Originally from Scotland, I spent much of my childhood in Belgium, then went back to the UK to complete secondary education before returning definitively to mainland Europe in 1989.
My first job was with a large computer manufacturing company in the Netherlands. I was officially a customer service assistant and unofficially the resident IT geek. I learned to administer the local network and systems and developed tools for my colleagues to cover functional gaps in our inventory control and purchasing system. In 1992, I moved into a full-time IT role customising, implementing and supporting back office systems in Europe and Australia.
For family reasons, I moved to the south of Belgium in 1994 and got my first job in Luxembourg as PC Specialist for the local branch of an international money-brokering firm. I looked after network, systems and database administration, as well as customising, implementing and supporting back office systems in Europe and I also developed productivity tools for the money-brokers. At that time, my biggest passion was for Windows servers and so I passed my first certification, MCSE, in 1998.
Later that year, I had the opportunity to join a larger company, a global asset management business and I jumped at it. They needed my systems expertise and I wanted to experience an IT department of more than 4 people. I evolved from systems and network analyst to desktop and server support supervisor and then to application support manager. After 2 company mergers, the IT department changed considerably and much of the application support was centralised elsewhere. I was offered a project management role and, after so many years working on projects, it was an exciting new challenge.
A couple of years later, I joined a prestigious private bank in Luxembourg as a senior project manager. This gave me greater exposure not only to the governance and budgetary aspects of managing projects but also to RFI and RFP processes and contract negotiation. With my colleagues, we developed our own project management methodology which was right-sized for our needs. This got me interested in established and proven methodologies and led to me passing PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certification in 2006.
In 2008, I was looking for a change of role, preferably including people management responsibilities once again and I was lucky enough to find an application support manager position with a large investor services organisation. The position grew from managing a small team locally to managing several teams globally, giving me many opportunities for learning new skills such as remote management, defining and implementing a target operating model, change management and process improvement. I also took on responsibility for testing services and back office development for a time.
In 2017, I was tasked with setting up a global business analysis function, grouping a number of local teams in different locations into a single BA practitioner centre of expertise. This involved defining the mission, mandate and governance as well as setting up and executing a comprehensive training plan to professionalise and standardise business analysis practices and establishing common tools for re-usability. I took the opportunity, while we looked at process improvements, to pass Lean 6 Sigma Green Belt in 2019.
As the teams matured and self-managed, I started mentoring and coaching within the company and over time I realised that this was the new direction I wished to take. I first imagined becoming a professional coach at the end of 2018 and finally, in November 2019, I started my training. I’ve completed the formal training and am now in what is called the certification period. If that goes to plan, I should be ACC certified with the International Coach Federation later this year!