Melanie Calver

The gift of Melanie is not that when she enters the room everyone stops talking, it’s that when she enters the room, everyone starts listening to each other.

She combines first class technical skills and knowledge with top-notch business aptitude and people skills to bridge the divide that can persist between IT departments and their businesses. Emphasising collaboration and mutual success, she ensures Us and Them becomes just Us.

Melanie began her career in IT at the tender age of 8 when her father bought her a BBC Micro and taught her how to code games. This led to a passion for technology which led her to Leeds University when she was told in her first lecture to put her hand flat above her head. The lecturer then explained this was the glass ceiling and she (and the other 5 women on a 900 strong course) should get used to it. The intention may have been fulfilled as Melanie determined not only to smash this ceiling but to help other young girls and women to have an easier path into technology as a result.

Throughout her career Melanie has specialised in Project Management, beginning with a small A-Level project to develop and implement a multi-dimensional data warehouse through to managing global programmes and project teams throughout EMEA covering both infrastructure and software development. She has spanned automotive, banking and the public sector. One thing has remained constant through all this – she believes that it is not enough to simply deliver a high performing project or department. She thinks beyond the immediate task or requirement, finding ways to overcome ostensibly fatal problems or blend seemingly competing requirements to deliver business benefit.

Parallel to this Melanie has a wide range of activities outside her job role. She has spoken at public events including about mental health issues – especially emotional and mental abuse which she suffered for 7 years in a private relationship before managing to escape. In her current role she has co-hosted an internal conference of circa 250 people as well as leading on recruiting and building a strong delivery management function for BPDTS Ltd which saw her recruit circa 70 people within 6 months. She has been at the core of establishing the Community of Practice for Delivery Management within BPDTS as well as for the Blackpool hub she works at and across the national team of Digital Service Practice Managers which she is part of.

Alongside her work leading a national team of around 30 delivery managers, she is an Enterprise Advisor with Inspira to a local school, regularly going in to work with the school and pupils to ensure they are offering the widest possible span for careers available. This has included interview prep days, question and answer panels and teaching interview etiquette which she delivers across the Fylde coast for a number of schools. She is a behaviour champion within BPDTS to provide a safe space for people to come and talk if they are having challenges or issues and heads up the BPDTS Women in Digital which has delivered a number of initiatives including; partnering with Next Tech Girls to provide placements for school girls in London to come and work for a tech company, advertising and securing funding for conference attendance for women across BPDTS to help them develop, everyWoman membership for 5 women per year within BPDTS and partnering with DWP Women in Digital. Melanie is also working with colleagues to setup and establish Agile Blackpool which are a series of MeetUps for Agile Practitioners on the Fylde Coast and is looking to setup a Women in Leadership MeetUp for the Fylde Coast as well. Melanie also provides mentoring services for the British Computer Society and external to BPDTS.

At the core of Melanie’s passion for; technology, making a difference and giving back, is the belief that it is incumbent upon IT managers to lead business and IT together to deliver not just business objectives but also benefits for wider society through innovative products or services.

Within that, she knows that IT must engage with the wider world to dispel myth and misunderstanding, and reveal potential and possibilities. By increasing awareness, she drives both demand for and development of better IT, while cementing the bonds within organisations that facilitate that. By opening the lid on the apparent mystery of IT she helps the business truly appreciate and value their IT department. Similarly, by exposing the business challenges being faced, she helps IT departments empathise with the pressures faced by their business counterparts.
Melanie can deliver the network that underpins business systems, but she will also deliver the network of personal relationships that underpins business success.