As the Business Development and Marketing Intern at T2 Tech Group, I’ve been able to meet and work with the team on a couple of different projects. I was excited when I was presented with the opportunity to interview Leigh Sleeman, a Senior IT Project Manager and Partner at T2 Tech Group. Leigh is an office favorite and he sets the example in both his quality of work and his mentorship of others.
Leigh initially joined our firm in 2012 as a Program Manager. In 2018, it was announced that Leigh was being promoted to Partner. T2 Tech Group offers the possibility for any employee to be offered a partnership and stake in the company if they consistently demonstrate their worth and provide valuable contributions while they are here. Leigh’s management of complex healthcare IT projects has been a boon for our company and consistently leads to organizational and client growth. This, coupled with his work ethic and leadership skills, has enabled his professional development and recent promotion. He continues supporting our organization with his project management experience and maintains T2 Tech’s unique culture and steadfast commitment to its clients.
I was fortunate enough to find time on Leigh’s busy schedule to ask him about his journey to becoming a partner.
What made you want to work with T2 Tech Group? Why did you leave the provider side to become a consultant?
I had just finished managing two massive infrastructure projects at UCLA. My next set of work was likely going to be application-centric and those types of projects didn’t appeal to me. I preferred the variety of challenges and working on the infrastructure side of applications. So, I reached out to Robert Konishi for advice, my mentor and the CTO at UCLA at the time. I learned Robert was starting his own firm and he assured me that I would work on infrastructure projects. I trusted Rob and I felt I was ready to take the next step in my career, so I made the move.
Is there a specific characteristic or trait that further developed your professional growth?
I think being very inquisitive is essential in our industry. I’m not afraid to ask questions so that I can learn things I don’t know. For example, you click a button and the system does something. But I want to know what is behind the button and how it works. The answer may not help with the problem in front of me, but I can use what I learned to translate it to the next problem and better understand what to look for.
Going off that, what advice would you have for an incoming project or program manager?
It’s important that project managers make sure they understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. It helps to ask yourself what is the reason this task needs to be done? I think a piece of important advice would be to ensure you’re doing work in the spirit of what the project is trying to achieve.
How did it feel to be an employee of the month at Sharp HealthCare?
It was honestly a little bizarre (laughing), as I wasn’t a direct employee. No, but it was very kind that they thought that much of me. It speaks to the character of our company’s relationship with Sharp— that when we work together, we’re partners, and that partnership is stronger than the traditional client or customer relationship.
After 7 years, what keeps you motivated to be the best program manager you can be? In other words, after achieving a stake in the company and becoming a partner, what motivates you?
I remain engaged and motivated due to each client being different. It’s never monotonous work and I’m able to apply similar principals in different scenarios for clients. Seeing a new client fully adopt and integrate our methodology is very rewarding and demonstrates that the impact we have on a company is lasting. I’m still always learning, and the enjoyable part is bringing the knowledge I attained at one client to a new client or setting.
What do you think distinguishes T2 Tech from other IT consulting firms?
I believe our hybrid-Agile methodology is the primary distinction between us and other consulting firms. In my prior work, I experienced firsthand the deficiencies of the waterfall methodology. I believe some of its components are outdated and this would cause my team and I a lot of frustration. At the time, I thought the inefficiencies were just the cost of managing projects and I didn’t know any better. But at T2 Tech, we use the best of the waterfall methodology coupled with the best of the agile methodology to come up with the most efficient approach to managing projects. I prefer this approach and found that projects are much more successful when utilizing our hybrid-Agile methodology.
Who has been a mentor that helped your growth over the years?
At UCLA my IT Director, Greg Hachigian was a key mentor. Robert Konishi had also been a person I looked up to, which is why I reached out to him when I was ready for a career switch. Once at T2 Tech, Kevin Torf has provided constant guidance and support that ultimately helped me maximize my skill set and excel as a project manager. I cannot think of another company where someone could start at the entry level with his two mentors as co-founders and managing partners, and after a couple of years get promoted to their level and earn a stake in the company. It has been an amazing experience learning from the two of them and I’m very grateful I’m at a place where they recognize hard work.
We know you’re one of the busiest people in the office. How do you find time to teach and mentor others?
I enjoy the constant interaction with people. I enjoy understanding how something works and then sharing it with others. Sometimes, a little too much and to my detriment where I put logistical stuff or timesheets off to help others (chuckling). No, but I believe you can also deepen your knowledge about a subject by trying to explain it to others, so there’s a mutual benefit in my mentorship.
Where do you want to see T2 Tech Group go in the next couple of years?
It would be very interesting if we can expand the footprint of what we do. Right now, the work we do is innovative and unique. But if we can continue to disrupt the industry and demonstrate the advantages of our approach, it would be a very exciting time if our methodology becomes the norm instead of the exception. here do you want to see T2 Tech Group go in the next couple of years?
If Leigh’s career progression and becoming a partner at a fast-growing company interests you, check out the available positions here.