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Women in Technology series: Aoife Fitzmaurice


 

 

This interview is with Aoife Fitzmaurice, Chief of Staff and VP Organisational Design and Workplace Futures. You can watch her video, or read the transcript of Aoife's interview below.

 

Brittany Benson: Thank you for joining and sharing a few minutes of your day with me! Could you share a little bit of detail about your role at Sage?

Aoife Fitzmaurice: I have recently started a new role! I'm chief of staff to our Chief People Officer (CPO), Amanda Cusdin. I'm also VP Org Design and Workplace Futures. I'm two months in-role already and it provides quite a diverse landscape and affords me an opportunity to work as Amanda's right-hand. My other two accountabilities link to org design and future workplace. On org design, it's asking, “Do we have the right structure at Sage as a business? Are we operating intentional org design? Are we making purposeful choices and driving org design and structure that delivers the intended performance outcomes?” It’s an interesting space and there's lots of new things on the horizon all the time.

The final part of my role is called the Future of Work. Ultimately, that's rooted in our Sage purpose and creating a future workplace that enables each individual to thrive.

Every role I've ever had at Sage has provided an opportunity to learn. In the present climate, the workplace is changing at a rapid pace and so we must adapt.  In my role, I'm achieving both a personal and professional purpose in helping create an inclusive future workplace where everyone can thrive.  This motivates me, I feel very fortunate to have this privileged position.

Brittany Benson: You just shared a number of deeply important and impactful aspects of the business, especially during an ever-evolving business landscape. Taking all of that into consideration, what would you say is the best part of your job?

Aoife Fitzmaurice: In terms of the best part about my job, no one day is the same. It's very interesting and I'm continuously learning. I'm naturally curious, and this role affords me an opportunity to learn, craft, and design a new future workplace vision, which is so exciting. I’m also fortunate to work for an incredible female leader, Amanda Cusdin, our CPO. She provides such a safe space, where I feel free to experiment, and can ask any question and learn from failures and successes.

I hope that I create that space for my team, where people can experiment, test their boundaries, feel that they belong, and ask questions. I feel like I can make a real difference at Sage and have a platform from which I can further  develop and to grow.

Brittany Benson: How would you personally describe your own leadership style? And can you share a little bit about what has shaped that?

Aoife Fitzmaurice: I'm still developing my leadership style and I think as a leader, it’s important to carve out time for  learning and to remain curious. How I describe my style: open, honest and transparent. I like to encourage open dialogue and challenge across my team. I really care. I bring that passion and that caring to everything I do personally and professionally. I'd like to think I am an inclusive leader.

I try to challenge those internal biases that we sometimes hold and need to overcome. I welcome diversity in all its forms, and I try to create that safe space that I mentioned, for my team to ensure that they can contribute, and they feel they belong. I also think it’s critical as a leader that you listen; That is a skill that is underestimated in today's busy world. Creating reflective time is also important; Leaders need time to think. If you're always doing, there's something wrong.

Finally, ensuring you're always challenging yourself, having fun, and recognising people's contribution. I think a thank you, goes a long way. I've been very fortunate because before working for Amanda, I worked for our CEO, Steve Hare. He created that safe space, encouraged my experimentation, and any failures. I failed fast and learned from them, but it was a safe space and that was brilliant. When I think of Sage, I'd like to think that all our leaders encourage development and that's super important going forward.

Brittany Benson: You touched on a few leaders that have really poured into you and you're pouring into others. During all of this, when you're in a mentorship and a leadership role, is there a woman either professionally or personally who has inspired you and really has driven you and championed for you?

Aoife Fitzmaurice: My mum is my role model both professionally and personally. I grew up in what was a very loving and caring family. From an early age, we were taught to have confidence and to go after anything, no matter what your gender or age. We were nurtured and encouraged to pursue any of the varied interests that children would like, be they, Gaelic football or Irish dancing, I went for it all. My mum also worked full-time outside the home. She completed a master's and a doctorate working full-time and being a full-time mum. She instilled in me a sense of hard work, determination, and seeking to always give your best  in any situation.

It’s important, for any human being to thrive, that they keep setting goals and keep pursuing goals. I saw my mum do that all throughout life and I'd like to think it’s something that I have ingrained in me. On a personal level, life hasn't always been easy for my mum. She battled cancer herself, she positively took on my dad's sudden loss and through it all she showed courage, she showed positivity and was really comfortable talking about emotion and her journey with grief. I think that has meant that I have good empathy which is so important in both my personal and professional life.

The final point is linked to females in leadership: confidence. My mum was confident when she was out there, but she did have moments of doubt and she continued to battle this and to set those challenges for herself. Although I might come across quite confident, I do have those imposter syndrome moments. She taught me to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is a motto that I hold close to my heart today. I feel very fortunate. There are so many other leaders and role models that I have in my life, but my mum was number one, definitely.

 

Read the other colleague profiles who are part of Sage’s Women in Technology interview series.

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