Christina Peterson featured

Inspirational Woman: Christina Peterson | Co-Founder & COO, Worksome

Christina Peterson

Christina Peterson is co-founder and COO of Worksome.

Worksome is a matchmaking platform that connects employees with prospective employees in 24 hours via AI and in work within four days.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was born in Nuuk, Greenland in August 1982, and lived there until the age of seven. I am currently based in Holte, just north of Copenhagen, where I live with my husband and three children – all boys – aged nine, seven and our latest addition who is only a few months old.

Generally, I have always been interested in social dynamics, and what drives and motivates us. This has influenced both my education and career choices, which have centered around psychology and Human Resources. In terms of academic achievements, I am a Master in Human Resource Management, primarily focused on Performance Management and incentive structures. And in terms of my current professional status, I am a co-founder and the Head of People at Worksome. My role is to ensure a scalable and highly motivated organisation, enabling us to realise our vision of becoming facilitators of the free and meaningful work-life.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not! My educational and career choices have always been driven by interest and passion, not by blue prints for the future. Looking back, my path has not been a straight line, and it wasn't even on the cards for me to start my own business, but Worksome was too good an idea to let go.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Challenges come with ambition. If you want to develop, to improve, to find that motivation that makes you try even harder, then there will always need to be challenges along the way.

And when you overcome them – because you always do – you not only feel satisfied, but sharper than before.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Besides my children... Definitely founding Worksome. It is an amazing feeling to execute on something you strongly believe in, and actually see it fly. Worksome is not just about building a company. It is also about making room for new and more contemporary ways of working. It’s about helping people to build a better work-life balance and unlock potential.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Focus on what's important and what is not. Not just focus in terms of concentrating on what´s agreed on, but focus in terms of working out what's the best choice for me, my family, my business in the given situation. It means I am pragmatic and what matters is what works.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have mentored many students on their last year of their Master’s degree. Mentoring is important and is meaningful - both ways. I believe mentoring/knowledge sharing is crucial professionally and it builds trust between people.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Well, I think the general discourse on the topic will be even more relevant and interesting if we start acknowledging differences in preferences between men and women. If we want to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, we have to be that change in our own choices - IF the choices are right for us and are what we really want.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Doing everything with 100 per cent perfection won’t get you anywhere. Learning to prioritise effort is key to success.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Getting the organisation ready for scale-up. I am so excited and thankful for how far we have come, and I am looking forward to working with our team to build a strong presence across many new markets, as a preferred partner to both companies and independent professionals.

Inspirational Woman: Tiffany Hall | Chief Information Officer, Cancer Research UK

Tiffany Hall

Tiffany Hall joined Cancer Research UK as Chief Information Officer in July 2017 – the first person to hold the role and one of the first technology board positions in the charity sector.

CRUK is the UK’s largest charity, encompassing ground-breaking research and lobbying on government health policies, all supported by fundraising initiatives and over 600 retail outlets.  Tiffany is responsible for setting and delivering the overall CRUK technology strategy to maximise the value that technology can bring to the Charity in support of its aims. Since joining CRUK, she has steered the organisation through its largest ever reconfiguring of their digital and IT teams, triggering wholesale culture change across the organisation.

Prior to joining CRUK, Tiffany worked at the BBC for over 20 years in a range of technology leadership roles across the enterprise IT and broadcast engineering spectrum, including that of CIO. Her earlier career was spent in IT roles with Shell UK. She has been very much engaged in the UK digital skills agenda, in an advisory capacity with the Tech Partnership, as a STEM ambassador, and by working with DCMS on the Tech Talent Charter to help employers tackle the challenges of diversity in UK tech roles.

In January 2019 Tiffany was awarded CIO of the Year at the UK’s Women in IT Awards - the world's largest technology diversity event.  And in May 2019 she was ranked number 9 in the UK CIO top 100.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I did a degree in Maths with Computing – a long time ago! – and worked briefly editing primary school maths books.  I then joined Shell UK as an IT graduate trainee, starting with coding.  I worked up and through various roles at Shell for seven years before joining the BBC as an IT project manager.  I was 20 years at the BBC and my career there took me into the broadcast engineering part of the technology function, so delivering hardware tech solutions as well as software ones, which was hugely enjoyable, particularly my time working with BBC News.

I joined Cancer Research UK (CRUK) as its Chief Information Officer in July 2017 to bring together two disparate technical teams into a single Technology department with a common culture, and to deliver more value to the organisation more efficiently.  It’s an inspiring and rewarding place to work, full of amazing and impressive people, passionate about our belief that together we will beat cancer.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

There were a couple of deliberate interventions I made to get some specific experience that I realised was missing from my career to date, that would stop me from making the next move.  And before I left the BBC, I had a very deliberate long hard think about next steps Other than that, not really!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Oh yes.  There was one role at the BBC where I was really stretched outside of my comfort zone, and really didn’t do very well which led to some difficult conversations with my boss and with our HR business partner.  We all concluded that I was a square peg in a round hole, and to cut a long story short, I moved instead into a different role.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I am very proud of my part in taking the BBC newsroom off video tape onto desktop and server-based video editing.  This seems very straightforward now, but back in the late ‘90s, for full broadcast-quality high definition video, it was ground-breaking and difficult.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Always thinking across organisational boundaries, looking at what is needed from an org-wide perspective, rather than a narrow and parochial one, and creating and using the connections and networks to help make that happen.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think mentoring can be incredibly powerful, and I have informally mentored and supported many colleagues.  I have also been mentored, and the HR team at Cancer Research UK (my employer) are currently seeking a mentor for me.  I’m also currently sponsoring three of our high potential leaders at CRUK, at our “Head of” level in the charity, with a view to their development to become candidates as Directors.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I would run a targeted programme of training and development for primary school teachers – also open to parents – to show them the huge range of professions and roles that are out there for all children to consider themselves candidates for, and ensure that these teachers (85 per cent female in the UK) are stretching the aspirations of the girls as well as the boys.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Work a ski season!  That is the real answer, however, on a more career-focussed note I would have liked to have worked in an IT role outside the UK at some point.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I’m new enough in my current role for my next challenge to be right here at CRUK, as the culture-change journey I mentioned earlier is still very much underway and is hard.  In future, I’d really like to become involved again in the UK education sector in some way, which - other than my early publishing work - I’ve only done on a voluntary and fairly occasional basis.

