High Flyers: Liz has a key role in ‘the art of the possible'
In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Liz Mallinson, head of programme management office & stakeholder management at Fibrus
What was your first job?
At 18 I was a TEFL teacher in a teaching training college in Dafur Province, Western Sudan. My first formal job after graduation was as a project executive with the Scottish Development Agency, now Scottish Enterprise in Aberdeen.
What qualifications do you have?
I studied for a BA (hons) in geography from Middlesex University, followed by a MSc in land and water management at Cranfield University.
What do you attribute your success to?
Everyone defines this for themselves. For me I think it is a combination of self-belief and confidence; the desire to learn new things and grow; the ability to deal with and adopt to change; having the support of family, friends work colleagues and mentors. None of it would be possible without being part of a great team.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
I’m full of energy, determined, focused, reliable, thoughtful, intellectually curious and kind.
Who do you look up to in business?
I am interested in great leaders in any setting and have been lucky to work with a number of people whose leadership I have admired, benefited and learned from. Inspirational leaders to me include Ernest Shackleton, Colin Powell, the Dalai Lama and, in business, Dame Stephanie Shirley. She is a woman who broke all sorts of barriers, founding a very successful technology company where she championed and created new opportunities for women’s employment in the new and emerging computing and software sector in the 1960s, as well as philanthropic work.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I try to get to know the whole person - the professional and also the person they are when they’re at home. I find out what is important and motivates them to give their best, understanding their goals and ambitions. Then I aim to provide opportunities for learning and development to help them achieve those. It’s important to show gratitude for hard work and effort on the journey, not just the outcome, and celebrate the small wins as well as the big.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
Northern Ireland is a new environment for me so I'm not sure I feel qualified to answer that just yet. However, through my work with Fibrus it is clear to see how the extension of full fibre broadband to the more rural and remote parts of the province is a powerful catalyst and opportunity for change; economic growth, access to employment; education, health and social care services. Digital connectivity is the enabler which supports the ‘art of the possible’, and it has played a crucial role for everyone in overcoming new challenges presented by the pandemic. We are delivering connectivity as fast as we possibly can, with over 15,000 homes already connected under contract with the DFE in our first year. The pace is relentless. The exciting yet challenging part is how that connectivity is utilised and capitalising on the opportunities it brings with it.
What website or app could you not do without?
As a keen mountaineer and skier, I rely on the Mountain Weather Information Service, Avalanche Forecast and the OS Locate website. They are excellent apps in managing risk and supporting safety in the hills.
What was the last book you read?
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.
What car do you drive?
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I am a non executive board member of NHS 24 with a special remit covering ‘whistle blowing’. I joined the board in March 2020 - just ahead of the onset of the pandemic, so it has been interesting times! I have worked in telecoms for over 15 years and in my day jobs I have had the privilege of providing broadband infrastructure to over 950,000 homes so far. This will pass the one million mark in the next few years.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
The great outdoors. I try to keep fit so I can enjoy hillwalking, mountaineering and ski touring.