Rima Pojarkoviene is a Project Manager in Consulting with Auxilion, where she has worked since 2017. She told us about her journey with the company so far, her plans for the future, and why Project Management has proven to be an ideal fit for her.
What was Rima’s background before joining Auxilion?
“Back in Lithuania, before I came to Ireland, I was in business, more in sales and in regional management roles. After arriving in Ireland, I worked in administration and smaller leadership positions, like team lead and shift management roles. After working in these roles for some time, I had another two children and I took a three-year career break.”
During this ‘break,’ Rima was extremely productive. “I was raising my children at home while studying. I finished my bachelor’s and studied master’s while teaching local children arts in a community centre until it was time to go back to work!”
“I had some ideas of where I wanted to go when I returned to work, but I didn’t have a clear picture of exactly the kind of role I wanted. I applied for a Central Administration role with Auxilion in September 2017. I was invited for an interview and was offered a job. It was a short-term, three-month contract at the beginning that got extended for another three months, and eventually I was offered a permanent role.”
Rima’s role with Auxilion quickly began to evolve.
“Very quickly when I started working here, I started looking at other areas. In Central Admin, you work with all different parts of the business and work with people from across the whole company. It gave me a great viewpoint to see how the business works in different areas and what would be most interesting to me. That’s where I met Colina Moran [Digital Transformation Consultant], she was running the PMO then, which is now Auxilion Project Services. I said to her that I would be interested in moving towards project management because the area seemed very dynamic and engaging. I like to do different things and find new challenges, so the move made a lot of sense to me.”
Rima gradually moved towards Project Management as she had hoped.
“I transitioned towards Project Management and it took a little while to get there. I talked to people around me, including Philip Maguire [Auxilion CEO] who encouraged me to think of what I want to do down the line. He said that the door was open for me whichever way I wanted to move in the organisation. They’ve really followed through on that.”
“So in May 2018 I was moved into Project Support and I went to work on a project with one of our clients for a year and a half. I did my Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) qualification in the meantime, and then I was promoted to Project Manager in 2019. I then went to work on another project with a different client. I was there for about half a year before the pandemic began. They reduced the numbers of contractors and I ended up back in Park West working on various projects with Colina as well as running my own projects. This is where I’ve found experience and confidence needed to develop my professional skills and progress.”
Rima has continued to progress through new roles more recently.
“I was again promoted to a level 3 Project Manager recently in December 2021 and have joined the Consulting team. It’s interesting work with interesting people. The lesson that I’ve learned is that you need to speak up and tell people what you want- nobody’s going to tell you where to go and nobody’s going to hand you your career ready on a plate. I had to figure it out for myself and ask for it, and I had to move through a few roles over the last four and a half years to find exactly what I wanted.”
“I was very lucky, when I spoke with some colleagues along the way, not everyone knew all of the options available to them. It was a conversation with Philip that led me to understand that I could talk about where I wanted to go and discover my options. Since then, that’s been happening consistently, every time I’ve voiced a need or an interest in working on developing a certain skill or working on a type of project, I was offered an option. It’s not always very simple, sometimes it’s taken a little while, because there are lots of accommodations that need to be arranged, such as replacements and transitional processes. But it works as long as you speak up. That doesn’t always happen from my experience, not everybody says what they want. It’s something I’d encourage a lot.
“And it works both ways, it wasn’t only that I wanted to do something. I’ve talked to management, and I’ve made plans, but I do realise that if I wake up in the morning and say I want to lead a Consultancy Team, for example, that’s not going to magically happen on the day. We’ve discussed with my management the plan to get from point A to a point B and the things that I need to do to achieve my goal. I need to ensure that the customers are happy and that the people on the team I’m working with are happy and the work is performed well. if I didn’t do my part and work hard, I don’t think I’d be where I am.
