watching a virtual conference on a laptop, zoom call, video callHere, Antonia Purdie, ICT Project Manager at Glide, reflects on her experience around being a woman in STEM and working on the frontline during the pandemic.

How long have you been at Glide for and what is your role?

“I have been at Glide for just over two years now as an ICT Project Manager. Prior to joining Glide, I served in the British Army for six years within the Royal Corp of Signals, where I carried out three tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Would you please be able to talk us through some of the different network projects you managed during lockdown? 

“One of the projects I worked on throughout lockdown is replacing BT fibre with our own dark fibre in Coventry. This has been really successful to date. I have also been working at the University of Worcester on a new managed service project which is quite a big project for Glide, as well as a number of other student accommodation projects across the Midlands.”

How was your experience of working on the frontline to deliver connectivity during the pandemic?

“It was definitely a different experience. It was challenging in terms of there being a lot of delays on site due to COVID-19 restrictions and numerous building works being halted. Once the sites were deemed COVID-secure we were allowed back on site, where we had the two-metre social distancing restrictions to adhere to as well as all of our health and safety documentations that had to be updated. It was also a priority to manage our customers’ expectations with projects being delayed.”

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

“It hasn’t been as bad as I envisioned it to be, as everyone is aware of what’s been happening and have been very understanding. The delays haven’t really been on our side because we have been waiting for building contractor. Therefore we can only go in and do the install once the building has achieved PC (Project Completed) status. In that respect, the pressure has been taken off of us slightly. I am currently doing some work where we are undertaking a migration from a previous provider to our network. This has been quite challenging with tight timescales and a backlog of work.

How has your past network engineering experience enabled you to work effectively during lockdown?

“I think my past experience of being a Field Engineer working for Thales France out in Afghanistan has helped me work effectively. It is quite restrictive over there and working with the military is obviously very vigilant, with a key focus on ‘expect the unexpected’. You don’t see any family or friends and it is very isolating, so in that respect, it is similar to the restrictions during the height of lockdown. Continuing working through this lockdown has also helped to keep my mind occupied and has certainly helped to keep a sense of normality during this time.”

Do you have any advice for other women pursuing a career in engineering or in the fibre connectivity field?

“Just to follow your dreams, if that is something you’re passionate about, then go for it. There are so many more opportunities now for women within this sector. When I first joined Glide there were not many female project managers, so I was one of the first in some time and now we have numerous females. This isn’t just a man’s world, there are now equal opportunities across the board.”

Antonia PurdieAbout Antonia

Antonia Purdie is a Project Manager with over 12 years of experience, working as part of a project delivery team within Glide. Antonia specialises in project end to end delivery of I.T Managed Services for student, residential and business customers across the Midlands region. Antonia is a highly motivated and enthusiastic Project Manager with an international working background, who demonstrates project and leadership skills throughout a highly successful and challenging career. In her free time, Antonia likes to hike with friends and spend quality time with her 6yr old daughter.



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