Lauren Affleck | Morgan Stanley

Lauren is a Vice President at Morgan Stanley, based in Glasgow.

She has been with the Firm for almost 7 years, having previously worked in the Firm’s New York office, and is currently a Technology Risk Assessment Specialist. She is the global lead for multiple technology assessment programs in Morgan Stanley’s technology risk division, including its technology control assessment for individual systems and its cyber assessment program. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley she achieved a first-class master’s degree in International Banking, Finance & Risk at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Lauren is an active member of Morgan Stanley’s Women’s Business Alliance (WBA) and Women in Tech (WIT) groups, and is a volunteer project manager for the Firm’s Global Tech Change Makers program - a technology-wide pro bono initiative. She is extremely passionate about building an inclusive and positive work environment and prioritizes this in everything she does.

Magdalene Amegashitsi | Avanade

When I started my career, I never would have imagined working in Tech and enjoying it this much!

I did my first Degree in French and Spanish and went on to complete a master’s degree in Economics in 2008.

I took on my first graduate job as a Data Processing Project Coordinator in the Market Research Industry. This involved engaging with the technical team offshore to deliver Client Reports for Market Research Studies. I stayed in the Market Research Industry for nearly 8 years working in other roles first as a Pricing and Feasibility Manager and as a Client Operations Specialist.

My career in Technology began after reading an article about data science and its high prospects. I went on to explore courses available and upskilled after which I joined Anthony Nolan Charity as Insight Manager. There, I led on the production and dissemination of strategic insights and recommendations to improve overall supporter engagement Among other res, I also nurtured a data-driven, segmented approach to the way we engage with supporters.

In 2017, I joined Avanade as a Data Science Consultant and have had the pleasure of consulting to FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 Companies. I have led and delivered on major transformation programmes that involved using advanced modelling techniques such as statistical modelling methods, machine learning, time series and optimization to solve business problems. I have also been pivotal in the delivery and value realization of global Data Platforms and delivered on major Data Strategy engagements to help transform client’s data space.

I led the setup of the Women’s Employee Network (EN) in UK and Ireland back in 2019 and have since been leading a growing team of circa one hundred active members within the Employee Network to deliver against impactful initiatives in line with the groups vision of empowering women and our mission of fostering community within the Business.

Dayo Akinrinade | Wisdom

Dayo is the founder and CEO of Wisdom, a VC funded social audio app with the mission to democratise access to mentorship and create an open and diverse community centred on knowledge-sharing.

In less than a year, Wisdom has been featured as Apple’s App of the Day and appears in several of Apple’s curated lists including, the best apps for ‘Taking a Mental Break’ and ‘Best for Listening’.

Dayo began her career in tech as an IT Management Consultant at Accenture and Deloitte. Then, driven by the lack of diversity in London’s tech ecosystem, she joined the founding team of OneTech, London’s largest diversity in startups programme, backed by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. Subsequently, after spotting a gap in the market, She went on to found her first startup Africlick, a cultural dating app targeting 1 billion Africans globally.

Dayo holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Manchester and a M.Sc. in Technology from University College London. She was listed in the Global Dating Insights Women In Dating Powerbook, celebrating the 20 most inspirational and influential women in the dating industry alongside the likes of Whitney Wolfe and was named in the Financial Times Top 100 Most Influential Ethnic Minority Leaders in Tech.

Catharine Arul Dass | UK Parliament

I am an architect at the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament, specialising in applying technology to digitalise conservation information for heritage buildings.

I am one of the few experts in this field and the first to introduce the heritage requirement for digital construction within the UK Parliament for building conservation.

In the past, I worked in different countries, including Malaysia, Scotland, and Dubai (UAE), before coming to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), London, in 2013. MoJ was the first public client at that time to advance the use of tech for digital construction. I was a vital team member responsible for using tech to design and create a digital representation of building components with combining use of laser scanning technology to design buildings for MoJ in England and Wales.

Since coming to the UK, historic buildings have always drawn my attention. They tell stories of our cultural heritage, development, and progress dating back thousands of years. As an architect, it is my privilege and duty of care to make the right decisions to help conserve and protect our UNESCO World Heritage site for future generations.

I combine my passion for architecture and heritage with the knowledge and experience gained in digital construction to transpire innovative solutions for heritage and conservation at the Houses of Parliament (HoP). There is a gap between the people with knowledge of heritage and conservation versus the younger generation who exhale in using new technologies. I am using my passion and expertise to bridge this gap by introducing new tech requirements for capturing building conservation information within the Parliament.

