By Ashlee Ball
Senior Client Development Manager
Having been a sales specialist in the IT industry for a while now, I’ve presided over the sales and delivery of 1000’s of technical projects. Each and every one of them were subtly different, each client was heavily involved and influenced the outcomes in ways that manufacturers couldn’t ever predict. Each project was intended to change the way that business functioned, and the genuine intention was always to make things better.
The most satisfying projects always became a close relationship and more often a very quickly crafted friendship with the person that was responsible for the end result. Complete with difficult conversations, funny moments, celebrations, frustrations and a shared responsibility with getting the job done. Their arse was on the line so I put mine there too – and together off we went.
Many of my clients over the last two decades still remain in my professional world as the whole process often uncovers shared ideals, revealing kindred spirits and always professional admiration for the others complimentary skills and knowledge. We pick each other’s brains and refer each other back into our networks when there is a question or issue that we know the other might know how to solve.
(I’m looking at YOU Robert Hudson)
Even if we don’t work together anymore it’s a shared history that gives us pause. And I love catching up every so often and getting a feel for their corner of our industry or what is happening in their lives. In the short and intense project phase, which is especially so when viewed in the context of a career, strong connections can be forged that last a lifetime.
(Your turn, Justin Gillfeather)
All of us would admit that there are always varying degrees of difficulty throughout the whole process. I might add the learning, negotiating and managing the difficult personalities and complex technologies as well as all the elements that orbit around both has been the bedrock of my whole career. I can honestly say that selling and delivering technology projects is one of the most satisfying feelings I can image. That’s why I do it. I get deep satisfaction and I honestly evolve with every one of them. And sometimes Im very privileged and find another amazing professional connection to keep. How many of us can say that?
And then I met Mariam Maroud and Fatima Kourouche from the South Western Sydney LHD.
A sales call that resulted in an in person site visit in a cold, empty, soulless council hall ended up with THE single most satisfying project in a career spanning 28 years. Topping all those that came before.
Put simply – these fine women work in Women’s Health in Fairfield / Cabramatta working predominately with immigrant women who often require support with issues around Domestic Violence.
The services meagre budget just wouldn’t stretch to the cost of the technology they so desperately needed. Not only did they need to reimagine that space and make it functional and inviting, they needed to be able to extend their services via video and enable some of their women to access the service from their homes. Many women are carers or remain housebound for other reasons and are unable to leave their homes. Videoconferencing is an ideal solution to allow these women to stay connected to their communities – isolation is sadly very prevalent for migrant women. Made more challenging in a CV19 environment
I grew up in the Bankstown LGA and these women are my sisters. How could I not do something? Mariam very cheekily suggested I do it for nothing. ( Haha ) then I thought about it. Challenge accepted…..
So when I left that meeting I made a few phone calls. I reached into my network of 30 years. In the time it took me to drive from Cabramatta to my office in St Leonards I told the story to a few selected people and managed to get all the equipment and services required to deliver a Premium Collaboration and VC solution for FREE.
That doesn’t make me anything special, it makes the value of the work that Fatima, Mariam and their staff immediately recognisable. Very quietly keeping our vulnerable women and their children supported and connected. Heroines one and all.
I was amazed at the instant generosity of my supplier partners and the speed to which they responded. Within 2 weeks we delivered a turnkey Collaboration and Video solution (Commbox Touchscreen coupled with a Logitech Meetup VC solution built and supported by Fast Track). As a team we rolled it in on a custom trolley and handed Mariam and Fatima the remote controls. Now their community can connect from anywhere.
(Karyn Pappas, Kirsty LeClerc – take a bow)
That minuscule budget has turned that cold hall into a warm, welcoming space – how Fatima did it is a next level miracle- transformed into cosy, functional and inviting. The service runs yoga sessions, support groups, community activities, womens health, counselling, all in multiple languages and so much more. And all of it can be accessed remotely now. Any woman that wants to be included has the option of staying in her home and still being involved. The beating heart of Video Conferencing is human interaction irrespective of distance and this is the best use case I can think of.
Fatima made me a Gluten free lunch from her very own kitchen (I could’ve cried – it was so delicious). Such a generous heart. What a rewarding experience for all of us that got involved I am now a very willing ambassador for them. I have such respect and I know we will remain connected in one way or another. I shall bring my connections to the table whenever they can be useful. Otherwise, what are they for?
From time to time I’ve had my moments doubting whether Ive made the right choices around my career direction. In the space of half an hour, from my car one ordinary Wednesday, just being able to pick up the phone to the right people and achieve this result allayed any questions about my choice of vocation. I did what I was born to do. Connect people and be a catalyst for positive change.
Delivering that project was the finest moment of my career.