Laura Hutton featured

Inspirational Woman: Laura Hutton | Co-Founder & Head of Fraud & Financial Markets, Quantexa

 

Laura Hutton is Co-Founder and Head of Fraud and Financial Markets at Quantexa - the start-up solving financial crime and terrorism through data analytics, AI and machine learning.

Laura has over 12 years’ experience using data and network analysis to tackle fraud and financial crime. In the wake of the 2008 Jérôme Kerviel rogue trading scandal, Laura pioneered and implemented the technology subsequently put in place by Société Générale to prevent similar from occurring again. She has since headed up teams at Detica and SAS, before co-founding Quantexa in 2016 where she uses sophisticated networking technology to help their clients such as HSBC, and Shell.

In an industry where only one in seven of women are executive committee members & only 17 per cent of start-ups were founded by women, Laura is passionate about inspiring girls to work in and establish companies like Quantexa. Laura runs work experience programs for 16/17 year old girls to encourage them to get into STEM subjects.

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

I help the world’s largest organisations to drive more intelligence out of their vast data assets. My role is to innovate, using cutting edge analytical techniques to develop new solutions to business-critical problems.

I have helped banks fight and financial crime for over a decade through the use of sophisticated analytics and I’m passionate about the power data can provide to create a good society. In the wake of the 2008 Jérôme Kerviel rogue trading scandal, I built the solution that Société Générale subsequently implemented to prevent unauthorized trading.

In 2016, I took a huge jump and founded Quantexa with a team of six colleagues, with a global mission to empower large, international companies to truly understand their customer networks. By understanding such networks, they can fully understand who they are doing business with in turn prevent fraud, money laundering, rogue trading, terrorist financing and human trafficking. Two years later, we have enabled 13 of the world’s biggest institutions (including bank, insurers and oil and gas companies) onto our technology and are growing internationally at an unprecedented level with offices in Sydney, New York, Brussels and Boston.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I am a planner by nature, I like to know where I’m going and what I’m trying to achieve. However, as the only girl in my year to study further A-Level maths, and one of just three women in my intake at Durham University to complete a masters in maths, I was shocked by the fact that there was no clear path for me to go down to achieve my goals.

At university, the options presented to me were the same and uninspiring, with teaching being the default suggestion rather than any positions that allowed me to innovate and to develop technology itself. I am always so proud that I was confident enough to walk my own path and pursued my dream of using my mathematical brain to create new things.

Have you faced any particular challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

One of my biggest challenges has always been my own desire to do something new, something interesting. I am an innovator at heart, yet I know that I must always balance that up with the needs of the businesses I have worked for and now run. I have become more aware of where my skills lie and have therefore been able to craft roles that best suit me. In doing so, my input and value to the business has grown significantly.

Interestingly, being an innovator within technology has led me in to a role that isn’t commonplace for women. It is a very male dominated environment, and at times, it’s been a fight for my voice to be heard. When I was 26, I built a world-first solution that would detect rogue trading, but when I was presenting my work to prospective customers, it was difficult to get ‘air-time’. I didn’t fit the typical mould of someone in investment banking, never mind, someone offering a new technology solution! In the early days, I brought an older gentleman with me, just to get in the door. This, as you can imagine, was incredibly frustrating but I learnt that knowledge would shine through, and in time, I became recognised as the leader in that space.

I strongly believe that if you face challenges with adversity, you will become a stronger person inside and outside of work. What I have learnt about myself more recently, is that I am at my best when I am challenged. It’s when I come up with the best solutions!

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

When I talk to young girls about where they envisage their future career, they are often held back by the same belief that a career in science or technology isn’t for them because they are female. Is this a lack of confidence and because they don’t believe they are equipped with the right skills? Or it is a lack of desire to work in a male-dominated environment? I’m not sure.

I don’t want girls to not reach for their goals and fulfil their aspirations because they’re nervous the company or even sector is too geared towards men. I am proud to have co-founded a successful technology business, I took a risk and it’s paying off.

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

Mentoring is absolutely critical for everyone’s career development, no matter what sector you’re in. Speaking to someone to get advice on how to best reach your full potential will always give you the confidence to strive to achieve your absolute best, making you aware of opportunities that you may have not considered or even been aware of. The young women at Quantexa have all been on different journeys and all possess different skills which puts them in great stead to become mentors for young and aspiring girls who want to work in I.T. I aim to be a role model to them and indeed, others; it really is possible to be a woman with a young family in technology and to be leading the way in innovation.

I didn’t have a female mentor to guide me when I was younger which is probably symptomatic of a shortage of these. Yet over the years, I have developed a network of like-minded women from lots of different industries who guide me through challenges and with whom I can celebrate successes.

How would you encourage more women and girls to pursue a career in STEM?

The problem lies in the lack of awareness of the opportunities that are available for these young girls who want to pursue a career in STEM. It’s imperative that schools target jobs to everyone, ridding the classroom of the stereotype of the male scientist, data scientist or physician. Many girls finally realise that they are capable of pursuing these jobs whilst heading to university, when it’s often too late.

Work experience is vital, so I’d encourage businesses to launch work experience schemes for young girls aged 16/17 to make them aware of the career opportunities open to them and to have the chance to meet leading women in the industries they are passionate about. At Quantexa, we are launching a work experience program for teenage girls aged 16 and 17 to learn first hand how exciting it is to work in I.T. Hopefully, this will inspire these girls to pursue a role in I.T. because they’re passionate about it, rather than dismissing it because it’s ‘too male dominated’.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Without a doubt, my biggest achievement to date is following my dream and starting Quantexa, leaving a position of stability and comfort. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a planner at heart and this was a huge risk to take; my plan was entirely thrown out of the window! Nevertheless, with such a great team of fellow founders with a passion for our solution, it was the best decision I have ever made. Within two years, we have a team of over 95 people, who each have a personal story and journey around what brought them to Quantexa and I have no doubt that we have a collection of future CEOs and CTOs sitting among us.

