Nathalie Hattotuwa - Head of Strategy & Client Engagement
Name, Job Title, Years in Serco
Nathalie Hattotuwa, Head of Strategy & Client Engagement
7 years with Serco Middle East
Tell us a little bit about your role?
As the Head of Strategy & Client Engagement, I am responsible for leading the development, implementation and monitoring of the strategic divisional roadmaps. Our Middle East division’s strategy is shaped based on the understanding of the market landscape and Serco’s market positioning with a key focus on client engagement and accounts in order to realise Serco’s growth aspirations.
Describe your career progression. What has supported you to progress to a senior leader position?
My initial role was as a transformation manager to design and implement a ‘Centre of Excellence’ transformation programme within Serco’s aviation business. Following this, I continued my career delivering risk-mitigated transition programmes before moving into a strategy development role. This experience within Serco has led me to my current role as the Head of Strategy and Client Engagement.
In order to progress I have worked with some great leaders, who have led by example and were committed to developing their teams. They have offered me opportunities to take on additional projects which really pushed me to take on different challenges beyond my day job. The personal growth that came with these challenges allowed me to develop and get ready for the next role.
At Serco, 42% of our Executive Management Team is made up of females – how do you feel the business has supported you?
The business has invested in my development through leadership programmes at different stages of my Serco journey. Serco has also allowed me the opportunity to work in different types of roles. On a more personal note, I have had two children whilst working for Serco Middle East and felt very supported throughout my maternity leave and return to work. They were great at giving me a balance between adapting to my role as a new mother, whilst also continuing to give me the work challenges that I craved.
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?
My barriers to progress in my career have always been personal one: I have not believed in myself. Every time I get a new project, I get a huge sense of fear that I will not be able to meet the required expectations and will let people down. This sometimes holds me back from putting myself forward for projects that I would like to get involved in.
It is important that you understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. It will enable you to look at how you can develop and confidently take on new challenges.
What makes a good leader?
I feel that a good leader is able to recognise the skills and talents of their team and invest in their development. A good leader is flexible and open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
Balancing my home and work life is a tough challenge that I face daily. For me, the key is to be super organised so that I can have dedicated and separate work and home time. I am fortunate to have a very strong support network at home to help me manage my home life whilst I am at work, which I just couldn’t cope without!
What has been the highlight of your career?
It is difficult to pinpoint a specific highlight in my career. If I had to choose, it would be when client engagement was introduced into my role. It was a great challenge and required an organisational mind shift and introduction to a new way of working. It was quite different to what I have done previously, but it still draws upon and builds on the transformational experience from my previous roles.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders in Serco?
Don’t be afraid to bring forward and own your ideas. Play to your strengths and understand your weaknesses so that you can continuously improve.