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Expect the Unexpected: Beverley's Unconventional Career Journey at Dell Technologies

Beverley Allsop | System Engineering Manager | Chatswood, Australia

Originally Published: December 7th, 2023

My career journey has been that of an unconventional nature, but I’ve been in IT since I was 17 and couldn’t be more grateful for where my unconventional journey has brought me. I was born and raised in the UK, left school at the age of 16, and had no idea what I wanted to do for a job – I use that word over career deliberately. All I wanted to do was travel, and at the time, I didn’t realize I could go to university for that. I was not really encouraged by my family to pursue higher education after school, and I was expected to “get a nice office job.” Even though I acquired excellent year 10 results, which should have led me down a higher education path, there was a lack of good guidance. This, mixed with self-doubt and a whole lot of youthful ambition meant that university was not my destiny. But, there was someone who saw something in me when I was about 15.

My mum ran the staff canteen at a British Telecom (BT) Data Centre, and I used to go there in the school holidays to grab a free lunch and chat with the people who worked there. The Data Centre manager told mum he thought I had potential to work there, and that he could have a chat with me, so he did. He asked me what I wanted to be doing in five years’ time, and I very cheekily told him I wanted his job. To cut a long story short, BT hired me when I was 17 to join their Mainframe Operations Team. This was the unconventional start to my IT career – yes career, not job.

Fast forward to 2016, I started at EMC, now Dell Technologies, in Presales, which in basic terms is Technical Sales. We work closely with Sales Executives, engaging customers to gain the Technical ‘win’ and it’s a phenomenal area of IT to work in – the best kept secret if you ask me. As my career progressed, I became a very strong advocate for all diversity and inclusion, particularly related to gender, so I was asked by one of our executives to consider being a mentor to Female STEM students at UTS, as part of their Lucy Mentoring program. My imposter syndrome kicked in. Hard. But one of my approaches to overcoming my imposter syndrome is to say yes to something I think I can’t do.

I applied, got accepted, and have now mentored eight female students in the Lucy program. They all, in one way or another, have helped me be a better person. I have learnt how to use my words with consideration while still getting my message across, express my own life learnings to guide these young women, listen better, and most importantly, they have given me hope. Hope that this splendid generation of females will change the world for the better, by being inclusive, diverse, and holding strong beliefs in what our world should look like.

Since becoming a Lucy Mentor, I realized I wanted, and needed, a mentor myself. I had a person in mind, so I reached out and he has been my mentor now for over five years. His advice has been invaluable, helping me think not only about how I can progress my career, but giving me an empathetic perspective when I have a problem that I’m not sure how to resolve or approach. But he is no longer just my mentor. He has become my sponsor and champion. He has actively promoted me to others without my knowledge to help my career progress. Not every mentoring relationship leads to them being a champion for you, but it is wonderful when it does, and I now consider him a friend.

So, what have I learnt? I have learnt that being mentored early in your career is so beneficial, but it is never too late to start. Also, being a mentor is the gift that keeps on giving, and I love how much I learn from my mentees. In my career, I have been so fortunate to travel and emigrate, as well as getting to work with and develop young female talent in IT. I consider myself extremely lucky to love and do what I do, despite my unconventional journey.

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