Laura Kelly - Business Transformation Director
Name, Job Title, Years in Serco
Laura Kelly, Business Transformation Director, 20 years in Serco
Tell us a little bit about your role?
I am a member of the Executive Management Team at Serco Middle East. I’m responsible for strategic transformation and operational excellence programmes across our Middle East business. I am also responsible for the delivery of health, safety, quality and environmental management (HSQE).
Describe your career progression and what has supported you to progress to a senior leader position?
I started my career with Serco as the office administrator for the QHSE Director at NPL in London and I’m currently the Business Transformation Director for Serco Middle East in Dubai. I have been fortunate throughout my career with Serco to have managers who have actively encouraged and supported my progression. They challenged me to take on additional responsibilities and supported me in my work on special projects and secondments. Looking back, these challenges have been milestones in my career progression because it allowed me to demonstrate my commitment and readiness for new roles.
At Serco, 42% of our Executive Management Team is made up of females – how do you feel the business has supported you?
Serco’s Global Mobility team played a key role in enabling my move to the Middle East division which was pivotal to my current executive position. Prior to that, I completed secondments for Serco in Europe including Gibraltar and Germany. Serco provided me with excellent development opportunities for leadership, especially while I was working outside of my home country and comfort zone.
What barriers have you personally faced in your career when progressing into leadership positions, and what advice would you give to others to overcome these?
I think progression into leadership roles can sometimes have a time barrier. There are fewer senior roles than junior roles, therefore the opportunities to progress can become time-sensitive if your next role is already occupied by a strong leader. This is a time to consider your mobility across the company. Employees at Serco have a serious advantage here because we are a global company operating across 4 continents and 5 key market sectors. employees who might be facing difficulties moving to higher roles within their department can consider moving to another market or country where senior roles are more readily available.
What makes a good leader?
I think a good leader places the needs of the team and the business before their own needs. A good leader leads a high-performing team by understanding the strengths and weaknesses within the team and enabling team members to deliver to their strengths. A good leader leads by example 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
I think work-life balance starts with personal discipline. I believe Serco is a very flexible company and we have good policies on supporting all employees to maintain a work-life balance, but it does require structure and discipline. I really enjoy sports and often train for endurance races and it requires discipline and a few early morning starts.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I could not give one career highlight. Over the last 20 years, every single year has given me some kind of highlight, along with many ‘lowlights’ which I think provide a far greater learning experience. I would say that the opportunity to work with the Middle East business in 2000 was a pivotal year. It started as a short-term 4 month secondment and lead to me being here today.
Who inspires you and why?
Our employees across Serco Middle East inspire me every single day to come to work and do the best I can to deliver a strong and sustainable business that will continue to provide them employment in a safe and secure environment. Most of them are away from their home countries and families and show amazing resilience and passion for what they do every single day for our customers and the people we serve.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders in Serco?
There are no barriers to your progression and career in Serco except the ones you give yourself. Determine your own ambition and path to success and Serco will support you in realising that path if you show commitment and the right values.