Inspirational Woman: Rachel Bridge | Communications Co-ordinator, Ansible Motion

Rachel Bridge

Rachel Bridge is currently Communications Co-ordinator for Ansible Motion's technical and commercial groups.

Her role includes research and copy writing, coordinating and managing digital assets, filming and photography oversight, and liaising with press, media, and public relations.

Ansible Motion creates Driver-in-the-Loop (DIL) simulators for vehicle engineering.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was probably the only seven year-old at school who could rewire a plug and change a fuse, and almost certainly the only 10 year-old who could solder and rebuild a computer (all skills I’m now woefully unpractised in), but these were the perks of being raised by an engineer! I didn’t continue down that path though and my degree is in youth and community work, which couldn’t be less tech related if I tried. I soon switched to marketing and fundraising, during which time I set up my own business offering marketing, design and research support to charities and companies both in the UK and USA, however, after 10 years, I was keen to move into the technology and engineering sector.

That’s how I started at Ansible Motion, a company which specialises in automotive simulation technology and driving simulators. Having always been fascinated by cars and motorsport, it was a dream opportunity. My job title is Communications Coordinator, which draws heavily on my previous marketing experience, but my role is varied as Ansible Motion is a small company achieving big things. For example, the latest Driver-in-the-Loop simulator product, called the Theta C, involved everyone in the company, and I was involved in the product development from day one to shipping the first unit off to Asia.

My current focus is on the company’s 10-year anniversary. In order keep up with our customers’ needs around the world, our simulators have changed and improved in radical ways since 2009, and the company has grown significantly.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I probably should have done, but no. I actually ended up in this sector after an offhand comment from my dad about why I didn’t work in tech?

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Plenty. I lived in London for 10 years, and when I moved back to Norwich it was hard to find any jobs, let alone any that were engineering, and tech based. I asked for introductions from friends and friends of friends to get meetings with tech companies based in Norfolk, but Ansible Motion was always the company I wanted to work for. After a number of false starts elsewhere, I managed to get a meeting with the Technical Director at Ansible Motion. I went in initially asking for part-time work experience, but after a few months I was offered a full-time job.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Finding a role that combines my marketing experience with my love of engineering and technology. Being able to connect customers with high tech offerings challenges me to convey complex messages to in ways that are understandable and easy to digest across a variety of platforms.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Persistence. I’ve heard ‘no’ a lot and when things didn’t work out, I found something else to do, something else to learn, another opportunity to try, even if I had to create them for myself.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

  1. Volunteer! I started out asking for work experience, offering a couple of days a week and from there got a full-time job.
  2. Ask questions, even the ones you think are stupid. It can feel awkward asking lots of questions, or observing other people working but it shows people you are interested and invested and in turn they are more likely to invest time and resource with you.
  3. Find an apprenticeship. Learning and working at the same time is the best way I’ve seen people advance, they get to put into to practice what they learn in the classroom immediately and get the necessary work experience to move straight into a job once they qualify.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

Absolutely, although I think it is improving. The importance of starting early is now widely understood, and the removal of gender play barriers will make a big difference. I loved the school lessons that included building with LEGO® Technic™, making simple machine models with lolly sticks, rubber bands and cardboard tubes. And I think it’s fantastic that kids are learning to code in primary school, more lessons like these will help to break down barriers.

The media can also play a big role in this through the portrayal of women in technology roles which have a large influence as well, for instance I couldn’t name a single TV or film character growing up who was female and heavily invested in tech and engineering, I don’t remember any articles about female tech CEOs, without these role models it’s harder for young girls to imagine themselves doing these jobs.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Investment in early (and ongoing) education is the long-term key. Providing funding to schools for tech specific equipment for use in lessons and after school clubs, opening facilities for school trips, providing role models for young girls to meet and interact with, and offering awareness sessions that demonstrate all the facets of engineering and technology. Companies have a chance to shape the narrative that technology isn’t just for boys, and that if you’re interested you have an equal chance, reinforcing this from a young age I think is the best way to support the progress of women’s careers in technology.

Currently only 15 per cent of people working in tech are women, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I strongly dislike the idea of forced diversity, and I genuinely believe that to even the playing field, things need to be better for everyone. Flexible working is probably the biggest opportunity, giving men and women equal amounts of time to spend with their families. It’s a model that is proven to work well in Scandinavian countries, Denmark in particular, and companies still have a full workforce, only the hours look a bit different.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

There are a number of support groups and networks around, such as the Women’s Engineering Society and WISE, and I’d definitely recommend LinkedIn for connecting with other people in the industry, they can often be a great gateway to new opportunities and experiences. Because my dad’s a member of The IET I’ve always found them a helpful source of information and inspiration, especially E&T Magazine, which I reference both for work, and my own personal learning and interest. I’m a member of Dare to be Different, who do fantastic work with girls from a young age introducing them to motorsport and automotive technology, they also have amazing networking events. I attend Autosport International every year, they host tech talks, interviews with technical staff and team managers and have a wealth of info and people wanting to connect, making it great value for money.

