Donna Harman | Transport for London

Donna Harman

I grew up in a small leafy commuter town in Surrey and struggled at school more than my peers. I self funded myself through University studying Business and there I was diagnosed with dyslexia. From then, with the additional support Southampton Solent University provided at the time, my career direction started to take shape and my confidence in my abilities grew. Given my own background, I knew I wanted to help others professionally, and became an expert at giving career advice for friends and family so I looked for a trainee roles in Learning and Development.

I’ve also always had a motivating energy inside me which makes me want to go further and grasp experiences with both hands. From Southampton, I knew the bright lights of London were calling me, and I moved up on my own in 2005 and have been here since. From there, I started at Transport for London, then Metronet, in my perfect ‘trainee’ role.

Other than a two-year gap where I taught English abroad at worked at the fabulous Institute of Electrical Engineering, I have been at TfL since. It has been a great professional home for me and I have worked my way up and through departments to my current role – STARS Project Manager, which is a scheme to encourage young Londoners to travel safely, actively and sustainably.

I have had inspirational managers and mentors throughout my career who have really helped my build confidence and believe in me, and I am still in contact with all of them. Having a supportive manager is the one thing that helps when stress levels rise – now I am a manager, I like to think I show the same support.

I have had a varied and interesting career at TfL. From working in Learning and Development, I moved within HR to run graduate and apprentice programmes to get the best talent in and help train and develop future managers. I then through working with graduates, saw an opportunity to work in a creative role, so was seconded to a Communications Officer where I ran projects for London Buses and London Dial-a-Ride. Bringing both young people strategy and communications together, I applied for my current role – an opportunity to be seconded to what I feel is the most exciting job (including job title) in TfL – STARS Project Manager! This current role bring all of my experience together in a nice neat package, whilst still challenging me on a daily basis. And I feel it helps all London school children by building their and their parents confidence for them to travel safely around our city from a young age.

As a female, I grew up believing I could achieve whatever I put my mind to and my parents were loving and encouraging, despite me being the first in the family to go to University or move away from home. I believe anyone can do anything they put their mind to, if circumstances allow and if you let yourself be seen so someone catches that spark in you.

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