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.