Lea von Bidder featured

Inspirational Woman: Lea von Bidder | Co-Founder & CEO, Ava

Lea von Bidder

Lea von Bidder is Co-Founder; VP Marketing and President of Ava Science Inc.

The idea for the Ava bracelet came from Pascal Koenig, Philipp Tholen, Peter Stein and I (Lea) around five years ago when we were confronted with our own reproductive choices in the modern world. We almost immediately started consulting with several gynaecologists from around the world, mainly in Europe and the US, asking what is important for women’s reproductive health needs. When Pascal, Philipp, Peter and I founded Ava in 2014, it was with the mission to advance women’s reproductive health by bringing together artificial intelligence and clinical research. And I’m proud to share that we’ve just achieved a major milestone: Our clinical research has just been made public in a scientific paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Internet Research. The paper demonstrates that five physiological signals change throughout the menstrual cycle, and that by tracking these signals, we can identify the fertile window of a woman’s cycle in real time. Our flagship product, the Ava fertility tracker, is the only fertility-tracking method available that measures all five of these signs.

We have around 120 employees worldwide distributed among Zurich, San Francisco, Belgrade, Makati and Hong Kong. Around 80 of these sit in our Headquarters in Zurich and work in various departments such as Clinical Team, Data Science Team, Product Team, Marketing as well as Customer Success.

We are proud to count over 20,000 pregnancies worldwide and 50 new pregnancies a day among our users

The tracking of a woman's cycle, fertility, and pregnancy is just the start of many exciting possibilities. Ava continues to conduct clinical studies to improve its accuracy and increase its capabilities. Ava and the University Hospital of Zurich are conducting a new large cohort study with several sub-studies that will address topics such as irregular cycles and pregnancy complications. We are also working with several thought leaders to conduct studies in assisted reproduction and gestational hypertensive populations.

Our vision of wanting to be a long-term companion for women, providing data-driven and scientifically proven insights along all stages of their reproductive lives, as well as our mission, wanting to advance women’s reproductive health by bringing together artificial intelligence and clinical research, are our biggest drivers.

Please also have a look and feel free to use parts of my most recent opinion piece covering the topic of women’s health.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I have a master's degree in global entrepreneurship from EM Lyon in France, Zhejiang University in China and Purdue Krannert University in the US. I completed my bachelor's degree at the University of St. Gallen and at HEC Montreal in Canada. During my studies, I worked in the Marketing Department of Procter & Gamble in Frankfurt and for a strategy consulting firm in Paris. I am also a co-founder of L’Inouï, a company that produces and distributes high-quality chocolate in Bangalore, India.

We founded Ava in Switzerland in 2014 and a year later I moved to San Francisco to open Ava’s US office as VP Marketing & President.

Commercial Photographer, Advertising Photographer, Lifestyle Photographer, Fashion Photographer, San Francisco, San Francisco California
Commercial Photographer, Advertising Photographer, Lifestyle Photographer, Fashion Photographer, Travel Photographer, Fitness Photographer, Video Director, San Francisco, San Francisco California, California, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, James Bueti Photography, Lifestyle, Fashion, James Bueti

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No never, but what I always knew was that I wanted to have an impact on important topics such as women’s rights, representation and health.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Founding your own start-up comes at a price and it’s inevitable that you work on something you’re passionate about and that you have a great team around you – always hire people that are smarter than yourself!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I will move into my new role as CEO of Ava in January 2020 and am very excited about this new challenge. You can find the press release in regards to this move here:

Also, have a look at this latest CNN Executive Talk to learn more about myself 😊

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Having a great co-founders team by my side who are all experts in different fields such as Data Science, Operations, General Management and Marketing, and we therefore complement each other very well. Also, being open to new challenges and ideas - just because you have chosen a path at some point, doesn’t mean you need to follow exactly that for the rest of your life. Things change and so should you.

I must also add – the support from family, friends and my husband.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome? What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

I believe the root cause of this starts when we are children. We need to stop thinking so gender biased and teaching this to our children. General sayings like, girls are better at languages, boys are better at maths etc, need to be revised so that we give our kids the opportunity to choose their own path even though it might not fit into our society.

Also, I don’t think that its only tech missing out on vital female input, it’s the same in many industries. We need to get much better with public childcare opportunities, maternity/paternity regulations, flexible working hours, also men being encouraged to work part-time, etc. The environment and circumstances we are still stuck in do not give us the possibility to thrive fully just yet.

Have a look at this LinkedIn post that touches nicely on the gender gap in Switzerland.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

Get yourself a wolf-pack, everything is so much better and easier when fighting something together.

Make sure you attend as many conferences relevant to your industry as possible to network and put your name out there. My favourite conferences are:

Jada Smith featured

Inspirational Woman: Jada Smith | Advanced Engineering & External Relations Executive, Aptiv

Jada SmithJada Smith, vice president – advanced engineering & external relations, is responsible for driving Aptiv’s advanced engineering roadmap in addition to her role in promoting Aptiv’s technology with external stakeholders.

Previously, Jada was Global Director – Software EOS and Tools at Aptiv’s Advanced Safety and User Experience division (formerly Electronics & Safety). She began her automotive career in 2004 as a software engineer at Electronics & Safety and following several progressive engineering and managerial roles in infotainment and corporate engineering, was named to her current role.

Named one of Automotive News 2017 “Rising Stars”, Jada also led Aptiv’s Agile transformation, a journey focused on improving quality and efficiency.

Jada holds a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering Technology and I have an MBA, but I really consider myself a software engineer.

My pursuit of a STEM career isn’t surprising, since even as a young child I was always very interested in understanding how things work. To this day, I am still fascinated by the technology we take for granted, and incredibly impressed by the brilliant people who invented it. In college I jumped at the opportunity to work as a co-op student working in the Electronics & Safety Independent Test & Verification group.

