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Carolyn's Story

I can’t believe how much experience I’ve gained in the past year 

564 words approx. 2 minutes to read

A place that supports colleagues and the community

As a Manchester girl, I  always wanted to work at the Co-op. I was really attracted to working somewhere with North West roots, and a business that makes a notable difference for others. Plus, I had friends who worked at the Co-op and they all had good things to say. 

As a working parent of a young child the Co-op’s flexible working policy was really important to me as, like many, my work-life balance is important.  All Support Centre colleagues have the opportunity to work one day a week at home which means that I get to do some of the nursery drop-offs and pickups for my son.

A varied and challenging role

I love the variety of my role. As an IT Project Manager, I could be at a depot for an implementation one day, in meetings at Angel Square the next, and then creating project plans whilst working at home the day after. Issues can arise daily which means I get to problem solve and speak to lots of new colleagues regularly. It’s challenging but really rewarding when you get to help solve an issue.

The biggest challenge I’ve personally faced is the uplift in responsibility when moving from an analyst to a manager role. This is the first time I have managed a project team, and at first, when anything went wrong, I took it personally and felt it was my fault. Through experience, I’ve learned that it’s not the fact that problems occur, it’s how you deal with them that really matters. 

I have also been lucky enough to be coached and mentored by senior project managers and delivery managers who have taken the time to support and develop me in my role, and help me gain the experience I need to succeed.

A place to develop

My career has developed a tremendous amount since joining the Co-op. Previously I had mainly worked in data and statistical analysis roles, but once I joined, I started to work in the project world as a PMO Analyst. After a year, I decided to develop my skills in project delivery and secured a role as a Junior Project Manager in IT. Since then, I’ve gained exposure to a wide array of projects, some small, some very high profile. I led a workstream on our warehouse management applications when we opened a new Co-op distribution centre in the South East. It’s been a very steep learning curve and very challenging at times, but I have gained a huge amount of experience and knowledge in such a short space of time. When I look back to myself just one year ago, I can’t believe how much experience I’ve gained and how much I’ve grown in confidence. 

A place where values matter

As the leader of a project team, you have to accept that you won’t know all of the answers - and that’s okay. As a Project Manager, your job is to go to the person who does have the answer and get their help. A Project Manager will not get very far without the engagement of their project team. Therefore I always embody our Being Co-op values, succeeding together is really important for me, and to ensure that I inspire and energise my team to reach our shared goals.

Carolyn Addison,

IT Project Manager