Caroline Orqueda

Carolina Orqueda | Inmarsat

Caroline Orqueda

I was born in Argentina in 1982 in a very small town called Arrecifes, where I am from, there are 3 main careers to pursue: Lawyer, Doctor or Accountant, for those with less resources and specially girls, teaching was always the go to option.

I come from a working class family, my dad was a lorry driver, my mum a housewife, neither of my parents finished their education, my mum left primary school at the tender age of 9 to care for her mentally ill mum, she lived in what today would be described as poverty, although my mum didn’t feel poor growing up. My dad was a free spirit and although he was very intelligent, he didn’t like authority so he finished primary school but never went into secondary school. He was a man of few words and not affectionate, earlier in childhood I realised I received praise and recognition when I did well at school, with that as a big motivator I excelled at school, I was always top student, I loved math the most.

As I grew up and my need to connect with my dad grew, I started taking an interest in the things he did, he loved cars and engines and it was one of the main drivers for me to go to a polytechnic school. I know so far this seems a pretty sad story, a girl, seeking her dad’s acknowledgement and affection through academic achievement but is a happy story. I joined the town's only polytechnic school, I was 1 of 4 girls in a class of 35! The school had only been open to women 3 years prior. There I found my passion for STEM, I did technical drawing, electromechanics, metal work, carpentry, loads of math and physics, I loved it, I was in my element! I felt empower and my boy classmates were supportive and encouraging.

When it was all over I wanted to pursue further education, my mum and dad, although money was tight, never clipped my wings, I got a job in a restaurant, moved to the capital and mum and dad would support me any way they could. It wasn’t very long until I was fully independent. Luckily for me University is free in Argentina, so I only had to pay for my living costs.

Not knowing very much about careers and going only by what I thought I ‘should’ do mainly just so I could make a living, I chose law, I did not like it, at all.

Many years came and went until I was re united with my passion. It was through working at Royal Bank of Scotland I as a Management Information analyst that I become acquainted with statistical analysis, data manipulation tools and other technical tools. After that it all developed organically and as I was using my technical skills to automate processes, this time for Lloyds Banking group, I landed on Cyber Security, there, a new romance begun and it is now my official partner, this last paragraphs encompasses about a decade of my life where I thoroughly enjoyed hands on, as well as, academic learning, on Cyber Security. Not all the 'boys' in the grown up World were as supportive and encouraging as my classmates at the polytechnic, I learnt to stand my ground and to speak up for what I believed. Sometimes it was very tough but I persevere and grew into myself.

Today I am privilege to be a Senior Portfolio Manager in the Cyber Security space at one of the biggest Satellite Communications companies in the world. I am responsible for Governance and Reporting for our Cyber Security Initiatives. I am a big advocate and promoter of young people, especially those from less privileged backgrounds and women in STEM and on the 14th September I celebrated my 10 years as a British Citizen.

I am grateful for having found my passion. I think my story is one of many that represent the often, not straight forward nature of life, my career wasn’t a straight line but I would not have it any other way.