Elizabeth Austin – Project/Programme Manager
I started my working life in Barclays Bank straight from school. As the career options were a bit limited with only O-levels, it was the motivation I needed to go back into education.
So, I set out on the path to becoming a Lawyer. After doing my Law degree and Law school, I applied for a trainee solicitor position, however, I also decided to apply to IBM as a graduate trainee (and was offered the job).
I loved it! I worked for Assist400, which was a call centre providing technical assistance to IBM AS/400 customers who paid for this service, beyond just the normal Operating System Defect Support.
By the time a job offer for a solicitors firm in Winchester came through, 3 months after starting at IBM, I turned it down. I figured, I could always go back to Law in my life if I wanted to, but I wanted to see where this journey with IBM was going to take me first.
Initially, I started out in the defect team, sending out PTFs to customers to fix specific error codes, and after going through initial training in all the various teams, from Ops support, Client Access, and Printing team, I successfully passed an interview to join the Comms team. From here I guided customers on how to set up their systems to talk to each other.
I worked with some of the most intelligent people I have ever met, who would have secondments in the US to write Red Books. It was an amazing learning ground and I attended countless IBM AS/400 training courses.
After doing the role for a couple of years, I decided I wanted to get my hands dirty, rather than doing the work theoretically and over the phone instructing others. So, I took the role of AS/400 Technical Analyst at Manor Bakeries in Eastleigh.
Be careful what you wish for…
At Manor Bakeries I was responsible for anything technical across the several AS/400’s, Comms and Printers, into those systems in Eastleigh, and in the Rugby Distribution Centre.
Every month, I would go up to Rugby to flip between the 2 mirrored boxes. It really was a baptism of fire, and while at first, I was part of a small team of 3, the team quickly dwindled down and I was on my own in the team for quite a while.
With the twenty-four seven on-call support, it was pretty wearing. I knew I enjoyed IT still, but I was ready for something different. So as soon as we had successfully got over the Y2K fears, I left to rejoin IBM in Global Services as a Resource Manager.
IBM Global Services
At first, I was the Resource Manager for the 130-strong, IBM Test Services team, having the responsibility to not just keep the 130 Testers (Test Consultants, Managers, Test Analysts etc) busy on projects, but also make sure IBM Projects were resourced.
I moved through from Test Services into Capacity Planning, Resource analytics, and Reporting for all Global Services (3.5K resources) and then later moved into the planning and approvals of Contractors engaged across the UK and providing cover to European colleagues.
After 14 years in IBM Global Services, I decided I wanted to work in an environment where there was more opportunity to have a direct influence on processes and procedures, so I joined KFA Connect as Programme Manager.
Here at KFA Connect my role has evolved over the 9 years. I have facilitated best practices for the Project Management and delivery of projects, using my experience in resource planning and forecasting.
My role very much focuses on the Commercials, and various aspects of running the company.
My day always starts with a walk in the New Forest with our dog.
The New Forest is a big part of my life, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I love getting away in our motorhome camping with the family too.
I enjoy cycling, skiing, walking up mountains and generally being out in the fresh air.
Want to know more? Get in touch with our team today.