The Momentum Interviews – Jo Eltringham

This is the second of our series of blogs titled The Momentum Interviews. This interview is with Jo Eltringham who is Projects Delivery Manager at AIA Australia.

 

Q

Can you tell me about your role?

A

I am responsible for the lean waterfall project delivery at AIA Australia. This role straddles responsibilities for delivery and people leadership. Every day is different here and brings unique challenges so I need to be flexible. A large portion of my time is spent on capability uplift, coaching and problem solving.

 

Q

What do you enjoy about working at AIA?

A

AIA is quite unlike anywhere I have worked before, and the culture and people are fantastic.  The focus on health and wellness is evident in the behaviour of the organisation, which really cares about the people and communities they serve.

Although we work hard, we have a lot of fun also which I think is really important!

 

Q

Describe your leadership style?

A

I focus on giving people the right roles, coaching and space to thrive, and also to progress in their careers. I would like to think that I treat everyone fairly and I am very open with the team regarding opportunities, both within the team and elsewhere in AIA. I have supported 3 people being seconded to different parts of the business since I joined.  Every team member is doing a different role to what they were doing when I first joined the business 15 months ago, and I am proud of this.

 

Q

Tell me a about your consultancy experience.

A

I started my career at Ernst & Young which gave me a core skill set and framework, as well as crystallised my working values. I still fall back on this on a daily/weekly basis. It has certainly contributed to me having a successful career. My learnings in consultancy are fundamental to how I work today.

 

Q

I understand that you spent some time working abroad, can you tell me a bit about this?

A

Yes, I worked for 7 years in London. Initially for EY and then in contract roles across Financial Services and Insurance. I also did two contracts for Diageo, a global leader in the premium drinks market.

My time abroad was an experience which I cannot recommend highly enough, and it was another important building block for my career.

 

Q

What would your advice be to someone who was considering working abroad?

A

There is a big difference between doing a short stint to fund your travels and a long stint as part of building your career. My advice is to get your professional qualifications prior to going to work abroad so both options are open to you.

It is important to be prepared for the fact that many things are different, such as work culture, qualifications and workplace expectations, and you need to accept that and find value in it over time.

I also think is important to consider how you are going to spend your time outside work. It is important to be able to develop a network of friends and / or activities that can help you settle in to life abroad.

 

Q

What do you feel is important in order to have high performing teams?

A

Teams need to feel supported and empowered. It requires an open and honest feedback culture and a coaching environment.

In my team, if we fail at something we learn from it. The focus is on fixing the problem and not attributing blame. As long we learn from that we are heading in the right direction.

The team needs to understand why they are doing something and what it contributes to both the organisation and their career.

They need opportunities where they are challenged and also set up for success, whilst considering the on-going need to still manage competing business demands.

 

Q

Tell me about your time in Belize.

A

I spent six months on a skilled volunteer placement in the capital of Belmopan, assisting them in improving performance in relation to the millennium development goals (United Nations). Key focus areas for me were around a reduction in maternal deaths, and a reduction in the rates of malaria and dengue fever.

I also introduced the immunisation section of the public health act and re-wrote international supplier contracts for medication purchase, distribution and storage.  This was all wrapped into performance measures for hospital administrators throughout the country.  It was one of the most challenging and rewarding things that I have ever done. I feel that this has been helpful in building both resilience and perspective in my day to day work today.

 

Q

What are your values?

A

I have a number values which I try to work by every day. These are proactivity, flexibility, resilience, respect, transparency & honesty, reliability, and fairness. I also believe in the importance of good organisational skills, and hard work with a healthy work life balance.

 

Q

What do you like to do outside of work?

A

I love to travel every chance I can, and I am also a big horse racing fan. I enjoy good food and wine, but my favourite two meals are actually brunch and high tea.

 

Q

What are your plans for Christmas?

A

It has been a really busy year at AIA, so I think that it is important to take the chance to relax and unwind. I will be spending my Christmas in the UK with my in-laws. Unfortunately, this means a cold Christmas, but I am sure that the post-Christmas sales will compensate for this.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog.

 

Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner that provides executive talent solutions to local and international organisations. We provide practitioners who excel at:
• Digital, Transformation, Project and Change Management
• Construction, Design & Architecture and Facilities Management

 

Alan Herrity.