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

I want to become a role model for women in technology and STEM. I’ve been fortunate enough to challenge myself every day, have a great and varied career; creating and implementing innovative solutions, leading global teams and pursuing my ultimate dream: creating my own company. I want to inspire girls to get into STEM, I.T. and technology and for them to know that they are not held back because of their gender, they are empowered by it.


Loubna Bouarfa Featured

Inspirational Woman: Loubna Bouarfa | CEO & Founder, OKRA Technologies

 

Loubna Bouarfa is an entrepreneur, machine learning expert with deep expertise in implementing and commercialising Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems; mainly for healthcare.

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

I’m a machine learning scientist turned entrepreneur by founding my own AI company OKRA, I’m also a mum of two amazing boys (aged 7 an 5).

I spend a lot of my time building my company OKRA, in to a successful AI company to offer Pharmaceutical companies solutions that will help them make better decisions.  Decisions such as identifying the right patient population to ultimately improve patient outcomes. It’s a win-win for everyone; pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and for the patients.

I also work with the European Commission as a High-level Expert on Artificial Intelligence. The goal here is to implement ethical guidelines and policies to enable the effective development and production of AI systems to impact health, safety and freedom of the wider society.

Finally, I love to work with people with diverse backgrounds. I strongly believe in the power of diversity in challenging the status quo. Being born and raised in Morocco, I moved to the Netherlands at the age of 17, and then moved with my young family to the UK.  This made me realise that the best place to be, is outside of your comfort zone. I'm constantly looking to surround myself with people that share the same values and who are cut from the same cloth both personally and professionally.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, I never planned my career, I genuinely believe in learning from previous experiences and connecting the dots moving forward.  However I’m an objective oriented  person, so once I have a target in mind there is only one option left for me and that is making the target a reality.  After academia I was fortunate enough to experience both the Start-up world and big corporates, I guess my only plan was that I knew I was going to set up my own company and try to apply my learnings to help people.

Have you faced any particular challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Absolutely, being an immigrant woman in a male dominated tech industry is challenging.  But to be honest, I have never had doubts about my decision to pursue my goals.  Sometimes my patience is put to the test, at stationary times, when no progress seems to happen, it doesn’t feel right. But suddenly something great happens. Besides, I strongly believe “after hardship comes ease”, from the tough times I get more energy. If everything is too good to be true, I get very nervous.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Implementing diversity policies on all levels, on gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and age,  the diversity of the team will serve to create a stimulating work environment with novel ideas representing the society we live in.

How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

Personally, I think we need to focus more on driving women and girls to the studies and jobs that will best enable a career in this space.  This starts by implementing the right diversity policies early on in our education programmes, graduate schemes and careers fairs. For example, I will personally attend every OKRA recruiting event to personally talk to prospective graduates and walk them through my own personal journey and why OKRA is a fabulous place to work and more specifically why Tech needs the bright female minds of the future.  Ultimately, we need more of this activity taking place across the country, in schools, in universities etc and we need to move from talking to doing.

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

Mentoring is essential.  It is a way to impart knowledge and ensure an individual is given an environment in which to thrive.  I myself had superb mentors throughout my academic journey and now have a very successful investor who is helping to mentor me as we build OKRA in to a global business.  I myself am always trying to help and support the OKRA team and I believe that helping people to get outside of their comfort zone, especially at a young age will help scale their career. Outside of one’s comfort zone is where the great stuff happens.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

There are many achievements to date that make me super proud.  To see how far OKRA has come in 3 years is truly amazing.  I am very proud that within a few months of starting OKRA I rolled out a first prototype of our software so that it could be tested on several pilot projects. As an engineer, this was very satisfying. Having started OKRA from nothing, I have made scientific knowledge, commercially viable and this is a huge achievement.   When setting up the company there were many things that I did not know and for which I had to ask people for help. Sometimes the reactions were not positive, but you are amazed at how often people want to help you. Very nice!

Finally, I’m mostly proud of our team at OKRA.  We have built a super team and it’s not an easy task. – Every day that I go in to the office and see the team it makes the tough times worth enduring.

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

We aim to scale usage of our platform to be the most used and trusted AI platform in healthcare.  This requires validation and utilisation to take place at scale and in real time.  There must be trust and evidence in the output in order for Pharma execs, patients and providers to benefit from this technology.


Maria Kristensen featured

Inspirational Woman: Maria Kristensen | Agile Program Manager - Release Train Engineer, Schroders

Maria Kristensen

Maria Kristensen is an Agile Program Manager - Release Train Engineer at Schroders

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

Actually I never planned to work in technology as I do now – I studied science but a move to a different county led to a change in career. I moved from Denmark to Luxembourg in 2000 with a plan to stay for six months and I’m still here, working for the same company I joined in 2000! My role within Schroders has changed almost every two years and I’m currently working as an Release Train Engineer – which means I coach our agile teams and assist them in delivering value to the company.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No – I have always been curious and eager to learn and then I just took whatever opportunity was available for me to develop further. I used to think it was just a question about being at the right place and the right time – but I have also realised that it has a lot to do with being open minded and seeing opportunities in every job.

Have you faced any particular challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

The biggest challenges was when I had children. I felt a big push from society and women around me to stop working or at least reduce my hours. Having grown up in a society where the norm is that both parents work, it was surprising for me to feel this pressure. I choose to believe that if I was happy my children would be happy. As I have always enjoyed working and felt I made a difference it was obvious for me that I had to continue working and develop my skills.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Women tend to hold back and doubt themselves so I would work towards having more push and mentoring for women.

Motivate women to take risks and create an environment where you can make mistakes and learn from them.

When I have moved into new positions it has always been following a push from peers who have encouraged me to move into new territories.

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

I currently mentor a student and I learn a lot from this as well. It is fun to get a different perspective on our ways of working and help the student navigate and find a place in the corporate landscape.

I’m keen to have a mentor myself who I could discuss career ideas with and pros and cons of various options.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Taking on the Release Train Engineer role within Schroders and influencing the company’s transformation into agile. I found my passion in agile and I’m eager to develop my abilities in the area further.