Today, I’m surrounded by teams who are not only shaping mobility now, but in the future and, as the vice president of advanced engineering & external relations, I have the privilege of being responsible for driving Aptiv’s advanced engineering roadmap, promoting Aptiv’s technology with external stakeholders, as well as, leading initiatives to drive gender diversity in Aptiv’s engineering workforce.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not when I first began my career. However, that all changed when I realized that the only thing standing in the way of my success… was me. I’d been mentally putting up barriers and waiting for someone to see my value. When I got out of my own way and took charge of my career that’s when the planning really began, and hasn’t stopped. Part of this journey meant taking a hard, honest look at my skills and figuring out how to gain the skills I was lacking. The other part was seeking out opportunities and charging after them before they get snapped up.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Of course, who hasn’t? Personally, who I am and what I bring to the table has been shaped by many people and experiences – both good and bad, big and small. And I wouldn’t erase any of them because many of them have faced me with a challenge that taught me something.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I think one of my most cherished moments of my career when colleague sent me a congratulatory note after I’d received an award and said that he was using my story to motivate his daughter. It is humbling, but also incredibly rewarding to know I have an impact on young women, including my daughter, who knows she is capable of accomplishing anything she sets her mind to, whether that is following in my footsteps by pursing a technical career or becoming the president of the United States.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Never, never, never quit. Life is hard and we can’t give up when things get hard. We have to have the confidence to believe in ourselves, as well as the grit and determination to push through, even when we are intimidated or unsure.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have had the privilege of mentoring others, both formally and informally, throughout my career. And I wouldn’t be where I am without my own mentors, coaches and advocates.

To be successful, we have to seek out feedback, both good and bad, so we know where and how to improve. This feedback can come from anywhere, but when it comes from a mentor or coach, it’s something we should celebrate and cherish. These individuals want the best for us, not because it helps them, but because they care about us, both personally and professionally.

I am proud to say that who I am now, and who I strive to become, has been shaped by many people along the way.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

More women in leadership positions within the technology industry. We’ve all seen how the STEM workforce is crucial for generating new ideas, receiving and commercializing patents, and providing the flexibility and critical thinking required in the modern economy. And as women, we’re the problem solvers. We get stuff done. And when you combine the two – that’s powerful and one we need more of in leadership.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

That trying to achieve the perfect work / life balance at all times will only be setting yourself up to feel like a failure. Instead seek to balance the moments. Focus on making choices and identifying what’s important in each moment. Each hour. Each day. Each week. Doing this requires being willing to make tough decisions and stand by them, but it’s allowed me to successfully have a career and be a great mother at the same time.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I was given some advice from  a senior leader in my company many years ago. He said that someone is going to throw me the ball when I least expect it and I need to be prepared to catch it. He looked me in the eye and asked “Are you ready?” It was with trepidation that I said yes, because I was scared, but I meant it. Since that moment, I have been thrown the ball many times, and I have caught it every time. It has come from many different directions and when I didn’t expect it, but I was prepared to catch it.

Each of these opportunities have been unique and helped me to grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined. They have also helped me learn to expect the unexpected and not be so focused on a particular role or path that I lose sight of a special opportunity. I don’t know what my next challenge will be, but I will face it as I have the others with courage and determination. One day, I hope to look back over my career and the imprint I have left on my company and the people in it, and proudly say that I made a difference.

Raz Yacobi featured

Inspirational Woman: Raz Yacobi | VP, EMEA Regional Delivery, NICE

Raz Yacobi

Raz is VP, EMEA Regional Delivery at NICE.

NICE is a billion-dollar Israeli technology business – headquartered in New York. It provides customer experience and employee engagement technology for the likes of BT, PayPal, Thomas Cook, Metro Bank and of N Brown Group (owners of JD Williams, Jacamo, Simply Be and High and Mighty), enabling them to make smarter and faster decisions based on advanced analytics of structured and unstructured data.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My current role is VP, EMEA Regional Delivery for NICE’s Enterprise division, which means I’m responsible for all project implementations and the overall customer experience in the EMEA region. It’s a high-pressure role, but I love it!

I started my career as an intern at Intel, and later worked as a project manager, programme manager and operations manager at a couple of organisations. I joined NICE eight years ago, and my starting role was as a project manager where I led business transformation projects within NICE. This role provided a huge amount of experience and exposure across the business and proved to be a great starting point for my career at NICE. Shortly after I relocated from Israel to London, where I’ve lived for the past six years.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I must admit I never really planned my career, which is a bit ironic as I’m a planner through and through. I’ve always been fascinated with technology and computing – I was drawn to it at school and was exposed to the subject at a fairly young age. When it came to choosing a university degree path, I initially had my heart set on computer science, but ended up going to study engineering and management. What I loved about this degree was that it wasn’t just technology and code, it was also about working with people and the overarching processes, which is one place I find passion.

Looking back at my career so far, I’ve moved through a lot of sectors, but the common thread has always been technology and it just happened naturally. Whenever I’ve had to think about a career change, I’ve focused on what I can bring to the role and the growth opportunities that were available. I’ve always chosen roles where I felt like I would have the opportunities to develop and NICE is a great example of this.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Of course I have. Everyone faces challenges in their career, but I try to look at them as growth opportunities, which is sometimes easier in hindsight. It’s all about how you deal with them and what you take away from them. For example, whenever I start in a new role it comes with a set of new challenges. Taking the time to learn and develop and grow into the role comes with a big sense of achievement. Ultimately, any new situation is an opportunity. You just have to remember to slow down, re-evaluate, understand the priorities and take things one step at a time.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Definitely reaching my current role. I was offered the job at the beginning of last year during a major transformation to our Services organisation and getting the vote of confidence to lead the team through this transition means a lot to me. I’ve got a great team and amazing people around me, which is what enabled us to complete this transition and focus on our new Services strategy.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

It’s hard to pick just one, but the mentoring and support I’ve had from the people around me has certainly played a key role in helping me develop. I have a great network of friends, colleagues and managers, who I find inspirational, and who have been willing to offer advice whenever needed.

