My journey into the dynamic world of indirect tax technology

I am a business development director for Vertex – a global organisation which operates in the rapidly growing sector of tax technology. The company focuses entirely on indirect tax; we’re unique in that we specialise in one area of tax, as opposed to working across all the different tax types.

Before joining the company, I was a tax consultant for over 15 years, working with lots of technology platforms to support brands such as Shell, Paramount, and Viacom. I had a huge understanding of the market and knew the major players in the tax technology sector, but I wasn’t doing anything new. I joined Vertex in February 2021 as I was excited about what they were doing in the SAP space.

Currently, I support sales efforts in EMEA working with the ‘big four’ as well as small boutique technology companies such as Innovate Tax, Ryan and DMA. I support the sales cycle by helping to identify what a customer needs and what is happening within their business which requires tax technology; this is usually because they are embarking on their financial transformation journey and/or moving to a Cloud ERP.

It’s a fun and varied role because the challenges organisations are facing today are very different. Some businesses are pivoting due to industry and economic changes whereas others are just needing to improve tax processes to improve audit performance or to keep up with changing tax authority requirements. My favourite part of the role will always be seeing a happy customer at the end who has been able to meet their organisational goals.

How did you get into the FinTech space?

After graduating with a master’s degree in tax, I worked at KPMG in tax provisions and controls with the banking industry. I was then recruited by tax software provider Sabrix – a start-up in 2002 which really fit my personality. As you can imagine, being in a start-up is extremely dynamic as you get to wear lots of different hats. My journey there began in tax research and content and then I moved in to product development as the product manager for VAT and Excise solutions, as well as working on a custom development with SAP.

I left in 2007 and started consulting, moving from California to London to join a global rollout of SAP for Shell. It was the largest SAP program at the time. Being a consultant provided me with the opportunity to work with lots of different products in a wide variety of industries and gain global exposure.

What’s the biggest challenge you’re dealing with currently in your career?

For me, it’s staying focused as there are so many shiny new objects and opportunities out there, from changes in the law through to the unique ways that the business environment is evolving and putting a larger burden on tech solutions. While it’s fascinating to see this pace of change it can be a little overwhelming.

There is a lot to do, a lot of opportunity in this space and quite frankly a lot of new technology companies popping up. I am proud to work at Vertex, who has been in the indirect tax technology space for 40 years – they are pushing hard to remain in front and stay relevant in the face of this changing landscape.

Where do you find support in the FinTech world?

It’s about the people that you know to a certain extent.

As a consultant, I was lucky enough to meet many different people and work with a wide range of software and consulting companies. I like connecting with others to offer my support and in turn, those people will do the same for me; whether it’s helping a colleague at one of the ‘big four’ find a new director or helping a boutique consulting firm find a new project.

If you are open to it and work to maintain contacts and relationships, the FinTech world will support you. In tax technology, it’s pretty close knit, which is fantastic if you act with integrity, welcome opportunity, and continually improve the breadth and depth of your knowledge. When you give a bit of yourself, it’s amazing what you get in return.

What advice would you give other women who want to work in FinTech?

Get connected.

I would love to pretend that it isn’t more difficult to be a woman in this space but if I am honest, it’s still a man’s world to a certain extent. Connecting with other women working in FinTech or in the tech industry via platforms such as LinkedIn or trade shows can help you build a support network. ‘Spotlight for woman in business’ on LinkedIn or the UK organisation ‘Woman in tech’ are some examples of the groups available to join. My advice would be to find women who are similar to you in terms of career and aspirations and lean on each other.

Stay current.

Technology is constantly changing.  I am not suggesting that you need to be an expert in emerging technologies such as edge computing, AI or blockchain to be in the FinTech space but awareness and how it impacts an organisation is important.

Seek and be positive change.

No matter if it’s in your contact group or within your organisation, always push for constant improvement and be ready for what’s coming next. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and acknowledge what you don’t know; after all, these are great leadership qualities to have.

As for personal change, if you are unsure of the direction your career is taking, consider a careers coach. This can not only help you consider changes within your career but also to handle challenges that are happening within the company. Working with someone who is external and impartial can help you gain fresh insights and equip you with new tools to navigate your career.

About the author

Wendy Fischnaller is business development director at Vertex – a tax technology provider. She has carved a successful career within the fintech space after graduating with a masters degree in tax.

Want to advance your career in tech? It’s all about trust

Woman in tech, and indeed a woman of colour in tech, it’s true that I am often in the minority in the different teams and companies for which I have worked. But equally, I believe that the situation for women in tech is better now than ever.

Technology is an attractive industry for women to work in. There are exciting opportunities to progress and learn, companies are generally much more progressive in their attitudes, and while discrimination still exists, there is much less than there was.

But are women able to advance in their tech careers as quickly as men? I don’t believe there are specific barriers that prevent this, but there are steps that women can take to help the process.

Tech – an attractive sector for women?

At school, I loved arts and science, which led me to want a career in architecture. My Masters was in the fundamentals of design which opened a whole new realm of work as tech was already seeming like an attractive industry.

It felt cool, and it felt new. Apple and Microsoft were creating increasingly designed products, making it attractive and aspirational as a career. It was an industry full of innovation and potential, and even at that stage in my career, I didn't see any barriers to my joining.

In 2022, more women are entering technology than ever, but perhaps not yet in the techier roles. There is nothing wrong with women working in marketing, sales, product management, support or elsewhere in technology. They are still in the industry, and there is no need for women to be made to feel bad because they aren't working as a coder, developer or engineer.

But I do think that will change over time. Computer science is still relatively modern in schools; in my experience, it is just as accessible to girls as it is to boys. Very few girls studied science subjects a generation ago, but that has changed. So will the study of technology and subsequent entrants to the workforce.

Progressing in technology

As a woman of colour in technology, I've been asked if I have ever faced discrimination or prejudice. While I've no doubt that still goes on, in my career, I've been lucky that I haven't come up against that. In Bombay and Zurich, I've worked for progressive companies prioritising talent and hard work over other factors.

They have had a strong ethos that people from all backgrounds are welcome. This goes back to the founder, the type of workplace they want to create, and then the company culture they instil. When they get this right – and in my case, they have – any differences quickly disappear.

