Tamara Ahlers has a long standing career in the rigorous corporate world, after consultancy roles in SAP outside her native South Africa. Now onside with blue-infinity as a Salesforce Program Manager at a non-profit entity in Geneva, she is embracing a different business philosophy in a similarly complex and hierarchical environment, and who as a seasoned player enjoys bringing her competencies in organisation and coordination to the fore.
With new responsibility comes new learning. “Building the team around me, deciding project scope, deciding the who, what, how and why… I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues with the first launch.” Tamara has also improved her French, learned more about key technologies like SharePoint, rubbed shoulders with UX designers and embraced a diversity of age that is “innovative and fun.”
“The biggest challenge so far has been coordinating and putting together the right team. It’s like an orchestra – we are all different instruments that have to play together, at the right time.” Tamara appreciates most the spirit of teamwork and openness. She views herself as less authoritative than one might think in her approach to driving a team, “it’s more about enabling the experts to do what they are best at.”
“Seeing my team excel and deliver is the most rewarding part of my day.” Forming a common understanding between all people involved in a project is fundamental to its success. According to Tamara, the relationship building between client and project manager, between development team and designer, and so on “is more about facilitating collaboration than simply connecting people.”
It’s perhaps unsurprising then that Tamara’s personal quest is to “help and guide people to be better, to help them reach their potential.” She believes in herself as a coach and would like one day to be in an environment that helps her extend her skills in this area, in which she is already qualified.
What advice would Tamara offer a newcomer? “One of the best skills you can have is the ability to listen – to go broad in your thinking and not simply replicate what worked before.” At her client, around 30 experts are currently involved from blue-infinity, offering a range of skills and knowledge in various areas. “There are some strong characters here. Within the b-i team, it’s good fun. We stand around over coffee, chatting as a mixed team that we all feel a part of.”
Digitally speaking, Tamara toyed with the first Kodak digital cameras. She enjoys technology, innovation and has been involved previously in digital picture libraries and as a consultant in SAP. At the client, Digital is all about enabling people to work better together. “The people at b-i, they’re what makes us more nimble, with the combination of creativity and innovation giving us more freedom in exploring all possibilities.”