Interviewing Women in Agile: Zoryna O'Donnell
11 March 2020
Posted by: Abi Walker
To Celebrate International Women's Day, which was on Sunday 8 March, throughout the month of March, the Consortium will have been interviewing key women in the Agile Community.
In this interview, we have Zoryna O’Donnell. Zoryna is a change consultant, coach, mentor, trainer, public speaker and author. She has 30 years of experience of leading innovation, transformation and project management in public, voluntary and private sectors in different countries. Zoryna has a deep interest in applied neuroscience and psychology which enhances her work with individuals, teams and organisations.
Can you tell me a bit about what you do?
I am the founder and a principal consultant of L&M Plus Consulting – a management consultancy specialising in neuroscience-based leadership and management development, change management and well being programmes which include training, coaching and mentoring. I also do public speaking on a variety of topics relating to my specialism in business as well as topics of personal interest – brain health, resilience and well being.
In addition to this, as a mentor of the Warwick Business School (WBS) Mentoring Programme, I provide career mentoring and advice to individual students and graduates of the Warwick Business School MBA Programme.
Do you have a female role model who has inspired you over your career?
I don’t have a single female role model, but I was lucky to meet many wonderful people through my life – female, male and transgender, who have had made a significant impact on my personal and professional development.
What one piece of advice you would give to someone starting in your industry?
Only you can set yourself limits of what you can achieve. Use your curiosity to learn new things, identify and use new opportunities and to see beyond your perceived limits.
What is the worst piece of advice you have ever received?
“Don’t do this/go there – we have tried it before and it does not work.” Well, I did that and went there – and it worked for me!
What is one thing that has mattered most to you in your career?
Since my early teens, I have been interested in human psychology; in people, their perceptions, attitudes, motivations and behaviour. I believe that this interest has had the most significant influence on my career and personal development leading me to where I am now – helping individuals, teams and organisations to exceed their expectations of what is possible for them to achieve.
What is the biggest mistake you have made at work?
Very early in my career, while working on a project, I assumed that the same things are obvious to everyone working on the same project – I was wrong. It was a serious lesson for me which highlighted the need for clarity of individual understanding, intentions and actions even when there is a general consensus on something.
How do you empower other women?
I do a lot of work with women – coaching, mentoring and training them to develop their abilities, realise their potential and reach their goals. Three years ago, I launched a Breakthrough Skills Programme™ for Women to help them gain knowledge and skills to build their confidence, improve their competitiveness on the labour market and stimulate their career progression and personal development (https://www.lmplusconsulting.com/breakthrough-skills-programme-for-women-2/).
For a number of years now, I have been a volunteer at the Isle of Wight Women’s Centre – WOW (delivering mindfulness sessions, career coaching and one-to-one talking therapy sessions).