Article by: Jody Millar

Developing future leaders is not simply about building new skill sets. It also calls for equipping people with the confidence to take on new challenges and reach for their goals.

When I was considering career paths for myself, I had several development discussions with my manager. Based on this, I was nominated for our Developing future leaders program. At the time, I had a keen interest in understanding the requirements of a director-level role and decided to accept a place in the program.

Now, having completed the program, it reaffirms CGI’s unwavering commitment to employee development for me.

Development and progression

The Developing future leaders program allowed me to see the role of a director in a new light and to understand just how multi-faceted such a role can be. Engaging in various hands-on activities and exercises provided a practical understanding, not only of the role itself, but also clarified where I needed to focus my development efforts.

Of course, there were also challenges, which is to be expected. For example, during the course, I quickly realised that an important area of development for me was owning the sales cycle. I had several conversations with my manager regarding this skill gap and as a result, I’ve built an action within my development plan to own a sales cycle end-to-end.

The acid test

Identifying skills gaps is one thing, but putting theory into practice is entirely different. The true acid test happened recently when one of my accounts initiated a contract renewal. I assumed responsibility for driving this process independently, with minimal input from others.

Although the renewal has yet to be finalised, I’m confident that our client will extend the contract for a further two years. Through this experience, and with the support of my manager, I have gained confidence in the sales cycle process and will continue to hone my skills. 

As I look ahead to my continued personal and professional growth and development, I realise that the knowledge and experiences gained from the course continue to play a pivotal role in my development. I’ve started incorporating several skills I learned and I intend to continue working on specific areas of development, with a view to one day moving into a director-level position. 

Leading the way in supporting employee wellbeing

In addition to my role as a senior service delivery manager, I’m also a mental health first aider and an active advocate. CGI supported me in obtaining my mental health first aid certification, providing me with a thorough understanding of how to support fellow CGI colleagues in times of need. I believe this complements my training as a first aider by ensuring I can provide support from both physical and mental perspectives.

These additional roles align with my experience, and as a potential future leader, I see these experiences as invaluable. Mental health and wellbeing play an enormous part in a person’s ability to perform well at work. I find it incredibly rewarding to be able to identify signs of struggle and offer support to colleagues. As a leader, it is vital to show empathy and care for our employees, and being an advocate for mental health wellbeing allows me to do this.

In addition, I actively contribute as a member of CGI’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Council, participating in events and initiatives that promote inclusion and equality, ensuring all voices are heard. Knowing CGI is a safe space gives me the confidence to put my hand up, speak up and get involved.

If you’re interested in joining a company dedicated to nurturing the growth and development of its employees, prioritising wellbeing and championing DE&I, explore CGI’s career website today.