Courtneys curiousity has unlocked opportunities at Capgemini

Courtney's curiousity has unlocked opportunities at Capgemini

 June 25, 2019

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Courtney Dansby is an Executive Project Manager at Capgemini. She shares her career journey at Capgemini and how curiousity and the love of networking is the key to unlocking new opportunities.

Embracing new challenges

Courtney has always had a thirst for knowledge and a drive to find new challenges. That’s why she chose to study Chemical Engineering in college. For Courtney, It was a challenge; something new.

"Every challenge offers you new opportunities and new insights, which you can take to the next one," she says. "I’ve always tried to find ways to learn in every opportunity, and below are some of the lessons I’ve picked up along the way."

Engineering gives you skills for life

After getting a Masters in Entrepreneurship, Courtney got her first job with Capgemini as a consultant.

"It may seem like a big leap going from an engineering degree into consultancy, but the skills you learn in engineering are essential in a business like Capgemini: skills such as identifying problems, applying logic, devising solutions, and finding ways to do things better," explains Courtney.

They are skills Courtney applies to her life outside of work. For example, her logical problem-solving abilities are being directed towards planning her wedding. Her fiancé is an engineer too, so they're good at identifying and fixing problems together.

"It’s funny how often engineering disciplines can be applied to everyday life, whether it’s working out how the plumbing in your apartment works, or solving the myriad other problems life throws your way," adds Courtney.

When Courtney discovered she was lactose intolerant, she was disappointed at the limited choice of non-dairy ice cream flavors available, so she began working on developing some new flavors in her spare time.

"It’s a problem-solving exercise I’m enjoying a lot!" she says.

Another challenge that’s proving more of a struggle for Courtney is training for her first half marathon. She admits that she's not a natural long-distance runner, but she was challenged by a friend to enter a half marathon, so she has to see it through. She's eager to learn how you do it.

Always have an eagerness to learn

Courtney believes that an eagerness to learn is something she developed from a young age.

"I can probably trace it back to my grandmother, who was a teacher. She always said that once you have knowledge, you can’t have that taken away from you," she says.

"When I was growing up, I was always encouraged to find my own solutions. If I had a problem or question, I was told to find the answer for myself – and if I couldn’t, to go back and ask. I’ve never lost that drive to find answers and work out solutions."

"My quest for new challenges continued once I was at Capgemini. After a year in the consultant role, I moved to Cloud Infrastructure Services as a Proposals Manager. After a year in that role, I was promoted to Project Management Officer (PMO) for the bid managers. After another year, I became a bid manager myself. I now work as the PMO to Baru Rao, Head of Cloud Infrastructure Services in North America," she adds.

Never be afraid to ask

For someone who enjoys learning and new challenges, working in five different roles at Capgemini in just over three years has been a fantastic experience for Courtney. She has often found herself working alongside people who have been in the business for many years, and with people who are a couple of grades more senior than her.

"You really have to up your game and learn fast in those situations. For me, that doesn’t mean trying to look like you know everything, it means asking lots of questions. It means showing you have the right capabilities, but speaking up when you don’t understand," she explains.

Courtney has never been afraid to speak up and ask questions. She doesn't believe you should ever let fear control what you do.

"As an African-American woman growing up in the US, you get used to having to prove yourself. For me, you do that by welcoming new challenges, seeking out people who can help and support you, and always being willing to learn," she adds. "Throughout my time at Capgemini I’ve found that colleagues and managers really value this approach, and support anyone with the desire to learn and grow."

Try to see the bigger picture

When Courtney started at Capgemini she had a fixed idea about where she wanted her career to go. But now, having experienced so many different roles in a short time, her aspirations are much more flexible. She's happy to see where her career takes her, where opportunities lead, and how she can continue challenging herself.

"I think one of the big benefits of having moved around the company as much as I have is that I’ve gained a much clearer understanding of how different parts of this complex business interact; how different roles fit together and influence each other," she says. "It’s a perspective that’s really proving invaluable now I am PMO for the head of CIS North America. I can see how decisions made in one area affect others, and how the work of different people feeds in to our overall goals."

Get to know the right people

For Courtney, networking has been important in gaining this wider perspective too. It’s something she's naturally good at and really enjoys.

"You could even say it’s something I ace," she adds.

She believes that surrounding yourself with supportive people, and getting to know people who share your interests and ambitions, is essential for success in any area of life. At Capgemini, Courtney knows she can always talk to anyone, at any level, as a peer, and there are numerous employee resource groups (ERGs) where people with common interests can get together.

Getting involved in the African-American and African employee resource group (A3), and becoming its national co-lead, has been instrumental in Courtney's development and happiness at Capgemini. It's allowed her to meet many people she would have otherwise never met. When Courtney joined Capgemini, it really helped her build her professional network and develop her leadership skills.

"My fiancé and I recently moved to Houston, which is a new city to both of us. My passion for networking is really helping us get to know people, to meet our neighbors and to get out and explore the city. It’s an exciting time," she says.

"We’re members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and we’ve been busy getting to know the Houston chapter of this organization, making contact with lots of people who share our interests."

Always be ready for new challenges

Courtney has had so many new experiences and faced so many new challenges over the past few years in both her personal and professional life that her natural drive to keep learning has been thoroughly tested.

"But it has left me with a stronger desire than ever to continue pursuing new challenges. It has been such a positive time, full of fascinating people and rewarding experiences, that I can’t wait to see what the next few years has in store," she adds.

"For anyone looking for a role that allows you to play to your strengths, meet a diverse network of supportive people, and challenge yourself every day, Capgemini has the lot. Why not take a look at the current opportunities available?"

Join ambitious women like Courtney at Capgemini UK

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