremendous amount of learning involved. Because my client’s business has some very unique challenges, the work never gets boring. There are so many complex processes in place, and each process is an opportunity to learn. I really enjoy discussing ideas with CIOs and solving their particular issues. Also, unlike in my last job, which typically involved 6–8 week-long projects, we are talking about long-term relationships here. So, you can really make a difference and you get to see the results of what you are doing. You see the impact you are making every time you change a process or upgrade to a new technology and that to me is very, very satisfying.
Were you always doing this role? Tell us a little about your journey at Capgemini.
I started with Capgemini in July 2016 and joined as a business relationship manager. As part of this role we build and nurture client relationships, we help them with their projects, and we manage any issues and escalations.
I really enjoyed that role and, in fact, I became known as the “fixer” for the reason that I would be moved to accounts we were having trouble with and I would help to turn them around. I really enjoyed building and strengthening relationships, hearing and understanding our clients’ issues, and being central to turning things around and delivering solutions.
My manager at that time, was an incredible mentor. She saw something in me and gave me opportunities to develop and flourish. To help me turn relationships around she spent time with me, coached me on developing my career, and introduced me to many Capgemini leaders . Basically, she really helped me to flourish. Mentoring is something I’ve seen a lot of at Capgemini. Essentially, if you work hard and demonstrate potential, leadership will try to introduce you to the right people so you can move up in your career.
I enjoyed my job, did well, and in mid-2017, was made a people manager, looking after six direct reports. I loved the new aspect of mentoring colleagues and helping them achieve their goals and it certainly helped me build a new set of skills. By the end of 2017, my manager got an opportunity to be a service delivery manager on a different account and I was made the director of the ARM team, managing 23 direct reports. I am now ultimately responsible for customer satisfaction from an IT perspective and I must say, it has been quite an exhilarating journey. I couldn’t have hoped for better.
How did you tackle the new role and what did you learn?
Well, the thing I found the most challenging about this role is having to be aware about everything that’s going on with every account we are handling. I need to have all this at my fingertips when I talk to our executive client leadership and I initially found that a little tough to handle.
I realized that the only way to survive is to build my team and rely on them and that’s been a huge change for me as I’ve always been someone who would just get things done by herself. But you know, within the first couple of months in this job, I realized that that’s something you just can’t do in this role – it’s just not possible. So, I had to rely on my team and that’s been one of the biggest lessons for me. Now I’ve built a team that I trust, and I’ve learned to focus on my top talent and give them opportunities to grow. This shift in mindset has helped me as well as my team – for they get opportunities to rise in their career.
In addition, there was a wealth of information available to me through Capgemini’s online training resources. I completed a year-long Embark Leadership training and completed my People Management certification this year. I also got the opportunity to be part of Cagemini University’s global learning program and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. It was an opportunity to meet some of the top leaders of the company, in France, and it was my first time there – so you can well imagine, it was an inspiring, thrilling experience.
Capgemini definitely gives you the resources and support to help you grow to the next level.
What advice would you give for someone who has either just joined or is thinking of joining Capgemini?
I’d say there is an incredible amount of opportunity in this company. If you join and then find that you don’t like what you are doing, then are a million places you can go, especially since this is such a big, diversified organization. This is a place where, if you figure out what you want and where it is you want to go next and you make the effort and speak to your management about it, then we have the kind of people and resources who will really work to make that happen.