I’d also say the ability to apply my strengths to different roles has been a major factor. I quickly learnt that I don’t have to be smarter than my team or know everything, I just have to know how to apply my skills to the situation. This is something that has really helped me over the years.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Mentoring is fantastic! I have been mentored and been a mentee in the past and have found it to be a great tool to build relationships and pass on advice. For example, I’ve worked with several managers and colleagues that I still call on today whenever I need another perspective, so I always try to pass on tips to friends or younger colleagues whenever I get the opportunity. Mentoring is a great tool and I would love to see more of it in any capacity. For women in particular, having role models that they can consult with and look up to is invaluable.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

That’s a big question and a big challenge! In my opinion, driving change in the gender debate starts with education – both for men and women. Equality is about everyone being aware of the issues and it’s clear that we still have a long way to go in this area. There still aren’t enough women in senior leadership roles and this won’t change unless we address the education and the recruitment process. Mentoring can also help, and companies should adopt formal mentoring programmes to help identify opportunities.

Society also plays a key role. I grew up in a very socially-equal community with the notion that I can do anything, but it isn’t the same everywhere. This is where things like internships, mentoring programmes, having a mix of men and women on industry panels and encouraging girls to study tech subjects in school can have a major impact. Things are changing but we need to keep the momentum going. The more role models and visible diversity there is across different industries, the more young girls will know that their dreams are possible.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I’d say don’t worry what other people think about you. Just do you! Many women worry about how they are perceived by others, but it really shouldn’t matter.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next challenge is to continue to grow NICE services across EMEA and ensure that we provide a first-class service to our customers. I would like to see our customer greater adoptions of our Value Realisation Services, which is how our Services team can help customers maximize value from their investment with NICE. We want to help them tap into the wide range of capabilities that we offer, all while providing excellent customer service and a first-rate experience.

Oksana Afonina featured

Inspirational Woman: Oksana Afonina | Senior Director - EMEA Growth, AppLovin

Oksana Afonina is the Senior Director of EMEA Growth at AppLovin.

Oksana built her tech career in post-Soviet Ukraine, where men and women were expected to contribute equally in the workplace as comrades. This experience shaped her strongly-held view that, no matter the field, women have the same capabilities and potential when it comes to education and work - it should be individual skill that determines success.

Oksana has previously worked at Facebook and Google.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was born and raised in Ukraine and currently live in Dublin where I hold the role of Senior Director of Growth at AppLovin. My career started at 15 when a family friend offered me a temporary job in marketing for his small business. I fell in love with all things advertising right away, and have since gone on to earn two Masters, one in Business Strategy, the other in Marketing, and later continued my career with roles spanning marketing research to B2B events, at companies including Google, Facebook and now AppLovin.

My career has focused on sales in advertising technology for seven years, with six of those years in mobile gaming. The team I lead at AppLovin provides consulting to mobile gaming developers around launching and growing chart-topping mobile games.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Looking back, I never had a particular plan in mind, nor would I have anticipated filling my current role fifteen years ago. While the decisions I’ve made around field of study and career moves have always been conscious choices, I typically made them on short timelines. I’ve made a habit of reflecting and reconsidering my path forward, so that view is constantly evolving.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I view any challenges I encounter as opportunities. This is particularly true in regards to working in the tech sector – it’s fast-moving and filled with competition, so it presents challenges each day.

Overall, one of my biggest hurdles has been balancing work with self-development, and it’s not necessarily something that gets easier with time. Learning and growing outside the core job is key to the success I’ve had so far and will continue to play an important role. I’m currently studying for a degree whilst working, so maintaining energy and motivation can be difficult. I try and stay focused, keep my eye on my goals, and plan out steps to achieve them.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I was one of Facebook’s first Russian speaking employees on their business team, and the first on their gaming team. I’m particularly proud of the work I did building Facebook presence within the CIS market in the gaming vertical.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

One major factor is my focus on personal and professional development and growth. I aim to accomplish a major goal every couple of years to ensure that I’m moving forward. It doesn’t need to be as defined as a promotion—I’m more so focused on progress and learning new skills. My move to the tech sector is a great demonstration of this approach, as my realizing my passion for game marketing and working with people lead me to my current role at AppLovin. This role has proved to be a perfect fit for my interests and allows me to grow and develop further in this industry.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I’ve never had a formal mentor but many of the people I’ve worked with over my career have provided me with informal mentorship. Having support from role models has definitely helped to shape my career and achievements. A standout role model for me was a former manager who taught me the importance of developing soft skills. Though neither of us are still at the company where we met, we remain in touch.

In my leadership role at AppLovin, I’m finding I enjoy being a manager and mentor to various people on my team. It’s a role that’s come to me organically, and thanks to some great mentors, I understand the importance of this role. When I moved to a manager role, I realised there were a set of skills I needed to learn. As a result, I’m currently doing a degree in Personal, Leadership, and Executive Coaching and although it’s different from mentoring, both fundamentally help develop people.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I’d persuade people to learn more about the topic. All of these movements are happening, yet I’m often surprised by how many people don’t seem to be aware of them. I go to lots of great events about women in tech and business, but most of the attendees are women. I feel it’s important for all genders to be a part of these events. Because it’s never about just one group making a change. A part of equality comes from embracing differences and encouraging more learning in this space.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Constantly learn – don’t stick with the status quo. I challenge myself to progressively identify new skills to learn, reach out to people both inside and outside of my industry who can help me build knowledge, and set achievable goals that contribute to my overall growth. It’s something I learned along the way and would have made a larger impact had I realized it sooner.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

To become a stronger manager and leader for my team. As I mentioned, I’m currently doing my degree in Personal, Leadership, and Executive Coaching, so I look forward to implementing my learnings and supporting my team’s growth. The biggest reward would be to see them understand their potential and act on it.

