Senior Associate and ICT Consultant Simon Umow has proudly worked at Umow Lai for over 18 years. He has recently been promoted to the Victorian State Manager and spoke to us about what this means and what he has planned for the future.

Congratulations on your promotion! What does this new role mean for you?

It’s a great honour for me to take on this role. Our previous State Managers have all done a tremendous job and now I get the opportunity. The new role allows me to play a more active part in the management and direction of the office, working with and growing younger staff, creating a healthy office culture and environment, setting office policy and strategy to ensure continued success for Umow Lai and our Clients.

You’ve been with Umow Lai for over 18 years, so you obviously know the business very well. What are your plans for future improvements in the office?

Umow Lai has been built on foundations of quality and innovation. We will be implementing various new technologies to assist in the design and delivery process, which will not only maintain these foundations, but improve upon.

We will also harness the knowledge and experience from our new global partnership with the Integral Group, providing new service offerings to the Australian Market, plus benefiting from the learnings our global partners.

How is your new role going to affect your current and planned project work? Will you still be as ‘hands on’ with your projects?

I will still maintain an active role in existing and new projects. I believe active project involvement is an important part of maintaining connections and relationships within the industry and providing support and guidance internally within the office. I still derive great enjoyment from working with fantastic design and delivery teams, the technical challenges projects present and contributing to a postive outcome for our clients.

Obviously with your surname, many people who don’t know you personally may not know the connection with you and the Umow of Umow Lai. Do you want to tell us a bit about that and what it means to you?

My father George Umow founded the company with Dominic Lai in 1991. They established a practice that set the bar in quality, innovation and complex design. The organisation has undergone significant changes since that time and continues to grow and flourish. As the company now prepares for its next chapter, I feel very fortunate to be playing an important part.

What do you see as being the defining characteristics of a good manager or leader? What are some of the traits that you possess (or aim to possess)?

There are many defining characteristics of a good manager or leader. These range from a strong sense of commitment, honesty and integrity to clear messaging, direction and communication, to supporting and nurturing staff. A good leader will be surrounded by team members with varied personalities, skills, strengths and weaknesses, and therefore recognising these in individuals and embracing them is key to managing the team. A good leader will also face many challenges and be required to make tough decisions, in order to not only achieve the immediate outcomes required, but to also foster growth in individuals, teams and the organisation. I strive to continue to grow as a leader and acquire the skills I currently do not have or need to develop further. Delegation and tough decision making will be the most challenging for me, as they are for many.