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

Given the speed at which the world is changing at the moment my next job title might not even exist yet – however I will be ready to embrace the next opportunity which comes my way in this ever-changing technology environment.

What advice would you give to others?

With the speed of change, business-related books are out of date before they are written – use podcasts to learn about the latest buzz. Convert your time spent commuting from wasted time to discovery time.

How do you re-energise during the work day?

I follow some funny people on Twitter and 140 characters from one of them can always bring a smile to my face and make me ready for the next challenge.


Inspirational Woman: Michelle Roberts | Director of Partners, Ensono

 

Michelle Roberts colour headshot

Michelle is the Director of Partners at Ensono, where she is responsible for the Hyperscale Cloud partner relationships, as well as the management of its market strategy globally.

She has a wealth of expertise in sales and relationship management, having previously worked for Attenda and Rackspace.

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

I’m the Director of Partners at Ensono, a leading global provider of managed hybrid IT. I am responsible for the development of Ensono’s Hyperscale Cloud partner relationships, as well as the management of our market strategy globally.

Outside of work, I have three children, and I’m an Olympic weightlifter!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

In short, no – it’s nothing like I imagined. I think there’s a select few who have their career mapped out from an early age – most of us follow a number of twists and turns to get there.  I actually wanted to be a graphic designer or an architect, but my career now couldn’t be more different. However, I really feel that the “artistic element” of my personality has helped me a lot!

Have you faced any particular challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Being a female in a technical role can sometimes be a bit lonely. As I’ve moved up and across into more technical roles, my network of fellow-female colleagues has diminished, and it’s been a while since I’ve worked in a team with women. Quite often I’m the only woman in the room and it can be daunting. However, most of the time there are bigger challenges to deal with, so it’s not something I expend much energy on.

The transition from individual contributor to a management role has been another notable challenge. I’m a proactive do-er and letting go of tasks can be quite difficult. Delegating them out isn’t second nature, particularly if I don’t see things moving forward.

But really, I think that my greatest challenge has been combining my career with motherhood. Juggling three children with a full-time job is tough and I’m not sure many people understand the constant pull in every direction and what it takes to give 100% to your job and your family. It takes resilience, drive, and lots of late nights to perform well. There’s always this underlying guilt that you haven’t given enough to one or the other – even though you have – so you work twice as hard. That’s why I think that working parents are an untapped resource, which some organisations are just not attuned to.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

While the progress over the last few years for women in the workplace has been beneficial, some of that progress has actually been detrimental. Salary disparity and the difficulties of promotion for women are now being recognised – and I applaud that – but the presence of women in the workplace has now become slightly contrived. For instance, are women being invited to those senior meetings for their contribution, or the impact they will make? Or is it because they are the token woman in the room, or because it will make the company look more diverse?

I want things to be normalised to the point where #WomeninTech is no longer a debated topic, and frankly, I’m bored of hearing it myself. Let’s accept that there have been problems in the past and move on. Simply, businesses need to have a plan for how to address the diversity issues and how to counteract cognitive biases. Yes, there are still pockets of inequality in wider society, but that takes time to eradicate.

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

When I was younger, I didn’t realise the value in mentoring – in someone analysing your behaviour and your methods. But, I’ve realised more recently in my life just how critical mentoring is to the success of your career. Having someone there who wants to help you – someone who is willing to talk critically and honestly – is enormously beneficial. Mentors can equip you with tools and tactics to deal with situations differently or help you get the most out of your work relationships by viewing them from a different angle.

I also believe life skills and experience can be far more significant than your education in your career, and I’d like to see more organisations delivering mentoring programs in the workplace and schools to build on the exposure people get outside of academic training.

How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

It is crucial to start from the ground up, by nurturing talent. School-age is where we can start to make the greatest impact on young women’s choices. Girls are sometimes not aware of technology career choices and can fall into the belief that science and technology are male domains. However, that perception can be changed quite easily.

Identifying skills that young girls have and helping them to understand how to apply them to different environments is one way forward. Giving children different experiences and letting them choose those that they’re most interested in, or comfortable with, is another.

Educators should champion the status of women in STEM professions to give real-life role models for the next generation. Schools could invite successful women in technology to speak in front of children, and teachers could celebrate the achievements of female pioneers and female leaders in every day lessons.

Social media is also worth considering. For teenagers in particular, it’s something that can be used to foster interest in different careers and to normalise STEM careers for women. Youngsters are spending more than 70% of their time online, so we need to get the popular role models vlogging! The more successful women we have talking publicly about their journey – whether in real life or online – the more confidence young girls will have to enter the field.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Every day is an achievement. I’m becoming everything that I wanted to be. I’m not sure I knew what went on behind the scenes for a successful businesswoman, but I guess I am one. I’m a Director at a successful company that’s going places and I have achieved a lot in my time. As Ensono continues to grow, hopefully I will follow, and help lead its trajectory.

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

At some point, I would like to give something back on a personal level, using everything I have learnt. I have been very fortunate in my career, but I have also worked very hard for it, which is something I can share. I want to offer my knowledge and advice to women with personal challenges and women who are yet to start their professional careers. Women have something major to offer the workplace.


Inspirational Woman: Louisa Spicer | Software Engineer, Echo

 

Louisa Spicer is a Software Engineer at Echo.

Echo was founded just over three years ago and already has 100,000 patient downloads so far and a Net Promotor Score of 83. Echo is on the NHS Digital app store, one of the approved digital tools available to patients, and is an NHS GP Systems of Choice, which ensures GPs and practice staff have access to the best technology to support patient care. Echo were also recently awarded the Best British Mobile Startup 2018 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and won the 1st Mayor of London MedTech Business Awards last month.

Echo is a prescription management app which empowers patients in the UK to take control of their health and has the potential to significantly ease the strain on health services. In the UK, 40 per cent of patients do not take medication as directed, costing the NHS billions each year and leading to approximately 20 million unnecessary GP appointments. Echo is on a mission to transform the future of healthcare, and is the first app to improve lines of communication between GP, pharmacist and patient.

