I did not have any technology background when I embarked on my career in data and artificial intelligence.

I was a biochemist by education with an aptitude and attitude towards learning and a curiosity about how data informs decisions making. I was in my first graduate role when a data analyst position became available and although it seemed like I would have to go through a huge learning curve both from a technical but also cultural perspective, I welcomed the challenge. I drove my own development and although I enjoyed all the learning, my confidence and ability to contribute to meetings suffered in the beginning as I was in a predominantly male dominated environment, with individuals who had at least 15-20 years of experience.

Over time however, I found my voice as I understood I was uniquely positioned to not only contribute technically but also contribute through my domain expertise and ability to collaborate well with others. I used the opportunity to learn from my peers’ experience but also helped them understand the data and why we did something not just how we would go about it from a technical perspective.

Simultaneously, I ensured I remained constantly curious and sought opportunities to better myself and my skillset. I took on project management and product ownership roles so I can fully amalgamate my business knowledge with technical expertise for the benefit of our clients. Throughout this part of my career, I had a number of great mentors who really helped me find my voice and coached me to build trusted relationships across the business and be self-aware.
As I changed roles and moved into a more senior position, I realised that I would not be achieving all that I had without my mentors along the journey. Therefore, whilst I had a personal goal to grow even further in my career, I also made it my goal to coach individuals on a similar path succeed. I had difficulty balancing both responsibilities – being a good leader and mentor whilst also pushing my own boundaries and staying ambitions.

Through my experience, I realised that one does not need to happen at the expense of the other. Making time to listen to my direct reports and mentees, helping them navigate the business and their professional aspirations in turn provided me with the opportunity to delegate more, grow myself and the business alongside. I made it my mission to empower others and create a resilient team and network of individuals across the business and in the technology space that I can trust which in turn spring boarded my growth as well as a leader, person and mentor.