Jenni Riley featured

Inspirational Woman: Jenni Riley | Co-Founder, ITARMI

Jenni RileyIn my role at ITARMI I am responsible for overseeing all back office functions to ensure the smooth daily running of the business and to ensure that all our staff and IT engineers are happy.

I am a passionate advocate for women in business and I am an active part of a steering group for business women in Surrey.

I am also animal mad. I have 2 horses, 2 dogs and 2 cats so as you can tell I’m also happy knee deep in mud! I worked in the motor trade for years before starting my own consultancy business focusing on business development, Events & Marketing.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

Yes. In fact I had every intention of being a mounted police officer. I did my work experience with the police and loved it but it was around the time that knife crime was on the rise and I guessed this scared me off. Working in IT was never on my agenda but since moving into this sector I love it - it's fast paced and fulfilling.

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

I worked in the motor trade at the time when it was very much a male dominated environment. I was subject to many comments of sexism around my capabilities as “a woman.” I used to find that proving myself and proving people wrong worked far better than giving into the comments and negativity. I worked my way up the ladder and became a manager where I looked after a number of body-shops within the M25 and was responsible for the staff within them. That gave me the confidence to start ITARMI with my husband and overcome the many obstacles in starting a business we've encountered in the last 4 years.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Starting this business definitely has been my biggest achievement. Never did I think that in such a short space of time we would have a global business that is now active in 132 countries with over 1000 engineers which all started from the second bedroom in our house!

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

The team and the culture that we have built is something very different and positive and I am exceptionally proud of every single person involved with helping us build this. We believe in looking out for every one of our remote working IT engineers and ensuring they're not only the best for the job, but are looked after financially and mentally as well. I believe this is a major factor in our success.

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

The one piece of advice I would give to someone trying to excel in any career actually is never underestimate yourself, stay true to your goals and the rest will follow.

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

I feel like the IT industry is actually one of the fastest evolving sectors and think it has less barriers than some of the other industries. However the barriers are being overcome by more women scaling higher up in businesses acting as role models and mentors for the younger generations.

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

Companies need to ensure that they are taking active steps towards hiring teams with greater diversity, and making sure the culture is one that women and people from diverse backgrounds would want to be part of.

There is currently only 17% 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?

Personally I believe companies like ours that offer fully flexible working is the magic wand. It allows far more opportunity for people to be in control of their work life balance and makes the industry far more accessible to women with families, and other important commitments in their life.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are actually so many websites and community pages focused on women in tech. I personally follow a lot on Linkedin and look out for upcoming events that I can go to as it’s a great way to network and meet similar minded women. If I have to name a few I follow then definitely the bigger ones I follow are Women in Tech – which is a global movement, Women in STEM, and Female Empowerment. I also love Michelle Obama, she is someone I very much admire and look up to so she is another great one to follow.


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