Diana Kennedy was chosen as the winner of the ‘Leader of the Year’ category at the FDM everywoman in Technology awards in 2014.
Your Name and Age: Diana Kennedy, aged 44
Tell us about your family: I have three gorgeous children: John aged 10, Helena aged 8 and Sam aged 6
What do you do for a living? How did you end up doing this?
I work in IT has Head of Strategy and Architecture for BP, managing a team of 50 people globally who design and build IT solutions for our business.
I studied Mechanical Engineering at university and undertook various industrial placements in the manufacturing industry in the UK, When I graduated, I was lured by the bright lights of London and had the opportunity to join a Management Consultancy where I could work in many sectors and get experience across many different organisations. I stayed in consulting for several years, and used my engineering background to move into the IT sector and start to lead teams of designers and technical architects. I have done this type of work ever since! Leading bigger and bigger teams on more and more complex projects and programmes. I love it.
What’s your favourite thing about your job
My favourite thing about working at BP is the amazing people. BP has an extraordinary ability and culture to recruit and retain the most amazingly talented people who really want to make a difference to meeting the energy needs of the world. We challenge each other every day to raise the bar with what we can achieve. It is a very energising place to work.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
I would probably say that my biggest mistake was going back to work too soon after having my second child. It was the hardest thing I ever did, and I deeply regret it. When I was at work, I just wanted to be at home with my new baby and when I was at home, I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing a great job at work. I would definitely recommend to anyone who has a young baby to take as much time as they possibly can with them, and enjoy the wonderful experience of having the opportunity to spend quality time with a beautiful new child – before getting back into the thrust of work. When you are back at work, there are so many things that you have to adjust to, so many things that you need to compromise that the time at home is such a precious time.
How do you fit in work with the family? Is your partner supportive of your business?
I am very lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband. But he has a very busy job too, so we have to work as a team to ensure everything is sorted for the children. We are very lucky to have an amazing nanny who works with us during the day. I am also very fortunate to work for an exceptional company in BP, who’s policies and family-friendly culture gives me the flexibility that I need to do a great job at work and do the best I can for my children. BP is a global company and I have a global team, spread across the UK, US and Asia. This means that I can leave the office in the UK at a sensible time (and I am absolutely ruthless about doing this – I have to, as my nanny finishes work at 6.30pm) and then if I need to I work in the evenings after the children are in bed, and catch up with my US colleagues.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come
I would certainly say that my ‘I’ve made it’ moment was winning the FDM everywoman in Technology ‘Team Leader of the Year’ award in 2014. I was truly humbled by this award, particularly to be nominated by my own team. To be recognised across the industry for my achievements was incredible, and was certainly a very proud moment.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
I would like to be Group CTO in a FTSE 50 company somewhere. I love new opportunities, and inspiring others to achieve. The technology sector is a great industry to be in, and one that can be enormously fulfilling.
I will definitely continue to encourage more and more girls to take up careers in the technology sector and be active in doing that in as many forums as I can. Giving something back to society and my industry is very important to me, and something that I encourage in my own children as well.