On the app, patients are able to order repeat prescriptions when stocks are running low- and will also receive reminders for when to take medication and when to order more. Echo also seeks to improve communication lines between GPs and their patients, making sure that information is clear and informative without being either patronising or too clinical and therefore hard to understand.

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

I’ve grown up loving anything and everything to do with the Creative Arts. Finding it difficult to choose what career path to take, I just went with what I was most intrigued about at the time - the theory behind the cinematic arts. I graduated with a degree in Film Studies and went on to become a Digital Producer at a media agency. This involved helping to oversee Film and TV asset deliveries to various digital platforms like iTunes and Netflix.

I soon started to miss being able to express myself through some form of creativity though, so I started looking for other career paths that would satisfy this. That’s when I discovered the world of coding and haven’t looked back! Just over a year and a half ago I wrote my first line of code and attended an intensive 3-month coding bootcamp, Makers Academy, where I learned the very basics of Software Craftsmanship required to land a job as a Junior Developer.

I am now a Junior Software Developer at Echo; part of a team building many exciting developments of an internal software application. There’s always something new to learn and that’s what I love the most!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I found it hard to pin down exactly what I wanted to do, but the various careers I thought of always revolved around creativity. Unfortunately I didn’t realise a career in Software Development was even a possibility for me until a couple of years ago.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

A major challenge of mine was having the wrong mindset. It’s a typical story but it was/is hard to get over that “imposter syndrome” feeling and thinking that I’m not the right kind of person to be “good” at coding, due to many factors including not having the typical Mathematical or Technical background that a Computer Scientist graduate would have. This cloud was at its peak when applying for my first job as a Developer, carrying over well into that job too.

What really helped me to overcome these thoughts was being told about the Growth Mindset. In the most basic terms, this is just about realising there’s no limit to what you can achieve if you’re persistent and open to putting the effort in.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

To always be treated with fairness and equality. What more can you ask for?

How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

Show young girls (and boys) how creative and fun a career in STEM can really be. As much as I appreciate that I was free to choose whatever subjects I wanted to do at secondary school, I’m sure I would have been willing to learn more about STEM fields at an earlier age if I had more guidance from teachers on the exciting range of things you can do and build.

There’s an amazing amount of free or cheap online courses to learn and play with code - this means that it’s now easier to develop skills in your free time, at whatever age.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Believing in myself enough to commit to learning to code and not stopping when it gets tough.

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

To gain more confidence and keep growing my coding skills to the next level so that I can pass on some knowledge in the future. It would be amazing to build up enough confidence to get out there and be more active in the movement to help inspire and guide more girls and women into STEM.


Olga Adamkiewicz

Inspirational Woman: Olga Adamkiewicz | CEO, Synthrone

 

As a female CEO within the technology industry, with extensive experience in various marketing and product roles at companies such as Procter & Gamble, Olga believes that the last few months have been revolutionary, with women’s voices finally being heard like never before.

Olga believes that the future is bright for women in the technology industry, which will ultimately dramatically change the context, empowerment and social perspective in the industry.

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

I am the CEO of Synthrone, an ecommerce content management platform that offers a fully integrated, end-to-end solution for brands wanting to streamline their ecommerce offering. At the beginning of my career I spent almost nine years at Procter & Gamble, successfully working in all marketing departments, from brand management, product development and design to new business and media and communication.

I have been based mainly in Central Europe throughout my career, but I have managed projects on a regional and global scale.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I wouldn’t say I necessarily sat down and planned my career. I have a passion for brands and marketing which formed from my experience whilst working for global businesses in several different areas.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

There are many challenges, big and small, that I have faced during my career, and as a CEO you face challenges every single day. I always deal with them by thinking of the positives, but I am very lucky to be surrounded by such a fantastic team that help me along the way.

How would you encourage women and girls into a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths)?

It is very important for women and girls to firstly, know that they too can have a career in either science, technology, engineering and maths. These industries are not just for men. Secondly, I would encourage all girls and women to follow your heart, follow your dreams and to never be put off by thinking it is a man’s world, when it is far from it.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

In the technology sector I can already see a change in the level of female empowerment. Women are no longer following men; they are increasingly creating their own paths in the workplace and aren’t afraid to voice their own opinion.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I am extremely proud to be a female CEO and one of my biggest achievements to date has to be the amazing team I have built around me who help me run Synthrone. I am very proud that the team and myself have made a dream come true with the creation of Brand New Galaxy, which is home to Synthrone alongside other sister brands.

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

I am currently spearheading Synthrone, building it into the primary content developer for ecommerce, delivering an unrivalled end-to-end process for its users.

We have identified a gap in the market for a fully-integrated management solution, which compares favourably when benchmarking against competitors, that can only offer one aspect of the ecommerce management process.


Sinead Bunting

Inspirational Woman: Sinead Bunting | VP Marketing Europe, Monster

 

Sinead Bunting is the VP of Marketing for Monster in Europe, the global jobs website.

She is responsible for all marketing in Europe, specialising in digital marketing and brand transformation.

Sinead is passionate about encouraging diversity in business which has resulted in a number of initiatives that champion groups, who need an extra helping hand in their career. This has included nationwide ‘Monster Confidence’ tours, working with Stemettes to help female school children and uni students feel confident to achieve in their STEM careers and realise their potential.

She is the author and co-founder of the Tech Talent Charter, an industry-wide collective, whose aim is to deliver a more diverse tech workforce. The charter is supported by the UK government and currently has over 170 signatories such as Monster, Cisco, Vodafone, HP and Global Radio, all working together to move the dial in this critical area.

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

I grew up in Belfast, having arrived in London in 2000 from a year-long stint in New York at my first proper job. My plan was to stay a year, save some money to go to Australia and live and travel for a bit. But save money in London? On an entry-level salary? And being the less than frugal person that I am......tsk, what was I thinking? Needless to say, here I am 17 years later, having never made it down under. But it’s all good, I absolutely love London and think it’s one of the best cities on earth.

