2022 in review
I knew 2022 was going to be a year of big change for me, as I started my new role with Concero as their new Chief Technology Officer on 1st January.
Starting a new role was something I hadn’t done for 10 years, any movements in my previous role were a natural progression – and so I was unsure what was the best way to be the newbie, when I had previously been the longest serving member and manager of a team. I wanted to make an impact and justify the faith placed in me, but I also wanted to understand the company, it’s people, structure, ethos and strengths. My role was new, and the scope of it and structure around it has evolved over the last 12 months.
As is ever the case in IT, the chance to sit back and watch is short lived if even possible, and I hit the ground running as many customers and colleagues from Lourdes IT followed to Concero. It’s safe to say in the first 6 months of the year, I learned a lot. Valuable lessons that I will carry with me if I ever start a new role again – I am grateful that I work with some great colleagues who are supportive and understanding, and allowed me to find my feet. Certainly over the summer projects and into the Autumn term I feel that I had a better grip on expectations of the role, and I return in January confident about my team and my role, and where I can work to improve, develop and celebrate our successes, which are numerous.
Throughout the year there have been some real highlights – from exhibiting at BETT on the Microsoft Stand, visiting Microsoft’s London HQ, Google’s London HQ, seeing Bromcom at the Shard as well as attending the IT Service Management show were all exciting events. Being part of a team that has delivered events and lately the transformation of the Concero office to such a great place to work have also been stand out moments.
But what I am most proud of is the work the entire team at Concero have achieved – we have moved 25 schools to the cloud this year, and that’s full cloud, from the first in February to moving 19 in the summer, including a trust of 9. Works at other schools have seen us implement a new network into an exciting new build project in Southwark, and transforming a school in Harrow which has now been confirmed as an incubator school and is well on the way to becoming a Showcase school.
Whilst alongside the entire IT Support industry, recruitment and retention is a consistent challenge – with 2022 ending the sense of community within the team is strong – we have appointed some fantastic new colleagues, and some existing colleagues have been able to develop their skills into new roles, with many more opportunities as we continue to grow.
Straggling both professional and personal has been my podcast which I launched in 2022, I am really grateful for some excellent guests who have given up their time to record a conversation with me, and I am l hopeful for more in 2023.
For me personally, alongside the move to Concero, I have battled some health issues, during August 2022 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – which was seriously out of control. Looking back over the last 5-6 months I can now reflect on what an impact this diagnosis has had – it has certainly been life changing for me, and actually whilst it is improving – it’s not yet classed as under control, and still impacts me daily.
I have also been continuing to battle my mental health, and whilst a more positive year on the whole, it has flared a few times. Better awareness on my part, and openness with family and loved ones has made it more manageable, and I would be lying if I said my anxiety hasn’t thrived on telling me every way I am failing in my new role!
I think as well, we are all struggling in the current climate. Driving 70 miles a day, at least an hour each way has certainly added some miles onto my car and something I spend more time doing then I want in an ideal world. Whilst I can WFH, I don’t think it’s always the best for me or my team to be out of the office. Additionally having to travel a fair way to pick up and drop off the kids from their mums every week means that I spend a lot of time driving, and spending money on the fuel!
I knew that would be the case with the new role, so it’s not a surprise. Luckily the drive itself (despite being M5/M6 – I think working later means I avoid rush hour) isn’t that taxing, and it gives me a chance to unwind a bit. I generally stay at work until I have finished, so I don’t go home and work – as after the drive back I am too tired to concentrate. I just need to keep reminding myself it’s an hour drive back – and so whereas before I worked later, I only had a 2 mile commute, so even finishing earlier means I get home later. I’ll learn one day!
I’ve been wanting to buy a house for some time, to get myself out the hole of renting, but with sizable debts I have spent the last year restructuring it to try and put me in a position to be able to at least have the option should the opportunity arises – safe to say this hasn’t been the best year to be trying to do this! But I am in a better position then this time last year, so that is a start! 2023 will also be the year when my partner and I take ourselves and our 4 kids abroad together for the same time, for me, will be the first time I have taken my kids abroad proper.
There has been some very enjoyable moments in 2022 as well, including a week long holiday in Rhodes with my partner, Abigail, camping trips during the summer which were really enjoyable, getting to meet my new niece, Isla who was born in September 22 on the day of the Queen’s funeral was a real ray of light. My son also achieved some great GCSE results and I also enjoyed seeing Rag n Bone man and Adam Kay live, as well as some nice days out at places like Longleat.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in 2023. I am not one for planning in my personal life, between 2 split parent families with my partner and I, we are not always solely in control of what happens and with my son now 17 and his step brothers and sisters catching up fast, it will continue to be an interesting mix I am sure. I think I embrace it now more then ever before. Work wise I am excited about the potential of the team at Concero to continue to achieve so much for our customers and each other. Lets see what happens next. If you want to follow me on my journey, I am on twitter @msetchell and on Linked In.