Libby Duane Adams featured

Inspirational Woman: Libby Duane Adams | Founding Partner & Chief Customer Officer, Alteryx

Libby Duane AdamsLibby Duane Adams is a founding partner of Alteryx, and as Chief Customer Officer is responsible for overseeing and maximising the complete Alteryx customer experience, from engagement to on-boarding, communications, performance, and retention.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

As Chief Customer Officer (CCO) and founding partner of data science company Alteryx, I’m responsible for overseeing and maximising the complete customer experience.

My job is to identify where there are issues or room for improvement in both our technology and service, to ensure we deliver the most superior offering available in the market.  My interaction with customers around the world is the most rewarding part of my job.  Knowing that they want us to improve, their feedback is invaluable as we continue to advance their experience to work with the holistic view of how we’re performing across the board - from implementation to adoption success and beyond.

As a company, the focus of Alteryx has always been the customer. I recognized early on that creating a customer-centric culture went beyond delivering a successful product experience and set out to enable a global community of passionate data lovers. A community where Alteryx users can solve more together, boldly step into the unknown and achieve more than they ever thought possible.

The Alteryx Community has grown both on and offline and is a key factor in the company’s 20+ year success. The community supporting the community servesas an incubator for the workforce of the future, supporting local and topic-focused user groups, Alteryx ACEs sharing their expertise and Women of Analytics are all components of this global community driving growth and support of data driven analytics across their organizations.

Further to my day-to-day scope of work, I am incredibly passionate about mentoring others to be inspired by and follow a career in analytics. In particular, Alteryx is very proud of its Women In Analytics initiative, which aims to help empower and bring awareness to the importance of women in STEM. The initiative continues to grow with the addition of regional chapters across the globe and panels at our Inspire user conferences.

I see huge opportunities for women in STEM fields, and I would like to see more schools, colleges and universities motivating everyone, including women, to understand the opportunities and to demystify them for women. One program I’m particularly proud of is Alteryx for Good, a company initiative launched in 2016 that grants the Alteryx platform to charitable organizations—including non-profits and  academia—and also enables every associate to donate up to 20 hours of their work time to the charity of their choice. It has been very rewarding experience for the entire organization while positively impacting the community. In a recent initiative, we sent 15 associates and 4 Alteryx ACEs to the HHS Challenge: Opioid Symposium & Code-a-Thon in effort to help combat the opioid epidemic with data analytics.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

 My career has been a most rewarding journey.  I wish I could say I had a plan, but quite the contrary.  Upon entering university, I knew I wanted to be a business major and learned very quickly that accounting was not my strength when I couldn’t get my balance sheets to balance!  Marketing was my passion and it excited me.  What was ironic was, while at university, I hated the coding required courses.  Yet, I have been with software companies since my first job. Safely on the business side, not the development/coding side.  I followed the passion I developed for working with customers, first on the support side, then moving to the sales side for 15 years including the early days at Alteryx.  My career journey has been driven by wanting to make a difference. The ability to work with smart people who, like me, have a passion for their work and a focus on making a difference in the lives of who we work for – the customer.  Always follow your passion.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Dean (co-founder and CEO of Alteryx) and I met back in 1990 when we both joined the same company. Dean was leading the western region at the time and I was at headquarters on the East Coast. In supporting his sales people in California, I moved to take a sales role on his team in 1993 and then, in 1996, the company we were working for was sold to our biggest competitor. It was in that transition that we started what is today Alteryx, in January 1997. One of the industries that I did not sell into back in early days of Alteryx was commercial real estate. At the time it was a “good old boy’s network” and not something I was ever going to overcome. Why would I set myself up for failure? Dean took real estate, while I focused on other industries.

A learning moment – for any business person is that ability to identify when you do or do not have control over something to change – because nothing would be more frustrating than trying to fight a fight you’re never going to win.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There are two things I am most proud of: First, is being able to take on the role as CCO at a company that is so focused on customers and knows that without customers, we go home early. This rolls into the second, which is the focus we have on the customer as an entire organization. ‘What is the impact on the customer if we do, or do not, make this change?’ To hear so many people across the organization ask this type of question tells me we are doing the right thing.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I grew up in a family where my dad was self-employed with five children; now, two of my brothers are sole proprietors of their own businesses. Being self-employed with five children, my parents never had a chance to give up or to stop. And, while my mother didn’t work outside the home, she was always moving things forward as my father did. In 1974, when the financial crisis hit, my father was employed as a golf course architect and building was considered a luxury, not a necessity. Although business slowed, he kept the business moving forward.

I learned early on that you need to keep moving. Having a passion for what I do, the will to succeed, to contribute, and the ability to make a difference have been real motivators. You need to be passionate about what you do. No matter what it is, make sure you’ve got passion. When you don’t have passion. What’s the reason for doing it? To me, work is not work, because I love what I do. There’s never an obstacle that is too big because of that passion.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Be creative in the way you think about solving problems. Don’t get stuck thinking you can only play by the rules that are set—you can create and develop new rules.In the tech industry, there is enormous opportunity to think about who the new user will be so it is crucial to remain customer centric. Customer trust defines the integrity of a business, but that trust often takes quite some time to build so make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep loyal customers around and create strong relationships with new ones. Put yourself in the shoes of that user or your customer and deliver a fantastic project. If you can do that, your customers will be committed to giving you feedback and developing that product. Whether the customers are internal or external, don’t ever lose sight of what they need.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

One barrier for success is that women need to get better about looking at their own potential, evaluating if this something they want to take on and then, tackling the challenge. Women need to get over the fear of failure, trying to do things perfectly or doing everything on their plate at 100 percent.

