From the Red Square of Moscow to humble Northland, the career of the new general manager at Advanced Data Centres in Whangarei has been as dynamic as the tech industry itself. Christine Allen talks to Carole Seymour about her global career journey and her ever-changing industry.

It might seem like an unusual move for a chartered account, but the new GM of Advanced Data Centres, the cloud and IT support providers based on the corner of Robert St, has always been interested in the tech industry.

Ms Seymour started her new role just this month but has worked on several projects involving the implementation of new IT systems.

She has never been deterred from working in what, she admits, is a male dominated industry.

Advertisement

"Our team of seven, they're all male. That has never deterred me. If women want to work in the industry, they should just do it," she said.

The company, established in 2005, operates data and cloud storage for Northland medium-sized businesses.

"We are the cogs behind IT systems, offering a help desk, as well as the implementation of telephone systems involving automation, providing clients with software and hardware and installations and support."

Ms Seymour said most companies needed IT support, as it was crucial to productivity and could be underestimated.

"When the IT isn't working, people can't work."

With companies moving to paperless offices, the storage and maintenance of data was increasingly important, with security continuing to be a hot topic. She said the industry had seen some big changes.

"Even the size of servers has changed, from taking up entire rooms to being the size of a diary."

Moving to cloud-based storage has shaken things up and people are now more savvy about the importance of backing up data.

Advertisement

"The younger generation has grown up with technology, but we live in an ageing population, where technology can seem overwhelming. And technology innovation is accelerating."

Global journey

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law from Victoria University in Wellington, Ms Seymour began her international career when she was just 26, kicking off with more than two years in London, where she worked as a systems auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In Denmark for seven years, she worked with pharmaceutical giant, Novo Nordisk, a leading multinational manufacturer of insulin with 35,000 employees.

Here she worked her way up to the IT implementation team, while also becoming a fluent Danish speaker.

When she got the chance to travel with the company, through its engineering affiliate, she jumped at the chance, taking a role of facilitator, working on the company's management in corporate governance and value-based business practices.

She was then transferred to Tokyo.

"I've learned so much from this experience – about sustainable company practices. In Japan, I learned about how they celebrate civic pride and have respect. Sadly, I only learned 'taxi Japanese'. It's a difficult language to pick up, especially when I was travelling back to Denmark a lot."

Another move brought her to Moscow and she recalls taking her firstborn in the stroller to Red Square while on maternity leave.

"We were so close to it all, about 100 metres from the Kremlin."

Originally from Lower Hutt, Ms Seymour returned to the Bay of Plenty in 2009, before taking over the StoneCutter Winery and Vineyard in Wairarapa and then running her own accountancy firm.

Now, her career has brought her to Northland, where her fresh challenge is to grow the Whangarei IT company.

Growth, she said, would come from industry innovation, improving customer awareness and competitive industry service provision.