But to progress, women certainly need to prove themselves. I found that identifying a strategy for progression really helps. Making a list or Venn diagram – what you are good at, what you like to do and what you want to do in future – can be of huge assistance when looking to advance your career.

For me, it's about trust. The higher you climb, the more trust is needed. Your employer must trust that you can do the job you want, so you must work hard to gain that trust. But it undoubtedly goes both ways – it's a trust transaction between both parties, and the employer needs to demonstrate to the employee that it's the right place for them to work.

Tips for success

Beyond building and growing trust, I can offer three specific tips that can help women advance in the industry:

  1. Find a mentor to help guide you. This can be a colleague, boss or someone you don't even work with – they will be invaluable in helping you in areas such as making decisions and managing conflicts. Furthermore, always keep learning. Skills are not always sufficient. You need all-round awareness across the business to progress. Observing my co-workers has played an important role in my personality development which prepared me for the growth and opportunities I wanted.
  2. Make notes of achievements or learning. Every complimentary email, every piece of praise, and notable achievement are great for boosting confidence. You can go back and review this personal record of achievement when you are looking to prepare for a new role or even if you are having a bad day generally.
  3. Don’t be shy. If your personality type is to be shy, that's fine, but do not let it stop you from asking important questions. Can I have a raise? Can I move teams? What do I need to do to get that promotion? You won't get anywhere by not asking these questions, so always pluck up the coverage to do so.

I am confident that it is getting easier and more common for women and women of colour to work in technology. My own experiences have been positive, and anecdotally I think there has been much progress.

But that doesn’t mean the job is done. By focusing on growing two-way trust and having a clear idea of where they want to get to, women can continue their technology career progression more smoothly.

About the author

Shivani Visen is Head of Design and Product Manager at augmented intelligence solutions provider, Squirro. She started at Squirro as a UX Designer, and after several promotions now heads up the design function, which she has grown into a high-performing entity within the organisation.

If you want to find out more about Shivani, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

T Level Article (800 × 600 px)

Are T Levels the key to tackling the digital skills shortage? Meet a teacher & student who believe they could be

T Level Article (800 × 600 px)

Women employed in IT currently make up only 20 per cent of the total workforce – but for Black women, that figure is a mere 0.7 per cent, according to analysis by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.  

As the UK faces a digital skills shortage, and specifically a shortage of females in the digital sector, are T Levels a key part of the solution?

Two-year courses introduced in 2020, T Levels are equivalent to 3 A levels and were developed in collaboration with employers to meet the needs of industry and prepare students for work, further training or study. T Levels mix classroom learning (80% of time) with an ‘on the job’ industry placement (20% of time).

In this article, we get an insight from a pioneering Digital teacher and a student, who is part of the first cohort to complete this qualification.

Let’s meet Katy and Shechinah to find out more about T Levels and how they could inspire more women into tech.

Meet Katy Walsh, a Digital T Level teacher from La Retraite Catholic School for Girls in Clapham

Katy is one of the first Further Education teachers in the country to pioneer the teaching of new T Levels qualifications. Katy is calling on others working in tech to consider becoming a Further Education teacher, part time alongside their current profession, to help skill up the next generation of talent in the fast-growing digital sector and inspire the next gen of female talent.

Katy Walsh

You’re one of the first Further Education teachers in the UK to pioneer teaching of T Levels – could you tell us exactly what a T Level is?

T Levels were designed in collaboration with employers to meet the needs of industry. They are qualifications for students aged 16 to 19, broadly equivalent in size to 3 A levels, that focus on technical and vocational skills. All T Levels combine classroom learning with on-the job training – the Digital Production, Design and Development T Level covers a wide range of subjects including web development, software development and user experience design and prepares students to enter the industry in a range of roles.

How do they differ from A levels?

The main difference between the Computer Science A level and the Digital Production, Design and Development T Level is that the T Level is tailored to the skills required in the workplace. T Level students are completely focused on the one subject and their future in that industry. With the A level, students have to split their time with 2 or 3 other subject areas which may not suit someone who wants to focus on developing skills like coding.

With the T Level there is lots of variety in the one course.

There is also the practical skills element, 20% of the course is an industry placement, which allows the students to get engrossed in the sector and really develop the skills that employers are looking for.

Do you think the introduction of T Levels will help more girls into STEM? If so, how?

I believe T Levels will help more girls into STEM subjects and jobs. In our first cohort, we had seven female students on the course and they are all either going onto university (to study computer science, cyber security or games development) or are starting apprenticeships in the tech industry. The T Level has an industry placement and a big focus on practical skills and this appeals to lots of young people.

What more can be done to help increase female representation in STEM industries?

I think the main way to increase female representation in STEM industries is for companies to work with schools and help students understand the different job roles that are out there. We had lots of people from a variety of digital roles, and different backgrounds, speaking to our students which has helped inspire them about their future.

We also participated in the ‘Women in Tech’ virtual festival.

Seeing so many successful women share their journeys in the tech industry was very beneficial to our female students.

One discussion on ethical hacking inspired my student Shechinah to choose to study the specialism at university. The women participating also made it clear that building a professional network is very important, as is finding a suitable mentor.

Finally, if companies are determined to encourage diversity in the industry, then they need to reach out to young people and offer them industry placements or work experience opportunities. Every school has a careers officer, so employers should get in touch with local schools and think about how they could facilitate a placement. If employers put in the effort to mentor students interested in STEM subjects, it will benefit them as an organisation – and the industry as a whole.

Meet 17-year-old Shechinah Asomaning-Ashmead, who studied a T Level in Digital Design and Development

Shechinah also completed a placement at the Department for Transport. Shechinah is celebrating finishing her course this summer. Shechinah wants to go into cyber security and ethical hacking and become a role model for other Black women in tech whilst helping protect consumers from cyber-attacks.

Shechinah Asomaning-Ashmead

You studied a T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development – why did you choose to study for a T Level?

I haven’t come from an IT background so choosing a digital qualification was a bit of a leap of faith for me, especially as the T Level was a new qualification. I did some research into cyber security and realised what an interesting career path it was. The IT sector is fairly male dominated and I wanted to become a role model for other black women in the industry, while protecting consumers from cyber-attacks.

