GET TO KNOW JENNIFER BROCKBANK PAPWORTH, AMERICAS CHANGE AND RELEASE MANAGER AT SG CANADA
Jennifer Papworth’s career has spanned more than a decade and has included developing many technical and leadership skills. Read her interview to learn more about how SG has helped her develop.
Please introduce yourself.
I am the global lead for Change and Release Management in the Americas. My team coordinates central change review boards and major infrastructure weekends, manages the calendar of planned events and resolves conflicts between them, enforces policy compliance, tracks Key Risk Indicators, and responds to audit requests. We lead and collaborate with our worldwide partners on improvement projects to render our service management tools and processes more efficient. In particular, I am the product owner for our Skype reminder bot and the change review board automation platform. I have just signed on as the Americas’ champion for a major platform migration.
I also serve as a Culture and Conduct Champion, a Canada co-chair for the Americas Women’s Network mentoring circles committee and an ambassador for our internal Spotlight recognition program.
Walk us through your career path at SG.
I joined SG a year and a half ago, in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. I remember cycling to downtown Montreal to pick up my laptop and not seeing another soul on the streets! Before SG, I held global leadership roles in support and service management at another bank for eight years.
My initial mandate was to run, stabilize and solidify the Change Management organization in Montreal. I then started working on development and compliance projects with our global service management counterparts in Paris and Asia. Working together, we accomplished many things, including simplifying infrastructure change policies, launching a tips and tricks series, renovating our review boards to educate application teams and enforce controls, automating change review checks, and rolling out workflows to manage conflicts with change freezes. Along the way, I also picked up responsibility for our team in India.
Most recently, I am taking on oversight of production tools development and getting involved in a large-scale platform migration.
As you moved through your career, how were you supported?
The entire organization has been incredibly supportive and proactive since day 1. My managers arranged introductions with all the Executive Committee members and key stakeholders as soon as I joined. My managing director called to hear my feedback after my first few weeks. They also set up ongoing opportunities to present our work to senior audiences in the US and Canada.
Encouraging training and development within our team is important. Our entire team is encouraged to devote time to online courses. For me, I was able to upgrade my ITIL certification, and I was matched with both an internal mentor and an external industry mentor through our partnership with the Women in Governance organization.
My management encouraged me to become involved with to Americas Women’s Network, and through this, I have been lucky enough to have been featured on Societe Generale’s LinkedIn page. Our international partners in the other regions have also been more than willing to involve me in initiatives whenever I raise my hand. It’s a great feeling to work in an environment that truly values your contributions, supports your decisions, and has your back.
Tell us about some of the skills you have developed?
I have a background in application enhancements and support, data analysis, process improvement and working group leadership. A combination of great bosses and past training showed me how to make data-based decisions, frame improvements, keep it simple, communicate succinctly and “manage up.” I also learned a lot from working in large enterprises – everything from collaboration and referential tools to program and stakeholder management to staffing processes.
At SG, the first skill I was able to practice and improve was doing business in French. While our investment bank operates in English, many of our strategic partners and stakeholders are from France. Speaking the same language can help overcome country barriers, set stakeholders at ease, and reach a decision faster. On a more technical level, I’d been involved in Agile projects before and was aware of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). At SG, I’ve had the chance to observe teams who are expert practitioners, set up my own JIRA project and fully embrace the practices as both a scrum master and product owner.
I’m looking forward to learning new skills on my next project, which will involve organizational change management and IT change management.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I love to make improvements and solve problems, and SG is a place that enables me to do that not only for our team but also for the whole organization. It’s also true what they say about the people making it worthwhile coming to work. In Production Management, we put in place some frameworks that can feel limiting to application and infrastructure teams. These are necessary to protect application stability and satisfy auditors. Because of our strong culture, I have found that people here are very willing to collaborate and find solutions when they understand what is driving a requirement. Our team has great camaraderie, and we have weekly social calls and inventive virtual escape games to keep us connected even during this period of remote work. Plus, on the occasions I do go to the office, there always seems to be food around, and the coffee is excellent.
Any career advice for your peers?
Identify the right projects to pursue by taking a step back and asking, “What’s the problem we’re trying to solve by doing this?” Observe smart people and copy any of their practices that you admire. Participate in training and structured events to expand your network, especially if you’re shy. If you have a question or an observation, speak up. You’re likely not the only one who is looking for the response.
If a conversation or a decision is even slightly prickly, pick up the phone to solve it.
Share your knowledge freely and encourage others to do the same. You can read some of my more “toptips’’on LinkedIn at @Jennifer Papworth.