Naomi McLaughlin has been named as Automated Intelligence’s new Head of Engineering.
AI’s former Product Delivery Manager takes over the challenging role of being responsible for all areas of the engineering function, including product vision, design, development and delivery, for Automated Intelligence (AI) and its sister brand hivera.
It’s the first time in AI’s history that a female has been promoted to the lead role in Engineering.
Naomi started Automated Intelligence as a graduate and has worked her way up to the top, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Naomi and of the career development opportunities within AI.
We spoke to Naomi to find out about her time in AI:
“For my graduate role I had two interviews with Automated Intelligence, as it was between me and another person, so thank goodness I didn’t let my nerves and lack of industry experience get the better of me!
When I started as a Graduate QA [Quality Assurance], funny enough, I wasn’t completely sure what QA was because my placement was the only IT job I ever had, and university didn’t cover a lot on testing or Quality Assurance.
But soon I gained the skills and abilities to work my way up to Senior QA, then Lead QA and on to Lead Operations Engineer before my last role as Product Delivery Manager.
In that role I made sure we were delivering high-quality products, and that they were not just meeting, but exceeding, expectations. As a result, I understand what is needed to deliver products and deliver them well – and drive the product in the right direction.
Leading the charge as a mentor
During my time at AI, I have had strong mentors, including the former Head of Engineering, Chris McAtackney, and our now COO, Pauline Timoney, and I want to be that mentor for others.
You need a strong mentor who appreciates and applauds you when you are doing things really well, but is also willing to call you out to do things better.
People have to have good leadership in order to progress in their career. There are particular skills that you can’t just learn from a textbook or a course. I’m really looking forward to guiding others in the way I’ve been guided.
Career v Children
I’m just back from maternity leave in October 2020 and have been promoted to Head of Engineering just a short 5 months later.
When I was pregnant, I was thinking, I’m only going to take a few months; I can’t be away from work for that long…but little do you know until you have children that you have no time to yourself! I’ve been so lucky to work for a company that is willing to work with you to ease you back in.
What I’ve learnt is that it’s absolutely not children or a career (a common perception!)– and AI shows that it isn’t. We can do it all!
Next steps as new Head
Over the past few years, a real drive for us has been to integrate the teams. Not just combining the Quality Assurance and Development teams to one engineering team, but a joined-up approach across the whole organisation. I want to continue to do that, but also amplify that.
I’m working really closely with the Customer Success team now to find out more about the real-world challenges of our customers. The product needs to answer to those customer needs, it’s not just about the latest ‘cool’ technology. For me, it’s about an unwavering focus on quality and delivering value that delights.
Well done to Naomi; we’re so happy to call her our new Head of Engineering after 8 fantastic years with the company!