A Week in My Life: Patricia Keating, programme lead for Tech Manchester

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by Simon Austin
patricia-keating

It's the turn of Patricia Keating, programme lead for Tech Manchester, to take us through a week in her working life. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk.

Monday

The week kicks off with 7am Club, the informal HIIT circuit run by my friend & colleague Ebony in the UKFast gym. It’s not a formal club, just a bunch of UKFasters sweating it out together in the early morning. Ironically, 7am Club starts at 6:45am, as the shower cubicles are always in demand later on!

Once showered, I grab breakfast in the kitchen to join Monday Morning Meeting in the auditorium.

At the Monday Morning Meeting we celebrate successes and achievements of the businesses from the previous week. That means babies, anniversaries, weddings, exam passes, superstar feedback and updates from across the businesses. This week it’s UKCrufts! Dogs and their owners from each of the UKFast houses compete in a cuteness and obstacle challenge to earn points for their team. It may sound unusual, but dogs are part of the daily activity on campus, so to us it’s normal.

Monday mornings are typically for planning the week ahead with my colleague and programme manager Nicola Davies. We look at the workshops, mentor inductions, events and educational resources we are deploying over the next five days.

With admin out of the way the afternoon meeting is with my colleague and Director of CSR at UKFast, Russell Feingold. We meet One Manchester – the Hulme/Moss Side social housing association – to review this summer’s holiday hunger campaign and the holiday cinema club. In Moss Side alone, through One Manchester, 3000 meals were provided to local families over the summer holidays – all funded by UKFast.

Tuesday

Starts again with 7am Club – today it’s ‘arms’!

Work begins with a brainstorm with our sister company Secarma – it’s cybersecurity month in October so we want to add a security session to Tech Manchester’s #techclass business skills workshop, tailored to startups. The session will address the benefits of security by design and examine the security issues around popular startup tools and plugins.

I finish off the evening at 7pm on court with the UKFast & Furious netball team – we play in the Simple Netball League at Trinity. Netball was one of the first things I signed up for when I started with Tech Manchester back in March 2017 and is a great way to meet new people within the business who I wouldn’t work with on a day-to-day basis.

Wednesday

Busy day ahead!! In the office early preparing to deliver a breakfast training session to mentors for an internal mentor scheme – it’s interesting to see the nuanced differences between startup mentoring and organisational mentoring, but I love being able to share everything we have learned from the Tech Manchester journey and adopt it to suit the ‘intrapreneurial’ journey of employees here.

Next I shoot off to MediaCityUK to join a couple of UKFast colleagues for media training. I’ve been asked to do more media engagements and public speaking recently and this is excellent preparation, through real-life studio interviews and tough questioning. I really value these opportunities to learn and improve, made available to us through the training and development programme at UKFast, and it’s fantastic to see the improvements we all made over the course of the day.

Back at the Campus Nicola is leading Tech Manchester’s 9th mentor training intake in the afternoon, with volunteer business leaders starting their supported mentor journeys. It’s a little less hectic as our volunteer expert partners take the lead on the delivery:  Know & Do Consultancy, We are Nova Co-Foundry and The Intellectual Property Office deliver the toolkit to prepare the mentors. Just five months in and Nicola is doing an excellent job on delivery which allows me to focus on developing our strategy.

In the evening I am keynote speaker at the launch of a new Manchester startup – @MyCardApp – at the newly launched Spaces Regus co-work space at St Peter’s Square. My Card App is the solution to paper business cards & sorts the GDPR nightmare we all have with taking business cards. This is a personal problem for me as I am regularly at events, so was interested in its deployment. Tech Manchester has agreed to trial the app as a tool to improve networking at our own events.

Thursday

Back in for 7am to dive straight into launching the UKFast mentees on their induction and introducing them to their mentors for the first time. It’s the start of their six-month mentoring programme within the business and the mentor/mentee relationships are already developing really well.

This evening it’s drinks with Sarah Martin, Head of Innovation, Programmes and Partnerships at Cisco. Her global role takes her far and wide so this is a great chance for two Northern Irish lasses to catch up. With Cisco’s MiDea programme just over the road in MSP we collaborate regularly on our programmes, with Sarah joining our panel last week on #SME support in the North West, broadcast as a live webinar from UKFast Campus.

Friday

I squeeze a quick 5km run in this morning around packing my bag to head home to Northern Ireland for the weekend to see my parents after work.

This morning is purely office based. I work through the final stages of our Diversity and Inclusion strategy internally for UKFast. Supported closely by co-founder and MD Gail Jones and our legal team, we have been working on bringing together a policy to fit alongside the organic initiatives that already happen within the business to provide a clearer structure around supporting our employees and ensuring the inclusive environment we have here continues to improve as we grow.

After lunch I head off to Whalley Range High School for my first mentor meeting on behalf of the One Million Mentors initiative. I meet the teaching team to understand more about the process with a view to meeting the pupil I will mentor for the next 12 months. One Million Mentors is a great initiative that connects pupils with professionals to help them better understand and prepare for the world of work.

Once that’s done I am finished and head off to the airport. En route I catch up with UKFast’s Marketing Director Kristina McGuirk for our weekly impact meeting. Kristina is my advocate who reports into the UKFast Board on Tech Manchester’s progress, so stays close to the programme to ensure we are fully supported. Pulling all together really is truly important as we really are better together.

In no time at all it’s Monday again and I can’t wait to see what the week ahead brings!