I have a two year gap in my CV timeline (2016-present) and until recently I haven’t been sure what to say or how to explain what I’ve been doing. I haven’t been on a “sabbatical” or “trying out retirement” or “doing nothing”.
If you are reading this then you may be a subscriber to this blog, in which case you know exactly how I have filled my time these past two years. Or maybe you saw my post on Linked In recently and found yourself here, having a wee look around.
In either case two years ago I had a stroke – it was a surprise to me and everyone who knows me. I was relatively young and led a fairly healthy lifestyle. Ambitious and professionally successful, my career was abruptly stopped by this event. I had already hit the pause button in my old job for personal family and other reasons.
I was one of the lucky people, I didn’t die, but apparently I could have, I also didn’t lose my ability to speak, to read or to see – – all possible outcomes. I did lose all mobility in my left side hemiplegia they call it, and it could have been worse if I had lost my right mobility since I’m right hand dominant.
Here’s a good article explaining strokes, types, symptoms and possible outcomes: Different Types of Strokes
I invite you to read my blog from the beginning if you are so inclined. Blogging my recovery started out as a way to record and share my journey back to health and the life hacks I uncovered along the way that might be helpful to others who are or may have been going through something similar.
This week as I took stock of my 2018 goals and accomplishments, I decided the time had come to declare victory on my journey back to awesome. I’ve been thinking a lot about 2019 goal setting and how to get back to work. This is sure to be a challenge. Just one more in the long line of challenges I’ve faced in my life and getting to this point, where I am here today, writing about the future and making decisions. Last summer a “friend” told me I would never work in IT again. Seriously? As Jann Arden sings “you might have some advice to give on how to be insensitive.”
I had a telephone interview last summer with a recruiter who asked me if I had been searching for a job recently, when I replied “no” he said “really” in an incredulous voice.I should have been more helpful but I didn’t know know how or even if I should explain to him my health issue, because I didn’t know if it would be detrimental to my chances of securing the position. So I said nothing. One other time I had an in-person interview and I had to use my wheelchair to get to the meeting – it was awkwardness all around as the nice gentleman struggled with how to deal with me. I got good feedback after the meeting followed by two more phone interviews before the opportunity dropped off the face of the earth.
So I’ve largely avoided looking for a job and have pursued other means of securing a revenue stream such as:
- Acquiring and developing a portfolio of properties for use as short-term vacation rentals in Canada;
- Investigating new career paths through continuing education;
- Investing in a start-up business with offices on the ground floor of our awesome home in Fernie, B.C.
- (Re)-Launching our successful consulting firm, BasicallyIT Inc. with a new set of services so that I can seek and engage in work that I love and that I’m good at on a contractual basis. This is where I am now. And I need some help.
So how to get the word out? And how to engage in the tricky conversation of my stroke should it come up – how to explain the”worthiness” of what I’ve been spending my time on these past two years How to explain neuroplasticity and that my brain and body are strong again because I have worked relentlessly to make them that way.
Then I realized that my blog is a potentially powerful asset to get the word out and explain the everyday work that goes into stroke recovery. So I’ve decided to make a post to my LinkedIn network, explaining where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing and asking for some help at this new crossroad in my life.
If you take the time to read my blog, along the way you will find out some of the core characteristics that make me a good leader, manager, executive. Such as:
- Problem solving
- Continuous learning
- Genuine caring about my team and valuing everyone’s unique contribution to the success of a project
- …..and more
BasicallyIT’s website is coming soon. I’ll be working on it during the month of January. I’ve figured out how to build a website using online tools from WordPress (this blog site) and godaddy (Purcell-law.ca my venture in Fernie, BC with a local lawyer). The web-building tools are really good, and I encourage you to try it yourself, before you over-pay someone to do it for you.
So now that you’re here, let me tell you about myself and my plans for a consulting practice.
- Talented and accomplished Senior IT Executive with extensive experience in directing IT organizations, business and technology operations
- Adept at strategic & operational planning, technology development and deployment
- Project leadership, process improvement, organizational restructuring, multi-million dollar project management & oversight
- Run-away project recovery & remediation
- Strong leader and developer of people
- Proven ability to manage & oversee businesses, programs and mission critical projects
- Owner & President, BasicallyIT Inc.
- Vice President & CIO, Canadian Pacific Railway
- Program Executive, Data Centre Infrastructure Transformation
- COO, Information Technology Division, Global Retail & Commercial Banking, Barclays, PLC
- VP, Information Technology, Rogers Communications Inc.
- VP, e- Development, BMO Financial Group, Nesbitt Burns
- Director, CIBC various portfolios including:
- Architecture& Consulting Services
- Enterprise Network Solutions
- Resource Centre
- Project Management & Consulting Group
- KPMG , Senior Consultant
- Here is a link to my LinkedIn Profile Heather’s LinkedIn Profile
Through parentage, I have the “right of Abode” in the UK and I’d like to do some work there again if I have the chance. I am also able to work anywhere in Canada and the US. I’ve thought a lot about what I would like to be working on since I got my awesome back. Here is a selection:
- –Outsourced Operations Review. Maybe you outsourced some or all of your business or IT function and haven’t been able to physically oversee your “people” offshore? Or even find the time for an on-site visit once or twice a year. I can be that person for you. Manage your off-shore portfolio “in the moment” and make recommendations for improving your onshore-offshore workflow and productivity.
- Strategic & Operational Planning. I am an outstanding strategic thinker, a skill I have applied to Information Technology in support of business strategies for many years. Perhaps I can help you or your organization work though future-focused planning and develop the operational plans to realize the right outcomes through people, process and resources.
- Problem-Solving. I like difficult management problems. Maybe you have a run-away project; an important program out of control. Or an important initiative that needs careful shepherding through the political minefield that is your company.
These are the things I like to do and I’m good at. Perhaps 2019 will provide me the opportunity to do one or some of these things.
I am strong and I am determined
And so are you!