Naomi is the Data Science Consultant Manager for data collaboration platform, LiveRamp UK. She is responsible for building LiveRamp’s data measurement solution as well as expanding its partnerships with a wide range of businesses looking to gauge the incremental impact of their advertising campaigns.

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

As Data Science Consultant Manager for the data collaboration platform, LiveRamp, I lead my team in supporting our global clients to get the best and most connected view of their customers. From iconic consumer brands and tech giants to banks, retailers, and healthcare leaders, each with their own types of consumer data, I help these businesses gauge the incremental impact of their advertising campaigns through LiveRamp’s data measurement solution.

I started my career in data science during my placement at Nectar, whilst completing my Maths degree at Bath Uni. I was subsequently employed full-time by the loyalty card company, where I worked for four years, collaborating with major brands including Sainsbury’s, BP, British Gas and eBay.

When not working, I am an avid synchronised swimmer, which allows me to do lots of travelling and offers the opportunity to meet lots of other women athletes like myself. This includes coaching junior synchronised swimmers and doing my part to keep girls in sport.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

A career in data science really opened up a distinct opportunity from working at Nectar. This was a formative moment for me in understanding the power of data for business use cases, including the wealth of transactional data that Nectar’s partnered businesses have at their fingertips.

When I joined LiveRamp, I really honed my love for this field and was able to make my mark on it in a really impactful way. Working with LiveRamp’s people-based identifier, RampID, I realised that it was not only useful for activating client data, it was also great at quantifying the impact of these campaigns. What started out as a proof-of-concept the team prepared for a major client developed into what is now LiveRamp’s measurement solution, of which I am proud to have been a major architect.

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

One particular obstacle I have struggled with has been imposter syndrome, which I think prevails in this industry thanks to the fast pace of technological evolution and the feeling that expertise can be quickly outdated. However, looking up to and having the support of other successful women in the industry has helped to remind me of my own unique skillset and right to be in this space.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Designing LiveRamp’s measurement solution has been my biggest achievement. As the leading deterministic solution of its kind in the market, it earns LiveRamp multi-million dollars in revenue per year. Aside from this, I am so proud of my data science team – an efficient unit of four, commercially minded and technically gifted individuals who are responsible for this solution and who I have seen grow so much in the last four years. With a 100% retention rate, I recently promoted a member who I onboarded as a graduate in 2019 and is today a Senior Data Scientist.

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

A hunger to learn, a rigorous work ethic, an analytical eye for client needs along with excellent communication skills. Being able to educate our partners on the use cases and value of their first-party datasets, often in the face of some hesitation on their part, has helped me to expand LiveRamp’s business relationships. I credit my success to several inspiring female mentors, both during my time at Nectar and at LiveRamp, who have imprinted on me all the above qualities that have helped me to get to where I am today.

What barriers for women working in tech are still to be overcome?

Data science is still regrettably very male-dominated. As a result, female data scientists have all encountered some sort of career obstacle that is unique to our gender. Whether it be finding out a male peer was on a higher salary for the same role, or feeling as if you don’t belong. More needs to be done by all genders to knock down these hurdles encountered exclusively by women, and ensure that data science, and tech in general, is as inclusive a space as it can be. This starts with education and highlighting these inequalities wherever they arise.

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

Along with nurturing a welcoming company culture, and making certain that concerns are addressed and women feel supported in data science, businesses can do more to speak to young women. In particular, they should look into schemes like the Access Project, which is designed to support GCSE/A–Level students who want to be educated on the opportunities available within data science. Whilst at Nectar I was a strong supporter of the Project and at LiveRamp, I’ve been able to continue this by offering work experience weeks. Taking on-board sixth form students to shadow myself and the data science team.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech/What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

My main tip for any data scientist is to not focus on knowing all the data science methods, as they’ll always be changing. Instead, it’s best to keep a top level view on the market and trends coming out. When it comes to your own work –  focus first on the business problem. From here, the right methodology will always reveal itself.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

Again, the root of the problem lies in education. Specifically, with fewer girls taking STEM subjects to A-level, such as computer science, physics and further maths. Education needs to come much sooner and companies should help out more in this space if they want to see a change in the gender divide in the workplace. That is why I would ensure that groups like the Access Project were supported to the hilt, through funding and far-reaching partnerships with the tech community, to evangelise the opportunities and achievements open to young women in this space.

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