My school held a T Level event where I found out more about the course content and the different topics that would be covered.

The combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training really appealed to me.

I also enjoyed learning practically and the course included an industry placement of at least 45 days which was a big bonus. I knew how valuable it was to be able to show you have real life industry experience when applying for jobs.

What are the benefits of a T Level, over an A level or an apprenticeship?

Taking a T Level is similar in both size and workload to taking 3 A levels, but the T Level course allowed me to specialise in a subject I was passionate about earlier in my education and career. T Levels mix classroom learning and on-the-job training so you have the benefit of still being in full time education, while experiencing what it’s like to enter the workplace. The fact that T Level courses are designed in collaboration with employers in the sector is reassuring because you know you are learning the relevant skills you need to land a job. If you are interested in T Levels, the Get the Jump content hub on the National Careers Service website brings together all the education and training choices available to young people in one place, including more information on T Levels.

We’re firm believers that you can’t be it unless you can see it! Can you tell us who some of your role models are?

I am very close to my family, and my mother is one of my idols. Although she does not work in STEM, having a strong woman in my life that took on so many responsibilities while my siblings and I grew up is inspiring.

I always strive to mirror her strengths and sacrifices in everything I do.

I’m grateful for the support my mother has provided throughout my education and career journey so far. Neither of us knew very much about T Levels when I finished by GCSEs so we did the research together and she supported my decision to take on this new course.  She even subscribed to some education magazines so she could keep up to date with any news on T Levels and find resources to help me with the course!

What more can be done to help increase female representation in STEM industries?

I think mentoring programmes are important so young women can seek support and advice from other women working in industry. I attended programs like ‘Think her Ambition’ and ‘Stemettes’ which really inspired me and encouraged me to pursue a career in the sector. These programmes play an important role in educating and inspiring more young women to consider careers in STEM.

Visual representation and role models are also important – I’m proud to be one of the first female Digital Production, Design and Development T Level students in the country and I hope to support other women to enter the industry.

Northern Trust logo

Five reasons to work with Northern Trust

Northern Trust

Greater is...fitting in because of your differences

We believe diversity, equity and inclusion are inextricably linked. That’s why we’re working to create an environment where every individual feels respected, supported and valued to fully contribute to our shared success.

When you join the Northern Trust community, we make a pledge to you.

Here’s what you can expect from day one:

A culture of care and collaboration

Our commitment to partnership is rooted in a culture of care that drives success for clients and partners alike. We value our partners as individuals, offering each person the flexibility to balance their aspirations in work and in life.

How do we show this?

We foster an environment where collaboration is prioritised over competition, and we support and invest in one another to create stronger teams, stronger work and stronger outcomes for our clients.

In EMEA, we’ve created a Women in Technology network to support the development of female talent in technology.

The group, sponsored by our Chief Technology Officer Alison Pain, meets monthly, sometimes with global counterparts to provide a community of learning, sharing best practice and access to role models (internal and external) whilst encouraging networking.

A focus on individual career development and growth

Every career path is different. We’ll help you map yours. We see our partners as people, working closely with them to create plans that work for each individual.

Each of our partners comes with unique skills, perspectives and goals. We believe in empowering our partners with the resources and opportunities to Achieve Greater and realise their full potential. We foster their ambitions, develop their skills and provide countless opportunities to lead and make an impact.

Our EMEA Women in Technology group have also created a programme entitled Together we Thrive, which provides our EMEA female technologists an opportunity to participate in workshops on self-identified tech topics. It allows us to broaden our internal network whilst sharing knowledge, learning and developing our own expertise. Topics to date have included;

  • Cyber Security
  • Domain Driven Design

Dedication to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce

We are united by the belief that diversity, equity and inclusion are not only essential, but connected.

It’s an approach that sets us apart, driving us to develop new and authentic ways to foster an environment where every partner feels respected, supported and valued.

“True diversity can only exist in an inclusive work environment, where any individual or group feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued to fully participate and contribute to our success.”

Sarah Boddey, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer, EMEA and APAC

How do we show this?

All of our people managers at Northern Trust are required to complete Inclusive Leadership training and all global partners are required to complete Unconscious Bias training.

Key Award wins;

  • Northern Trust has been named a Best Employer for Diversity by Forbes.
  • LGBT Great Financial Services Standards, Silver Standard, 2022
  • Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index – Silver award (2019, 2020, 2021). The UK’s definitive benchmark related to mental health and wellbeing policy.

An opportunity to innovate

Our stability and strength allows us to forge new pathways to success, embrace new technologies, explore new ideas and continue asking tough questions. It’s a mindset that allows us to innovate without fear of failure, advancing technologies and products that unlock new and exciting opportunities.

We strive to challenge the status quo, building on our successes to continue setting new standards.

How do we show this?

As part of our digital modernisation journey, we created a data mesh – a market-leading platform to enable us to gain access to fast and secured data while also allowing us to move faster, predict behaviour and deliver more innovative and personalised solutions to our clients.

In addition, we are proud to have sponsored the WeAreTechWomen One Tech World conference. This innovative conference continues to show existing women in the industry and those who want to transition in, what that world of future tech really looks like. It also involves encouraging women from all backgrounds to consider tech careers, so that we can contribute to the creation of products and systems that are truly inclusive.

“Diversity of thought can come from anything: educational background, financial situation, gender, ethnicity, religion, all those different things.”

Alison Pain – Chief Innovation Officer for EMEA

The chance to make a meaningful impact

Our approach to our work is rooted in our values: service, expertise and integrity. These values drive everything we do, from the way we serve our clients to our ongoing efforts to support and advance our communities.

That commitment has earned us a reputation as a premier financial partner to the world’s most successful individuals, families, and public institutions, granting us valuable influence on the global economy and the communities that power it.

How do we show this?

  • Employees are given two paid days off a year to support their volunteer efforts.
  • We are a proud corporate partner of the Science Museum, and actively work to encourage young people encourage a career in STEM.

Northern Trust partners on one of their two annual volunteering days helping out at a food bank
Northern Trust partners on one of their two annual volunteering days helping out at a food bank

Dynamic careers. Brighter futures. Greater possibilities.

