Mhairi Davidson, Head of Portfolio @ Nimble Approach.
Joined May 2021 as Agile Delivery Lead, promoted to Head of Portfolio in March 2022.
What’s your role at Nimble?
I head one of our Portfolios of client work, which means I have Profit and Loss (P&L) responsibility for those programmes of work, as well as having account management, business development, relationship management and employee satisfaction at the heart of everything I do.
I also ensure that our Delivery to clients is flawless and that any account blockers or dependencies are solved and mitigated as quickly as possible.
I am also Chief Social Officer for our Sheffield office where you will often find me chairing Gin Club or Hot Chocolate Fridays!
Tell us about your journey to Nimble
I started at Nimble a little over 18 months ago as an Agile Delivery Lead.
I knew I needed to have something more, something I wouldn’t be able to find in my last role. I’d never been a consultant, so believed this would lead me to a wider and deeper understanding of the Tech industry.
Prior to working at Nimble I’d been performing a similar role at a large insurance software house and learned a lot more about Kanban, as I’d started my Delivery life in Scrum.
My career actually started in recruitment and sales; so Delivery has always been in my blood in some form or another; if you don’t bill money in Sales or Recruitment, it means that you don’t deliver and therefore risk your job – the stakes are high!
Hear more from Mhairi on her TactTalks Podcast
What are you aiming to achieve at Nimble?
I wanted to work somewhere that valued me and my contributions; somewhere I felt I could make a difference and grow with no barriers or ceilings. I knew I loved working with smaller, rapid growth companies and I was referred to Nimble by a good friend and mentor who knew I would flourish there.
I want to ensure that Nimble hits its goal of building not only the best technology consultancy for our clients, but the best place to work for our amazing people, whilst fulfilling my career goals at the same time.
What do you enjoy most about working at Nimble?
I enjoy the variety, the challenges that we face (both in growing a company and in the current climate) and constantly evolving and learning. There is no one way to grow a business and certainly no one model to follow to guarantee success.
It’s all about the passion and drive you have as a team and the unique steps you put in place to ensure success together.
I enjoy working with a management team who have everyone else’s best interests at heart. We constantly ask ourselves – “is this really the right thing to do?” – and it ensures we stick to our moral compass closely.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day!
I am still working as a Delivery Lead on one of our coolest clients, so I tune in every morning to stand up and ensure that our squad have no blockers, risks or dependencies and are empowered and enabled to work through the day with no barriers.
I have a variety of meetings to discuss my other clients, our people requirements, what recruitment we are currently driving, what new opportunities are available to us, how we continue to grow, and managing any social events in our Sheffield hub.
What do you love about working in Tech?
The camaraderie and focus on improvement and solutions, rather than on problems and stagnation. The industry is full of diversity and is really driving economic growth and change globally. Tech is everywhere and enables so much change for the better – I love how we always look for ground-breaking solutions to mundane problems and how there is a drive for inclusivity within that.
Also, no one day is the same, we work with amazingly cool clients, from kick starters to blue chips, through to public sector organisations and charities and everything in between! We are exceptionally proud of our people and the work that we do and we love to reward our Nimblers for their incredibly hard work and dedication, which is always a motivator for me, and I know that I can grow and evolve personally as well.
I do not get bored!
What achievements are you most proud of?
I was recently nominated for Outstanding Achiever at the TalkTalk Women in Tech North West awards – something that my peers organised without telling me so was a huge surprise and privilege! I love empowering people and often share my story in podcasts and talks to spread the word that you do not have to have a certain career path to be a Senior Leader in Tech.
One of my happiest and most humbling moments was receiving a gift from someone I managed when I left the company that told me that I was an “inspiration”. You can’t be prouder than knowing that you have had a positive impact on someone.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
I am a little Culture Vulture! I love going to the theatre, ballet and opera, galleries, museums, history and architecture (wandering aimlessly around town looking upwards at buildings with a coffee is one of my true life joys), theme parks, fitness, and trying things I’ve never done before!
I’m also a bit of a traveller so getting places I’ve never been, is a real thrill.
Any top tips for people starting out in a role like yours?
I have so many soundbites on this subject that are hard to articulate in written form, however my advice is to be brave. No one is going to give you a career (unless you are super lucky) so you need to be courageous and go out and get what you want for yourself.
You can see our open jobs on our careers page.
What was your dream job when you were at School?
I remember at one point wanting to be a marine biologist, which was weird because I have been scared of the sea ever since I can remember…
I honestly never knew what I wanted. I had no idea what was out there, I had no inspiration and I had no real grasp or understanding of the options available to me. All I knew was that I had to get good grades and go to University because that was the done thing at the time, and even after University I had absolutely no clue what to do.
I was luckily working full time for a large fashion house during my last term as I was only in uni 2 hours a week (worth the money…) and that covered me until I literally fell into recruitment through an application to an advert in a national newspaper.
What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I think my favourite thing that I have contributed to at Nimble was with a charity called Good Things Foundation. Knowing that I was working with an organisation who were building Tech for good was energising.
What technology are you looking forward to in the future?
Tech that can aid or empower society in ridding poverty, social exclusion and that aims for a fairer, more equal world.
Where do you think the tech industry can improve?
In the treatment of employees – we work in a fast, growth focused market that says that it looks after people with all these great benefits; but do they give them basic levels of respect? Look at the likes of Twitter and the redundancies they are making; what does that say to candidates looking to work for us? We need to walk the walk, not talk the talk, and make sure that we take care of people.
That’s why Nimble has decided to take an Employee First approach and ensure that we’re doing what our Nimblers ask for from us, so that we never assume or take each other for granted. The first Happiness Survey we put out said that our Nimblers wanted a better pension. So we did what they asked.
I’m so careful to respect other people and wish them well should we ever part company. My Dad always said, “Remember who you meet on the way up, because you’re sure to meet them on the way down” and that still resonates with me today. We are a product of the people that we work with, so let’s nurture that.