I’m the VP of marketing Europe for Monster, the jobs and careers advice website (which happens to be the website on which I found my first job in London in the year 2000).

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I studied law and fancied myself as a human rights lawyer helping folks overcome the injustices they encountered in this world. Unfortunately I didn’t quite fancy putting in the required amount of study to ever make that a reality. Winning a scholarship to study business in an American college for a year only compounded my predilection for hanging out in the student union rather than the law library!

It was here that I did an internship in marketing at the Pittsburgh Civic arena (home to ice hockey team the Pittsburgh Penguins!) and caught the bug for all things creative and marketing. Before graduating from my final year in Law I was lucky enough to secure an NYC marketing job and then my first job in London in 2000 was in digital marketing at an advertising agency. Back then the internet was seen by most clients as a fad that would fade away, and so my raison d’etre was passionately convincing folks internally and externally, that this Internet malarkey was the future and was here to stay. I guess being Irish I like a cause.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

I’ve encountered a few dinosaurs in my time but also have been blessed with working with some amazingly supportive and progressive men and women. I recall a male CEO at one of the advertising agencies I worked for hosting an anonymous Q&A for staff circa 2003 to ask whatever they wanted. We were asked to write a question on a piece of paper and deposit it at the front of the gathered group and he would unwrap each one and answer candidly.

As we sat there a few of my colleagues (females) were saying, ‘we should ask him why there’s no women on the management team!’ None had the confidence to go up to the front and submit a question for fear of being identified, even under the auspices of supposed anonymity. I thought sod it, l’ll do it, it’s a bloody good question that deserves an answer! So off I trotted to front to deposit my piece of paper with the question on it. We waited patiently in the audience for him to unwrap the question. Eventually he read it out and the first thing he did was to look straight at me in the audience and demand pointedly ‘did you write this question’ (so much for anonymity!). I shrugged my shoulders and pleaded ignorance. His answer to the question was he promoted people purely on merit and there had been no women who made the grade.

After the stress and worry of realising I had marked my card in his eyes, by challenging the status quo, I digested what he said and realised what a load of utter tosh! I knew lots of women in that agency who were great and his was just the boys club in action.

Countering that was a year or so later the agency M.D., Phil, taking the time to mentor me each week and giving me the confidence and tools to believe in my own abilities. To him I will be eternally grateful.

I have found that women tend to be overlooked and have to work twice as hard to get ahead. I do believe there is a tendency for men get promoted on potential (and confidence) whist women tend to get promoted only on evidence. However, I love the quote by the comedian Steve Martin “Be so good they can’t ignore you”. With lots of hard work, tenacity, a sense of humour and support of amazing colleagues and of course a bit of luck, I’ve managed to overcome any issues and challenges I have faced.

How would you encourage women and girls into a career in STEM?

For young girls, have the confidence in your abilities to study STEM subjects, don’t rule yourself out and listen to the myth that we are all destined to remain in the arts and languages arena. As part of our Monster Confidence programme which we created with Stemettes, we have visited various cities across the UK & Ireland for the last two years, encouraging young female students to have the confidence to study STEM and believe in themselves and know that their voice matters. We have had some amazing STEM female speakers and role models join us (including of course Dr Anne Marie Amafidon, CEO & Founder of Stemettes) who have been the inspiration that the girls need to see. If they can do, then the girls can do it too.

For women, know that you have so much to offer employers and organisations. Your skills and talent bring a way of working that makes organisations have you across all levels (including senior level of course) much more commercially successful. You deliver the competitive edge and diversity of ideas and approach that makes companies successful. Never forget that and have the confidence to know that you will and you do make amazing things happen.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

So many things, but if I were to choose one that would really move the dial, perhaps it would be for shared parental leave to be fully embraced by organisations so that both genders get a fair crack at the whip in the workplace and at home being a parent.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

It would be the Tech Talent Charter, which I wrote and brought to life in collaboration with a number of amazing inspirational women in the world of tech. Women like Amali de Alwis, Debbie Forster and Susan Bowen. It’s funny, for many years I had heard of this Queen Bee phenomenon, yet when I reached out to all these women in the world of tech to help do something to address the lack of females in the tech workforce and later to launch the Tech Talent Charter, every single women I spoke to, bent over backwards to help and to make it happen. It was incredible and showed me what women (and of course, the much needed supportive men) could achieve working together. As a collective, the Tech Talent Charter has secured the support of the UK government and over 170 organisations such as Monster, Cisco, Codego Peer1, HP and Global Radio but we have a long way to go still, but I’m confident we’ll make it happen and effect real change, especially with Debbie Forster at the helm as our CEO.

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

I’d like to widen our Monster Confidence programme to women in business/work and to help to tackle specifically the issue of unequal pay. Money is the currency of power and until we have equal pay, women will not be on an equal footing and it will be incredibly challenging for the genders to achieve true equality.


Jillian Kowalchuk featured

Inspirational Woman: Jillian Kowalchuk | Founder, Safe & The City (SatC)

 

Jillian Kowalchuk is the founder of Safe & the City (SatC).

Safe & the City (SatC) is a London-based software technology company that uses geolocation tech and Met Police data in its app with the aim of preventing sexual harassment against women and girls on the streets - from wolf whistling to serious crimes such as rape. The app will be launched on 8th March.

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

I was born in Canada but spent my early years in Yemen, where my family was based until the Civil War of 1994. Spending time abroad and away from my native country as a child propagated this type of nomadic lifestyle throughout my life. I am an avid solo traveler and visited over 50 countries to date. I've also worked in various countries, including Uganda, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and now the UK. During these travel and work experiences, I was exposed to the different situations and living conditions of people. These immersive experiences also made me familiar with serious issues to these countries or cultures not always open for discussion, but still profoundly impactful.

This is where my passion lies to improve equality and address difficult topics. It was because of that I pursued my MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and utilised my psychology degree to advance behaviour change programmes to prevent infectious diseases, like HIV/AIDS. After my studies, I worked as a global public consultant at various private and public organisations, as well as a researcher at UCL London.

