Get to know our team
Meet the consultant… Samantha Garrathy
1. Put simply, what does a consultant do?
Most consultancy work revolves around project and programme planning, management and delivery. As Entec Si specialises in change management, a lot of my consultancy experience has focused on assisting with transformation projects. This involves careful planning and a consideration of the knock-on effects of different business changes.
From liaising closely with clients and building strong working relationships with them to working out what their needs are, communication is also key to great consultancy.
2. In your view, what kinds of people make great consultants?
To be a consultant, it’s essential to be organised. As you’ll be dealing with different projects at the same time, you need to be able structure your day accordingly and prioritise.
While there are lots of skills that a consultant needs to learn, you need to love a challenge.
Problem solving and having the open mindedness to try different approaches are other important skills to have.
3. What was your first impression of Entec Si?
Having come from a corporate background, Entec Si’s close family feel was something that I noticed straight away. Here everyone is made to feel included and that their voice is just as important as someone more senior.
The fact that we now work remotely more often hasn’t impacted how well we gel together either. Although I started my role only a few days before the first lockdown, I’ve felt connected with my team throughout.
4. What’s the most important lesson you learned in your time at Entec Si so far?
Always ask questions! Starting out in a new role can be overwhelming, but at Entec Si there’s a culture of open and honest communication. This means that I was able to easily speak to my team about any queries or concerns from the start.
The other major lesson I’ve learned at Entec Si is the importance of self-care and having a good work-life balance. Whereas in the past I might not have made such an effort to draw a line between my professional and personal lives, the team really respects this, which is helping me to bring my best self to my work.
5. What are your unique strengths?
I’m a people-person and a great communicator; a strength that Entec Si has helped me to bring out even more.
I don’t think I would be a good consultant without being extremely organised. I’m known to go as far as planning my schedule in detail a week in advance!
6. What are some top tips for those looking to begin their career in consulting?
To hit the ground running in consultancy, I think being a comfortable at holding conversations is important.
Consultancy requires us to gather information from a client or colleague and use it to help us reach our target. It’s also important to have a learner mindset and seek knowledge where you can get it. Consultancy is such a rapidly evolving field and we need to be aware of all the latest innovations.
7. What would your ideal holiday look like?
It’s a strange combination, but I really like to both relax and go on adventures. I’d love to travel to Mexico one day; I feel like it would be the ideal place to relax but also to explore. On one hand, you’ve got amazing beaches and on the other hand you have a rich culture that mixes European heritage with ancient customs.
Living the learning
During the last 10 months, despite maintaining high levels of chargeability, it’s apparent that I have learned more than ever before – with no training courses involved!
The project I’m working on is large and complex. By closure it will have delivered in excess of 50 workstreams. A number of these are essentially projects in their own right (e.g., upgrades or Cloud migrations) and the rest vary in size and complexity.
I began working on these in a support role to the project manager. This provided an opportunity to become accustomed to the client’s preferred ways of working. It also enabled me to form sound working relationships with the project team. I then progressed to take ownership of three sizeable, but related workstreams.
Learning from the ground up
As I reflect on my development across this period, what strikes me is the sheer amount of knowledge and skills I have gained whilst I was focussing on delivery. I have been able to observe the project manager in action, watch the outcomes unfold and apply myself to the same scenarios. During this process I’ve gained immediate feedback and experience, which would wouldn’t be possible in a traditional learning setting.
This opportunity to observe, practise, review and refine has led to increased confidence and independence. I’ve been able to quickly obtain an understanding of both detailed and high-level project elements in real-time. All of these experiences have been incredibly valuable to my personal development and learning. During this process I’ve gained experience and confidence through exposure to all aspects of the project. With guidance and informal mentoring from the project manager, I’ve been able to up-skill myself and embrace the project in a practical sense.
The value of learning
As my skillset and confidence have increased, I’ve become more involved in the wider project. In particular this has led me to take ownership for new areas of work, providing value to the client, but also in the longer term, to Entec Si.
