Hello I’m Joanne Esmyot! I recently joined as a Director leading Public Digital’s work in Africa and working with development agencies around the world in the International Development team. I am based in the beautiful island of Mauritius.
I have 16 years of work experience with most of that time spent at Ceridian, 1.5 years working at Middlesex University and the last 3 years leading the National Computer Board (NCB) of Mauritius before I joined Public Digital. During my time at the NCB, we helped the Government of Mauritius successfully undertake several digital transformation initiatives.
These included providing infrastructure as a service, leading the national cybersecurity agency, digitally transforming manufacturing and production, and running capability building programmes some of which received international recognition. The NCB also became the first Mauritian Certificate Authority, which I am particularly proud of, as this has laid the foundations for enabling many more digital services in Mauritius such as online birth certificates launched in September 2021.
What I have learned throughout those various and diverse experiences is that it’s always about people. The greatest technology in the world does not lead meaningful transformations. People do. I am so glad to be working in an organisation that shares this belief and recognises that people are at the heart of any successful digital transformations.
That’s why Public Digital advocates that organisations fund teams instead of projects.
Purpose is what matters
I have also learned that purpose is what matters the most. What I have really enjoyed in working for the public sector is the impact that I could make on people’s lives. Digital Transformation is extremely shallow if it lacks purpose. Purpose may come in diverse forms:
Putting the user first and delivering services that impact people’s lives
Promoting Digital Inclusion of all
Sustaining the transition to net zero
There are so many ways to make technology meet purpose.
And finally my past work experience has taught me that values are extremely important. It’s not only what we do that matters but how we do it matters as much. What struck me most is the culture at Public Digital. Many organisations have values as words that are stuck on the wall or, worse, only on their website. The ten positions of Public Digital are embedded in everything we do. It is really fascinating to see how far these are deeply rooted in how things are done and drive decision-making.
Agile ways of working
One crying example is the agile ways of working. I have been a strong advocate of agile for years, but very quickly realised that I had never really experienced agile until I joined Public Digital. It was a real eye-opener. I have been on scrum master training years ago, was contemplating doing the certification, practised agile for a few years in previous organisations and was even asked to coach some teams. But there is a huge difference between doing and being. I have never seen an organisation that has agility in its DNA like Public Digital. You can feel it everywhere, from the gatherings to the team meetings through to the week notes.
I am so proud to be part of such an amazing team. Really looking forward to bringing my contribution and the Public Digital experience to the world, especially Africa!