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In Her Shoes: Sinead Dillon | Principal Consultant, Fujitsu

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I am a Principal Consultant with over 20 years experience in the ICT sector, responsible for the development and growth of new business in the private and public sector in Northern Ireland.

sinead dillon

My role also includes driving innovation and supporting customers on their digital journey.

My degree is from Ulster University where I completed a BA (Hons) degree in Accountancy followed by my professional accountancy exams for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, (CIMA). My first job after graduation was working for the Kerry Group as a trainee management accountant.

I had always been interested in technology so I decided to make a career move from accountancy to IT. I did this by studying part time for an MSc in Computing and Information Systems. It was a busy time for me as I was attending class twice a week in Derry while working full-time in Belfast.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

My role is a varied one including business development, attending events, customer meetings, responsible business activities and driving innovation development. It is the variety that I enjoy most.

I really enjoy meeting people, so interacting each day with customers, collaborators and colleagues is a highlight.

It is great to see how far ICT has come in supporting our daily working lives and I spend time each day using social media for communicating with and listening to our customers. I particularly enjoy days when I am helping customers plan their digital transformation journey.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

While at school I knew that I wanted to work in business sector however I was unsure of the discipline to follow. I selected Accountancy as I liked the structured approach to business and this gave me a firm foundation in the principles of business. My CIMA qualification provided financial accounting, strategic management skills and business-focused expertise relevant to employers’ requirements.

What do you love about working for Fujitsu?

I love working in the dynamic digital world. I really enjoy meeting customers and engaging with stakeholders and building long lasting professional relationships. In the ICT world no two days or projects are the same and I love the variety that the role and the IT sector provides. At Fujitsu our objective is “shaping tomorrow with you“   and coupled with our vision to empower citizens with IT, it is a great place to work.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you overcome these challenges?

When I decided to transition from Accountancy into IT I studied part time for an MSc in Computing and Information Systems at the Ulster University Magee Campus. It was a challenge to work full time and study part time as the course was in Derry/Londonderry (150 mile round trip) and I attended class twice a week. Recognising that the course would help me in my career provided me with the motivation to complete the course. Being organised and ensuring I had a rigorous plan to complete my work commitments helped me to be successful in both arenas.

How have you benefited from coaching, mentoring or the sponsorship of others?

Throughout my career I have been lucky to work with very professional and supportive people and received on the job mentoring. The most successful mentoring I have had is working with people at a senior management level and discussing issues and challenges with them. I have trained as a Life and Business Coach and currently am a mentor on the Women in Business mentor programme in Northern Ireland.

Do you believe in the power of networking? If so, where do you network?

Networking is one of the most important skills in business today which enables building real relationships with people to achieve successful outcomes and results. I am a member of professional organizations including being Vice Chair of the Association of Chartered Management Accountants Northern Branch and vice chair of the British Computing Society in Belfast. These bodies enable me to understand the market and help to position my company effectively.

What advice would you give to those who aspire to a career in technology?

Be sure to make time for engaging with customers and colleagues to build relationships which are strong and positive. Try not to rely entirely on electronic or online connections as relationships should be formed in person and developed over time. Add value by understanding the customer’s problems and issues. Strive to think of problems from the customer’s point and work with them to resolve.

You should believe in your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and demonstrate your capabilities to colleagues and managers. Finally, identify mentors you admire and take the time to learn from them.

What does the future hold for you?

I am happy with my career path to date and I enjoy a mix of customer engagement and internal organization activity. In my business development and innovation role I am looking forward to creating and developing new business.

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