You don’t just accept a position here – you embark on a career.

Don’t choose between a dynamic career and work-life balance – join a team that supports your goals and enables you to enjoy both. We’ll help you get where you want to go.

Who are Northern Trust?

We are a global leader in innovative wealth management, asset servicing and investment solutions. We are a Fortune 500 Company in operation since 1889, that’s 133 years of success.

Did you know we have had a presence in the United Kingdom since 1969?

We have over 1100 partners in our London office administering the most varied range of products in the UK Market. Northern Trust London forms a vital part of our organisations global presence and strategy.

Who we serve?

We guide the world’s most successful individuals, families and institutions and we’ve built a legacy of empowering clients to reach their goals with confidence.

Our locations and people.

We’ve grown to a global presence with more than 22,000 employees in 20+ countries.

Our business areas?

Wealth Management – Asset Management – Asset Servicing – Technology – Corporate Functions

Careers at Northern Trust

Meet develop: an organisation helping introduce young children to STEM careers through new partnership

develop team with Canon Barnett STEM partnership

develop, a London-based software engineering recruitment firm, is donating £20,000 to a Tower Hamlets primary school to fund STEM education.

develop, which operates in London, Berlin and Miami, will donate £25 to Canon Barnett Primary School in Tower Hamlets for every placement it makes in the next financial year.

Based on 2021/22 figures, this will amount to a total of over £20,000 going directly towards STEM education in the form of toys, learning platforms, and equipment.

‘develop’ is hoping to help reverse the talent shortages in the software engineering industry by providing help at grass roots level to directly impact the education and prospects of inner-city children.

A recent UK survey of nearly 10,000 primary school children shows that only 17 per cent aspired to a career in science despite the overwhelming growth of the UK’s STEM industries.

In this article, we get an insight from develop and Canon Barnett Primary School and get their views on the partnership, why it’s important and getting young children into the STEM space.

Let’s meet Amy and Agata to discuss the partnership and how it will help support young children’s STEM education. 

Meet Amy Moore, Senior Marketing Manager at develop

Amy is the Senior Marketing Manager at develop. Here, we talk to Amy about develop’s decision to partner with Canon Barnett Primary School, the aims of this partnership and how we can encourage more girls into STEM careers.

Amy Moore

develop are donating £25 per placement to a primary school in Tower Hamlets – can you tell us more about this?

develop are incredibly proud to announce our partnership with Canon Barnett Primary School. For every placement we make this financial year we’re going to donate £25 to the school to fund important STEM toys and resources for the pupils. Based on our statistics from last year, the donation should amount to more than £20,000.

What are the aims of this partnership?

We see the skills gap in tech talent every day, and we know that in order to fix the pipeline issue it starts from educating people from a young age. Through our partnership with Canon Barnett Primary School, we want to provide resources to the pupils that open up a new world of possibilities to them, allowing them to explore careers that they haven’t considered. The earlier that opportunities are presented, the bigger impact they can have.

What more can be done to help tackle the talent shortages in STEM?

Young women aren’t considering technology careers as they grow up because they don’t have the encouragement to pursue a career in tech, and they are not being exposed to what working in the sector involves. This then creates a lack of role models and leaders for children to aspire to, and the cycle continues for the next generation.

Businesses are struggling to hire for roles. There aren’t enough Engineers out there to meet the demand, and this is only worsening over time – the tech talent shortage is no longer a female-only issue, it impacts everyone.

How can we encourage more girls into STEM careers?

Providing girls with the resources and information from a young age is crucial in encouraging them to pursue a STEM career. Technical skills are transferable, and benefit people in all aspects of their life whether that’s at school, in the workplace or at home.

Introducing coding courses into the core curriculum is one way that allows children to explore a range of careers in their day-to-day schooling.

Early exposure is crucial in dismantling assumptions that tech isn’t a career for girls.

Educating children and young people to explore career opportunities in tech is needed in order to inspire the next generation of tech talent. Awareness and investment in the early part of the talent pipeline should be a priority for all organisations.

Meet Agata Glonek, Science Lead at Canon Barnett Primary School

Agata is the Science Lead at Canon Barnett Primary School. Here, we discuss with Agata how the partnership came about, how it will impact their pupils and why it’s important to support STEM education.

You’re partnering with develop to support your STEM education – how did this come about?

develop reached out to us, as we’re local to their office and they were looking for an inner-city primary to partner with so they could really benefit the STEM education of younger children. They wanted to find out about our existing STEM initiatives, what our needs were and how they could supplement that. We were really excited about what develop wanted to offer, and the impact it would have on the children.

What impact will the funding offer to your pupils?

The funding is going to give the children opportunities that they would have never been able to have themselves. As a school, we would not have been able to afford the resources needed for STEM education of this quality or exposed them to the different types of careers that they probably haven’t even heard of before.

The children will now be able to access STEM education to see that technology is everywhere and there are various paths they can follow. I think there really needs to be more awareness that there is so much more out there, and technology is such a big factor in our lives. It’s everywhere, so we need to expose children more to those kind of tech areas that they probably are going to find themselves working in because, truth to be told, that’s where we’re heading. Tech is a huge industry in the UK and constantly developing and changing so it’s really beneficial for children to hear about that at a young age.

How important is it to support STEM education on a grass-roots level?

Children don’t know what exists unless they are exposed to it. When we ask our pupils what they’d like to do when they grow up, the choices are very, very standardised and very limited. They tell us they want to be a teacher, because that’s who they see every day, or a doctor, because they are familiar with those roles.

Exposing them to the roles they are not familiar with or have not had the access to learn about is so important for them to make informed decisions about their future.

There will be jobs out there that probably haven’t been invented yet. Preparing them for that is very important and making sure that we offer them a range of choices so they can really see what different types of jobs and workplaces are there, is really crucial at primary age.

How can we encourage more girls into STEM careers?

We need to include more tech-based learning and activities in Science and Maths curriculums to ensure STEM education is more accessible for girls, and to teach them from a young age that they are capable of achieving the career they want. We should be connecting the subjects in more relevant ways that show our children the types of experiences that are available to them.

If girls don’t know what is out there, how are they going to aspire to do something?

