“Journeying with people from all walks of life is extremely fulfilling, it gives a deeper meaning to what I do both personally and professionally, especially after being on the technical side of things for so long,” says Desiree Hutcheon, Regional Practice Lead in Datacom’s Cloud Transformation team. 

When Desiree won the “Management Excellence – Personal Innovation” category of this year’s Reseller Innovation Awards her team described her as a ‘dual talent’ with excellent technical and people skills. 

Datacom’s Growth Practices Director Suz Miller – who nominated Desiree for the award – said “not all leaders have vision or the ability to problem-solve, but the best ones, like Desiree, do”. 

“In the tech sector we often see people identified as a technically-gifted leader or a people-person with strong communications skills – Desiree is both,” says Suz.

“This dual talent makes her ideally suited to identify where skills gaps exist and to help build the connections needed to close those gaps, and to support a more diverse, equitable workforce.” 

Datacom's Desiree Hutcheon in front of a blue Datacom sign
Desiree Hutcheon says throughout her 20-year career working in the IT sector she has noticed the imbalance of representation of women, Māori, and Pasifika people in technical roles, which has ‘lit a fire in her for increasing inclusion and diversity’.

It is a fitting tribute for someone who has dedicated themselves to removing barriers in the tech industry by proactively identifying and mentoring talent from outside and within Datacom’s business. 

Desiree says throughout her 20-year career working in the IT sector she has noticed the imbalance of representation of women, Māori, and Pasifika people in technical roles, which has ‘lit a fire in her for increasing inclusion and diversity’. 

Cloud coach and mentor

Desiree currently spearheads Datacom’s partnership with the Amazon Web Services re/Start programme, works with individuals looking to change career paths as a mentor in the Datacom’s ‘Transform’ programme, and leads the ‘Pathway to Cloud’ internship she developed, where she coaches participants who are interested in becoming cloud practitioners but have limited experience. 

“We’ve had around 30 people join us through initiatives like re/Start and organisations like Tupu Toa, 6 take part in placements or job shadowing through the first round of transform and 10 join us as cloud practitioners in the last 18 months.” 

“I’ve found a love for supporting the future of technology, and inspiring others who are passionate like me,” she says. 

These commitments sit alongside her typical workload, which sees her consulting on and delivering large cloud migration projects to major strategic customers while managing her team. 

She is also committed to progressing her own career development, regularly undertaking relevant technical certifications and participating in initiatives to hone her leadership skills.  

Desiree says she’s really enjoying this stage of her career where she gets to wear a range of hats on a day-to-day basis and move away from a purely technical focus. 

“I’ve learnt a lot about myself during my time at Datacom, there is so much opportunity for exploration and growth in all areas and I have been lucky to have been supported in my journey like I aim to do for others in theirs; it’s like coming full circle,” says Desiree. “I often see my younger self in the people I’m working with and supporting.” 

Growth mindset an asset

When it comes to making a difference, both in your own life and in the lives of others, Desiree says “ultimately, everything boils down to attitude”. 

“Technical people are forced to be constantly learning and evolving because of the nature of rapid change in the industry, and I think this has helped me develop a growth mindset and take a positive approach to everything I do.” 

“I think having this attitude is a big part of the reason why I’ve felt drawn to the people side of things; because I understand and believe in the impact I can make and know that others can make an impact too.” 

This attitude has seen her cultivate a strong pipeline of talent for Datacom despite a tough job market for employers. In the past 12 months, the Cloud practice team has grown by 49 staff members, nine of whom are previous interns who were mentored by Desiree through their placements. 

She says being part of this team, who share her positive outlook, has been a significant support on her journey. 

“Datacom does culture really well, I love that people are at the core of everything we do. It’s so important for me to be in a supportive team, and everyone plays a part in facilitating that; I trust that there will always be someone happy to help,” says Desiree. 

As she continues her mission to grow and diversify talent, she hopes she can show her children that everything is possible with the right attitude. 

“There's a lot of overlap between parenting and leadership,” says Desiree. “As a mom to two girls, I think if I can cement in them that doing things ‘like a girl’ is not a disadvantage, then I've done my job as a mom.”

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