A close-up headshot of a smiling middle-aged man with dark hair and brown eyes. He works for Liberty IT.
Tony Marron, senior director for applied innovation and business development, Liberty IT. Image: Liberty IT

‘My greatest challenge was to start believing in myself and my abilities’

20 Nov 2018

Have you ever felt as if you were successful at something because you got lucky? That’s your imposter syndrome talking.

A successful career takes time to build. You must be willing to upskill, learn from the people around you and work hard at what you do.

However, having confidence in yourself and seeking support when you need it most is also essential.

Tony Marron is a senior director for applied innovation and business development in Liberty IT. Here, he talks about how he got to where he is now, the support he had along the way and how he learned to deal with imposter syndrome.

What first stirred your interest in a career in tech?

I am a natural problem-solver and was attracted to software development because there were challenging problems to be solved, and the nature of the problems changed every day.

I got a real kick from the dynamic and changing nature of the role. I tend to really focus on solving problems but once I have figured out a solution, I lose interest and it’s on to the next problem – software engineering provided me with the environment to do this.

What education and other jobs led you to the role you now have?

I completed a master’s degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering, and, after spending some time working with British Airways Engineering through my degree sponsorship, I moved to a start-up which was focused on building software for the derivatives market.

I was recruited for my engineering and mathematical background, but I was immediately attracted to the software development side of things.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered on your career path?

My greatest challenge was to start believing in myself and my abilities. Each time I made progress in my career, I would tell myself I got lucky or it was because I was the person with the greatest domain knowledge.

I would hold back from voicing my opinions because I thought they were not relevant or someone else had already thought of them. With the help of a few members of my team, they challenged and coached me into facing up to my confidence issues, and I started to believe in myself.

Moving regularly and taking on new roles had a massive impact in increasing my confidence, along with the support of some great colleagues.

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

I’m very lucky to have a hugely supportive wife, Bronagh. She has had a massive influence on my career. She is much wiser and more talented than me, and I rely heavily on her for advice and guidance.

I am also very lucky with the people I have worked with over the years, especially my managers. I think I have learned something from every manager I have worked with. All of them encouraged me to trust my instincts and to take chances.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The opportunity to identify an opportunity or challenge that will make a difference to our company. The ability to completely focus and immerse myself in making that change a reality and then, when the time is right, move on quickly to the next challenge.

I am aware of my limitations and usually know when it is best to hand something over to another person to take the initiative to the next level.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

I am really interested in people. I am a good listener and extremely nosey (or should I say curious). I love solving problems and creating things, and I embrace change.

I am a continual learner and want to leave things better than I found them. I love being part of a team and feel very natural partnering and collaborating with others. The key for me in this industry is to learn how to learn, and to be able to partner and work with people.

How did Liberty IT support you on your career path?

I could not have been luckier with the support and opportunities Liberty IT has given me over the years – from taking the chance on someone with a non-software engineering background initially, to giving me the training support I needed to get started.

Liberty IT is part of a Fortune 100 global organisation so there are many opportunities if you are willing to take the chance and go after them. I have changed role every two or three years within Liberty IT and worked right across the business.

I have been involved in some very varied projects, from setting up a new office with a security operations centre, growing new business units and starting an innovation lab, to growing a business development function.

I have been a software engineer, manager, programme manager, account director and now senior director for applied innovation and business development. Liberty IT supported and encouraged me every step along the way and I owe them a huge amount of gratitude for the opportunities and support they gave me, and the trust and faith they had in me to make the most of them.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area, or just starting out in one?

Don’t wait. Take control and chase opportunities. Take chances. Focus on your network. Believe in yourself and treat people with respect.

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