‘Be confident in the fact you are a woman’ – An interview with Holly Nolan
Kicking off Women Rock 2019 with a fab interview from the amazingly talented Holly Nolan, Scrum Product Owner at Good Energy.
We have been working with Good Energy only for a couple of months and I can’t speak highly enough of them, not only the exciting work they are doing within energy but also their projects around women in tech. I won’t tell you too much as the team are announcing some exciting news around this area soon, so keep an eye out.
Thank you to the whole team at Good Energy for your continued support with Women Rock, looking forward to what you achieve this year and beyond!
HOLLY, YOU ARE A BA AND PRODUCT OWNER AT GOOD ENERGY, WHAT DOES YOUR DAY TO DAY LOOK LIKE?
I make sure we are working on the most beneficial developments to our Feed-in Tariff (FiT) product, a government scheme to support renewable generation. We work in an agile framework so some days I’m working on larger changes with a developer such as web automated applications, prioritising releases, writing user stories and testing functionality, and others I’m developing solutions myself, through SQL or outsourcing partnerships. The main theme everyday is making sure the product delivers the most business value.
YOU HAVE BEEN WITH GOOD ENERGY FOR 7 YEARS, FROM MICROGENERATION SPECIALIST TO YOUR ROLE IN TECH TODAY – HOW HAVE YOU GOT THERE?
I joined in 2012 and in that year the FiT scheme grew massively. I loved the role and the customers and did everything I could to help customers enjoy their application process. I worked hard to keep up with changes to the scheme and coaching of new staff which led me into position of team leader. I was constantly refining processes and reporting trying to improve the service for our customers and staff. Through coaching I got quite good at team leading, but decided there was more I could do to help improve the service we were offering, and more I could learn in a project role.
After working on a larger system change in 2016 I was more aware of the roles available. So in 2017 I put myself on Prince2 project management course, and worked my way into a process change role in supply and soon after moved into IT as Product owner, in the last year I’ve been training in agile, scrum, and SQL Development. I take time to reflect on my future and say yes to as many opportunities as possible.
WHEN WE SPOKE YOU MENTIONED YOU ARE WORKING CLOSELY WITH A FEMALE DEVELOPER. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING WITH FEMALE DEVELOPERS?
On one of my latest projects I was working with a lady new to the company, the relationship formed so quickly and easily, which meant we could celebrate our achievements together. More than anything it’s great to have a balanced view and working environment, working with both male and female colleagues.
WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS A LACK OF FEMALES IN TECHNOLOGY?
I think that there’s a misunderstanding about what roles are available within IT and what skills are needed to perform them roles. I’ve found that the majority of the time it’s about team work, building relationships with stakeholders and analytical thinking, which are strong skills found in women. The technical knowledge can be learnt later and varies across departments and companies.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ONE BIT OF ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO GET INTO TECHNOLOGY?
Above everything find a role that you really enjoy, either in a company that you can really believe in or a subject you love, with enjoyment comes development and growth. Being able to laugh and enjoy work will surround you with people who want to help you succeed. Be confident in the fact you are a woman, and be prepared to work hard and gain the respect of those around you. Your passion will shine through.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR CAREER?
Moving from a team leader position to where I am now, I didn’t know where to begin but knew people I’d worked with who I wanted to be like. So I followed their lead, put myself through courses and started to learn the skills I needed to change roles, it’s rewarding trying something new.
HAVE YOU EVER SUFFERED FROM THE IMPOSTURE SYNDROME?
Yes, but it helps to realise it’s happening, find someone or a mix of people who help you to have confidence in your achievements, and regularly reflect on what you’ve accomplished. I don’t always celebrate my successes, I have a fear of looking arrogant, but I know I need to continue to work on that.
I KNOW THAT GOOD ENERGY ARE WORKING ON A COUPLE OF THINGS TO SUPPORT WOMEN IN TECH, COULD YOU TELL ME A BIT ABOUT IT?
Good Energy are actively employing women into our IT department, but we realise that the number of female applicants compared to male is low, so we are thinking ahead at how we can influence woman into tech in the future. We’re collaborating with local schools and changing the way IT is viewed within our orgnaisation.
We’re giving employees across the company the opportunity to experience more technology, we believe making people more aware of the skills needed in IT and helping them to learn some of these, will over time increase number of female applicants, we’re starting this in January with ‘Code club’, looking at the basics of code and web page development.
We’re hoping that women pioneering these events will open them up to greater audience.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?
Less of a quote but a belief that positive actions and attitudes help to put you a positive mood, helping you to achieve greater things. It’s as simple as smiling, a smile when you feel stressed or under pressure can boost your positive outlook.
WHO’S YOUR SQUAD?
My partner, she’s the coolest person I know, she’s amazingly resilient working as a criminal investigator, and she’s fuelled my drive at work.
My younger sister, my complete role model, she has a fantastic confidence at work in transport planning, and has an amazing aura when it comes to meeting new people.
My Friend, she makes me realise how much we take for granted, living her life in the most environmentally low impact way possible, I would always trust her judgement and know she’d always be there.
Thank you Holly.