Chery Razzell

I started my career in technology back in 1998 when I was 18.

I left school with no qualifications and was working as a gym instructor, when my brother who was working for a call centre helping microsoft customers mentioned there was a job opening on the Apple desk. I must admit I had no clue of who Apple were, but it was a better option to being gym instructor, so I took a role as a receptionist there. Before long I became curious and although it was my job to take the customers details and pass them to the support agents, I started to try and troubleshoot the issue and try and help the customer, resulting in far less calls being transferred to support. It became obvious to me that I wasn’t too bad at this and my manager seemed to agree when he pulled me in for a chat and told me that I was going to be promoted to an engineer and would receive technical training.

This is how I started my career in tech with no qualifications but an eagerness to learn. I have always been a very driven person and the fact that I felt that I had more to prove due to my background made me work harder. I have taken on many roles in my career over the past 23 years every role has helped me grow and I have gained exposure in many industries. I have always had a good work ethic that was instilled into me from my parents who were positive role models for working hard and learning by your mistakes. I had my daughter at a young age and she has seen me struggle as well as strive and finds this inspiring as well. I have always tried to stay as technical as possible and have been in very technical roles and back in the early 2000’s it wasn’t as common to see women in technical roles, so I faced a lot of prejudice, and it was often a hard area to work in. I took this on the chin and learned to use this to help me become stronger and even more determined to succeed.

My career has seen me working for companies like the BBC where I took on many roles from support to programme manager to working for Apple again as the first female Mac Genius in the company’s first Flagship store in London in 2005. To working for News international and opening their first ever Genius Bar, for tech support for their employees and due to its popularity I helped roll out the concept to other news corp companies like Sky. After I left News Int I went to work for a small San Francisco start up called Yammer, who after 6 months after I joined was sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion in cash. I initially ran the internal IT systems for Yammer, but soon was promoted to IT Director and soon took over our internal devops tooling and engineering teams. After nearly 5 years I left Microsoft to take on the word of banking and joined HSBC to run the Digital Platform for HSBC’s Retail bank as well as running the tooling and monitoring team. My more recent move was to Polystream where I am today. I like the agile ways of a startup and saw huge potential in Polystreams technology. I started Polystream as Director of platform and liveops, and recently I was appointed VP of engineering to help with the engineering effort of our new in game spectating Platform which I am hugely excited about as its a very exciting challenge with amazing opportunities.