STEM careers are for everyone and should not conform to any traditional gender stereotypes. We want all of our pupils to aspire to what they would like to do and never feel that their gender should stand in the way of that.

Imposter syndrome, masks with happy or sad expressions.Bipolar disorder, fake faces and emotions.

Beating imposter syndrome: Tips and tricks from two women in tech

Imposter syndrome, masks with happy or sad expressions.Bipolar disorder, fake faces and emotions.

Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.

As women in the workplace, imposter syndrome is something Sarah Murphy and Lisa Hampel from Clio are all too familiar with.

So, they thought it would be encouraging (and hopefully empowering) to share their stories with you.

Meet Sarah, Director of Marketing EMEA, Clio

Sarah Murphy, Clio

Before I joined Clio, I’d spent nine and a half years in the marketing world and in some pretty diverse roles.

I’d worked within Sky for six years but prior to joining Clio, spent the last three and a half years in various B2B start-ups. Working at Clio has given me the challenge that I was looking for, particularly in developing an EMEA team and launching an amazing product into new territories.

Imposter syndrome has certainly been a bit of block for me at times. I have found that, as both a mother and business professional, there is additional pressure because traditionally being a parent impacted a woman’s career, while men were often able to keep accelerating theirs. There’s still a lot of pressure to catch up in this context and that can force you to overcompensate.

We have moved on over the years to where women can continue to grow their careers alongside being parents, but there is an expectation that women will juggle everything and do it well!

This includes their career, home and social lives, which combined can contribute strongly to imposter syndrome.

That’s something I’m trying to counteract in my management style. To me, being the best leader and role model for your team means showing them the realities of your life instead of acting as if everything is perfect and never allowing the line between your personal and professional life to blur. If you need to finish work early to take your child to the doctor or go to a school play, that’s being a much better role model than working until 8pm and missing bedtime!

When companies provide assistance and leadership programmes that allow employees to express themselves with confidence, this can be massively beneficial to help employees overcome imposter syndrome. Clio has been fantastic in this regard and offers a number of programmes to help all employees succeed, including personalised development plans, mentorship programmes, one-to-one sessions with a career coach, regular discussion sessions on workplace challenges, leadership development programmes, and more.

My advice is to be clear about what you want to achieve and to put energy into building strong relationships, both within and outside of your company.

It is important to know what it is you want on your career journey and to discuss this with your manager regularly.

Building strong relationships helps you to build your own personal brand and it will help you to create visibility for your output, as well as yourself. You never know when an opportunity will arise but when it does don’t be afraid to jump into the unknown. Taking a chance on something new can be greatly rewarding and you don’t ever have to feel 100% ready for a step up.

Just go for it!

Meet Lisa, Senior Manager of Customer Success EMEA, Clio

Lisa Hampel

I’ve been at Clio for two and half years now but my career looked rather different some years ago.

I studied Psychology but I started my career working for an online games publisher and from there, I worked in a handful of tech companies before joining Clio. I joined Clio because I love working with agile and high-performing teams – challenging myself and finding new ways to grow motivates me.

Imposter syndrome definitely comes in waves for me, especially around the time of a big career opportunity. For a lot of my career, I didn’t feel like I really fit the image of what a “leader in tech” looks like.

Only after seeking out sponsors, mentors, and learning to be intentional in asking for help when I needed it, my pathway started to become a lot clearer.

From what I’ve seen, imposter syndrome affects anyone who dares to be introspective about their life. This is especially true if you don’t have a relatable example of where you want to go. The shining beacons of “success” in the workplace are still often cis-presenting, white and male – this does not seem very relatable to anyone who may not have these same attributes.

One thing that’s really helped me to navigate imposter syndrome is to challenge my own thinking. Often, the origins of imposter syndrome stem from the model we’ve created about our lives in our heads. Taking time to be introspective about what you can realistically achieve right now, as well as what you currently need and want, is immensely helpful. Learning to navigate this with kindness and patience is a study in itself but taking the doubts as an opportunity to question the status quo is not a bad thing and can help to drive real change.

Another thing that I find helpful is knowing that many people, including my own idols and colleagues, suffer from a version of imposter syndrome. At Clio, I feel fortunate to see leaders that are authentic and share examples of humanity. By encouraging staff to share stories and creating space for diversity of thought, there is a culture of acceptance and normality.

We are all human and will never know it all – accepting this is a big step.

Ascent Group Profile Image (800 × 600 px)

Talking returning to work, career advice & getting more women into the tech space with a tech recruiter

Ascent Group Profile Image

Ascent Group is home to six diverse recruitment brands that all specialise in their own field, whilst providing top talent to the tech industry.

Starting with TechNET IT in 2001, Ascent Group teams have been expanding ever since, with the sharpest, most knowledgeable specialist recruiters in the tech industry.

Ascent Group take pride in looking after their staff, and offer incredible flexible working initiatives, family-friendly policies and extensive training and development to the team.

In this article, we get an insight from Ascent Group and get their views on getting women and girls into the tech space, returning to work after having a baby; and advice to their younger selves.

Let’s meet Emily, Head of Search & Senior Appointments at TechNET CxO.

Meet Emily, Head of Search & Senior Appointments, TechNET CxO

Emily is Head of Search & Senior Appointments at TechNET CxO – a home-grown Executive Search agency and sister brand within the Ascent Group. She built CxO from the ground up in 2019, after joining TechNET six years prior.

After starting out at TechNET, Emily decided that her passion lay with Senior Appointments, which is when she made the decision to head to London for a year to gain further experience in Executive Search.

Emily is now a Player Coach, managing a team of eight consultants, whilst still aiming to be top biller herself.

Emily, Ascent Group

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

When thinking about my career plan, I didn’t think I would ever end up in tech recruitment. I originally wanted to be a teacher, and I suppose you could say there are aspects of teaching in my current role, but I decided to head in a different direction and began manifesting my big financial goals. This led me into choosing a more business-focused route.

I started my career working for my mum’s business. I gained direct experience of business growth, franchising, and the inner workings of running a business which really sparked my love for business growth.

