Meet the Team – Siobhan Farlow, Government, Social Sciences & Data and Technology

Siobhan Meet the Team Odgers Interim

In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we spoke to Siobhan Farlow, Consultant in Government, Social Services and Digital, Data and Technology, about her role and motivation, the differences across her two different sectors, and the interim roles that are in high demand.

Siobhan, you have been placing incredibly talented Interim Executives across a variety of roles nationwide. Tell us, which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most and what motivates you to be one of the best in your field?

Slightly cliched, I know, but the best aspect of my job are the people I get to work with on a daily basis. Meeting talented people and seeing them flourish is always inspiring and having the privilege of playing a part in this is both enjoyable and satisfying. The motivation then is easy, you can never tire of seeing both candidate and client delighted!

If you look back on your career to date, can you tell us about a project you are particularly proud of and why?

Recently, we have been involved with large scale Development Programmes involving over 100 managers. Taking large groups of managers and leaders through development programmes is difficult in the initial stages.

It involves having to break through company policies and politics, identifying areas in need of improvement, and finding a way to communicate advice without alienating stakeholders at every stage of the transformation process.

However, seeing the transformation in people as they accept and embrace the changes is something I have been particularly proud of. If you would like to read a recent case study of a large scale development programme, please click here.

The pandemic had a huge impact on most sectors, what are some of the immediate challenges your sectors are facing as per your observations?

I cover two sectors, which are affected in soberingly different ways.

On the one hand, the Digital, Data and Technology Sector is very much moving forward with ever greater advances in terms of AI, Robotics and IoT – the opportunities are endless. As a result, the sector requires talented and innovative interim executives, who can come in and drive forward new initiatives with an entrepreneurial spirit. However, these interim executives are in high demand, which provides a nice challenge for interim providers like us.

In marked contrast, across Social Services we are seeing demand increase with neglect, domestic violence, and poverty impacting communities. Those areas require a very different skill set of the interim executives we place in those crucial roles, however, the need for exceptional talent in both sector remains.

It is incredible rewarding to work with candidates, who are exceptionally progressive leaders and managers, to turn the inevitable challenges into opportunities for betterment.

As someone who has worked in the sector for a long time, what do you think the needs of the sector will be over the next 12-18 months, and how can interim executives help to fill them?

Trends we are fast seeing emerging include the need for:

  • DDAT specialists in future technologies and Data Analysts.
  • Demand management specialists, skilled commissioners, and early intervention experts.
  • Transformation and OD specialists are back in vogue as organisations do not have time to lose.
  • Service specialists – BAU continues at pace – with increasing demographics of those who had paused retirement now taking the option.

On a more personal note, how have you juggled home life and your career during the pandemic, and what are some of the key learnings you will be taking away from the past 18 months of working remotely?

As a people person there have been ups and downs (to say the least!) and lots of adjusting and re-adjusting.

I come from a very big warm Irish family, where the door is always open. Explaining to family that WFH is not for popping by for tea and soda bread visits has been fun!

I am definitely going to embrace the hybrid model of home and office, as they both have great advantages.

If you would like to get in touch with Siobhan, please click here.


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