Especially in technology, it is a game of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes. Identify what you learned, don’t make the mistake again and be ready to move on.

I can’t speak for other industries, but in technology, the possibilities of what you can do are endless. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Stay curious because with curiosity, you will grow and never stop learning. After all, well behaved women rarely make history!

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think we should expand the definition of women in technology to also include women in business because we are missing a big part of the audience that spend their days doing their jobs with technology. These women are giving feedback and in turn, are helping the technology providers develop their respective tools and products.

If you’re the leader making that hire, if you find someone that has passion, ingenuity to try something different, that can be your next best teammate. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, don’t worry about having to check.

Because we are so open to different perspectives, our diversity has helped us grow. Men and women have different perspectives. Different ways of handling project, diversity has helped us to be different than your traditional tech company.

There is currently only 15% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

The technology industry has seen many changes over the past decade, not least in the significant progress made addressing the gender imbalance. Women in technology and analytics are no longer a rarity. An increasing number of organisations are now either owned by or have women in a leadership role. In the US alone, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 50% since 2007.

The analytics space is particularly attractive for women – almost half of analytics professionals are women. For example, the female winner of our “Grand Prix” at Inspire 2018—a simulated race determined by efficiency in solving analytic challenges—works in finance. There are plenty of similar examples and a lot more women using technology in their roles, that are not classified as ‘women in tech’ because they don’t work in a hardware, software or cloud. At our 2018 conference, we saw a 54 percent increase in women attendees this year, a clear indicator of the growth of women in analytics and it will be . Analytics is driven by technology.

Companies that focus on empowering the next generation of women to embrace the power of data and analytics are encompassing more talent, more points of view, and often lacking complementary traits.

While there’s a long way to go until we have an equal split of men and women across the technology industry, those who have are gaining a crucial competitive advantage and experiencing significant growth.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Take a listen to our Alter.Everything podcast.  To learn how the key to an amazing customer experience, check out and read Jeanne Bliss’ Chief Customer Officer and her podcast, Human Duct Tape Show.  Great materials!

Kate Koehn featured

Inspirational Woman: Kate Koehn | Program Manager, Amazon Web Services

Kate KoehnKate Koehn successfully retrained as a Program Manager for Amazon Web Services.

Despite her love from a young age for the scale, ambition and complexity of engineering, Kate had assumed that a technical role would be too difficult for her to access. But after working in recruitment and teaching, Kate has flourished in her current role at Amazon – thanks in no small part to a supportive working environment, a natural passion for technology and a flair for building professional relationships.

Kate Koehn is based in Seattle as a Program Manager for S3 Index, Amazon Web Services, where she is responsible for driving programmes for capacity management. Kate is passionate about technology, engineering, automation – and she loves to bake.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

In my current role, I’m responsible for driving programmes to scale server capacity to stay ahead of customer demand for data storage on the Cloud. However, my career started out very differently. I studied psychology and then taught English in France, before working in restaurants and even a motorbike repair shop. I always had a passion for maths and engineering – in fact I used to do my friends’ maths tests for fun and with help I re-built my own scooter engine – but I had assumed that a career in tech or engineering would not be accessible for somebody like me because I didn’t have the degree or the experience.

Thankfully I was wrong about that – and I love my job at Amazon. Working closely with a fantastic team of innovators and builders gives me energy every day, and I’m excited to see how far I can progress within the company.

Tell us about how you retrained into your current role.

I started out as a recruitment co-ordinator for Amazon, so I was working closely with engineering teams in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to support their resourcing needs. I knew this wasn’t a job I wanted to be doing long term when I took it, but it was a foot in the door and it meant I was constantly in touch with specialist teams doing exactly the kind of job I had dreamed of.

Over time, I knew that Amazon S3 was where I wanted to be. Thanks to my time in recruiting, I had a desk in the office of the Senior Manager of Engineering for Amazon S3. Listening in on their meetings, I was fascinated by the scale, responsiveness and complexity of the challenges when working on a distributed system as large as Amazon S3. I still didn’t know exactly how I could be there given that I didn’t have any technical training – so I asked!

Eventually I was able to apply for a position as a Programme Manager where I could demonstrate my passion for technology while also identifying which additional skills I might need. I knew this role was a step in the right direction, but not the long-term goal. Again, I made my desired career goals known to management, and shortly thereafter I transitioned into my current Technical Programme Management role. Outside work, I’m also studying Computer Science and getting a certificate in Python programming which has given me the fundamentals in key areas – that’s taken about 18 months to complete, and I’m nearly there!

For anybody who is looking to retrain but doesn’t know where to start, I would say that it requires perseverance, broad industry knowledge and a clear idea of what you want. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want, take some time to research careers that speak to you. There is nothing wrong with saying to your manager or senior contacts in a different department, ‘I want to work for your team, but I don’t have the right credentials – how do I make this happen?’ After that, it’s about getting the right skills through continuous learning and a long-term approach to career planning.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not initially, no! However, I now have a much clearer idea of where I want to go and there are clearly defined career paths for me within Amazon should I choose to pursue them. One of the benefits of working for Amazon is that it is a bit like a ‘choose your own adventure’ book.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

The biggest challenge so far has been staying focused and being extra judicious about where I spend my time and energy. Coming from a non-tech background, there is a lot of information I don’t know. The more I learn, the more I discover how much I don’t know. It is very easy to try to go down all the rabbit holes of unknown information that exist at every turn in this complex industry, and get completely overwhelmed by the volume of things to learn. No one in this industry knows everything, and it’s important to remember that and focus on learning the things that matter to be able to do my job well. After I’m done with my current course, I’ll spend more time in those rabbit holes for fun.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I’m really proud of my career to date and I consider that progress a huge achievement. I want to continue to take on new challenges, solving problems and facing situations that I’ve never encountered before.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Those early experiences in different industries really helped to develop my transferable skills. Working in recruitment for Amazon also meant I understood the bigger picture. In hindsight it was a privileged position that allowed me to watch and learn before getting involved myself.