I’m thrilled to be able to progress my consultancy through these on the job learning experiences. The emphasis that Entec Si places upon development means that I’m growing both professionally and personally. By creating a supportive and practical environment that puts people at the centre of every process, we’re able to deliver better outcomes for our clients. I’m super excited to see where my learning journey will take me next!
Meet the consultant… Matt Garrett
1. What does being a principal consultant consist of?
Key to being a principal consultant is the ability to build relationships with your clients. By really getting to know a business and its people, you can learn exactly what they need, making it easier to add value to the organisation. Collaborative relationships enable the successful delivery of a project, as well as helping to shape a business’ strategy and improving communication throughout the organisation. My role also involves identifying any potential obstacles on the road to project completion and solving them at the earliest possible stage.
2. How did your consultancy career begin?
I started my career as a data analyst at a business solutions company. However, an opportunity to join its consultancy team arose, and I thought I’d be a good fit. I went for the role and my consultancy journey began.
Fairly soon, my role shifted from an internal one, to one that involved me working hands-on with clients. I loved the collaborative aspect of the job and went on to work my way up through the ranks, before founding my own consultancy company. It was during this time that I assisted Entec Si with a project at Birmingham Library. After having seen the business work its magic first-hand, it wasn’t long until I joined Entec Si as an employee.
3. What is your main professional strength?
I’ve always been calm under pressure. My mind works very logically, so rather than panicking when something goes off course, I’m able to identify the steps that need to be taken to resolve the issue. In the world of consultancy, where projects don’t always go according to plan, this is a particularly useful skill.
People have also told me that I’m a bit of an influencer. Not in the social media sense, but in the way that I can get anyone on board with a project. It can be challenging to convince everyone that change is positive, but I tend to be able to persuade most people to give it a chance.
4. Are there any skills that you’d like to develop further (inside or outside of work?)
Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for mentoring people. Seeing their growth first-hand and knowing that I’ve been a part of it is incredibly rewarding, so inside of work I’d like to continue passing on my consultancy experience to others in the field.
Outside of work, I’ve always had a passion for cars. When I was younger, I did a lot of F1 experience days and wanted to be a professional racing driver. It might be a bit late for that, but I would love to give off-road driving a go and learn that as a new skill.
5. What lessons have you learnt since being at Entec Si?
I’ve learnt that effective communication and a willingness to engage make a world of difference with everything that we do. Collaboration is essential in every business, but particularly in consultancy.
More generally, I’ve also learnt that you have to create your own opportunities in life. Never wait for something to be handed to you, go out and get it for yourself.
6. What’s your idea of a perfect weekend?
Staying in a cottage in the Lake District with my family. I grew up in the countryside, so being amongst nature is something that has always made me happy. There’s nothing better than spending time with loved ones in a beautiful landscape.
7. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try but have yet to do?
I’ve been snorkeling before, but I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving. As well as witnessing the sea life up close, I’m fascinated by the history that you can come across while diving. Exploring a piece of history, such as a shipwreck, that is inaccessible to many people would be amazing.
Our CEO takes dedication to Birmingham businesses to the next level
Having lived in the city for over three decades, our CEO, Dr. Eman Al-Hillawi, has taken her passion for the Birmingham business community to the next level by applying to be part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Council.
With 22 applications for the 11 places available, an online election is taking place to decide who will secure each position.
Why vote for Eman?
Having studied, lived and worked in Birmingham since 1987, Eman considers the city her home. With a considerable network of local connections, she knows the challenges that the region’s businesses and people face. This understanding will enable her to contribute effectively to debates regarding the future of the city she cares so much about.
Eman is also hugely community focused and has a passion for people development. Having been a local school governor for five years, she is currently one of Andy Street’s ‘One Million Mentors’. This is reflected in several of the Entec Si team being involved in the Chamber’s Future Faces network.
