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  • April 12, 2021
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In Conversation with Angelique Ridyard, Senior Program Manager at NHS England


We spoke to Angelique Ridyard, Senior Program Manager at NHS England, about her career and the experiences she has had managing large projects for the NHS. 

Angelique’s story is part of a series of articles highlighting the careers of female tech leaders. We’ve brought together these stories in an effort to prove that the route to leadership is never a straight line. 

After returning from a year in America in her early twenties, Angelique hit a crossroads where she had to decide between studying for a degree in Manchester, where she had been offered a place on a business studies course, or begin her career. She chose to take a job at Halifax, where she stayed for 20 years building her skills and knowledge. Starting in customer service, she eventually gained experience as a trainer, then a project manager for various new technology installations. 

Angelique then decided to take on a new, short-term role as a project manager for the NHS – a role which has led to further opportunities for her to use her skills to revolutionise the way patients are treated and managed. 

Transforming a Career 

Angelique’s story is one where she has embraced adaptation and growth – keeping an open mind to all challenges. The way Angelique has taken a life-long learning ethos throughout her career is truly inspiring. The first major change happened when her role at Halifax led her to develop a passion for technology. 

I’m not a person who can develop or has developed a particular solution in terms of technology, but actually, being shown how to use something and thinking, well, how am I going to make sure we have the right technology in each of the training rooms? How are people are going to use it? How are those end users going to use it? It was really exciting. I actually loved it. 

After 20 years with Halifax, Angelique knew that it was time to make a change. She had always wanted to be a nurse or a doctor when she was younger, and her personal coach pointed out a potential route into healthcare without retraining in a clinical role. 

She just said to me, maybe jumping into a clinical role is a big leap. But why don’t you take project management into healthcare? That sparked the idea that sparked the interest. 

Embracing Excitement 

Angelique loves the challenge of being at the forefront of something new. She believes that that excitement is what leads to her results, though it can come with its own difficulties. 

“This sums me up quite a lot. Excited to be part of something that is new, that has never been done before.” 

Her unique perspective towards technology has stemmed from her ability to empathetically consider the benefits for the end user – whether that was for the counter staff at the Halifax or for the patients at the hospitals she leads projects in. Her enjoyment of the role comes from knowing that the work she is doing has a serious, tangible benefit to many people.  

“I Don’t Do Very Well With Injustice” 

During this series, I have spoken to many women who have overcome huge obstacles to succeed in their careers, and Angelique is no different.  

As part of her role in implementing a brand new patient record system, Angelique came up against resistance regarding training in the new system for all members of staff. Knowing that it was integral to the success of the project, she refused to let the opposition get in the way of her vision, especially when that opposition began to make her working environment difficult. 

“I don’t do very well with injustice or unfairness. If that’s going on, whether it’s to me or to others, I’m going to fight it. So, I dug my heels in. I wanted to be successful, there was no way I was going to come out of this 18 month contract and not deliver that training. 

Angelique’s tenacity is truly inspiring, and it has helped her through struggles with imposter syndrome. She has some excellent tips for reframing a perceived lack of knowledge. 

There’s a lot of things I’ve never done within various roles. I’ve done nothing clinically led at all. But do I know what I want to happen as a patient? Absolutely. Do I then know, if I was going to the hospital, how I would like to be treated? Yes. 

The Value Of Conversation 

Many women face difficulties with celebrating successes, and Angelique knows that this can have a detrimental effect on career prospects. 

I don’t think any of us are very good at saying what we’re good at. I think we are probably worse than men at that, in a lot of ways. It could be seen as way too arrogant to push yourself out there about what you’re good at.” 

This challenge that so many women face has encouraged Angelique to converse frequently with a personal coach, as she did when she made the decision to move away from Halifax. She is an advocate for having regular conversations about future goals, and devising ways of working towards them. 

In Angelique’s experience, the ability to reflect on accomplishments has come from discussions with others, and it is those exchanges that have helped to her career to where it is today. 

“Let’s look at what you’re good at. Now, let’s look at what you’re great at. Let’s really think about what you might be able to do, taking those skills with you into a similar role.” 

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