I was looking for a career path that I could use the skills that co-running a business gave me, and tech recruitment looked like a good option. I, to this day, absolutely love helping and interacting with others, and have always aspired to work my way up to a senior position, and tech recruitment made this vision a reality for me.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced & overcome?

Having a baby was probably the most difficult, yet wonderful challenge I have faced so far.

Before I went on maternity leave, I was getting started on my management track, my team was building nicely, and revenue was very good. However, once I had taken a step back, I no longer had control of which direction my team was heading in.

This pushed me to return to work pretty quickly – after only three months in fact. In hindsight, my return was rushed, but I was keen to continue navigating my tech career and get back to my team. Whilst only working half days to fit around my little one, I immediately received a promotion and took on a larger team, which was a big transition process.

Balancing work and being a mum proved very tricky, and because I was working part time, I was giving my full self to my daughter or work – I have always been my toughest critic. When you become a mum, your priorities definitely change, and it is common that a woman’s career can become lost. It was crucial for me to have both – the family and the career.

Do you have any career tips?

My main career tip, specifically for women, is to quieten the voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something, or that it won’t happen for you. So many women in business feel that they’re not good enough – but when that voice is quiet, the possibilities are endless. I would be a completely different person if I had listened to that voice.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the tech industry?

It is important to remember that a lot of steps have been taken already, and we are seeing more and more businesswomen in the tech space – especially here at Ascent Group. The entirety of our senior management team are women, and we have seen so much internal growth across all six of our brands.

However, I think that encouraging girls at school and university to study STEM subjects should continue to be a priority.

I think it is essential to continue providing young women and girls with influential role models too, to lead the way for the future generation of women in tech!

Any tips on those returning to work after a career break?

From my experience, it is really important to have a support system in place that you’re comfortable with, when returning to work. Those around you, whether they are family or friends, need to be on board and understand how important work is for you – which in my case, it was.

Accepting your new way of living is going to help you get used to the new dynamic, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t feel right or doesn’t come together straight away. It can take time to develop a new routine or a new norm. Always remember that you’re allowed to have a career and be a mum – just because others may be doing things differently, doesn’t mean you should feel disheartened.

Finally, I advise that you set clear boundaries with your employers from the beginning. Your company need to understand that there may be times where you have to leave to fit around your child and working at Ascent Group has given me and many others in the business, childcare flexibility, and support to continue thriving.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

If I could go back, I would have taken my time when deciding on my career route out of school. I felt that I went to university for the wrong reasons and perhaps wouldn’t have rushed into it if there wasn’t so much pressure on young people to decide quickly. I feel like you should do what is right for you, not what society tells you to do.

Deazy's All Woman Product Team (800 × 600 px)

Talking careers, challenges & advice for women in STEM with Deazy's All-Woman Product Team

Deazy's All Woman Product Team

Developer marketplace Deazy connects enterprises, VC backed scale-ups and Europe’s biggest agencies with high-quality development teams, handpicked to provide broad technical expertise and greater capacity and flexibility.

In this article, we take a look into Deazy‘s all-woman product team and get their views on getting women and girls into STEM, how they support each other; and their advice to their younger selves.

Let’s meet some of Deazy’s all-woman product team!

Meet Hayley Ransom, Head of Client Services

Hayley is Head of Client Services at Deazy, and has extensive tech and client services experience in her career. She joined Deazy from award-winning digital consultancy and app developer Mubaloo, where she came across Deazy when looking to outsource some of Mubaloo’s development work.

Hayley Ransome

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t and it still amazes me that I have ended up where I am. I love tech, but I’m not glued to my phone or social media and I love to step back from tech at the weekends. But I do like seeing technology make people’s lives better, which is what drew me in, and it is hard to get bored when there is always so much to learn.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Under-representation of women in tech is a challenge for those already in it. It impacts us in many ways, from unconscious biases in culture, working models and benefits of businesses, to the confidence women feel in their roles. I personally found navigating the bias around ‘female’ characteristics challenging. Being assertive was labelled as aggressive, taking the lead seen as bossy. It took experience, and exposure to some great people, to build the confidence to not let these biases hold me back from expressing my ideas and taking the lead.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I am really proud to work in a tech business with strong female representation – in my career it hasn’t been the case. I’m excited about the opportunity we have at Deazy to support women succeeding in tech and provide role models for women within this industry. Seeing is believing!

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

There needs to be more women in positions of leadership in STEM. With more women leading, not only would the pace of change to support women progressing in tech increase, but the number of women entering the industry would naturally rise, in line with the increase in visibility of women leading.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be someone people can count on to always take ownership and get the job done. Don’t let confidence hold you back, say yes to new challenges before your brain kicks in and tells you it’s not possible, then be humble with what you don’t know and ask smart questions.

Meet Andrea Savidge, Senior Product Manager

Andrea is a Senior Product Manager at Deazy, ensuring ensure products provide as much user and business value as possible. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner with 7 years’ experience in product roles across a wide range of consumer web and mobile apps.

Andrea Savidge, Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, all the time! But the plan has changed so many times – I think it’s really important to be flexible and adaptable as the industry evolves so quickly. There are so many roles now that didn’t exist when I first got into product. Earlier on in my career I would jump at any opportunity to learn something new and broaden my skill set, which I think has been really valuable in working out where I actually want to focus and what I’m really good at. No knowledge is ever a waste!

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

I’ve seen a lot of women be much more critical of their own skills, myself included. Although this is by no means exclusive to the tech industry, there’s always the fear that starting a family will set you back years compared to male colleagues, who still take much less parental leave than women. I don’t think I’m often aware of barriers being gender specific and I’m very lucky that at Deazy I work with a lot of men who are my biggest cheerleaders, but I’m always super conscious of proving myself in any new group of people, especially when I’m the only woman in the room.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I feel so lucky to be working in a team where everyone is so talented and passionate about what they do. Everyone is so encouraging. Our shared experiences and challenges definitely help us empathise and support each other.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

The range of tech roles and the types of skills needed are not very well understood. I fell into this career path by chance and even though both my parents have Computer Science backgrounds, while I was in education, I had no idea that a product-type role even existed, never mind that it was so well suited to my personality and skillset. I think a lot more can be done to promote tech career paths to women – it’s a fascinating industry with so much scope to make an impact.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never underestimate the importance of building relationships and never be afraid to ask for help.

