A year as Head of Google Workspace, Jenny Hackland reflects on her time at CTS

A word from Jenny...

It's been a busy old year for Jenny Hackland (Head of Google Workspace)  We're joining Katie Williams (Talent Acquisition Specialist) in asking some questions about her time at CTS. 

 

What is your role at CTS?

My role is Head of Google Workspace at CTS. What we are doing with both Google and our clients is exciting in that we look to recast the current and evolve to a more efficient way of working. It is that sense of personal empowerment in carrying out day to day tasks more efficiently that I find just so compelling and it taps into the way my brain ticks. 

With a decade or so experience in cloud related professional services, and having worked with several evolutions of Google’s collaboration offerings, I started at CTS in May 2020 - firmly in lockdown frenzy in Europe. It was immediately obvious that I had made the right decision in joining CTS with it’s culture of getting involved and the exciting prospect of building and establishing a new business unit. By the time I joined CTS, the delivery and support team structure was evolving into a new dedicated function. My role is to lead that ‘new’ dedicated Workspace practice working with a diverse and extremely creative team who deliver Professional and Managed Services, and ongoing Customer Services.

Why CTS? 

Business change, project management and service transition led me to professional services delivery and leadership roles then ultimately, CTS. This role allows me to work with smart, friendly people and be part of an ambition that resonates with me, namely to be the largest dedicated Google Cloud Partner. 

I’m motivated by people’s willingness and engagement to be the best they can be. CTS has a tremendous people team - caring, cohesive, with clear values that we live by. By launching our DEI initiative in a meaningful way, establishing a partnership with Wagora, creating a Women In Tech community, and driving our tech for non-tech sessions there is an investment in the people to be their best.

There are days when peeling yourself away from the desk feels impossible, but let’s not forget lunchtime scavenger hunts (no, I did not employ my kids to assist!), morning yoga, our current steps challenge (again, no little’uns recruited here), a lunchtime Book Club - these are good for the soul and enabling colleagues to get involved in those activities is superbly important to me.

Why Workspace?

My first lightbulb moment came back in 2012 when the power of working on a pitch deck in the back of a taxi en route to a customer could be done on the move and in collaboration with the team back in the office! From that point, there have been personal wins with a family calendar to coordinate who was taking what shift during homeschooling (no more house whiteboard!) and evidently more professional ones. 

There is growing engagement and adoption of Workspace even within our own organisation as we welcome newbies across many roles. It reminds me to share that with our customers, to delight in their ability to innovate, and see their joy of applying data filters, throwing a doc on screen to share ideas, or conditional formatting - such power! 

You are coming up to your 1 year anniversary, what have you learnt over the last year?

I had more than an inkling that CTS would continue to grow at pace and I wanted to be a part of it given it’s position as Europe’s largest dedicated Google Premier partner. With growth comes opportunities to learn new things in any role. 

As I approach my first anniversary at CTS, the focus of establishing and scaling our CTS Workspace practice has been varied and challenging. In particular, establishing our Customer Service team where the mission is to engage with our large Workspace client base to bring them further along their Google Cloud journey has been tremendously rewarding. 

We witnessed the world launch into the ‘work from home’ era and for me Workspace has played a vital role within that transition. The reality is that I have yet to meet more than a handful of my colleagues in person which is a real shame and yet I can feel a strength in what we can do together as the lockdown fog lifts rather than a sense of something having been missing.

CTS recently kicked off our Elevate Leadership Programme, an intensive year long programme to provide a diverse group of colleagues with the tools to become future leaders. CTS are constantly investing in the future of our people and it's an honour to be mentoring two of our future leaders.

What has your experience as a woman in tech taught you about leadership? 

Have your own back, back yourself. This is what a friend in a similar role said to me recently. It’s so true. You must have compassion for yourself, beyond your own team and ensure there is time for you to be the leader you want to be. This benefits more widely and can be done with a cuppa to aid focused thoughts! Have confidence in being flexible in your approach to leadership - it’s situational, it’s flexible, it’s still consistent.

The emotional impact of the pandemic, balancing the ‘guilt’ on placing efforts in the right place with that newbie feeling, building a Workspace practice with new functions whilst agonising over the fact that the snack cupboard is bare AGAIN (how?!?), explaining times tables using pasta shapes and what a simile is to a 10 year old whilst debating on whether it’s a beans on toast (deeelicious) or a Deliveroo. That’s how many of us find it, right?

Final reflections on my cloud journey

As you read this, we continue to hire! We’re looking for smart, enthusiastic people in a variety of roles who want to shapeshift not only the way our customers run their business, but help take CTS on their way to meet our ambitions, and perhaps yours!

I started my career studying sport science, teaching swimming before finding myself growing a start up printer cartridge recycling franchise (printer ink is more expensive than gold you know!). The enjoyment of commercial and operational elements to running a business took a hiatus whilst I leaned in on project management skills that brought me into the realms of Cloud services, motherhood, redundancy and an opportunity to be part of something excellent.

Why am I telling you this? There is no well trodden career path, it’s your path. And, like I said, I’ve reached a happy place in my career plus it’s beans on toast tonight.

A final word from Katie...

I really enjoyed speaking with Jenny and reflecting on her first year at CTS and her journey to get where she is today. I found it especially inspiring to hear about Jenny’s experience as a woman in leadership within the tech industry.

We are currently recruiting into the Workspace function here at CTS and if you’re interested in having a conversation with myself about any of our open opportunities you can reach out to me at katie.williams@cts.co

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