Joined in: 2018
Job title: Bid Manager
Georgina joined the business as a Bid Support Executive before recently becoming the youngest Bid Manager at Advanced. She talks us through her time with the business so far and what it is like as a woman working in technology.
I was recently promoted to the role of Bid Manager, which makes me the youngest Bid Manager in the company. I’ve never wanted a job where I was phoning it in from 9 to 5, and at Advanced I have found a place where there is ample opportunity to learn and progress. I’ve found that you will be advanced up the career ladder at a pace that reflects the dedication you show to your work. It’s not something that’s dedicated by time spent in a certain role but instead it matches the speed of your own individual progression: how quickly you can pick things up and what guts you show when nominating yourself for new projects. Daring and confidence are definitely things that are rewarded at Advanced and matter more than your background.
I often get asked what my role entails. Essentially, when a Buyer wants to award a million pound contract, they have to make sure that they are getting the biggest bang for their buck. They do this by holding a competition between several IT suppliers. The Buyer releases hundreds of questions, and they then give our competitors and us around 6 weeks to respond to those questions and put them into a proposal. No single person in the business can answer all the questions, so my job is to find the right people in the business to answer every section to a schedule that I have mapped out. I see myself as the thread that sows disparate responses from all different departments together so that in the end we submit a consistent and compelling proposal.
One of the greatest challenges I faced in order to get my promotion was senior stakeholder management. Given the very high value of the contracts up for grabs, the contributors are frequently people at Director-level. I have to work with people who are twice my age, in fact, they have often worked in IT sales longer than I have been alive – as they sometimes quip. It is also no secret that the tech industry is male-dominated; an often-quoted stat is that women make up only 27% of employment in the software and IT services industry. This means that in team meetings, I can find myself being one of two women, or sometimes just the only woman.
Gender & Age
Initially, I was worried that my age and gender would be barriers to me being successful at Advanced, but I quickly learnt that wasn’t the case. As soon as I’m able to speak, and as long as the direction I give is of value, I know I’ll be listened to and those barriers melt away. To the credit of my colleagues, in meetings, I’m not made to feel aware of my gender or age, and instead I get to be me and judged on my ability to do my role rather than anything else.
Before working at Advanced, I’d had no prior experience working in the tech industry or even a relevant IT qualification to my name. I was also a little wary that there wouldn’t be a place for me as a women, working in a male-dominated field. But as it turns out, I needn’t have worried about any of those things. In fact, none of my managers have ever seen my CV. I was hired for the behaviours I exhibited at my interview. Advanced champion diversity and I’ve never found my age or gender to be obstacles to my success. Perhaps initially, people are thrown by being bid managed by someone like me, but as soon as I show them the value I bring, reservations are put to one side, and I am treated like every other member of the team.