Women in STEM: Cari Westacott, bid manager
Cari Westacott is a bid manager. Specialising in cybersecurity consulting and managed services projects, she’s responsible for creating and overseeing Airbus Protect’s new business proposals for clients in all sectors. Read on to learn more about her role, and how to apply for bid manager jobs at Airbus Protect.
Can you briefly talk about your professional journey to date?
After finishing my bachelor’s degree in law, I joined Airbus as a contractor for the commercial team working across cybersecurity programmes, consulting and managed services. I spent just over a year in this role as a commercial and contracts administrator.
After, I took a year away from the company to complete my master’s in law and business, before returning as bid manager for managed services and consultancy in the UK.
My current role revolves around developing proposals for new opportunities. Since the launch of Airbus Protect, I’ve been able to work transnationally, developing and maintaining our company-wide bid process.
What challenges did you face when entering the cyber industry?
Before joining Airbus I hadn’t previously worked in cybersecurity or obtained a ‘technical’ degree. I guess that makes me an atypical ‘woman in STEM’!
When I started my role at Airbus, I had to work hard to understand this new world, and figure out where my role fits within it. To do this, I asked – and still ask – a lot of people a lot of questions! Thankfully, everyone here is very willing to help others learn.
What do you enjoy the most about your job as a bid manager?
I’m fortunate that my role overlaps with multiple functions. This means I can get involved in different types of activity, which keeps things fresh and interesting – like sales, finance, legal, strategy, and social value and sustainability.
Another brilliant thing about Airbus is that there are loads of working groups and social networks to get involved in.
Finally, and probably most importantly, I feel that my opinion is valued and I am listened to by my peers and managers.
Where do you look for inspiration or to continue learning?
I’m surrounded by colleagues and led by managers who are constantly looking for more efficient and exciting ways to work. Their can-do approach inspires me to look at how we do things, and ask how we can improve them – for the benefit of our own teams and our customers.
What attributes make someone a great candidate for a role in cyber?
Being up for a challenge and not just being able to keep up with change, but to bring it.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to work in Cyber?
Ask all the ‘silly’ questions!
Skills learned at Airbus Protect
Project management – managing all aspects of a bid considering the required inputs from various functions and stakeholders whilst coordinating a bid team which involves setting timelines and task delegation.
Problem solving – not all bids and process are straightforward so I have learned to be methodical and rational when faced with a problem to find the best solution and to develop and share best practice. I also try to foresee which problems might arise along the way to prepare several remedies and assess which is most appropriate.
Negotiation – having the ability to review our solution and costs to meet customer expectations whilst ensuring that opportunities remain favourable to the company.
Interested in bid manager jobs at Airbus Protect? Check out our current job openings.