26th Oct 2022
Emerging Leader Programme + Q&A with Rob Ross
This month our emerging leaders welcomed GEG Capital CFO, Rory Mackenzie who facilitated the strategy and finance session looking at future growth, financial statements and cash modelling.
The emerging leaders explored how commercial terms impact working capital through a project life cycle. Individuals were challenged to consider how they could influence cash in their current role, and participated in a business simulation where decisions impacted profit.
Aimed at those who are evolving in a leadership role, the 12-month blended learning programme challenges participants to think beyond the confines of their current role and area of responsibility.
Q&A With Emerging Leader, Rob Ross
Tell us about you… what’s your work history to date?
After studying Art, Design and Photography for a couple of years, I applied for what I thought would be a temporary position with BT as a Support Analyst for one of their Internet Service Providers.
This turned into 6 years of various jobs for several business units within BT. It pretty much confirmed that I did indeed want to work in the Tech field in some capacity.
The roles varied from 1st line support for BT internet users, mobile phone support, Project Management Assistant, through to working on a config team responsible for implementing changes and updates on live business users’ equipment.
I don’t recall breaking anything or bringing any networks down, so I was obviously paying attention during the training.
Who or what inspired you to peruse the career you have today?
Tricky… I’m not really sure! As far as computers go, I have been messing around with them since I was in school – despite never actually doing a computing class!
I guess my mum was an inspiration in one way, because she never got annoyed at the bits and pieces I would leave lying around the house. I do remember one Christmas day I spent about 6 hours building a PC in a new computer case she bought me (it was a Coolermaster Wavemaster, if anyone is interested). I managed to scratch the dining room table with it, and even that didn’t get me banned from the hobby.
Back then it was to ensure I could play the latest games with decent performance more than anything. The main driver was that I seemed to be good at it, and I enjoyed it. Not much has changed… I still have PC parts lying around, and the dining room table still gets taken over with my own projects or tech support for friends/family. And yes, my mum still has the same table with the scratch still visible after almost 20 years.
Since then, I have worked as part of some great teams with some people I have formed lifelong friendships with. They all inspire me in some way… there is always something to learn!
Linus Tech Tips on YouTube is my go-to for some tech related downtime. That guy is an inspiration, and I urge anyone with an interest in the field to check it out.
Can you provide details of a professional accomplishment in the group that you are proud of?
Yes… I recall co-ordinating a trial of a Video Conferencing system called Zoom (now widely used) with several of our business units. At the time it seemed rather straight forward, but it soon grew arms and legs. The Global offices in question were in Houston, Aberdeen, Inverness and Nigg.
It was quite a task arranging the purchase, config and trial of a VC system across a time zone, but it all came together and worked ok. It wasn’t until my own manager at the time suggested it was a 'CV' worthy accomplishment that made me think about it that way. I think it highlighted that remote working and VCs were the way forward.
Taking part in this leadership program has been a real challenge and has taken me well out of my comfort zone on several occasions. I am proud of how much I have grown as a result.
What inspires you, and do you have any personal goals that you are hoping to achieve?
People inspire me - friends, family, colleagues... There is such a diverse range of talent across the group it’s difficult NOT to be inspired to always do better.
My son is getting into tech in much the same way I did when I was his age, so encouraging him to do something that he enjoys and that I know he can make a career out of is satisfying.
The day he manages to fix his own PC without my help will be a momentous occasion! He is already talking about building a PC for one of his friends (I will of course be on standby).
Regarding personal goals I would like to progress within the Tech Services department. It’s a great team to be a part of, and if I am contributing to its ongoing success then that’s one goal achieved. Taking a more active leadership role within the team would be something I would aspire to, as I get a great deal of satisfaction in coaching/mentoring others. Seeing the progression from some of our more recent new additions to the team has been very rewarding.
The Leadership Program has certainly helped me develop further here, and I would urge anyone who is thinking about taking part next year to just go for it.
What motivates and energises you at work?
Our field of work is increasingly important in the modern world. Security, being connected, having the tools you need to do your job without a technical barrier in the way. I guess that’s what motivates me... staying up-to-date in an ever-changing industry.
If I can help take away the frustration that IT and computers sometimes throw at people, that is satisfying. Don’t get me wrong, I can find things frustrating at times as well… but it’s always worth it when an issue is fixed and another ticket is closed.
What energises me? I guess when I see 'Roy Macgregor' calling on my mobile, I know I need to be ready to assist and fix whatever is causing an issue at that moment!