As winner of the Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) Shining Star (Telco) award in 2021, Misty Downie has brought a new level of confidence, tenacity and consistency to Spark’s commercial efforts, cited as instrumental in helping the sourcing division achieve year-on-year growth during the past 10 years.
Shaped by a customer-first focus, Misty proved an invaluable asset to Fire and Emergency New Zealand during COVID-19, leveraging strong supplier expertise to allow the organisation to continue delivering life-saving services at the height of the pandemic.
How did you get your break in the IT industry and progress to the role you have today?
I stumbled into IT. After working as an administrator for an IT recruitment company, I approached a leading IT organisation I was keen to work for. I had undertaken a two-day temp job with them years before and what stood out to me was that it was filled with people who wanted to be there.
I started in a sales support role working with a group of account managers who taught me the basics of IT sales and what it meant to work incredibly hard on behalf of a client, all while enjoying being part of an enviable work whānau.
My role progressed over the years across multiple Spark heritage entities to looking after my own portfolio of sourcing clients. Now I am lucky enough to still have an amazing diverse group of clients to work with whilst undertaking a chapter leadership role within client sourcing at Spark.
What have been some of your career highlights and proudest moments?
There have been many – from being recognised for client excellence and sales achievement through our Spark awards to being the recipient of one of our partners very first Legend award – not to mention the very unexpected WIICTA recognition last year (who knew there would need to be an acceptance speech!).
What I am most proud of, however, is being part of such a highly successful team that keeps our clients at the heart of what we do while being able to work in an industry that is fast paced, innovative and full of personality.
What are some of the key lessons you've learnt along the way?
That the IT industry is small, where reputation and integrity count. I’ve learnt that change is to be embraced, and that people are at the heart of what we do. When I look back over the years of achievements, it’s building and valuing the relationships that I’ve enjoyed the most, the lesson being we’re ultimately all in this together and it’s the people that you remember throughout the years that matter.
What are some of your professional ambitions in the months ahead?
To close out our financial year strongly with the team and to continue my active involvement in strategic decision making. In such unprecedented times, the next few months will continue to present challenges and will keep me on my toes, so keeping a healthy work/life balance will be an important focus.
Who or what has influenced you professionally?
There have been countless people over the years who have influenced me professionally – from my original account managers when I joined the industry, through to some amazing Spark leadership both past and present not to mention all our vendors and partners that enable me every single day.