Women in Tech Excellence: Alma Fisher

Insights | Life at Agilisys

Following her nomination in the Women in Tech Excellence Awards 2021 in the ‘Lockdown Legend of the Year: Tech’ category, we spoke to Alma Fisher, Agilisys Guernsey’s Commercial Director to learn how she is inspiring the next generation to consider a career in tech.

Tell us about your current role and what motivates you.

My current role as Commercial Director for Agilisys’ Partnership with the States of Guernsey is varied, challenging, and hugely rewarding. It has also enabled me to bring to the fore my skills and experience gained over more than 20 years in IT. 

I’m motivated by supporting the team around me to become more commercially aware. This means I help the team to prepare the documentation that ensures the solutions we develop will meet the requirements of our customer. 

What I really love about my role is the variety. With such a broad Partnership team, every day brings something new: from working jointly with States and Agilisys colleagues to support applications developed in response to COVID-19, to the IT systems that support hospitals, schools, and even Guernsey Dairy.

What has been the driving force behind your career strategy?

I thrive on having a sense of purpose—for example, in my current role, supporting our Partnership to deliver not just IT, but IT that will make a real, tangible difference to Islanders. 

While I’m in a Commercial role now, my academic background is in Aeronautical Systems Engineering and Intelligent Machinery. When I began my career, it felt natural to pair my academic studies with my skills in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics—so, my career actually began in software development.

In fact, my first role was in designing and developing Aircraft Missing Planning systems (Sat-Nav for aircraft). Later, I also helped develop communications systems used to protect the UK’s borders during the 2012 Olympics.

My current role brings all my commercial and tech development experience together to support our Partnership with the States—with teams working across the breadth of States’ services. I’m hugely excited to be a part of a Partnership Team working to enable Guernsey’s ambition to deliver the best public services of any small jurisdiction in the world.

What advice would you offer your younger self?

I’ve been fortunate to have had some great mentors so I’m keen to ‘pay forward’ my learning to support others to grow and progress. Through the guidance I’ve received, I’ve adopted the three principles below, which have really helped my own career development: 

  1. Take opportunities that come along and make the most of them. You don’t always know what you are capable of, but the people around you may be able to see that more clearly. So don’t be afraid to take on something new. In most cases, with the right mindset and support, the rest of the skills for the job can be learned.
  2. Leadership is creating an environment where the team can thrive. When the team succeeds, we all succeed. No one person knows or can do everything. Enabling a culture of inclusion, where team members are valued for their diverse skills and ways of thinking, will empower the team around you to deliver better outcomes. 
  3. Establish and build relationships. There are so many inspirational people at all levels of an organisation as well as outside the work environment. Be curious, be open to learning opportunities and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

What is your top tip for someone looking to start a career in IT?

Look for a career that inspires and motivates you every day. 

Consider the culture and leadership of the company you are applying to. Who are the people you will be working with? How diverse is the workplace? Is it an environment where you can thrive and make a difference? All of these factors are likely indicators of a forward-thinking organisation that would be great to be a part of.

What is the one thing you would do to encourage more people into the IT sector?

I try to be a role model for young people so that they can see the wide-ranging opportunities available from a career in tech. I didn’t set out to work in IT, but I’ve had the chance to work on some amazing projects and make an impact throughout my career. 

I’ve had the privilege of attending events to encourage young people to consider a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths)—including the 2021 International Women in Engineering Day, run by Guernsey College. I really enjoyed spending time with the students listening to their career aspirations and exploring all the ways the tech sector could benefit from their skills.

Alma Fisher

With a background in Aeronautical Systems Engineering, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Alma has held senior commercial roles at a number of global IT organisations. Her experience gives her a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges new technologies can bring. Alma supports our team across the commercial aspects of our work, to ensure the solutions we develop meet the requirements of our customer.