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A Q&A with Angela Meads, Engagement Manager

07th October 2021

Author Angela Meads

“I am delighted to welcome Angela Meads to the Davanti team. Angela’s expertise in programme delivery is well recognised across Wellington, she has been involved in numerous successful public sector transformation programmes, and brings great skill in people and programme management.”   

Kirsten Bockett-Smith

 

Tell us a bit about your role and what it entails.

 At Davanti I’m an Engagement Manager, here to help our clients achieve their strategic goals and delivery outcomes.

The role is quite varied – sometimes I’m working with clients on their strategy, including defining what that is and what benefits they want to realise, right through to being responsible for the delivery of a solution. My role involves a lot of stakeholder management working with them to articulate problems or challenges and solving them.

 

Tell us a bit about your background, your mission in life, what gets you out of bed in the morning…

I’ve had a long and varied history. If I go right back, I am a Chartered Accountant and had a whole life as CFO for a shipping company. While I was there, I got involved in systems implementation for a global logistics solution roll-out, which is when I started to focus more on delivery.   I’ve had a number of different roles, including working for one of the ‘big five’ accounting firms as part of the consulting team and I was able to hone my strategic skills, along with project management.  I went on to become the General Manager of an advertising agency, a role I really enjoyed because it helped me to develop my skillset around operations, and running and growing a business.  While there, I realised what I was doing – and in fact what I wanted to do – was all about behaviour change, because ultimately implementing solutions in a transformational programme of work is about changing behaviour. I liked it and stuck to that path – for the most part!

Another pivotal role I had was with MSI, which was the Ministry of Science and Innovation in 2011-2012. Here I was responsible for setting up the grants and funding operations. In more ‘recent times’ I have worked at Intergen for many years as a Programme Director, where I worked on major transformational programmes of work.

What gets me up in the morning is that I genuinely want to make a difference. In my working life making a difference comes down to understanding how we can contribute to solving a customer’s challenge. Ultimately my mission is to contribute to customers being successful, because if they are, so are we.  It’s certainly a journey!

 

What brought you to Davanti, and what are you most looking forward to in your new role?

Davanti recognises the need for the whole journey of discovery for the customer, focusing on what users want or what the problem is first, and then you rightsizing a solution – whether that’s software or products – to solve that. It’s too easy to jump right to a solution without fully understanding what the need is. Having an experience transformation framework and establishing a way of working from this point of view is key. This is so powerful and important.

Overall, it was this whole notion of human-centric design that made me feel excited about the role. When I first talked to the team, I felt really enthused. I’ve also come to a point in my career where I feel I have a lot to contribute, and Davanti wants people to contribute. I felt the opportunity was flexible, that the team listens and are genuine in that they want to hear what I have to say. There’s also an alignment of my values with Davanti’s particularly in regard to telling it like it is – I appreciate that way of working.

 

How do you help customers achieve connected experiences, and how does this improve their lives or achieve business outcomes?

My role is to do what it takes to help our customers get closer to their customers. I boil this down to focusing on what the wants and needs are for both groups of customers.  As I see it, we go on a journey right from working with our clients to establish their strategy and roadmap if they don’t have this in place. If they do, we work on refining and aligning to it.  Then it’s all about going on an experience transformation journey with our clients drawing on the Davanti team to help make this a reality.

We want to own outcomes and to do so we need to work closely with our customers to understand what they want, and from here we identify and recommend how to best make that happen and implement it.  My goal is to have Davanti teams across the whole journey so ultimately we can implement the most awesome systems for our customers that meet their needs.

Personally, I would like to be involved in the whole customer journey, from determining their needs right through to implementing a solution with them – It takes a lot of work and trust-building so not for the faint-hearted, but worth it.

 

In your conversations with customers right now, what’s the one thing they’re thinking about and focusing on this year when it comes to transforming their customer experience?

Since March last year, the world’s been turned on its head. How we engage with customers today is actually quite different from a couple of years ago. The conversation has become about how we can live in a more digital less personally connected world but keep up relationships and connections.

In Government, the conversation is always about benefits to New Zealand and New Zealanders. So now we’re asking ourselves how, in these times, can we make sure we successfully keep the country going during and after lockdowns and also continue to grow. How can we improve connection and ensure people can access whatever they need from Government more easily?

Human-centred design can improve connection  – and create connected experiences – in a very real way. When organisations shift their thinking from It can’t be done to How can it be done? That’s when we start to see real change.

 

When you’re not busy helping our clients get closer to their customers, how do you spend your time?

I live on a lifestyle block, so there’s not much leisure!  Much of my leisure is involved in the property, and I have horses as well, which takes up a lot of time. Aside from that, I’m quite social and I like to catch up with friends and family when I can.

Before Covid I enjoyed travelling and I’ve been to many places around the world. My most recent trip was to Melbourne in May. My son moved there a few years ago, and so I’ve been able to rediscover the city.

 

What are you reading at the moment?

 The Cellist by Daniel Silva.

 

Sources of inspiration?

My son. He’s super smart, and he pulls no punches when he gives me advice. I’d also count the people I’ve met along the way – many are strong women – those you can talk with, share ideas and get opinions from.

 

Favourite quote or mantra?

 “Nothing is impossible because the word itself says ‘I’m possible’.”

– Audrey Hepburn