Leah Mitchell started her Capita journey over nine years ago working as a service desk analyst in IT and Networks. Today, Leah is Head of Support in the automation practice. We’ve been finding out more about the woman behind the role, and how she got to where she is.

Tell us a bit about your career so far

When I first started at Capita, I joined the Service Desk team as an analyst. I still can’t believe it’s been over nine years. I then moved into Service Acceptance, where I spent over three years safeguarding deliveries into the operational teams. From there, I then transitioned into team management, where I looked after the Group Service Desk and, more recently, I had the chance to become a lead service transition manager in the Automation Practice. There, I was able to shape many of the processes and ways of working that are still in place today.

After 18 months as a lead service transition manager, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to move into my current role as Head of Support, where I’m responsible for the smooth running of all our bots, as well as supporting with any bots moving into production.

Why did you choose to go into automation?

I’ve always been interested in robotics and automation, so it was pretty thrilling when the opportunity came up. That part of the organisation was very much in its infancy, so it was a really exciting time to join the practice.

Automation has been an up-and-coming technology for some time now, and it’s such a pivotal tool in promoting inclusivity and increasing productivity in not only our business, but the industry as a whole. There’s so much we can achieve with automation – it’s an amazing area to be a part of.

The technology behind automation is always changing, which can be challenging. It’s important we keep up with these changes, so we’re always looking at our tech stack to ensure we’re moving with the times and that our automation toolsets are the best fit for what we need to do.

No two days are ever the same, because all our projects and bots are so different. For example, some of our simpler bots assist with data input, some of them use logic to create invoices or reports, and some of our attended ones interact directly with users to automate part of a manual process. The possibility of what we can do is endless.

I particularly enjoyed the implementation of our Project Atlas bot, which sees the migration of Capita’s commercial contracts into one centralised location. It was one of our earliest bots and one of the first projects where you could really see our end-to-end process working. So far, it’s saved the commercial team over 13 weeks of manual effort.

How do you support your team?

I’d like to believe that I’m a very approachable person. My team knows that I’ll support them in any situation. It’s important to feel that the work you do means something and that you’re valued and appreciated. If someone does a good job, I’ll always try to make sure that they’re recognised for it.

Within my team, I try to implement an open-door policy where anyone can approach me and ask for help or a chat as and when they feel they need to. Friday coffee sessions give us a chance to catch up (with no work talk allowed!) and play a few games, like Pictionary – I feel it’s important that we get to know each other on a more personal level.

If you’re new to Capita, then it can be a bit daunting at the start, because of its size. I’d say never be afraid to ask questions and query things – we were all new once. Also, we have some great toolkits to help you understand its structure and how we all fit together. And you can always rely on your team and manager for support.

How have you been supported by Capita in your role?

Earlier this year I completed my ITIL Level 4 certification, which was a qualification I had been keen to obtain for a while. At Capita – and especially within automation – you have access to a wealth of free training materials directly from UiPath, one of the biggest automation tool providers in the industry, and from Microsoft. When I first started working within this area, both packages really helped me to understand and get to grips with automation tools and cloud computing services such as Microsoft Azure.

Personally, I also found my recent move into a more home-based way of working to be really beneficial for my work-life balance. Travelling to the office every day often consumed up to three hours of my time – on top of a full day’s work. Being able to work from home has made me significantly more productive, and it has freed up time I can now spend going for long walks with my dog (Levi the Labrador) and crafting all sorts of things from the random bits and pieces we find along the way!

What do you do to relax outside of work?

I have a Labrador named Levi who is basically my best friend. I feel guilty leaving him at home alone when I go out, so I generally try to involve him whenever I leave the house. There’s lots of walking, running and generally being outside. I also enjoy salvaging random bits and pieces found whenever we go for walks and crafting things from them. I’ve made signs, candle holders and frames to name a few, all from random pieces of wood found on those walks.

And just for fun, what’s your favourite line from a movie?

I have two.

“I would rather share one lifetime with you, than face all the ages of this world alone.”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched the Lord of the Rings films, but this quote always sticks with me (hopeless romantic here!).

Also, when Thanos says in Infinity War, “You’re not the only one cursed with knowledge”. It’s thought provoking and I like that.

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