“But I was given recommendations on how to get where I wanted to be. Colina, for example, gave me areas to research in my own time and supported me with direction on what I needed to do to progress further. So, from the Project Management perspective it’s a big shout out to Colina. But it’s about finding the middle ground to make sure your needs are met while remembering that there are company needs as well that need to be met.”
Looking for Challenges
Rima has always focused on getting the most out of her abilities and interests.
“When I was in Central Admin, I didn’t feel that the role was totally fitted to my skills and aspirations. I could have stayed in that role for years if I wanted to and I’m pretty sure no one would have moved me out of it, but I didn’t feel that it was a perfect fit for me. And I believe it’s very important to utilise your skills. And it’s beneficial to the company as well, if there are other roles that are better suited to you , you should be encouraged to find them.
“I remember, at the very beginning, asking to do extra small tasks that I saw other people doing in admin. At first there was some reluctance, because people didn’t know what to expect, you need to build trust over time. But we got there very quickly. When you come into any new role, people need to know you, they need to realise how much they can rely on you, they need to know your capabilities, and your ambitions as well.
“A colleague told me that you can teach the skill, but you can’t teach the attitude. If you have the attitude and the ambition, and you’re willing to work for it, the skill can be taught.”
How would Rima describe the working culture in Auxilion?
“It’s a very collaborative environment. I would need to think really hard to think of anyone I’ve met who hasn’t been really collaborative and supportive. For example, Ann Carlin, who has worked in Central Admin for years, was so helpful in my early days at Auxilion. She would give me small reminders and little bits of advice that were so important, and she was always so supportive of me. She would help and advise and never take credit for good work that resulted from her advice.
“There are small things that guide you and build you and you learn to think of things you haven’t thought of before. When I started in Project Management, I used to have chats with Edel Kelly [Project Manager] who was my team lead at the time, she would ask me to run her through what I thought the projects were and how I thought they were going to work. She would ask all the little questions that would be the most annoying because I knew I didn’t think of them! But you need to hear that in a constructive manner. The next time I’d be in that position I wouldn’t forget those small things, they’d always be in the back of my mind because I’d know I hadn’t thought of them previously. That’s how you learn and develop your skills. And these small things often can be overlooked and lead to issues on projects.”
Rima has experienced this kind of constructive support and guidance throughout her time with Auxilion.
“I’ve always got a lot of direction. Sean Kennedy [Digital Transformation Director], for example, constantly gives me links on topics I find interesting that we’ve spoken about. If we talk about clients and the work we’re doing for them, even if it’s not exactly what I’m working on but it’s something I’m interested in, he’ll give me direction on articles or links or books to have a look at. The culture overall is very supportive - not only within Auxilion but also with the clients I’ve worked with, people always work to promote you rather than anything else. And there are many more colleagues in Auxilion I’ve worked with throughout the years that have made a significant impact. ”
Building on a Strong Foundation
How does Rima see her future with Auxilion unfolding?
“It's the area of project management that I’m focusing on at the moment. I want to build on top of what I have rather than move away from it, and that comes with experience.”
Rima is confident that she will be supported however her journey within the company progresses.
“I talk with Colina often, we just had our review a couple of weeks ago, and we were looking at educational goals. As always, she sent me lots of different links on where to find information on further education, so we did discuss the possibility of doing a master’s in project management. That would build me as a project manager, and it’s something Auxilion would support as well. So, we’ve decided we’ll return to that conversation next year. But I’m planning on building on top of what I’ve done, I’m not planning another career change!”
What is it about Project Management specifically that appeals so much to Rima?
“The thing I love about project management is that it’s constantly changing. Every project has a start and end, it may last three months, six months, three years, but it will come to an end, and you start again with a new team, a new project, new objectives. That’s what’s interesting about it, it’s always new and always challenging. And maybe one day I’ll be able to turn around and say I know what I’m doing and help someone else down the same path I’ve taken!
“It depends on the personality, but I find the changes and challenges exciting. I love it, and it suits my personality.”