In general, I love making colleagues’ lives easier, supporting them every day and showing my value within the organisation. I think that quality has been invaluable so far and will continue to be important throughout my development.

In terms of transferable skills, being able to build and maintain positive working relationships has been a key theme. I’m really lucky to work within a collaborative, inclusive culture at Amazon where colleagues understand the benefits of sharing their ‘tribal knowledge’.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I currently run two mentoring programmes at Amazon. We hold tech talks, build networks and provide mentoring both formally and informally. I also mentor a few people from recruiting who are looking to make a similar career jump to mine, and I really enjoy helping others navigate our culture and internal relationships.

In my opinion, Amazon does mentoring brilliantly. Sharing ‘tribal knowledge’ is second nature – all you have to do is ask, be considerate and set some time aside if you have a particular question. I’ve always found that colleagues are excited to tell you what they know because it improves the entire business. This is the reason why in addition to my official mentor, I have several unofficial mentors. Mentoring also plays an important role in helping identify gaps in my own knowledge and thinking about ways to fill them.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

In hindsight I would have studied for a technical role from the outset. I would tell myself to believe that I was smart enough to pursue a technical career!

I would also have looked for more inspirational role models and examples of women working in technology, which is partly why I want to help promote the accessibility of these roles to other women and girls who are interested in tech careers but may not know where to being.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Amazon never ceases to surprise you with new opportunities, so you never know!

In general, I want to make as much of my day-to-day role as productive as possible, and then move on to the next layer of challenges. I’m already in the process of automating aspects of our capacity management so engineers are less reliant on me and better able to access quick tools that save time and energy.

Further down the line, I want to help engineering teams deliver invaluable features by embedding with software development teams and getting a detailed understanding of their challenges – and the potential solutions we could provide.

Outside of my own career, I’m passionate about promoting tech roles to women and girls. Although colleges in my native USA, for example, are now seeing more women than men entering STEM degrees at undergraduate level, the gender imbalance across the industry globally is still pronounced. At Amazon we understand the link between diversity, inclusion and innovation – which is why I was pleased to see the company launch Amazon Amplify in the UK which is a series of initiatives designed to further increase the number of women in technology and innovation roles across our UK business.

Debra Walton featured

Inspirational Woman: Debra Walton | Chief Revenue Officer, Refinitiv

Debra Walton

Debra leads all sales, client and partner relationship management and market development activities for Refinitiv.

Her global team operating in 65 countries brings the entire range of Refinitiv solutions to meet the data analytics and workflow needs of its customers.

Debra has lived and worked on three continents, and has held senior executive positions across product, content, sales and marketing at Refinitiv and the Financial & Risk business division of Thomson Reuters since she joined the firm in 2003. She is also a board member of Tradeweb.

Debra is a tireless advocate of gender equality and speaks globally on the importance of diversity and leadership as well as on the importance of ESG policies more broadly.

Debra is an advisory board member at Springboard, a New York based nonprofit that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts to help women take their business plans to market.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I grew up on a sheep farm in rural Australia at a time when less than five per cent of Australians pursued a tertiary education. My father was a farmer and my mother worked in the post office so I had no real career role models at all in my life. The highest expectations set for me were to get a job in the local bank which was seen as “a good job for a girl”.  Today I am the chief revenue officer for Refinitiv - a 6.5 billion global financial services technology organization. I truly believe that we live in a world today where most of us can achieve whatever we want in life. And because of this and my own journey I am deeply committed to helping others from non-traditional background to find their success.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

 Not in the beginning. But I always tried to put myself in the bullseye of opportunity, always first to raise my hand for new roles and challenges that would develop me or enable me to stand out in a crowd. And that approach served me well in the early years of my career. In the latter part of my career I have been more focused on planning but I am still a believer that the foundation of a great career is a combination of doing a great job in the one you have - and actively cultivating sponsorship for the one you want.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

 I think the biggest challenge I have continually faced is unconscious bias. We all hold unconscious bias and it is true to say that even the most open-minded people can still make assumptions. Like many women (and also men) I also suffer the curse of “imposter syndrome” from time to time.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date was really breaking out of the role my family and society saw for me back in Australia and making the decision to follow my dreams. It was a big leap of faith but definitely the best decision I ever made.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Sponsorship. Networking is important at all levels of business, but building more formal connections that actively promote you and help you navigate through your career has been invaluable to me and this is why I am such a champion of sponsorship myself. I very much want to provide the same support to women coming up in their careers as was offered to me.

How do you feel about mentoring?

Passionate. We all need mentors and we all must be mentors.

Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Of course! Over the years I have (and still do have) many mentors and I have been privileged to mentor many others. I have a saying - there are “mentors for a reason, mentors for a season and mentors for life”!

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Address unconscious bias – I feel that we have made great progress but there is still so much to do to address societal conditioning that plays out in all levels of life. My own experience is that organizations are truly enriched by differing perspectives, differing leadership styles, differing life experiences.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Have no regrets.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next and current challenge is to transform the sales and account management function at Refinitiv ensuring that our customers remain at the heart of everything we do. Beyond that I hope to continue to have the health and good fortune that has enabled me to enjoy a wonderful life. I have been extremely lucky to strike a balance where my career and my personal life are harmoniously entwined – long may that continue!