I started at Proxima five years ago, as a Market Insight Researcher in the Wales office. Knowing little about Procurement, I learned a lot in my first three months and knew the culture of Proxima was a great fit for me. A member of the Leadership team noticed and offered me the opportunity to move into Consulting to support a large Proxima team at a Financial Services client for a few months. Even though I was new to the world of procurement at this point, the confidence they had in me picking it up quickly and making an impact was all I needed to go for it.
Very quickly, I gained a support network. My team on the client site quickly taught me the basics of procurement and how to navigate the complexities of a regulated environment, as well as the new art of stakeholder management. At the time, this was unexpected – I naively thought Consultants were individualistic and they wouldn’t provide so much coaching proactively on day one. Now I know this is just the way Proxima works.
As well as my day-to-day work, the Program Leadership team helped me to expand my role and I started to pick up transformation work – developing processes, writing operating documentation, and training the team on compliance. I absolutely loved it. To support me even further, Proxima sponsored me to complete a certificate with the International Compliance Association to build my knowledge and share it with the team. Fast forward 18 months, and I was still on the Consulting team (a little longer than initially agreed) and enjoying supporting more clients in different sectors around the country.
Just as my client engagement was coming to an end, an internal job advert was released to join the Solutions Team, a promotion opportunity away from the consulting world. Initially, I wasn’t confident in my chances but loved the look of the job, there was an opportunity to develop a completely different set of skills and to put my English degree to use. After discussions with my internal mentor, and coaching from my Career Manager, I put myself forward with nothing to lose, as I was happy to continue on the Consulting path if I didn’t make it through. Good news, I did.
Upon successful promotion, our Global Procurement Director, Richard Gibson, personally congratulated and continued to provide guidance and advice throughout my time in Solutions. Joining the Solutions team was a steep learning curve, and required operating with a different circle of colleagues – suddenly my day-to-day interactions were with our company Board members and Senior Leadership Team. With this, I realized I was working with a senior team who made the time to help employees – including the CEO who became my mentor. In my new role I wanted to develop the skill of storytelling, I applied for a grant from the company Learning and Development fund to attend an external course which helped speed up my development. Being in a supportive and collaborative work environment is a special thing: not only is my performance pushed but my personal well-being is accounted for too.
After a good stretch in Solutions, and a rapid improvement of skills and coaching from my Team Leader and Career Manager, I applied to become a Senior Consultant. I secured a number of endorsements from Senior Leadership who encouraged me to go for the position.
Following a successful jump, I moved back into the consulting team to build my knowledge of Transformation engagements and develop different skills. My Program Manager challenges me daily to actively work on my weakness and coaches me through difficult situations when they arise. This move has given me the opportunity to support new recruits and graduates with the aim that they enjoy working at Proxima, just as much as I do. There are constantly opportunities available to us all – if we want to push for them.
It’s only upon reflection of my five years at Proxima have I truly realized how supported I’ve been. I’ve been pushed to develop rapidly, and supported in equal measure. The career management, mentoring and access to training that Proxima provides, has allowed me to progress my career at an exponential rate. Taking opportunities with a sink or swim mentality works well. It’s even better if you know your company believes in you.