I am now the Founder and CEO of Safe & The City, an active advocate for gender equality, and on a mission is to eradicate a different kind of epidemic, and one usually invisible to many – sexual harassment.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My career path has been a windy one. After my second year of University, I lost several close family members, including my Mother and Father, which made me determined to dedicate my life to a field I could be passionate about and fulfilled by, but this experience also left me feeling confused in where to begin as a young adult. After finishing my Psychology degree, I knew a few answers to this puzzle, that I needed to be equipped to positively impact and help others. I decided the best course of action was to immerse myself in a multitude of fields to gain invaluable life experiences, travel the world and ultimately to learn about myself and find my dream career. I experimented in various fields and countries spanning social work in New Zealand, sales in Australia, teaching in Japan, to a business analyst in Canada. This hit an apex when a close friend graduated from Public Health and the knowledge I accrued, led me to focus my career aspirations in this field.

However, like many things in life the plan doesn't always go to plan and soon after graduating from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, with a focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and behaviour change campaigns, and moving permanently to London when Brexit happened, many of the public jobs were cut.

With London rich with data and support for innovative businesses, I started to learn how I could structure my diverse skillset into a field where I could realise the impact I wanted to have.

Tell us about the Safe & the City app?

Safe & The City is a GPS safety app, which aggregates annoymised open data on crimes, street lighting, business opening hours and crowdsourced experiences of sexual harassment, violence and potential environmental /urban instigators to these (i.e malfunctioning street lighting, dark passageways, etc) to provide alternative routes where women feel safer. We display this data to our users and provide data-driven insight on problematic streets, how to mobilise resources and create a safer community by everyone walking through it.

As a socially-driven enterprise we will use data to prioritise individuals’ safety starting in London. From our learnings here, we will develop a minimum viable model (MVM) to scale to other global cities to quickly and effectively respond to the dynamic, demanding and challenging nature of metropolitan cities. We are in our early stages with a small team need so in need of funding/investment, strategic partnerships and supporters who are aligned with our vision that every woman and girl has the right to feel safe while walking.

Do you think campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp can actually bring about change?

Absolutely, I think sharing and storytelling our experiences through different mediums, like social media, can raise awareness, educate and spur conversations on the topic. However, it can be a fine line and we've seen many campaigns quickly come and go so the key is to find tangible everyday solutions, like Safe & The City, where it is no longer the trending topic but we can relate to the environments we walk through or locations we know to understand sexual harassment are everyday realities for many people.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

This is a challenging question, in part because of a lot of the barriers women face in the workplace, like sexual harassment, are masked, hidden or dismissed. My hope would these could be front and center to the discussion so solutions could emerge as a collective.

How would you encourage other women and girls into STEM careers?

It makes a very small impact to focus energy, resources and time to encourage individual women and girls to move into STEM careers. I believe we need to profile other women in STEM so diversity is early on recognised to children and create policies, incentives, and targetted efforts, to not only encourage the study of STEM subjects but maintain and grow into leadership positions in their career to bring their perspective to solve difficult challenges we all face.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

It's hard to qualify one achievement as I appreciate the journey that's gotten me to where I am today. However, I would have to say launching Safe & The City has been my greatest achievement to date because it is a unique concept I developed, inspired others to join me on this journey and putting it into millions of people hands to start to see the difference it will create.

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

The launch of Safe & The City will be a milestone of achievement, but one with many unforeseen challenges as well. Our aim is to create an impactful, successful and scalable business to move into the Global South and other vulnerable communities to start tackling social issues that affect our safety in public and workplaces we have the right to feel safe.


Jeanette Carlsson

Inspirational Woman: Jeanette Carlsson | CEO of newmedia2.0, Founder & Chair of Tech Nordic Advocates

 

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

I am Danish/Swedish by birth, born in Copenhagen to a Danish mum and Swedish father, married a brit and now a dual Danish/British citizen. Educated to degree level at the University of Copenhagen (BA Hons, first class, English Language, Literature and Social Sciences), then moved to London, completed a B.Sc Hons 2:1 in Economics from UCL, London, followed by an MA in Economics, jointly from the University of Copenhagen and UCL.

I started my career as an economist working for the European Commission in Brussels – on the implications of economic and monetary union, as a matter of fact.  Fascinating

I’m ultimately not a public sector person, however, so when offered a job as a strategy consultant at what was Coopers & Lybrand, I moved back to London and commenced my career in the private sector, pretty much from the beginning in the tech space, and from Coopers & Lybrand to a senior role in a mobile telco strategy boutique, then back to what had by then become PwC Consulting, focusing on telecom/media convergence. PwC then got acquired by IBM, where I ended up spending 10 years, first as leader of IBM’s global communications sector think tank; then as leader of the European big deals business in the telco space, then establishing IBM UK’s digital consulting practice, earning me a place at IBM’s top talent programme and a place at University of Oxford ‘Said’ Business School, paid for by IBM.

From IBM, I was headhunted to become EMEA MD of an American marketing analytics business – a SME and stepping stone to becoming an entrepreneur.

On the verge of massive digital/tech disruption, and hearing clients express a need to understand what digital/tech was doing to their businesses, and how they could capitalise on the new opportunities created by digital/tech, I founded www.newmedia2dot0.co.uk – innovation and growth partner to pioneering clients.

