“Dan Thomas has demonstrated a remarkable ability to do excellent work as a PM, problem-solve as well as take a leadership role, going above and beyond, wowing clients, and inspiring the team.”
At the Association of Translation Companies awards ceremony in September, Dialogue was chuffed to take home two big wins: New Member and Project Manager of the Year 2022. The winner of the latter category was our very own Dan Thomas – who has been working his socks off for Dialogue since 2019 – a massively well-deserved win! But, we hear you ask, what does it actually mean to be Project Manager of the Year? Well, you’re about to find out! In this exclusive interview, Dan tells us all about what being a project manager at Dialogue really entails, the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and, believe it or not, a bit about marrows and courgettes… read on to find out more!
Dan, can you tell us a little bit about your Dialogue journey so far?
Yes, so I started at Dialogue in March 2019, and I’d never planned to get into project management. I’d recently left a job in Germany that I wasn’t quite happy with and this opportunity to work here kind of fell in my lap without me really looking for it. So, I thought I’d give it a go and become a junior project manager. And yeah, ever since then, I’ve kind of worked my way up; I’ve become more experienced, and now I am the translation manager. It’s been quite a fast-paced journey, but it’s been a very enjoyable one as well.
As our Translation Manager, what do you enjoy most about your job?
It’s a nice mixture of project management, but also a bit of HR and people management as well. So, I get to do both the client side of things, manage projects, deal with linguists – which is really fun – but I also get to deal with people and a team as well and make sure that they’re ok.
It's not always a piece of cake, though! So, what are some of the challenges that you face at work?
I think definitely the biggest challenge that I face sometimes is the juggle between being a project manager and being a translation manager. So, putting the needs of your clients and the projects first, but also making sure that your team are well supported and that they have the resources that they need. I think being a project manager, it can be quite easy to get swallowed up and so involved in the projects that you’re doing. But I need to make sure that I have my other eye on the team as well to make sure that they can fulfil their jobs properly too.
What do you think it is that Dialogue does differently, that makes us stand out from the crowd?
Yeah, I think it’s really in our name – Dialogue. I think that’s what we do better than a lot of other companies; communication and client communication is a key thing for us and I think it is something that makes us stand out from other competitors. We have a great client-based approach, a very tailored approach to our work, and I think that benefits our customers greatly.
How do you wind down at the end of a long day?
So, I’m quite an avid cook. I like to just work through a recipe and make something new. I’ve also got into gardening recently, which hasn’t been the most successful venture for me. It’s only my first year, so I’m being easy on myself. But next year, I hope to be able to grow a lot more stuff.
Didn't you have some... wasn't it courgettes or something?
Yeah, I had courgettes and spring onions, garlic… and I tried growing watermelon as well. That wasn’t very good though.
Dan’s PA, Wyn the parrot, pictured alongside a marrow grown by Sainsbury’s
Speaking of food, what is your favourite snack?
I am a bit of a snacker. I’m definitely more of a savoury person than a sweet person, so I think anything like crisps is like one of my go-to snacks. You can’t go wrong, really. So many flavours. Lots of opportunity. I love it.
And finally, a bit more serious: what is your favourite company value?
That’s very difficult. But I’d say that my favourite company value is probably – “Give goosebumps,” I think. That kind of encapsulates who we are as a company. We’re always striving to give the best service possible, to wow our customers and also our linguists as well. We want both our customers and our linguists to be happy working with us and impressed with the work that we’re doing.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview with Dan, why not check out what Cathy Branson, our Business Development & Marketing Director has to say about the ATC awards here?