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On the ascent

Vera Alves | March 19, 2012
CIO talks to three women IT executives tipping the gender imbalance in the sector as they take on leadership and decision-making posts.

Claudia Vidal: Never stop growing your career

As the general manager for business operations at Uniservices, the research and commercialisation company of the University of Auckland, Claudia Vidal says the main challenge is dealing with the clash of cultures that sometimes occurs when you get commercial clients talking to the university, as the two types of institutions often have very different focuses.

Making that communication work is part of Vidal's job, along with her team of 10 people working at the business operations side of Uniservices. She also leads the development of the business strategy and IT strategy, as well as supporting the team that does contract negotiation, and managing vendor relationships. It is a role that keeps Vidal busy but she wouldn't have it any other way. A mother and wife, in a dual career couple, Vidal also does a good job of managing the balance between her career and her personal life. As "flexible" as her work environment may be, Vidal says it is not a nine-to-five job and there is a lot of additional time involved. "I have a very supportive family. They appreciate what I do and my children are used to it," she says.

Prior to Uniservices, she worked for a number of private sector companies including The Warehouse Group, TelstraClear, Air New Zealand and Johnson & Johnson.

Her role with the university presents her with new challenges and helps develop skills that the private sector roles did not necessarily call for but Vidal welcomes all the opportunities to evolve in her new career. "As with any kind of communication, there are no fixed rules, you get better at it as you go along," she says.

Vidal refuses to stop growing and evolving in her career. She has recently completed a course that granted her a certificate of company directorship with the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. "It was one of the best courses I have ever done," says Vidal. "The best part is the interaction with your peers."

The course taught her a lot about how to behave as a board member, what it entails to be a board member, what is required to be one and how to interact with other board members and contribute to the growth of the company. She says she definitely aspires to holding such a position in the future. "I have an interest in governance and business strategy so this has always been an ambition of mine."


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