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I joined the Co-op over 25 years ago, working as a Customer Assistant in an old Co-op Travel branch. At the time, I had no experience or education in any fields working with technology, but I was really interested in the IT systems and processes being used inside the branch. That little spark of interest eventually launched my career in IT.  

Kickstarting a new career 

After working as a Customer Assistant, a new opportunity presented itself and I moved into a position on Co-op Travel’s IT Helpdesk. At the time, Co-op’s business was constantly growing and changing, and eventually the Travel Helpdesk started merging with other areas of the business. As the business grew, I moved into a Team Leader role, and after 10 years leading an ever-expanding team, I became Co-op’s Service Desk Manager.  

Always learning, always growing 

Even as a manager with lots of experience, I decided to move away from my Service Desk role to continue growing. I still wanted to learn new things, so I took a side-step into a Service Manager position. Working in lots of different areas has helped me keep things fresh. And taking the opportunities in front of me helped me upgrade my skills and climb the ladder. My willingness to try new things is one of the reasons I’m a leader today.   

Giving back to the community 

Having spent 20 years in a corporate environment, I took a secondment (a temporary long-term role) opportunity working with Co-op Academies. It’s been amazing to see the impact IT and technology has on students and families attending Co-op academies. Providing technology to disadvantaged children, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic, has been incredibly rewarding. It might even be one of my greatest achievements, and I’m really proud to be involved.  

Technician. Leader. Mother. 

Working as a mother has been tough at times, but Co-op’s core values and the understanding of the leadership teams within the business helped me find a balance. If you need a little more flexibility to manage life at home, Co-op will work with you and make it happen. And if you’re looking to build a long and successful career, the support will be there. The business is more focussed on achieving its goals than policing colleagues, and in my experience, there’s no clock-watching or micro-managing. I have 4 children, and throughout my 29 years at Co-op, I’ve always been given the platform I need to be a woman who does both. 

Dawn Boardman,

Head of IT

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