Meet Sharon Parkes, Product Manager

Sharon is Product Manager at Deazy, having previously worked as a Product Owner at Barclays Partner Finance. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner and is experienced in refining and prioritising the product backlog and working with the development team and stakeholders to shape the roadmap.

Sharon Parkes_Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never. Before my first role in product I would usually move roles every six months whilst I struggled to find a career that engaged me. I returned from a career break travelling around South America and took the first job I could find within a call centre for a large bank thinking I would be there for six months as usual and ended up working my way up and staying there for nine years, the last three of which were in Product Management. If you asked me when I left University if this was what I would end up loving as my job, it wouldn’t have even been on my radar.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Within the industry and particularly in a previous role, I have often found myself being the only woman in the room. I had to prove myself and do it fast to ensure I was listened to and could keep my autonomy and decision-making influence within a project. Now I’m more experienced I can go into any room and feel comfortable leading and putting my views on the table from the start. However, it has taken me a long time and a lot of learning to get to a place where I feel like that.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I’m extremely proud of the team I work in and what we’ve achieved since we’ve been together at Deazy. Whenever someone has a problem, we will come together and skill share. There are no egos or dramas, and everyone is ready to make sure that we all do a good job. I’m especially proud when I see products we’ve helped shape together out in the marketplace or the continually celebrated success of our ever-growing Deazy Platform and the knowledge that these have all been created by an all-female team.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

I think we need to get away from this perception that working in tech is for people who are introverted and sit in dark rooms alone. There are a wide variety of careers and it’s the most collaborative industry that I’ve ever worked in. Ensuring job adverts have the right unbiased language within them and creating better shared parental leave policies would be a good start.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Think before you speak, but always be confident in your skills and decisions. Take the opportunities that come to you without hesitation.

Meet Ella-Jo Brewis Gange, Product Manager

Ella-Jo is Product Manager at Deazy, joining in October 2021 from Nuffield Health where she held the role of Digital Product Owner. She has worked extensively in the health and wellness industry, where she developed the change and stakeholder management skills that are so important to her role at Deazy.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I had high hopes that I’d just ‘get famous’ and that I wouldn’t have to worry about any of the planning. I was in an operational role and found myself filling a gap in technical understanding for internal products. I was then asked if I would consider joining their new product team, I didn’t even know it was an option.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Tech is massive, ever-growing, ever improving and always impressive. You don’t really sit down and think about how websites and apps are built or the work that goes into them until it’s part of your job. I have to remind myself that it’s ok not to know everything, and that the best tech teams have multiple people all leading their part of the puzzle.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

Working with our team is brilliant, we have such a strong group of people who have all come from different roles and have different experiences. When there’s a problem it’s discussed together, and solutions are worked through. I trust my team to always be there to build me up as I would do for them. There are no egos to worry about, we all have the same goal and work towards that as one.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

Make it clear that women and girls can be part of something really big. Just imagine saying you were part of the team that built your favourite app! That can happen and it’s actually pretty fun too… most of the time.

Don’t be afraid of any pre-conceptions that tech is for men – it’s most definitely not. The phrase ‘women in tech’ doesn’t need to exist, I am not a good female product manager, I am a good product manager.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust yourself. Quite often I’ve found myself thinking ‘what about this?’ or ‘how should that work?’ but not having the confidence to say it out loud in a room of colleagues. I would always be worried about being judged as being stupid or difficult to work with.

Ask the questions, as often other people are thinking them too.

three women in tech working on laptops, gender diversity

Being transparent & driving diversity in the cyber security industry 

three women in tech working on laptops, gender diversity

Article provided by Kate Dadlani, Head of Security Advisory Services at Logicalis UKI

Cyber-attacks have increased since the start of the pandemic, making cybersecurity a priority for leaders across all industries.

IT Governance research discovered 1,243 security incidents in 2021, leading to an 11% increase compared to the previous year.

As Logicalis UKI’s Head of Security Advisory Services, I lead the development of cybersecurity services that support our customers in protecting themselves as much as possible against these attacks. Being a leader in tech, it is clear that a major issue in the cyber security space is that women represent only 11% of the cyber security workforce. This means one of the biggest problems facing the tech sector is that it simply isn’t utilising or appealing to half of the population. However, the shortage of tech talent is not a new problem. Over a decade ago, more than half of CEOs complained about the dearth of talent for digital roles. To make matters worse, a recent Korn Ferry study found that unless we get more high-tech workers by 2030, the security industry could miss out on over $160 billion in annual revenues.

Ultimately, the lack of diversity means less available talent to help keep up with mounting cyber threats, which has a knock-on effect on business continuity and profitability.

30 under 30: Becoming a leader in cybersecurity.

My fascination with computers started quite young. I remember when my mum bought me my first computer; I took it apart entirely just to put it back together like a jigsaw. Quite naturally, this interest led me to read forensic computing at De Montfort University. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university and achieved a First Class-Degree. My final year dissertation – which was about iPhone backup files as a source of evidence – was even published internationally in Digital Forensics Magazine.

Despite the resistance I’ve experienced from older men in positions of power, I’m in my thirties and I’m already the Head of Security Advisory Services at a large company. I’ve featured as a ‘Rising Star’ in Cyber World Magazine and placed on CRN’s Women in Channel A-List – both are very well-respected titles. I’ve even been selected as a House of Lords representative! I’m proud of everything I’ve achieved, especially considering I’m still relatively early in my career.

All of these things started a foundation for the rest of my career. I’ve worked in a variety of roles, from starting as a Cyber Intelligence Analyst at Lockheed Martin in the aerospace and defence sector to a consultancy role at Ernst & Young. Then three years ago I started at Logicalis UK as Security and Compliance Manager, intending to bring cybersecurity to the forefront of both the organisations and employees’ minds. In less than a year and a half, I was promoted to CISO and now I’m Head of Security Advisory Services.

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The biggest obstacle girls will face is being a woman in man’s world. 

