Category News
Publication date
08 March 2024

Meet the Team: Digital Project Manager Emily McLaughlin

Time to read 8 minutes read

Emily McLaughlin balances her project manager role with a busy family – she has two teenagers and an enthusiastic springador. She takes us into her world in Derry, and reveals how working remotely changed her life for the better. 

Alison: What do you do at Annertech (both your job title and what it is that you actually do – because that can vary)? 

Emily: I’m a digital project manager. I am responsible for project delivery and ensuring projects are delivered on time and that they meet expectations. I am the main point of contact for the client on a project. 

Alison: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Emily: I was born in London to Irish parents and moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland when I was two years old. I attended primary school there for a few years before moving to the beautiful Malin Head in Donegal where my dad bought a farm. I really enjoyed farm life, particularly the goats and the dogs, and I am still a massive animal lover. After university I lived and worked in Dublin for 10 years but I was glad to move back up North where the cost of living is definitely cheaper. 

Alison: Where do you live? 

Emily: I live in Derry with my husband Jerome and two teenage children, Dan and Molly. I love Derry. It's the best of both worlds – it has everything you need within a 10-minute drive (shops, restaurants, cinema, yoga classes) but we also have the countryside and the stunning beaches of Donegal nearby. 

Emily McLaughlin is a digital project manager at Annertech

Alison: What are your interests outside of work?

Emily: I love walking, particularly on the beach with my three-year-old springador Bella. I also enjoy going to yoga to relax and de-stress. I like eating out at nice restaurants with a glass of wine.

My daughter is an Irish dancer so a lot of my time is spent travelling with her to various competitions. We travel to competitions all across Ireland. We also fly to the UK regularly to compete and last year we went to Canada for her first World Championship. The next big competition is the World Championships 2024 in Glasgow.

Before having children I loved to travel to different places with my husband but as that’s not affordable for a family of four we spend our yearly holiday at our villa in Turkey. I do treasure our family time in Turkey but I am looking forward to venturing further afield again once the kids have flown the nest.

Alison: What does a typical work day look like? 

Emily: Because I work remotely, I don’t have a set routine. Sometimes I can be online at 6am, sometimes as late as 10am. Occasionally I log off at 3pm and other nights I can still be online at midnight. I generally try and plan my day the evening before, allocating time to various things so I can achieve everything I need to in a given day. Some days go exactly to plan and some days don’t – depending on what stage various projects are at! 

Most days involve client and team calls and generally keeping an eye on progress across projects. Calls are generally planned in advance but there are lots of impromptu calls too for problem solving. There is also lots of context switching between team chats and emails. But every day involves feeling guilty that I am too busy to spend more time with the dog. 

Bella the Springador enjoys some time on a beach in Derry

Emily Mclaughlin enjoys spending time on the beach with her springador, Bella.

Alison: How did you get into this line of work? 

Emily: I completed an MSc in computing and information systems at Ulster University. After graduation I entered my first job at a web development company where I worked on the frontend team building websites. After two years I became team lead and after another two years I was promoted to project manager. 

When my first child came along I focused on being a mother for seven years. At that stage I thought I had closed the door permanently on project management and I rejoined the workforce as a medical secretary. 

Then a former colleague contacted me out of the blue to ask if I might be interested in a remote project-management role with Annertech. I will forever be grateful to him as the opportunity totally changed my life and for the better! 

Alison: What do you love most about your job? 

Emily: I get a kick out of the buzz of getting things done, checking things off and successfully completing a project. I love it when the team pulls together to deliver and we have a happy client. There is a great sense of achievement in that. 

The wider team at Annertech are all very supportive of each other and it's a fun atmosphere. I like hanging out on various channels during downtime and having some friendly banter and competing against the team on the various puzzle channels. Dingbats is my current favourite! We’re presented with a set of pictures and from that we need to figure out the phrases or words that the images represent. 

I am so lucky that I can work remotely. I am grateful for the flexibility it gives me in juggling family life and a boisterous pup. I can travel with my daughter to her Irish dance competitions and still keep an eye on my projects from the airport or hotel. 

Alison: What do you like least about your job? 

Emily: I hate starting new large projects, when everything feels like a big unknown. I feel apprehensive at the start of every single large project! Despite the fact that I know each project like the back of my hand by the time it’s over and I’ve been doing this for a long time I still can’t shake that initial feeling of “I don’t know what we are doing”. 

Alison: Was there a favourite project that you worked on? Could you tell us a bit about it? 

Emily: It would be hard to pick just one because you become so deeply involved in each one… it would be like picking a favourite child. At a push I will pick three: 

  1. The Orange brand. This was one of my most recent projects. It was a really complex project involving integrating with a third-party DAM (digital asset management software). I was involved from discovery through to delivery so it was exciting to see the project through from conception to realisation. We had a very tight and immovable deadline and I will forever remember being at the All Irelands in Killarney with my daughter and taking project calls in between her performances as the site was due to launch within days. I am really proud of what the team achieved. 
  2. Tirlán Ingredients because it was one of my first projects with Annerech, it was very pretty to work on and I’ve been involved in a few mini project enhancements along the way 
  3. Inland Fisheries Ireland because it's a huge site and I was very hands-on with all the testing and it won an award

Alison: How important do you think the project manager role is? 

Emily: It’s not always valued perhaps but it is valuable. It's an important cog that keeps the wheel turning – a good project manager can save you time and money, and is the liaison between the client and the development team. 

Sometimes the client and developers don’t speak the same language and this is where the project manager is so beneficial. Having that middle person to tease out and translate problems allows the development team to focus on delivering solutions. We like to keep everyone happy and we make sure everyone is on the same page. 

Our main goal is that the project is delivered on time and within budget, and that the client gets what will best suit their customer and business needs. 

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Alison Visser Head of Content

After more than two decades in journalism, Alison now collaborates with Annertech's clients to ensure that their content is the best it possibly can be.