In parallel, I co-founded a digital learning progamme for young people in London, earning me my Honorary Fellowship at Ravensbourne (digital media/innovation university), and place on the Connecting Tech City Advisory Board, alongside Russ Shaw, which became the start of the discussions about taking Tech London Advocates to the Nordics, which ended with me me founding Tech Nordic Advocates in 2015.  Right now, in addition to running newmedia2.0 and Tech Nordic Advocates, I lecture on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Warwick, am business mentor to startups at Aston Business School’s and other accelerator programmes, and tech/smart city advisor to the Danish Ambassador to the UK and the Danish Foreign office.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I did in a sense but then changed direction. I am out of a family of linguists. So started life pursuing that at university. I then discovered my business and entrepreneurial gene and switched to economics and business. Following my time at the European Commission, I guess my ‘plan’ was to join a corporate, as that would give me a sound grounding in business, platform for my career, and also ‘look good on my CV’. Now I think there are many more ways to build a career than to join a corporate first. Indeed, I experience how some corporates struggle to attract top young talent (millennials), who sometimes aspire to slightly different things than what is offered by the typical corporate environment.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

I don’t think many people go through a long career without challenges. I guess for me, my first challenge was building a career in a very competitive industry (tech) in a ‘foreign’ country and then in London, which is huge and where I didn’t really know the movers and shakers.  So I had to use my unstoppable drive and determination to build contacts and networks and always ensure I was as good as or even better than my competitors, as I was ‘foreign’, understand exactly what was required to land the ‘right’ jobs and perform to the very best of my ability in each role, to help me land the next role and ‘get noticed’. Another key challenge has been transitioning from the corporate to the SME/ startup and entrepreneurial world. Very different cultures and modus operandi. I dealt with that by talking and listening to people, including entrepreneurs and startup/SME leaders, to understand them and ‘life’ in their startup/SME world, reading books by entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses etc.

Finally, there is no getting round the fact that building and maintaining a successful career as a woman in tech isn’t easy (see below), and even harder if you want to combine that with motherhood –  you can ‘have it all’ for sure, as I have, but you can’t have it all all of the time.

And you need to be able to deal with the nagging feeling/bad conscience that most ambitious, professional women have that you are not ‘doing justice’ to either your kids or career all of the time.

It’s all about compromises, and working out what works for you and your family and striking out the right balance – and of course having a partner to share the responsibilities with. No one size fits all. There are many models. You have to work out what’s right for you and your family. Luckily, the world of work is much more flexible these days, if some way from perfect, and as more women ‘come up the ranks’/become entrepreneurs, hopefully it will continue to improve

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

I am lucky that most days in my working life are different, due to my various hats. Most days, like for most people, start with going through emails, before heading into meetings and calls with clients, targets and my teams.  I travel a lot in the UK and across the Nordics and Baltics, and attend a lot of business and social functions, which adds a lot of spice and business to my life too. I work long days. If home, and if I have no functions/socials, my days end with following up on the days’ calls/meetings or preparing the next days’. If socials/ functions or travelling, I spend time with clients and networking.

Tell us about Tech Nordic Advocates and its aim.

As I say, Russ (Shaw) was keen to expand Tech London Advocates (TLA) beyond the UK, and so we got talking about taking TLA to the Nordics first. So I set up TECH NORDIC ADVOCATES in November 2015, headquartered in Copenhagen. In a little over two years, we have built Northern Europe’s largest – and only pan-Nordic/Baltic – tech leader network of 700 startup/scaleup founders, entrepreneurs, ​investors, mentors, accelerators, corporates and policy makers, working together across the five Nordic and three Baltic countries​, with a home in the leading tech hubs in all Nordic and capitals, to stimulate Nordic and Baltic tech sector growth. Our mission is to grow the Nordics/Baltics into a leading global tech/startup hub. Our vision is to be the leading platform and driving force for Nordic/Baltic tech sector collaboration and growth and bridge to other global tech hubs through our Global Tech Advocates family.

Tech Nordic Advocates are growing rapidly. We are keen to talk to tech leaders from startups to corporates with an interest in the Nordic and Baltic tech scene. So please get in touch by emailing: [email protected]

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?

Mentoring is extremely important. Giving and receiving from bosses, peers and people who report to you – 360 degrees. My experience tells me that us women in particular look for role models we can emulate. A woman – or man-  we can identify with and use as ‘mirror’ to inspire and motivate us, and give us confidence that ‘it can be done’. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have several mentors both within the businesses I have worked within, to ensure an understanding of the corporate environment I worked in was built into the mentoring process but also – very importantly – mentors outside my work environment, to ensure independence/neutrality from my corporate environment/politics.

I was on the female top talent team at IBM, and as such lucky enough to be mentored by mentors both inside and outside the business, male and female, which is really important for both mentor and mentee.

I have also mentored many people myself over the years – younger female professionals at IBM, male and female mentees since, and have always been very active in women in tech  communities, to give younger women in tech that role model. I am also a professional business mentor at several business school and accelerator programmes etc.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Ensure there is better alignment between policies and on the ground behaviours in business: most organisations today have (‘the right’) equal opportunity/diversity/inclusion policies in place. On the ground behaviours, however, are sometimes very different. With even the best policies in the world, it can be very hard to change ingrained on the ground (male) behaviours. Putting it bluntly… men choosing men for their teams, salary increases or promotions.

Not because they are necessarily or inherently sexist..but because we humans tend to go with what we know best… being crude…guys know how guys operate .. so why give yourself the challenge of picking a woman, even if on paper, she is as good if not better than the next male. What is needed to address that is inclusion of men in diversity initiatives, as opposed to taking women away from the office on ‘away days’ to teach them how to deal with men, without any men in the room ‘to practice on’ and team with, so the men can learn what challenges women face, when dealing with men, and women can learn more about male work behaviour and male experiences of working with women.. in other words mutual education. Only that way can we translate policies into action

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

In my personal life, raising two children who are now healthy, happy teenagers doing extremely well, while pursuing a super business professional career. In my professional life, a few things make me feel a little proud:  I guess as I say building a successful career in ‘another country’; being picked for the IBM female top talent programme, which also helped me earn my place at Oxford University business school, sponsored by IBM; making the transition from corporate to SME/startup; founding and growing two businesses; and being invited to Buckingham Palace in recognition of my work for the London startup sector

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

I have set up two businesses now – a commercial business www.newmedia2dot0.co.uk and Northern Europe’s largest tech leader network – www.TechNordicAdvocates.org. My focus now is to grow both of those, and help newmedia2.0 clients and other businesses I work with as mentor grow.

