Katherine Shailer Smith

My inspiration for a career in technology came rather unexpectedly.

After gaining a degree in Business and Management, I started my career as a Headhunter for senior-level IT positions, with the hope to work in Marketing. It was in that role that I started to uncover the world of technology, sparking my fascination and passion for this industry.

It was at that point I decided to build a career in technology, joining Mastercard in 2013 in a Business Development role for the payment gateway division. A role which required strong technical understanding of payment and fraud systems, as well as merchants’ websites and their in-store technical environment. It was a steep learning curve but I was determined to master the detail and build my expertise, and was soon recognised for my strong technical knowledge.

Since joining Mastercard, I have worked across four different roles and been promoted three times. Following the gateway division, I worked in roles in digital innovation and retail development teams, including helping to launch the breakthrough Pay In Aisle technology with a leading grocery retailer. I now have a role in the UK&I Strategy team, where I am leading the development and launch of an innovative loyalty solution with both retailers and banks.

I have a passion for developing people, and lead a Personal Development programme at Mastercard, as part of our gender equality network, running training workshops and multiple other initiatives. I am also on the Women on the Wharf committee, a network of 17 firms, where I help organise Canary Wharf-wide events for men and women, and actively work to expand this network of companies to ensure continued inclusion, growth and success. In addition to this, I also regularly mentor university students, volunteer for technology initiatives with girls at school, as well as organising a work experience week in Mastercard for girls from a local secondary school.

I like to think that I am proof that even without an early technical knowledge or background, but instead with passion, hard work, and the ability to work well with others, you can thrive in the career you want!