ady sevyAdy Sevy is a product manager at Edinburgh-based data analytics company, Aquila Insight. With a background as a helicopter simulator instructor in the Israeli Air Force, Ady studied cognitive and computer science and also gained a Master’s degree in applied data science. She previously had product management roles in data analytics companies in Tel Aviv and New York.

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

I’m currently a product manager at Aquila Insight, an Edinburgh-based data analyst company. In the past, I’ve also worked as a helicopter simulator instructor in the Israeli Air Force and studied cognitive and computer science, going on to achieve a Master’s degree in applied data science. Before starting at Aquila insight, I worked in product management roles in data analytics companies in Tel Aviv and New York.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, not really. It was more a case of looking one or two steps ahead and ensuring I had the qualifications to get to that point. I was aware that the industry was changing fast and hoped I would be able to gain the skills to fit myself into a relevant position.

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

As Sheryl Sandberg pointed out in her book Lean In, women are assessed according to their performances. That doesn’t sound so bad; except that men, in contrast, are being assessed by their potential. In the past, I’ve often had difficulties relating to this. For example, in one job I was promoted, but had a difficult time negotiating a salary increase to compliment this promotion and I first needed to “prove myself” in the new role. When it comes to job interviews, I sometimes find the salary negotiation extremely challenging for the above reason.

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

I start by defining realistic goals to myself for the day – looking at my calendar, my to-do list, and my upcoming deadlines. Later on in the day, I look at what I’ve accomplished so far and how my next day is looking. When it gets to the end of the week, I’ll try and plan a week or more in advance.

Tell us a little bit about your role and how did that come about?

I wanted to develop my career as product manager, so I aimed for positions on this level. Aquila Insight seemed like a great fit for me and stood out against other data analytical companies as they put data and analytics at the core of their company. I also knew that the role would require analysis expertise, which, as I had a previous experience as an analyst and an advance degree in Data Science, I was sure I could bring.

Have you ever had a mentor or a sponsor or anyone who has helped your career?

No, but it would be great to find someone willing to sponsor me in the future.

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

I’d like to see quotas in place during the hiring process so that women are favoured intentionally.

How would you encourage more women into STEM/ the digital industry?

It’s clear there’s a lack of female role models in the tech world. Perhaps if there had been more women in tech to look up to while I was at school, more girls would have gone into technology. We need to encourage females to choose science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) professions from as early an age as possible. For girls in primary school, it’s more important to keep activities hands-on, creative and fun – anything that will strike an interest with them. For older girls, offering scholarships or setting up coding workshops and events is likely to keep them engaged. I’m also a big supporter of coding workshops targeted for women, especially Rails Girls and Women who Code.

If you were to look back in five years, what would you see in terms of your achievements?

I would be able to reflect positively on the fact that I’ve only ever worked for companies where I’ve truly believed in their vision, mission or product. I’d be pleased to see that I’ve progressed through various roles and taken on various new responsibilities, achieved tangible change and been valuable to clients. Also, importantly, I’ve always promoted an ethical equal work place, ensuring that women are happy and comfortable at work.

Tell us about your plans for the future?

Eventually, I’d love to set up my own data analytical company or venture of that type – that would be a dream.