Cheryl Stevens MBE - Speaker Spotlight

One Tech World Conference Speaker Spotlight: Cheryl Stevens MBE, DWP Digital

Speaker Spotlight - Cheryl Stevens MBE

WeAreTechWomen speaks to Cheryl Stevens MBE, Digital Director of Shared Channels Experience, DWP Digital, about her career.

Cheryl is also one of our speakers at our upcoming One Tech World conference on 01 April 2022. Cheryl will be discussing enabling an improved customer and colleague experience through better use of technology.

As a career civil servant Cheryl has held a variety of leadership posts; gaining operational insight, spearheading transformational change and developing an in depth knowledge of customers. Cheryl holds the vision of simplified experiences for colleagues and customers driven by life events and other user needs, regardless of channel or service line. Enabling safe, efficient, inclusive and consistent journeys across DWP. Enabling those services to operate securely with proportionate, tailored Identity and Trust solutions that meet both customer and service needs, whilst ensuring that the person, the data and the transaction are protected. Cheryl is passionate about lifting other Women in Digital & Identity.

This year, we are going to be bringing you the very best global virtual learning experience on a state-of-the-art conferencing platform. Our conference will provide ample opportunities to learn about emerging technologies and what is innovating and disrupting the industry. We are blessed to be given time from some of the world’s finest speakers who will be joining us to share their wisdom and knowledge. We will deliver innovative sessions on a variety of different areas of tech, with a side order of career development, fireside chats and ample networking opportunities, both on the day and through our global virtual networking world.

One Tech World Virtual Conference 2022

01 APRIL 2022

Book your place now to what is becoming the largest virtual conference for women in technology in 2022

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Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

I grew up in a small village near Preston in Lancashire to working class parents. As a result we had to make difficult choices and one of those choices was that I couldn’t go to uni. That set me on a path of roles in hospitality before I joined the Civil Service at 19.  I worked my way through the grades and undertaken a variety of roles but with the same theme – improving customer experience.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I genuinely didn’t until about 10 years ago when I realised only 3 things were really important to me 1) I was bought into and felt an attachment to the purpose of the organisation and team that I would work with. 2) That it was a leader of people role, having large teams really motivates me; I like making a difference if I can. 3) That I can use my specialism in Identity & Trust.  That has led me to where I am, and I can honestly say my current role as Director of Shared Channels Experience in DWP fits those 3 things perfectly.

What inspired you to get involved with motivational speaking?

I think I have an interesting take on things as I have had a varied career and background and often people really relate to my upbringing and hurdles along the way but can see that positive outcomes are possible.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

I was awarded an MBE when I was just 30 years old for the part I played in a large transformation that really did change customer experience for the better.

What do you think WeAreTechWomen guests will gain from your talk?

Hopefully some tips or even confidence that despite a seemingly different path that I have taken, I got there.

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What are your top 3 tips for success?

  • Understand what is important to you in terms of role satisfaction and don’t compromise on that
  • Get a good mentor who can help you navigate the day to day and a sponsor who is your cheerleader and always looking for opportunities for you
  • Authenticity – be true to who you are and be your authentic self, always

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

I came back to work after a long time off with a serious illness and I felt lost. I wasn’t sure where I fit in or what I wanted to do or even if I could do the role anymore.  My vast network and my mentor were critical at that time and really helped me find my feet again.

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

There are so many as I’m lucky to work with truly inspirational women every day in DWP Digital and those outside that are making a true difference to lives of millions of people.  I am most inspired by people I can relate to.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

Confidence.  I know that it has held me back in the past and it is still something I’m better at but still working on.  Having the right people around me that have nurtured and coached has definitely made a massive difference and I try to be that person back.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I would have to say pay and flexible working

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Have confidence, stay true to yourself and it will all be ok in the end.

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