"At Capco everyone is accepted for who they are."
Joined Capco: 2015
Role: Principal Consultant
Professional skills: Portfolio/programme/project management
Interests: Reading, writing, rugby, politics, people, mental health, my family
Home is where I lay my head. I have always been a wanderer, growing up in Ireland, Angola, Zimbabwe, the UK and hopping around everywhere in-between. That said,I’m largely ambivalent aboutcountries and places. The thing that really draws me in is people - their whims and wiles, and ways of seeing the world that are different to mine.
After university I joined the British Army, where I spent nearly eight years as an officer. I travelled some more and loved almost every moment of it. I experienced conflict, not only in the field but also around emotions and principles. Nevertheless, I took great pride in my work and the people I met have left a deep and abiding impression. I endeavour to live and work by two lessons I learned. Firstly, the quickest way to build trust in your team is simply to trust them, even if that feels hard. Secondly, if something feels hard to do, then it’s probably the right thing to do.
I discovered Capco at a networking evening for military veterans. A Capco consultant handed me a drink and asked me what I wanted in a job. More precisely, what sort of place did I want to go to work in?Somewhere the people were different but welcoming, cared about each other, and got stuff done, I replied about a moment’s thought. “Good”, they replied, “I think I may have the place for you.” Shortly afterwards I accepted a role as a Principal Consultant through its Armed Forces 2 Capcoprogramme.
It was allI’d hoped for in a job, but at the same time it was still something of a shock. I had met and worked with a wide array of people before, but never with so many different cultures, nationalities, and opinionsall in one place. At Capco thereisn’tthe slightest pressure to conform, because there isn’treally much to conform to - everyone isaccepted for who they are.
That was a big change from the army, but one from which I benefitted, becoming more empathetic and ready to find a compromise, and consequently even better at getting things done. At the same time, I found that the discipline I brought from the army - a particular single-mindedness -when counterbalanced with empathy really made a difference and was welcomed by clients.
My first project, managing a team comprising Capco colleagues, other consultants and the client’s own employees, was a trial by fire. We were delivering a major change to the middle office of a leading global investment bank with locations in over 30 countries. It meant I cut my teeth on large-scale change to an organisation, its technology and business processes all at once. The eureka moment was when it dawned on us that, at the sharp end of the delivery, buried under the Gantt charts and decks mapping out the project, were peoplejust trying to get on with their jobs and lives. That empathy with them really unlocked what we were trying to achieve.
My wife and children are everything to me, but I still need to remind myself of that from time to time. That means examining what is a real value-add and what is just busywork. It also means trusting my colleagues. That way I don’t always have to be the first at my desk or the last to leave. That means I notonly spend time with my family, but I am also actually present when I’m home. My role models are my mother and my wife - they do inspirational work and more than their fair share at home. This is my key development area.
I became a Mental Health First Aider when Capco launched a campaign to improve awareness and support for mental wellbeing in the workplace. I chose to do this having experiencedpost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) myself. My only regret is that I didn’t tell anyone at the time. That said, whether my colleagues knew or not, I felt supported. I trusted my team to cover me when I left a little early to see my therapist. I knew my line manager never doubted my commitment to the job, even when I took a day off suddenly to simply decompress. So it was an easy decision for me to invest my time in learning to listen without judgment -to just be there if anyone else needed to talk. As an industry and society we have a way to go still in prioritising mental health, but I’m glad that Capco is one of the companies that is not just on that path, but fully believes in it.