Jullie Tran Graham, Senior Programme Manager – career interview

Jullie Tran Graham, Senior Programme Manager – career interview

Jullie Tran Graham, Senior Programme Manager (Mental Health) at NHS England shares her career journey and her experience using Movemeon.com

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Could you please talk us through your career story?

I started my career as a management consultant at Accenture, and worked primarily with public sector organizations and not-for-profits. I was six or seven years into my career, and I was involved in really great projects, had the opportunity to travel… I was on a project with the World Health Organization, and I was working on an operations role, sitting around a table with some policymakers and just thought, wow, wouldn’t that be interesting, to understand more about policy? So, I decided to take a break from my career. I had progressed up to manager at that point, but I took a break to pursue my master’s degree, which landed me in London. I completed my degree in Health Policy at the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene. 

That master’s degree brought a really different perspective. I became really interested in the financing side of health services. So, after completing my degree I went on to work for a boutique consultancy here in London, working with large life sciences organizations on market access projects. I did that for about two years and then decided to pivot again to work in a less profit-driven space.

I moved into social innovation, landing a job at Nesta, which is the UK’s innovation foundation. I worked there for about three years, on their health innovation team, One of the programmes I worked on, focused on social action and volunteering in health care, then became an idea for a little startup, which I left Nesta to join.

That’s where I’ve been for the past three years.

I have been a member of Movemeon for five – I just wanted to keep an eye on the opportunities out there.

This opportunity with the NHS then came up and it was a funny one because I applied for the same role that I’ve now been offered back in October last year too. But my circumstances were a bit different then; I had just returned back from maternity leave and I was just getting used to the idea of balancing work and life, and I also had a commitment to stay at my previous job for six months. So back then I was just testing the market. I applied because it sounded like a great role, but I didn’t give it enough energy. Then in January this year, the role reappeared. I had noticed lots of other roles coming up for the NHS in the mental health team, so Gaby and I had been back and forth about the different types of opportunities. Gaby’s been really great; she knew I was interested because I applied for the first one. She just kept nudging, just to say, have a look at this, this might be a good fit. In the end, I submitted the application in January and the interview was in early February or late January – it all happened very quickly.

Has the pandemic had any impact on the application process or the onboarding process for your latest role? 

I think it has actually made both more efficient. Not having to worry about commuting somewhere to go to an interview, or to taking half a day off work to do that interview… It’s a strange time for everyone, but I think we’ve adapted fairly well. I’ve now been working from home a hundred percent since June. It all feels very normal now. 

Where did you actually come across the role? Did you see it on our website, or did you receive a job alert? 

I have signed up to receive your job alerts for opportunities in healthcare, strategy and policy. So I got the alert first. I’m also subscribed to your newsletter and saw the role appear in that big lists that is sent every week, which is great. 

When thinking of your career progression and especially this role, do you find the consulting skill set a helpful factor? 

Yes, I think so. I’m Canadian and, and I was based in Canada when I was working as a management consultant. I still credit those six-seven years of working as a consultant for opening many doors for me. Even when I was doing my master’s degree, I was able to land three or four different internships. I think I stood out as a potential candidate for an internship because of my background in consulting. My first job in the UK after my post-graduate studies was with a boutique consultancy – they were very interested in taking on someone who’d had fairly significant consultancy experience. I think it was the same at Nesta. 

The types of roles that I’ve gone for, this one included, have usually been, programme management roles. Anyone with consultancy experience who has a good grasp of managing complex projects, prioritising tasks, managing stakeholders, etc will be very attractive and suit those roles well.

Do you have any career advice you think everybody should know? 

One piece of advice that I typically have in the back of my head is to keep your eyes open for opportunities and know your worth and value. Sometimes when you’re busy with the day-to-day you might lose perspective of outside opportunities and lose perspective of what you might be capable of in your next role. I think, yeah, just keeping that, keeping your finger on the pulse on the market, would be my career advice.

Is there anything else that you would like to mention that we haven’t touched on? 

Yes, just want to reiterate how great Gaby has been because it’s a strange one: I’ve actually not spoken to her or had a video call with her, but despite that, she knew my background well, and she put forwards my CV in the first instance to NHS. It was obvious that she had a really good relationship with NHS England and the hiring manager there. She was really able to give some good insight into what they might be looking for in the application. And those were the things that I really tried to address when I applied, which was obviously a success. Credit to her for not really meeting me, but making me feel that she knew me and was my advocate. 

I think the Movemeon platform has been really great. What you’re trying to do, in terms of bringing the best experiences of management consultants to more organizations, is amazing. I’m constantly interested in the different roles that come up. You’ve got a really good reach into different sectors, which is testament to all the relationships you’ve been able to build over a relatively short period of time.

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