Associate Director
Fidelity International

Associate Director
Fidelity International


Caralisa Woods

00:00:03 My name’s Caralisa Woods, and my job title is Associate Director. I head up a technology project team, so my guys work with the business teams, and if there’s any new computer systems, any new products that need to be launched into Fidelity, then my team will actually get involved from the start.

00:00:22 It’s a very wide-ranging role. It was part of the attraction to it really, ‘cause it’s never boring, there’s loads of variety; and when you come in, you really don’t know what you’re going to be doing day to day. You get, you know, a hundred and one problems every day, but you get quite a lot of satisfaction as well.

00:00:38 When I was at school – when I was very young I wanted to be a teacher, first of all. But then when I hit to the point when I was doing O-Levels, as they were known then, I actually wanted to be a journalist. And for three summers I actually went and did work experience on the local paper. But then in no particular order I sort of discovered night clubs, going out, having fun, and I suppose I wanted a bit more financial independence. And I had a lot of resistance, from my Dad in particular, and my head of Sixth; but they said you can leave, if you’re going for a job that gives you a career. Well it was 1985, high street banks, building societies, if you had good O-Levels, you could do it. So that’s what I went and did.

00:01:23 My Dad’s always been really fair with me, and I think he probably didn’t expect that I would be as determined as I was. And I think he underestimated that, and he said he kind of backed himself into a corner, really. ‘Cause they came up with a plan that they didn’t think I would be able to go out and get the kind of career that I wanted to. And I did. So to be fair he said OK, I’m not going to force you.

00:01:46 When I first started off in the bank, the thing I enjoyed most was just the talking to people, I started off right at entry level. I really wanted to get into a more customer-facing role, and my boss at the time told me that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I decided that I needed to go and find another job. I think I went for about four interviews, got offered all the jobs and just made a choice, and went into a building society then, on the basis that I’d start as a cashier, but I wanted to be fast-tracked through. And that’s what happened, and think it was within a year I’d sort of got the job that I wanted to get.

00:02:24 And then being really evil – proud moment – the guy who told me that I couldn’t do that job, I actually had to hire him some years later, and I was his Manager. So it’s an evil thing, and I don’t mean it nastily, but it’s kind of – and I wasn’t horrible to him – but you just kind of think proud the fact that you can actually stand up and say – well I have achieved what people said I couldn’t achieve.

00:02:46 In terms of inspiration, if we’re talking about a work thing, I know it sounds really naff, but my Dad is my inspiration. I think that he got married really young, I came along really young, and I know that he had to – not give up, but had to change a lot of his sort of like dreams, if you like, when he was younger. He was a musician, and he was in a band, and they got the opportunity to go across to Germany, and then I came along and sort of ruined that a bit. He’s always made the best of every situation that he’s been in, he’s got really good focus, really good drive. We kind of didn’t have a lot materialistically-wise, you know, when we were younger, but I just remember a lot of laughter and everything. I think he’s always been there for me as well.

00:03:28 Ten years’ time I’d like to be retired, you know. God I’ll be fifty in ten years, that seems – seems quite old. I don’t know really. I think I probably see myself in the same industry, I would say. Hopefully maybe in a little bit more of a senior position. But to be honest, if I’m as happy as I am today five, ten years, then I’ll be fine.


Cara W is Associate Director at Fidelity, heading a technology project team. She left school at sixteen, determined to make a career for herself in the banking sector. Early on one boss told her she wouldn't be able to deal with the customers. A few years later she was his manager.

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average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

73%  male  27%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment?


IT specialist managers plan, organise, manage and coordinate the provision of specialist IT services and functions in an organisation.


Entrants usually possess a degree or equivalent qualification, although entry with other academic qualifications and/or significant relevant experience is possible. There is a variety of vocational, professional and postgraduate qualifications available.


  • Plans, coordinates and manages the organisation‚Äôs IT provision or a specialist area of IT activity;
  • Liaises with users, senior staff and internal/external clients to clarify IT requirements and development needs;
  • Takes responsibility for managing the development of a specialist aspect of IT provision such as user support, network operations, service delivery or quality control;
  • Supervises the technical team and coordinates training;
  • Plans and monitors work and maintenance schedules to ensure agreed service levels are achieved;
  • Reports on IT activities to senior management.
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