Lisa Marr

Lisa Marr is an ex-Army Officer who has been employed by Barclays for just over a year now.

She currently run the Veterans Employment Transition Support Programme which is an external facing programme helping Service Leavers, Veterans and Military Spouses/Partners to transition into the real world!

It’s the biggest Veterans programme in the country and something that Barclays should be hugely proud of.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not since I was eight years old and decided I wanted to join the Army (that’s true). However when it came time for me to leave the Forces I was really unsure of what I wanted to do, I just knew it had to be something I was passionate about and that the culture and values of the establishment I was going to choose had to suit me and chime with my values.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

The biggest challenges for me have always been self-imposed ones. When you are in a difficult situation within a difficult environment and you are the leader your team look to you and you have to lead by example and that’s not always easy.  But I have always been blessed with having a good team around me whose advice I could ask for and ultimately had the training and years of experience to fall back on to make (hopefully) the right decisions.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I was given command of a company of 60 personnel during a restructuring programme knowing that I would have to close that unit down and under the circumstances of that restructure the vast majority of those people would become unemployed. I had two years to work with them on an individual basis to help them all find employment and at the end had a 100 per cent success – it’s not the biggest achievement but it’s probably the one I’m most proud of.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Passion – I’ve never had a master career plan, I’ve always just said that I will continue to do the job until I don’t enjoy it anymore and when that day comes it’s time to move on.  If you are passionate about what you do you will always give it your best and be successful.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Read voraciously from a wide source so you know what’s happening within the tech industry. Join various social media groups so not only will you keep up to date but you will start to widen your network. Most of these groups are also super helpful and someone is always willing to answer any questions you may have or, if they can’t, point you in the right direction

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think there are still some barriers for women in every sector but they are getting less and less and it also varies from company to company. Do your research before joining a company and understand the culture of that company.  Its amazing what you can pick up by talking to employees both past and present.

And don’t dwell on what the barriers may or may not be – having been in a very male dominated environment for over 20 years, most (not all admittedly) individuals will start to come round if you do a great job.  Stick at it and be awesome.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Have a company culture that is supportive of all, values differences and genuinely allows flexible working. Have role models that are accessible to all even the most junior entrants and opportunities for networking in a safe environment.

There is currently on 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Make tech more exciting in schools to ignite the passion in the subject at an earlier age and showcase to those young girls that tech is a very real option for them. If you can capture their imaginations at an early age you will have many more entering into the industry. The question then won’t be why are they entering the tech industry, it will be why not.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’m still a huge fan of f2f networking, so when we are all allowed to do that again it would be my top tip.  It’s not always easy to do but it is thee best way to increase your network and open up opportunities. Secondly it would be keep inquisitive and continually learn whether that be by reading, listening to podcasts or attending conferences.

WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here.