Milla Mazilu, Chair of the Board at the Association for Project Management (APM), was recognised at the annual Digital Technology Leaders Awards where she was named Chief Data Officer of the Year for driving a new data strategy to help pave the way for AI adoption at Network Rail.
Milla, Head of Advanced Analytics in Network Rail's Wales and Western Region, was awarded the title in recognition of her team's efforts to create and integrate a revamped data strategy.
The new strategy was designed to both improve current analytics solutions and data management principles, as well as to prepare for further tests, trials and implementation of advanced AI tools.
Judges noted that Milla had “demonstrated evidence of exceptional leadership, innovation and management of a cutting-edge digital project” that has had a measurable impact.
Milla recently said:
“It's an honour for our team to be recognised with such a prestigious award for this essential activity to create a new data strategy that will have both short-term and long-term benefits for our valued project teams.
“As part of our culture of continuous improvement, we took a deep dive into our data and identified several key areas of improvement relating to systems that had become antiquated and fragmented over time and incidents of time-consuming processes involving manual entry and data duplication.”
The Digital Technology Leaders Awards, hosted annually by online magazine Computing, recognise and celebrate the achievements of groups and individuals across the digital technology sector.
“This recognition is not only a testament to the impact of our team's efforts but also an opportunity to shine a light on the important contributions that project professionals make in driving digital innovation, particularly in the public sector. I am proud of what we have achieved together, and I believe this award demonstrates that the project profession is a crucial element of any successful data strategy. It's a privilege to be able to work with such an innovative and forward-thinking team, and I look forward to continuing our work on modernising and optimising our systems for the future.
“The other part of the satisfaction for us is that we delivered this project to budget and we've done it entirely in-house with a small team. These projects don't need to be big, glossy, or expensive. You can do incredible things without having to scale costs or methods by a factor of 10 and the fact that we've done just that and have been recognised for it is really special.”
Milla has been an active volunteer with the APM since 2014, joining the Planning, Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group (SIG) in 2014 as a volunteer and becoming the chair in 2016. That same year, Milla was also elected as an APM Trustee where she has since served on the board committees for Professional Standards and Knowledge, Remunerations, Advocacy and Nominations, and Audit and Assurance.
Network Rail owns, operates and develops the 20,000 miles of railway track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts, and thousands of signals, level crossings and stations that make up most of Britain's railway infrastructure.