STEMM PROFILE: Angela Ferguson | Group Managing Director – Asia-Pacific | ThoughtWorks | Melbourne | VIC
“Even though the little voice is still there shouting ‘fraud’, ‘imposter’ at regular intervals, I’ve realised that I’ve often been able to succeed, even when the voice is loud…”
I’m Group Managing Director for ThoughtWorks across the Asia-Pacific region, which currently includes offices across Singapore, China and Australia. I work closely with our clients located in and serviced by these offices to help them obtain a sustained competitive position through the innovative application of software. I also work closely with our country Managing Directors (MD) to oversee our operational results and the strategic evolution and expansion of our business across those regions.
I joined ThoughtWorks in 2006 for the opportunity to engage with a variety of leading organisations, as well as to collaborate with dedicated, talented and passionate people who love what they do and are engaged with and curious about the world around them.
My background is in project, programme and change management in a variety of industries. Prior to taking on the Group MD role, I was MD of Australia, and before that played a number consulting roles for clients in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and India as well as management team roles in both India and Australia. Before joining ThoughtWorks, I spent over ten years leading initiatives in Australia, the UK and The Netherlands.
What was the key thing that helped you get to where you are today?
A healthy sense of skepticism, and perspective on the work that I do. One of my sister’s is a medical doctor, the other a veterinarian. My parents were both teachers. If they screw up, people or animals die, or young minds are ruined forever … in my field, that’s not really a thing. While I’m driven to be get the best results I can, this perspective allows me to take the risks necessary to keep things moving.
I love reading. It’s one of my favourite leisure activities. This is also a challenge, as it means I somewhat resent reading some work-related books (at least the ones where they feel like work) …
Do you set boundaries? If yes, which is the most important one?
Yes, but for me there’s not an absolute priority or a strict set of boundaries. Instead they change and adapt as my life and work changes, and as my own reserves change over time. I just try to make sure I know what they are – and that I share them with others where appropriate and helpful in setting expectations.
How do you cope with self-doubt? How do you cope with imposter syndrome?
Realising that so many people suffer from it helps! Even though the little voice is still there shouting ‘fraud’, ‘imposter’ at regular intervals, I’ve realised that I’ve often been able to succeed, even when the voice is loud, so I’ve been able – to an extent – to disconnect my fear of being ‘found out’ from success somewhat. It’s hard to explain …
What have you learnt during your career to increase your resilience?
If you need to, hide in the toilets at conferences, just to get the few minutes of alone time; that allows you to go out and speak to people again.
LinkedIn: Ange Ferguson