“My advice is applicable to all – be confident and go for it! Every individual has unique capabilities and strengths that they can bring to the table that complement others in the team.”
Alison Wilson, Senior Director of Global Customer Order Operations, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland has been commended for her support in the deployment of euNetworks’ expansion of its long-haul network, and was even shortlisted as a finalist for the Women in IT Awards. W@C caught up with her to learn more about this project and what this means to Alison and Ciena.
W@C: Can you tell us about the project?
AW: The deployment of euNetworks’ expansion of its long-haul network to offer 10G and 100G services to Stockholm, through Oslo. It was a complicated deployment in a short (10-week) network build delivery timescale but to be honest, I think it was the true diversity of cultures and locations coming together that set me and the team apart.
W@C: Oh, that’s great to hear, tell us more about the role you played.
AW: As leader of supply chain’s customer order operations function it was my role to galvanize our supply chain team, from order management right through to logistics, from India to Mexico, Memphis, Montreal, Belfast and Hanover, to meet the timescale demands. It took a lot of interaction and engagement between everyone to make sure that customer requirements were well understood, materials were aligned and deadlines were met.
W@C: Tell us about your career path that lead you to your present role
AW: I’ve enjoyed a career in telecoms spanning 19 years. Most of my roles have been in either a supply chain or services organization and I’ve chosen a path that has played to my strengths. My choices have been a mix of seizing and seeking the right opportunity at the right time and through hard work, persistence and learning from great leaders I’ve ended up leading the global customer order operations team for Ciena. In fact, in Supply Chain we have a wealthy of gender diversity which is brilliant! I’ve always believed that ‘anything is possible’ – if you want to make something happen, with the right team around you, then anything is possible.
W@C: What would be your advice to other women wanting to pursue a career in technology?
AW: My advice is applicable to all genders – be confident and go for it! Every individual has unique capabilities and strengths that they can bring to the table that complement others in the team. Personally, I have also benefited from a few mentors so I would advocate people to seek a strong role model (male or female) who will help you achieve your goals, add an independent perspective and from whom you can learn from.