Throughout Eman’s career, she has worked with a number of major organisations based in the city. These include over 20 years with Birmingham City Council and more than five years with Birmingham Airport. Now as a Birmingham-based employer herself, Eman has a vested interest in the city’s prosperity, and wants to play her part in building a bright future for everyone that calls it their home.
Entec Si has been a proactive member of the Chambers since 2014, and it’s time to take that involvement one step further.
If you’d like to support Eman by giving her your vote, you can do so here. You have until 6th September.
Our senior leadership team is evolving
As Entec Si goes from strength to strength, we’ve appointed a new CEO and executive chair to drive the business forward on its growth journey.
Our co-founders and former managing directors, Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden, are stepping into the new roles as part of our strategic move to a new consultancy-based operating model.
Introducing our CEO and executive chair
As CEO, Eman will be responsible for Entec Si’s day-to-day running This includes delivering our business plan, financial management and the development of our senior team.
Peter will focus on guiding our long-term strategic direction. His role includes business planning, forming new commercial partnerships and identifying future growth areas.
Entec Si is evolving
Our recent move to a new consultancy structure is enabling us to strengthen our cross-sector service offering. Similarly we’re able to accelerate the development of our team.
The business is now made up of seven different levels of consultants. This new structure means that our people receive training across a wide variety of consultancy skills. Our approach enables us to support clients on all aspects of a project.
During the pandemic, we also kept up our commitment to people development, sponsoring 21 people across the business to participate in training sessions or complete professional qualifications.
A word from our CEO, Eman Al-Hillawi:
“The way that we have pulled together and grown stronger over the last year and a half has demonstrated the resilience of our team. It’s really shown what can be achieved with the right people around us.
“Peter and I are now ready to take the next step on Entec Si’s growth journey. We believe that our new roles will be key to taking the business to the next level.”
A word from our executive chair, Peter Marsden:
“Being a managing director at Entec Si has been a hugely rewarding experience. But taking on the role of executive chair will enable Eman and I to embrace new challenges, while playing to our strengths.
“Our continued investment in the next generation of consultants is also vital for passing on the leadership baton. It also ensures that the business delivers exceptional consultancy for years to come.”
Find out more about our team.
Meet the consultant…
1. Please define your role in just a few words
As an Assistant Consultant, it’s my job to support the wider team on all stages of a project and ensure that it’s completed on time and on budget.
I‘m also a key part of the business support team. This involves everything from organising internal events and meetings, to assisting with resource management tasks.
2. What does a day in the life of a consultant look like?
No day is ever the same, but that’s what makes my role exciting and interesting. Some days I’ll find myself fully immersed in project delivery or meeting with clients, and on others, I might be helping our senior resource manager to better understand the team’s capacity.
3. What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
I’m currently working towards achieving my Level 4 Association for Project Management (APM) apprenticeship. I’ve got two more exams that I’m studying for. Fingers crossed that I’m able to pass them both first time!
Alongside my APM, I’m also interested in developing my Powerpoint skills, so I can design creative and professional slides for the business to use.
4. What makes Entec Si such a good place to work?
The excitement and passion that people bring to the table is infectious. Everyone is very determined to succeed and know that the key to this is working together as a team.
The friendly atmosphere and strong team spirit make coming to work every day very enjoyable.
5. What is your proudest work-related accomplishment to date?
I joined Entec Si as an apprentice but after gaining plenty of hands-on experience, I was offered a permanent position within the business. This was a very proud achievement for me and one that has enabled me to continue progressing my professional skills within an amazing company.
6. What are you most passionate about outside of work?
Outside of work I adore animals and can’t live without my two dogs! I am also very passionate about dance and have just started taking private lessons in salsa and Argentine tango. Dancing is my escape and a great way to just switch off after a busy day at work.
7. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take and why?
Very practically, I’d want to take a private jet…if that counts? It would give me a quick route home!
I’d also want all of my animals to come with me as I’d feel very lost without them. Lastly, I’d bring some food to feed both myself and my pets.
Let's start a conversation!
Contact us at email@example.com