I can proudly say that my pioneering work using tech to classify heritage assets working closely with National Building Standards (NBS) and BIM4Heritage group, has enabled the introduction of setting requirements for digital conservation requirements for heritage projects.

Claire Bailey | Barclays

At the age of 20, I became a lone parent to my eldest child and with just a few GCSEs to my name, I knew I needed to do something that would allow me to be self-sufficient and provide for my family long term.

I set my sights on a role in the local employment hub at that time – the Britannia Building society.

Over the next 4 years, I attended evening classes to obtain an HNC, followed by a degree in Computing at my local university. After graduating with a 1st Class BSc (Hons), I was lucky enough to land an entry-level developer role at Britannia just weeks before the great recession of 2007.

Over the next few years, I created shell scripts and supported the overnight batch process. I also became an expert in the administration of their ETL system. When a new project came along to upgrade this system, I transitioned into an Infrastructure Designer role specialising in Application Upgrades.

In 2013 I found myself misplaced, with my role moving to Manchester. As a lone parent, I couldn’t justify the 3-hour round trip to the city centre, so I took a role at Barclays as a Solutions Integrator within Middleware. Over the next 5 years, I took on several Technical Operations roles within Middleware, leading Global Infrastructure teams to support internal clients to resolve issues and provide innovative solutions to customers.

In late 2021, I returned from extended parental leave (3 children in 2 years) and within 3 months was promoted to Vice-President and took over the full-time position of Middleware Product Manager. My current role is very varied, and no two days are the same. Some days my focus will be on pricing to ensure our internal customers are accurately billed for the products they utilise. On other days I might focus on educating customers on our technology roadmap to ensure there is clarity on the future direction of our products. I love my role and it gives me the immense pleasure to oversee the whole Product development life cycle, ensuring the customer is at the heart of all our decisions.

More recently I have followed my passion to support colleague development and alongside my role as Product Manager. A review of internal Mentoring initiatives found that methods to allocate matches were tedious and not sustainable in the long term. Spotting a gap, I led a team of early career colleagues to develop an application which facilitated the ‘finding a mentor match’ process. The application allows mentees to search mentors’ profiles based on their knowledge, skills, and expertise. It also supports group mentoring and simplifies the reverse mentoring process allowing senior leaders stay connected with the issues at a grassroots level.

Sandhya Bakshi | Avanade

I have over 19 years of experience in IT consulting across domains and industries.

My expertise is using Data & AI to help organisations achieve business outcomes as part of their digital journeys. I am currently AI & IoT Solution Architect in Avanade's Azure Centre of Excellence and also leading Avanade's conversational AI platform, along with leading Avanade's healthcare plays on Data & AI front. I am passionate about working on cutting edge technologies that focuses on innovation and making a genuine human impact. Recently I am involved in working on Metaverse PoV and how it can help our clients, in not only increasing their revenue but also giving great experience to their end customers.

I am currently based out of London but have had a truly global career having lived and worked in the US, Canada, India and UK. This has helped me gain leadership skills and experience across different Data & AI dimensions. I started my career as .Net and SQL developer and then moved to delivering complex solutions for multiple clients using various technologies (like SharePoint, RPA, Chatbots, Cognitive Services, AI, IoT etc.) and also sold innovative solutions to many global big clients. I have led and grown offshore teams with multiple technology towers, sold deals as big as 25M+ as Data & AI Solution Architect, built multiple market facing assets/offerings, delivered trainings/bootcamps on leading technologies and supported the growth of Avanade's Data & AI business.

Kanika Bandanwal | ATOS IT Services UK LTD

I started my career in North Africa as an oilfield services engineer which was a technical engineering role exploring for quantity and quality of hydrocarbons following surface explorations.

To complement my engineering experience and background, I completed an MBA (Strategy & Finance) from Wharton Business School and took on a consulting role as a supply chain and operations consultant.

I had always been interested in the role new technologies can play for businesses, and my stint in the UK allowed me to explore different dimensions of technology led consulting. I led an Oracle procurement transformation program rolling out a Source to Pay ERP that was 18 months behind plan and my team and I delivered the first on time release for the UK. Following that project, I expanded my Source to Pay ERP tech exposure to another market leading product before switching teams and careers to Intelligent Automation.

