Consultant and surf boat veteran Aimee Minns share her experiences as a woman millennial consultant in IBM. Aimee is a managing consultant with IBM Australia & New Zealand where she’s working with leadership to transform and grow IBM’s professional services business.
Can you tell us about your background and what made you choose a career with IBM?
I have been with IBM for nearly 4 years where I mainly work with public sector clients and run our internal transformation program. Prior to IBM, I worked for the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW where I investigated, mediated and conciliated disputes between electricity, gas and water companies, and their clients. I have a double degree in Business and International studies, where I’ve written a thesis which focused on the adoption and evolution of the Social Business model in the Australian context.
I spent a month working for an NGO in India, where we were looking at different models that would help villagers on the outskirts of Bangalore have access to solar power systems to power their homes with electricity. The introduction of this small unassuming piece of technology had an immeasurable impact and transformed these villagers’ lives. Their children could do their homework after sundown without having to breathe in thick kerosene smoke from lamps, they could listen to the radio and get access to news and current affairs, and they could charge their mobile phones and stay connected to their customers and the broader community.
My time in India opened up my thinking to how technology, if we extrapolated it to a higher level, could transform industries and governments, impacting everyone’s lives. IBM is at the center of this digital transformation and I wanted to be a part of it.
What are the success factors you would attribute to your career and why?
A positive attitude, a thirst for knowledge, and the ability to develop strong working relationships have gotten me to where I am today. Any task, challenge and speed bump can be overcome if you go into it with the right attitude, a desire to learn everything you can from it, and a strong network of people to help you through challenges.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career?
As a millennial, I have always struggled to define a long-term career goal and in my mind, the need to do so has become less relevant given that our generation is expected to have multiple career changes in our lifetime. Organizations such as IBM are going through a massive change– they have to stay relevant, but it has meant that reconciling personal goals in an ever-changing environment has become increasingly difficult.
In your opinion, what is the defining value that a woman consultant can bring to her clients?
Traditional models of leadership and teaming call for consultants to surround themselves with like-minded individuals that have a common vision and will support their decisions. I fundamentally disagree with this mindset. I think that more value comes from surrounding yourself with people from diverse backgrounds, gender, sexuality and ethnicities; people that will challenge you and bring fresh ideas. In a male-dominated industry, from both a consulting and IT perspective, women add different perspectives and insights that focus on more overlooked areas of culture and teaming.
What do you do for leisure and how do you manage your personal and professional commitments?
I am a strong believer in balance. I think it’s important to take a step back from work and the office, give yourself time to reflect and challenge yourself in a different way – either physically or mentally. Gone are the days where your value is measured by the amount of time you sit in front of a computer, now your ability to deliver consistently good work is much more meaningful… and that can only be achieved by having a balanced lifestyle.
I am a Surf Life Saver and avid surf boat rower. We recently completed a 200km surf boat marathon where we rowed from Batemans Bay to Eden, raising A$7000 for cancer research along the way. Just like at work, I have a team that relies on me so I make sure to prioritize training outside of work. It’s the best excuse to get to the beach, clear my head and stay healthy!
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