Everyone in the tech industry, no matter their gender, needs to acknowledge and educate themselves on the difficulties women face in such a male-dominated profession. The people working in security are usually older and male. As a woman, there’s always going to be the difficulty of actually being heard. Stepping into the C-suite sphere means having to communicate and battle with already established executives who can be quite hard to persuade. I’ve experienced a lot of resistance and reluctance coming from the top. A lot of it has stemmed from me being a young and accomplished woman, telling them how operations need to change.

I’ve come to the understanding that men and women work quite differently. To create a diverse workforce, more women in the cybersecurity space will lead to a variety of ideas being bounced around. This abundance of different views can prove to be very beneficial to day-to-day business. By incorporating more women into the tech space, we’ll have more women in powerful positions helping to innovate company cultures.

Just do it! Accepting your lack of confidence and fear of failure.

One of the biggest issues is that society has caused men to often be more outspoken than women. I’ve found that women, myself included, tend to be quite circumspect and self-doubting in comparison.

My advice for women struggling with imposter syndrome is to be transparent with themselves and their colleagues. It’s so easy to hide behind a false layer of confidence, but it stops you from reaching your full potential. Recognising both your strengths and weaknesses allows you to realise not only where you can improve but also what you’re good at and how you can utilise those skills better.

Seeing as most tech positions are held by men, it can be discouraging for women with a great interest in the industry. I want to encourage women that it’s incredibly possible to get to a senior level in the IT world. I’m also very wary that this gender imbalance in tech needs to be addressed. One of the few ways to get the ball rolling is by sharing my experiences and supporting other women who find themselves being the only female in a meeting.

woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

A project manager’s advice for a career in tech 

woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

Article by  Mel Rees, Project Manager, JLL Technologies EMEA

Like many other people in the career they eventually choose, I fell into my own.

I work for JLL Technologies (JLLT), a division of JLL that helps organizations transform the way they acquire, manage, operate, and experience space. But I’m not a computer scientist, a software developer, or a data analyst. I’m a project manager.

Twelve years ago, I had just returned from maternity leave to my role as a marketing and events manager for a major drinks company. It was the first real career gap that I experienced, and I found it difficult to reconcile my new situation with the demands of the role. So, I left my marketing job and worked at a DIY retailer until I figured out my next step.

A new opportunity

One day, a friend called me and said there was an opening for a role as a contract coordinator in the company they worked for – Integral UK, a nationwide building engineering services firm. I knew nothing about engineering, but I was used to planning, managing and co-ordinating multiple activities, tasks and people to achieve the end goal required. That said, I understood that I was entering a traditionally male-dominated environment. As a woman and a non-technical admin in this space, I set out to learn as much as I could within an industry that was entirely new to me.

In my role, I looked after the critical infrastructure of a major bank. It was my job to ensure that the customer’s portfolio and flagship buildings had 100% uptime, which meant coordinating teams of engineers and scheduling works a year in advance as well as ensuring compliance for all qualifications, change requests and processes. I learned about critical power supplies, generators, and the kind of maintenance tasks Integral’s teams performed. I’d visit sites to see the infrastructure and equipment first-hand. This allowed me to speak to engineers confidently and gain their respect, mitigate risks and justify our decisions to the customer.

A second career gap

By this time, like so many other businesses in all sorts of sectors, building engineering was going through somewhat of a digital transformation. Historically, engineers did everything on paper, marking jobs as complete on spreadsheets and writing down meter readings. Ten years ago, some branches still used timecards for engineers to clock on and clock off. So, Integral formed Project Phoenix, a digitisation programme to move these systems and processes to the cloud, making engineers more productive, delivering a better service to the customer, and creating more revenue for the business.

Then, halfway through Project Phoenix, I was back on maternity leave and experiencing my second career gap. On top of everything, JLL had acquired the business while I was away. On my return, I struggled with confidence. With a new team, a new company, and a new corporate environment, where exactly did I fit into the bigger picture?

Luckily, I had an excellent management team supporting me through it all. Project Phoenix had an opening for a PMO and, with my line manager’s encouragement, I studied for a Project Management Association Qualification (APMQ). Twelve months later, I was finally a qualified Project Manager in my own right with the accreditation to prove it and the lead PMO for Project Phoenix.

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Find mentors 

During the digitisation programme, I was lucky enough to work closely with JLLT and went on to collaborate on numerous projects, including the rollout of a new digital on-demand service across 260 contracts, and the installation of IoT sensors and analytics tools in 1,000 sites for a major bank.

Through this work, I also found a mentor who has coached me for the past 18 months. Melanie Mack is the head of IWMS Solutions at JLLT. Her confidence in me and my experience with tech projects gave me the confidence to believe in myself and that I could transition my skills to a technology company – so, in March 2021, I made the switch and began a new role as project manager at JLLT EMEA.

Thanks to Covid-19, Melanie and I have only met in person once, but we feel like a close-knit team. It’s important to build your network. One initiative that has really helped me during the pandemic is virtual coffees every quarter. Our names get put into a hat and we’re matched with JLL employees all over the world for an informal chat, creating a real sense of community. It has also resulted in my joining the JLL global PM COE Committee (Project Management Centre of Excellence), discussing PM best practices and how we can support and standardise across the business.

Pay it forward

It’s no secret that STEM can be a challenging environment for women, whether they’re entering the sector or trying to progress in their career. Women make up just 19% of the student cohorts in STEM degree-level courses. There’s also a gender disparity when it comes to promotions.

I believe young women need positive role models. So, in my spare time, I help run a local Brownie pack. Through the guiding programme, we try to teach girls the skills they may need for their future as well as broadening their views on what they could aspire to be. Recently, we’ve even sent them on a few STEM-focused expeditions where they could look at satellites and learn about space.

Never stop asking questions

My advice to any women who worry about climbing the career path is to never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re uncertain or seek support from your managers and colleagues – it’s likely that they’ve experienced the same things you’re going through.

Find mentors you admire and learn as much as you can from them. Even more importantly, don’t forget where you came from and the people who supported you on your journey – maybe you can bring them along on your journey and help inspire others, too.

Finally, it’s important to remember that technology is a growing sector that requires all kinds of skills, experiences, and diversity of thought. You don’t have to be a developer or a coder to thrive in this space. You can be a marketing professional, an administrator, a project co-ordinator, or even a project manager – like me!