In terms of the future, I hope to show the younger generation – in particular women - through my continued actions and achievements that if you have talent and relentless drive and determination and focus, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, if you have what it takes, don’t let anyone stop you. Go do it!

Do you have any advice for women working in technology, that you wish someone had told you?

I won’t be the first to say this but women still make up only a small proportion of the tech sector, in particular at senior level.  Thriving in the fast moving tech world, where only the best survive and succeed is tough.

So in addition to having talent, confidence and unstoppable drive and determination are crucial, whether you are a man or a woman.

At more junior level, it’s harder to have that confidence as you haven’t yet achieved so much. So if I had my time again, I guess, I wish someone had told me to actively seek mentors and advice from key people from the very beginning. Having someone you trust - male or female -  ask advice of and listen to on your journey, who has been there is super valuable, and helps you build confidence. Be bold, ask people for a 15 min coffee. Most people will say yes. And the tech space is actually very good at and increasingly open to that. And finally, don’t think too much about being a woman – be a person and just do it!


Gemma Young featured

Inspirational Woman: Gemma Young | CEO & Co-Founder, Settled

 

Gemma Young, Settled

Gemma is passionate about technology's potential to radically improve people’s lives.

She’s on a mission to erase the anxieties that overshadow the joy of buying and selling a home. For well over a decade, Gemma’s been immersed in the online world, with experience that includes one of the UK’s first digital agencies and - back in its early days - Google. During her time at Google, Gemma worked across Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa.

With her experience both on the front line of digital, and previously as an estate agent, she’s leveraged some the most innovative technological advances in her drive to reshape the home buying and selling experience, creating Settled.

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

I have been involved with Internet businesses for well over a decade and am passionate about improving people’s everyday lives through technology. After graduating, I ventured into the world of estate agents, where I spent some time before moving to work for one of the UK’s first digital agencies. I subsequently joined what was (back then) a ‘start-up’; Google, where I stayed for many years working across Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa.

Having been on the front line of industries being transformed by the Internet, and having seen the shortcomings of the estate agency model, I saw the opportunity to leverage technology to reshape the home buying and selling experience and, together with my Co-Founder and brother Paul Young, I created property transaction platform Settled with the dream of making moving a home easier for everyone.

What inspired you to start Settled?

I spent time working in estate agents in my early career, so I’d seen ‘under the hood’ of the model. I understood processes and how things fit together and I’d always paid close attention to the industry - kind of waiting for someone to come in and truly improve it. But, years on, the fall through rates were the same (1 in 3 homes which go under offer don’t end up selling) and, with all the advances in technology - I could see the solution.

I thought about this for some time and then, one day a friend of mine turned up at my house in tears. She’d lost out on the house of her dreams after battling legal and financial processes for months. At that moment, I decided I was going to go for it. I left my job at Google and started building what today is Settled.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

As individuals, unless you know what you want - your career progression becomes a set of steps you take which hopefully get you closer to your true character and values, and that was certainly the case for me.

My journey took me through roles in real estate, digital technology and when I was at Google, I got really close to how technology could be used to solve big problems - I loved its potential.

Alongside all this, increasingly I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I’d always been drawn to businesses where consumers, rather than businesses, call the shots. I do feel truly grateful I’ve taken risks and followed this passion. It’s not been easy, but I’m so excited that Settled can continue to play a part in the digital transformation of what is considered to be one of the most stressful times in our lives and, that hopefully, one day people will feel moving home is purely joyful, not stressful - that it’s just Settled.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

One of the most important things I have learnt is resilience. Over time, setting up a business is hugely challenging. But it’s truly the belief in what’s possible, in the mission and purpose of what myself and my team come into work for everyday that keeps us going.

On a typical workday, how does you start your day and how does it end?

I wake up around 7am - hit the snooze button so I can give myself 10 minutes to go through new emails and to check up on the day’s plans. On my commute in, I’ll either listen to a business book on Audible or write emails and respond to questions. Then it’s normally either a coffee at my favourite café across the road from my office or a breakfast meeting to start the day.

My evenings are normally dinners with friends, industry events and, of course, nights in switching off to everything with something trashy on Netflix.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?

I love spending time with techies or people who get excited about the future - how the world will change through technology and pushing the boundaries on innovation.

I’m lucky enough to, overtime, have come into contact with other entrepreneurs, some of whom have become dear friends. Their support, experience and openness to glasses of wine and sharing ideas is something I’m deeply grateful for.

I often reflect and wish I’d had more people around me in my very early journey so now, I do make the time to spend with early startup founders. I can often relate to their challenges and, I hope, through sharing my experiences, I can help them to avoid or cope with some of those challenges.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

The world and its workplace have evolved over the years; its structures have equally developed meaning that, naturally, certain values and expected behaviours have evolved.

I’m less interested in looking back at the reasons why - I believe more progress comes from looking forward. We’re at a time where we should understand and unpick these things more deeply across race, sexual preference, gender and many other facets.

From a gender perspective - women aren’t under represented at board level just because they’re not as capable. There are multi-faceted and deeply structural reasons for this - such as women having the biological responsibility of child birth and subsequently, being the most likely party to have the onus placed on them for childcare. We need to think about how do we work with this and understand these differences? Because, more understanding of these pressures will benefit businesses and society in the long run.

What advice do you have for an future or budding entrepreneurs?

Solving a problem that’s really meaningful to you, that other people need the solution to and that’s close to your individual values and strengths.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Since our launch, we’ve worked hard to develop a technology and service that feels quite different to conventional methods in real estate. We’ve empowered customers and it’s been hugely rewarding to see how this, along with the technology and applications we’re building, has had a direct impact on how successful a transaction is. We’ve already cut the time it takes to buy or sell in half and we’ve vastly reduced the likelihood of a home falling through.

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

I believe moving home shouldn’t be one of the most stressful things we do in our lives. I want people to be able to move around the world more easily and I plan to make sure Settled becomes synonymous with the perfect home move for buyers and sellers.