Speaker Bio

Bella Abrams
Guest speaker

Bella Abrams

Director of IT Services
Bella has worked at the University of Sheffield as Director of Information Technology since 2019. She has experience of working in IT in the public and private education sector and her previous role was CIO at Sheffield College. Prior to this she held a number of roles developing and delivering digital education and assessment services for Ufi/Learndirect, ranging from product development and system testing, project and programme management and finally leading the strategic change function.
At the University of Sheffield - one of the largest research-intensive institutions in the UK - Bella leads the 250 person IT Services department who deliver a huge range of digital products and services that are designed to support learning, teaching, research, innovation, and corporate services. The team delivers high quality customer centric services to over 30,000 students and 8,000 staff as well as many partners and stakeholders across the UK. The team have developed and are now delivering a product-led IT strategic framework in collaboration with colleagues across the University that delivers a full range of technology enabled products and services to the whole University.
Bella has a people-centric and coaching-led approach to leading her team and is particularly interested how this can be applied with ever evolving approaches to digital delivery. Outside of the University, Bella is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Associate for Learning Technology and the Mercia Learning Trust. She was recently voted #31 in the Computer Weekly Top 50 Most Influential people in UK Technology 2022.
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Wednesday, 09 November, 2022 / 05:00 PM - 05:45 PM CET
Executive Insights Q&A: Culture and Coaching - Creating A Culture of Exceptional Leadership (Exclusive to CIO Experience Attendees)

As CIOs we focus on creating strategy, building relationships and execution of our plans. My story is that, it doesn't matter how great your plan is - CIOs must invest in their team and work to develop a values-led people-centred culture that supports them to deliver the vision. IT Services at the University of Sheffield has gone through a dramatic change since 2019. The team was undervalued, under-resourced and with a poor reputation. I started in 2019 and worked to build momentum and investment for significant change. This was really successful and as a result we have had significant investment in changes, embedded a product-led model, developed agile ways of working and changed the operating model for delivery. My story is how I have worked with the team to create a culture of exceptional leadership that has vastly improved our reputation, allowed us to deliver what the University needs (during the pandemic and beyond) and moved us from a hierarchical model of control to a coaching led model values driven leadership.

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