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Sheila Flavell on Winning Lifetime Achievement Award

sheila flavell at an awards ceremony.

At the recent Scotland Women in Technology Awards, Sheila Flavell, Chief Operating Officer at FDM Group was awarded a lifetime achievement award. The awards champion and celebrate women, and the companies and networks around them, who are achieving success in the technology industry in Scotland. Here Sheila shares her thoughts on her career to date and how mentoring can help support you as you develop your career.  

I'm honoured to have been recognised with this lifetime achievement award, especially as I collected it in my home town of Glasgow where I started my career as a police officer.

I have had an amazing career journey moving from the police force to a life travelling the globe working for an airline, before finally landing in FDM and starting my career in IT, while raising my young family. I’ve been in tech ever since and I love it.

It’s a constantly changing sector and I passionately believe that it offers some of the best opportunities today, especially for women. With technology developing and changing at a pace, many of these opportunities weren’t apparent when I started out. It’s true to say that the future is exciting – this is a cutting edge industry to be part of and one where women can thrive.

Sheila Lifetime Achievement

Throughout my own career, I have had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of people, and at every turn I have taken the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by them. When I started out, I was probably too naïve to even think about role models, however, as I progressed, I picked out women who inspired me, usually someone who was positive, calm, confident in themselves, hardworking, who demonstrated leadership and was always striving for bigger and better things. Today, The Queen has to be my number one—she’s in her nineties and is all of those things.  Michelle Obama and Margaret Thatcher are women who broke new boundaries and knocked down barriers, who showed us we can be anything we want to be.

I’ve also been able to take advantage of mentoring. Rod hired me in 1991 because he identified I had the right attitude and the kind of potential that FDM needed and he set out to help me to develop and in turn develop the company.

From this experience, I learned the importance of mentorship and I’m pleased that as a company, we have put in place a formal and structured mentoring programme which is available for all, regardless of position. Having benefited so much from my own mentors and having worked with some incredible role models, I would definitely advise you all to find a mentor and identify role models who can help you develop your career and achieve your dreams. You can have mentors at any stage of your career whether you’re just starting out, moving through the management structure, changing roles or simply wanting to learn how to think differently about your current role and its contribution to the business.

Are you interested in training for a career in IT or business intelligence? You can do so on our award-winning Graduate Programme, Ex-Forces Careers Programme or Getting Back to Business Programme.

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