Meri Williams (UK)

portrait of Meri Williams

Meri is a geek, a manager, and a manager of geeks. Previously she led the Delivery Team at the Government Digital Service and worked in Procter & Gamble’s Global Business Services organisation for 10 years, starting out as a Developer, moving on to Product Management, and finally Programme & Engineering/Operations Management. She’s led teams ranging in size from 30 to 300, mostly with folks spread across the world.

She studied Computer Science with a focus on artificial intelligence, so she still thinks of herself as a proper geek and imagines she always has a soldering iron in her back pocket—though sadly the reality isn’t so cool.

A published author and previous winner of the BCS Young IT Professional of the Year in the UK IT Industry Awards, she sponsors scholarships to help more girls start STEM careers in her hometown of Stellenbosch, South Africa. In her spare time she enjoys baking, gaming, surfing and her obsession with hot smoking Texas-style BBQ.

Studies in Terror: Becoming a People Manager

video thumbnail watch video of Meri’s main stage presentation →

I was first given “people management” responsibility when I was in my 20s—and my first two “direct reports” were guys older than my Dad. As it slowly dawned on me that I was responsible not just for “people management” but for these folks’ careers—which were a major focus of their lives—I was terrified.

Once I saw through the corporate euphemisms, I realised:

  1. how important being a good manager is (after all, most people don’t leave their company, they leave their boss)
  2. that I was so scarred by my own poor experiences with managers that I didn’t know what “good” looked like.

Over the following years I did a bunch of research, got some great mentors, and tested a bunch of different approaches. Let’s talk about how scary and how important great people management is, and how we can get better at it.

Who’s behind this?

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Jonathan Kahn

Jonathan Kahn

David Caines

David Caines

branding and illustration
Rhiannan Walton

Rhiannan Walton

Daniel Howells

Daniel Howells

digital design
Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

content strategy