5 Minutes With Zoe Gill - Director of Consulting Services

Thu, March 11th, 2021

This International Women's Day we sat down for Five Minutes With Zoe Gill...

This International Women's Day we sat down for Five Minutes With Zoe Gill - Director of Consulting Services, CGI UK.

What is your current role at CGI?

I’m a Director of Consulting Services at CGI - this is similar to an Account Director in general terms. I spend alot of time working side by side with our client in Liverpool, managing the overall Account deliverables and working on business development opportunities to help our client use technology to achieve their overall business goals.

Can you provide an example of a time in your life that you challenged yourself and what you learned from this?

I like to think I’ve taken on many challenges in my life but one example goes back a few years, when I was coming to the end of a 12-month secondment within the organisation I was working for at the time. I had to secure a new role, as my previous role was no longer open for me. Although this was a daunting prospect, I had reached a crossroads in my career and wanted to take a risk by trying something new.

Despite my Mum reminding me “it’s not always what you know, but who you know”, I was fiercely independent and didn’t want any help or “favours” from my new Board level colleagues in finding a new role. Eventually, I found a large opportunity in a new area that was completely out of my comfort zone. The first few months were probably the hardest of my career. My new colleagues completely overwhelmed me - they had technical brains the size of planets and I just wasn’t like them! I felt like a fish out of water, imposter syndrome set in and I wondered if I had secured the role because of my “friends” after all.

After about 3 months, I had an “ah ha” moment and I realised I had been successful in securing the role exactly because I wasn’t like them. As much as I didn’t have the technical expertise, the team didn’t have the skills to do my role either. In the end, my governance and control helped us to improve our incident levels, my attention to detail and business acumen helped shape the finances, and my client relationship skills helped transform the Client Satisfaction scores.

What advice do you have for women starting out in business careers?

I have a couple of key takeaways, based on the story I shared above:

1) Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith - In this story I took two and both paid off for me; I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t taken that leap.

2) Give yourself credit and focus on your strengths - I am my own worst critic and spent so much time worrying about what I couldn’t do, I forgot to remind myself what I could.

3) Always be the true authentic you – Anyone who knows me will know I will never be a techie and, quite honestly, I don’t want to be! I was once asked what I want to be famous for, and for me it’s all about people.

Who is your role model in business?

I am a wife and Mum to two young primary school aged children so for me it’s really important to have role models who are relatable. Before joining CGI, I hadn’t worked in such an inclusive team before. Having Tara McGeehan as our CEO and strong female leaders at Board level is a huge inspiration to me and was a genuine factor in my decision to join CGI.

What’s your International Women’s Day message?

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #choosetochallenge - I choose to challenge gender stereotypes. As a Mum, I want my kids to grow up in a world knowing that they can be anything they want to be! I’ve never personally felt held back because of my gender but I know many other women who have. I hope that by the time my little ones are adults, this will be a moot point!

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