Sharon Moore MBE is IBM UK’s CTO for Public Sector, marrying the needs of industry with the potential of technology and breadth of IBM to transform technical capability into real business results. You will often find her on stage discussing the value to the public sector of technological advancements such as AI, intelligent automation and cloud platform. Sharon has moved into this role following success in IBM’s outsourcing, consulting and sales organisations, building a career as a technical architect with a focus on integration and enterprise architecture.
Sharon is also a board member of the CENSIS, the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems. She was honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours 2018 for services to women in technology based industries, and presented with the ‘Inspirational Women in Leadership’ award at the inaugural Scotland Women in Technology Awards 2017. She is Deputy Chair of BCSWomen, leads BCSWomen activity in Scotland, and is a board member of Scotland Women in Technology. She has found herself in the Computer Weekly Top 50 Women of Influence since 2016, rising to number 18 in 2019.
1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given
“Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” I’d add that this shouldn’t necessarily be employed for every single idea or initiative you have; you don’t want to be apologising all the time! But often it’s better just to get on and do something and show it works, whatever it might be.
2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given
That has to be to change a photo I had uploaded to our work directory system because I’d look back when I was older and regret it. I look back on it 15 years later and I still think it was great. There was nothing unprofessional about it at all, I just happened to be smiling from an angle rather than straight on!
3. What would you tell your younger self?
This one is hard because although I’ve made mistakes and could have gone about some things differently, all my experiences have made me who I am, and if I told my younger self to do something differently or think differently that might change me. Although, that does make me sound like I think I am perfect, and that most certainly is not true. Perhaps I have watched too much Doctor Who and am afraid of interfering with time. Perhaps I would tell myself just to make sure I was enjoying every minute of the ride, be more mindful, in the moment.
4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?
It has to be the potential to make a difference, to have a positive impact on society and our environment. It’s an industry in which we are always, always learning, and I look forward to it educating me more as my career goes on.
5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Is it a cliche to respond with “my mum”? She had high expectations of me – because she knew I could achieve them. She was both mother and father to my sister and me from when we were quite young, after my dad died, and whilst she was also housebound with a debilitating illness. If ever there is an example of perseverance, tenacity and selflessness it’s my mum!
From an industry perspective I have to say it’s not necessarily one person. I have found myself hugely inspired by many IBMers (some now ex-IBMers) who showed me how technology could make a difference, who demonstrated the importance of technical professionalism, who taught me how technology can be delivered well, who inspired and led and changed the careers of many people, and gave me the courage to challenge the status quo.