Movers and Shakers | Ursula Brown | Project Manager at Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
Ursula is a Project Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprises, one of the largest IT companies in the world. She manages HP brand representation at industry events, including awards dinners, conferences and summits.
Briefly describe your current job responsibilities, perhaps by describing a typical day, week, month, or quarter
I am currently working abroad with a client. I wake up at 6.30am and after breakfast, am in the office by 8am. The team then has a 15-20 minute meeting to set out the goals for the day.
The day mainly consists of meetings with different client stakeholders, analysis of information and data, construction of reports, meetings with internal stakeholders.
What were the key decision points or factors that were important in deciding your career path?
I knew before I went to university that I wanted to work as a consultant, helping organisations to transform and run efficiently. Business fascinates and excites me.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
Being able to be creative about problem solving. Finding solutions to problems and implementing them is thrilling. Also, being able to see how different organisations are run is very interesting.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?
I am new to the role and it is unlike anything I have done before, so I am enjoying learning. Working with people who have worked in IT for 20-30+ years can be intimidating, but I always ask questions if I don’t understand something, and do extra reading so I have an understanding of what is being discussed.
Best piece of career advice you have ever received? And who was it from?
When I first joined the company as a graduate in 2013, I worked with a team on a transformation project. It was fast-paced and demanding and I really enjoyed it. I worked with a team of senior managers who I grew very close to. Everything my manager at the time said to me, stuck like glue because I had the utmost respect and admiration for him.
One thing in particular he taught me was to always add value. So whether it’s attending a meeting, or working on a project, it is important to always add value. I have carried this with me since and endeavour to add value wherever I can. Whether it is taking and distributing notes and actions for a meeting I don’t have much input in, or project managing a deliverable that is extra to what I have been assigned. I always try to add value.
It is something that has gained me recognition and praise, and it show management and your peers that you are hard-working and willing to go the extra mile.
Away from your work role what are your passions?
I am very passionate about business. I have a couple of projects I am working on at the moment that I’m very excited about. I am also passionate about living my best life, developing myself and continuing to evolve.
What are the 3 (professional or personal) books/websites/ or resources that you would recommend?
The number one book I will always recommend is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, it is a brilliant story about finding your destiny, recognising and trusting in signs.
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, this book teaches you to be efficient with your time, encourages you to pursue your passions and get the best out of your life in your youth, the ultimate message is to not sacrifice your best years. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman was my favourite book as a teenager. It is a brilliant love story that also gives a deep and interesting perspective on racial segregation.
What do you know now that you wish you had known as you started your career?
I wish I had a mentor when I first started my career, I know how beneficial they can be to anyone starting their career. I still don’t have one by the way! But I have heard good things.
Do you have any advice for women entering your industry?
It is a very male dominated environment. This means that in order for your voice to be heard, you need to make yourself heard. I have worked alongside a few women who do this in totally the wrong way. You do not need to be aggressive, you don’t need to be patronising. You just need to be good at what you do, work extra hard to gain a reputation for being good and you will be recognised that way. It is easy to get overlooked, especially in a testosterone filled environment, but remember, we have testosterone too!