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United Kingdom / Support services / Learning and development consultant

Zoe Carter-Owen

In February 2015, Zoe and her partner went to climb Mount Kenya. Here they stand two days away from the 15,000 foot summit, looking at one of the peaks they had to scale and realising how hard it was going to be.

"The best thing about my role is the variation and scope for innovation."

Why did you decide to join Mott MacDonald?

I joined Mott MacDonald eight years ago, moving from a role in a city law firm. I wanted to maintain my international experience, work for a large organisation, stay in the specialism of graduate recruitment and development, but was excited about the opportunity to develop my role. I wanted a challenge and I also wanted to move away from working in the city and cut down my commute. I decided to move to Brighton so being based in Croydon was ideal!

What is the best thing about your role?

The best thing about my role is the variation and scope for innovation. There is always a new project round the corner, and I am able to instigate changes and see new initiatives take off.

How would you describe the culture of Mott MacDonald?

Open, supportive, with a family-feel. I’m always amazed by this culture in such a large and complex organisation. Having worked for other large organisations, I think Mott MacDonald’s culture is unique.

How do you feel you career has progressed while working at Mott MacDonald?

I’ve gone from graduate development advisor to manager, to learning and development consultant. Whilst I still have over-all strategic involvement with graduates and apprentices, I now have a much wider learning and development remit from design and delivery on large development programmes, through to forum design and bespoke interventions.

How have you been supported during your career development?

I have had fantastic support – my MA was funded, I have become qualified on psychometric testing, and I have had access to several development courses and have just finished the ‘Managing People for Excellence’ programme. Working overseas in Russia and South Africa has been invaluable in terms of my development and over the last couple of years, my development has come in the most challenging form – taking on new responsibilities and getting excellent coaching from my manager and through relationships formed through professional networks. I decided a few years ago to just say “yes” to any new work opportunities and worry about it afterwards! It’s proved the best way to learn and I’ve been supported throughout. I’m always encouraged to think about what I want and where I want to take the role, so I never stagnate.

Are you involved with any charities or do any volunteer work?

Yes – I have just finished mentoring a young boy through ‘Lives Not Knives’ in a Croydon school. I also run my own small environmental charity with my partner, doing work in Sussex and Kenya. I run a not-for-profit arts event in Brighton which I started two years ago, and I am involved with ‘A Band of Brothers’, a mentoring charity in Brighton. I’ve just come back from climbing Mount Kenya, having taken a mentee from ‘A Band of Brothers’ – an incredible experience.

Do you have a hidden talent? If so what is it?

I am a qualified kid’s yoga teacher and run classes in Brighton. I also make amazing sweet and healthy cakes……out of vegetables!

What inspires you about your work?

Making a difference. If a course or programme I have designed and implemented helps someone develop personally and / or professionally, or have a light bulb moment, or helped them see a situation or themselves differently, then I’m happy.

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