Over the last 5 years, I have designed and delivered several automation engagements from strategy and implementation to fully managed robotics services. I have also worked on researching, designing and leading technical teams to develop automation products and services of the future. One such product looked at leveraging data science to combine process mining and task mining data sets to create an end-to-end view of a business process. I led another engagement that explored setting up cloud native automation solutions to allow clients to fast-track automation platform set up and an on-demand services model. I led the market research, design and development for both products and secured £300k+ in internal VC funding to develop the same. Currently I am a Principal Consultant with Atos IT Services and I manage the automation team and portfolio.

Czarina Barnsby | 6point6

Having spent over a decade holding senior roles within a B2B Managed IT company, Czarina is an accomplished IT leader experienced in delivering projects and designing solutions.

In her role as Head of Technical Architecture at 6point6, she brings deep technical expertise as an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate and Cloud Practitioner, as well as a passion for delivering organisational change and architecting customer-centric technology and systems.

Outside of work, Czarina has an infectious enthusiasm for nurturing and inspiring tech talent, and spends her free time working with charities and networks to offer mentorship and support. She is an AWS Community Builder (Cloud Operations category), and harnesses her AWS networks to develop communities designed to support, motivate, and develop women and allies in tech.

Princess Bernard | Accenture

Born, raised and school educated within Brixton, South London, I was told that making it out of the 'hood' would be a near impossible task.

I was expected to live the life of poverty and low paid jobs, as per the stereotype of many kids from a single parent home, living on a gang affiliated council estate. Although at times we struggled with money and didn't have the generational wealth of knowledge my more privileged counterparts did, I was given the most love a child could ever ask for. This was enough to drive my determination and commitment to making my story a different one! I put all my power into getting the best grades I could, and my hard work paid off. I studied Accounting and Financial Management in Loughborough University, graduating with a 1st Class honors, and winning the The Accounting and Financial Management ICAEW Gold Prize for achieving the highest overall final year mark on the course.

I always had a passion for helping people, and from a young age was part of Lambeth Youth committees and boards working with my local council, and so I applied to Accenture for my industry placement, as consultancy would give me the ability to help people in the form of clients, with their Technology needs. This is where my technology journey began!

Fast forward eight and a half years, and I'm now an Enterprise Architecture Manager within Accenture's Technology Strategy and Advisory UK business. My role focuses on helping clients, primarily in the Communications, Media and Technology industry, define and optimise their IT strategy and Enterprise Architecture Roadmap to achieve high performance, agility and accelerated innovation. This could be from defining the strategy and roadmap to supporting them in developing and mobilizing their Enterprise Architecture function. I am the only black Enterprise Architect female, and although at times it comes with its challenges, I hold the position with pride. I am using my unique position to 1) drive a new Accenture offering within Architecture; advising technology leaders on how they can embed inclusion and diversity into their operating models and their Enterprise's Architecture to drive customer, employee and overall business value for their organisation 2) be a voice and role model within recruitment and junior engagement activities to change the narrative and drive up more diversity within Enterprise Architecture.

Outside of Accenture, I, along with a small team of gentlemen, built and run a youth orgnisation to mentor, educate and empower young people from less privileged backgrounds. I created a summer programme called Pattern Your Future which allows young people from low socio-economic backgrounds to experience careers and gain insights they would not otherwise have visibility of, due to social barriers such as gender, economic status, race, ethnicity etc. Technology has been the focal career in this programme – providing over 40 14-25 year old's with a free 2-week coding/AI course, a mini work experience with industry leaders in data and AI; WPP, and on-going mentoring carried out by myself. I have mentored a total of 52 young people with a passion for technology; supporting them in Uni applications and personal statements for Computer Science degrees, finding other internships and opportunities, CV guidance, and general well-being support as they transition into adults.

Emily Best | Netcompany

I studied Criminology and Psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, when I graduated in 2016 I didn't know where to go or what to do.

I worked in a Lego store for a little while and then heard about a role going for a Project Management Trainee. I grew up with my Dad being a Project Manager and thought it seemed very much like a people management role but I had never considered it because I am not and never have been technical. I applied, attended the interviews and was offered the role.

Many of the people I have worked alongside over the years have told me you don't need to be technical to be a PM - which I have come to appreciate, as quite often, the clients just want to know if something has been delivered on time and to budget. I can organise people, money and dates well but rely heavily on my amazingly talented and technical team mates to help me understand and communicate the rest.