Angelica Cullinan | KPMG

Angelica is a Manager in AI Consulting at KPMG.

She is a Certified Data Analyst & Data Scientist with the Analytics Institute of Ireland, with five years Financial Services experience. Having worked in Fund Management, Mortgages and Anti Money Laundering she decided to pursue a career in Data Analytics with the Bank of Ireland Group Data & Analytics Office.

Completing the Institute of Banking Professional Diploma in Banking, Operations and Digital gave her a good grounding in understanding value and how data can be used to enable decision making in financial institutions.

Angelica maintains a focus on developing her technical skills to enable herself to contribute to the data and analytics industry through becoming a Teradata Database Certified Associate, Certified IBM Applied Data Science Specialist, Machine Learning Specialist, Certified TensorFlow Developer, Big Data Analysis with SQL Specialist and a Tableau Desktop Specialist.

She was a finalist in the 2019 Women in Tech Awards and 2021 Women in IT awards. She also won the Accountable Individual award at the 2020 Bank of Ireland Recognition awards which is awarded to someone who challenges the bank to look for new and simplified ways to efficiently deliver the best solutions for their customers.

Angelica encourages others to pursue a career and upskill in Data Analytics through presenting at the Data Science Festival, Krisolis and mentoring at CoderDojo. Angelica recently graduated from Google's European Women Developer Academy and taught the She Loves Data TIBCO Spotfire Dashboard Foundations Programme. She is now the co-lead of the UK & Ireland chapter of She Loves Data, a social enterprise that inspires women to become active contributors to an increasingly data-driven world.

Angelica started her Analytics career in Bank of Ireland where she secured a place on BoI's two-year graduate rotation programme working in core business areas of the Bank including mortgages, fraud and anti-money laundering. This was at a time when the organisation was undergoing a transformation of its technology base and business model.

During her second role at Bank of Ireland, as a Senior Data Analyst, Angelica delivered value-prioritised analytics projects in a scrum team over three-week sprints on behalf of internal customers in the Advanced Analytics and Data Management teams. She contributed to the 2019 target of €10M data value realisation by maintaining and connecting networks in the bank to understand and explore opportunities through making big data work, enabling Bank of Ireland to become data driven. She automated and put into production, cumbersome excel reports to self-serving real time visualisations using SQL and Tableau for internal stakeholders. Angelica also described and communicated complex technical issues in a clear non-technical way to the stakeholders.

Angelica has applied machine learning algorithms, such as unsupervised clustering with the Multivariate Gaussian Mixture Model and Anomaly Detection with Cloudera Apache Spark to identify out of course customer activity. She asserted clear risk awareness by taking a conscientious approach to customer data based on GDPR and BCBS239 regulation standards.

In KPMG Angelica worked with two major Irish Banks with the transfer of €4.2 billion of performing corporate and commercial loans. Tasks included providing data insights and preparing the data requirements for the loan book’s data migration using MSSQL. During the data requirements phase Angelica assisted with numerous workshops with the clients to determine the required data fields for onboarding customers.

Fiona Thomas KPMG UK

Inspirational Woman: Fiona Thomas | Chief Medical Officer, KPMG UK

Fiona Thomas KPMG UKFiona Thomas has recently joined KPMG as its new Chief Medical Officer (CMO) within its Life Sciences practice.

Fiona acts as KPMG UK’s senior medical adviser to clients across the healthcare space globally.

Fiona joins from international biopharmaceutical company Swedish Orphan Biovitrum where she was UK Medical Director and has also previously held senior roles with Sanofi Pasteur MSD and Biogen.

Prior to her 14-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, Fiona practiced as a physician in critical care and anaesthesia. She brings with her significant experience in clinical practice, medical affairs, and commercial strategy.

Originally from Glasgow, Fiona studied Medicine at the University of Glasgow and is registered with a licence to practice with the UK General Medical Council. She has been instrumental throughout her career in helping bring several drugs to market, including involvement in the successful deployment of HPV vaccine for cervical cancer.

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

I’m Fiona Thomas, KPMG UK’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO). I act as senior medical adviser to our clients across the life sciences and healthcare space globally.

Previously I worked for international biopharmaceutical company Swedish Orphan Biovitrum where I was UK Medical Director and I’ve also held senior roles with Sanofi Pasteur MSD and Biogen. Prior to my 14-year career in the pharmaceutical industry, I practiced as a physician in critical care and anaesthesia.

I’m originally from Glasgow, which is where I studied Medicine at the University of Glasgow. I now live in Berkshire with my husband and three children.

Throughout my career I’ve always been passionate about finding solutions that will ultimately bring advancement in medical practice and more positive outcomes for patients.  As CMO it’s my aim to ensure our clients receive the best possible advice so they can successfully operate within the life sciences and healthcare sectors for the benefit of patients.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, not really. I just kept moving forward and used the momentum I gained to keep going – although my parents will say I always wanted to be a doctor! I did well academically at a primary school in the east end of Glasgow and fortunately, that led me on to sit and pass an entrance exam to secure an assisted place at a Convent Girls school in Rutherglen. There was then an expectation to pursue a profession and medical school was a gateway to a good career.

During the early part of my career in pharma I was focussed on progression and achieving a role as a company medical director with a mid-sized firm. After that I’ve always just taken the option to listen when I’ve been approached with new opportunities and ideas and then pursued what I thought would be interesting. I don’t think I could have anticipated my career path when I started Med School over 20 years ago.

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

Absolutely. My primary challenges have always been around work life balance. I was struggling in a clinical role with 2 pre-school children and had to actively seek out a solution because it was becoming unsustainable. That’s when I started to speak to people and proactively ask them about their jobs. I realised I could transfer my skills – and this is how I got my first pharma role.

The switch from pharma to KPMG also came about for similar reasons, I was keen to continue in a leadership role but was restricted geographically by family commitments and just not wanting to re-locate to Switzerland or the US for a pharma role. So, I went out to my network, talked, listened and this role came into focus and was a perfect fit.

I think there’s a huge amount to be done to allow women to flourish in senior positions. There’s a lot of naivety that gender, age, and dependants don’t have a role in determining the success of someone’s career, and that needs to change. A big reason for me joining KPMG was the firm’s inclusive, supportive, and welcoming culture.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I spent some time working on an HPV vaccination and was a very small part of the team that secured reimbursement and inclusion on the UK national immunisation schedule for all young girls to be vaccinated against high-risk HPV types that cause cervical cancers but also against the 2 HPV types that cause genital warts.

This programme has also been extended to young boys in the UK now. It was important to me because we had the opportunity to not just prevent potential future deaths from cervical and other HPV related cancers, but also to significantly reduce the incidence of genital warts and the associated stigma and negative impact on quality of life.

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

Over the years I’ve focussed in on listening more and trying to understand the root cause of issues. I’ve also spent a lot of time observing peers and leaders that I admire and seeking their advice when I’m faced with challenges.

Perhaps most important is always looking forward with optimism and being open to new experiences. I always try to say yes even if I’m not sure if I can do it, simply because I will never know if I don’t try.

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

Listen before you speak or offer a solution – really try to get to the root of the issue and have all the relevant information to hand before drawing conclusions.

Know your limits. It’s ok not to have the knowledge but knowing where to find it is essential so look after your network and try not to be too busy to help others because you never know when you may need their support in return.

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

Absolutely – often they are very low level – almost invisible at times and most times unconsciously applied. I think we are naïve to think that gender, age and dependents don’t influence decision-making when it comes to promotions, hiring and pay. There is a lot of great work ongoing to highlight where the problems exist e.g. gender pay gap data, but implementing solutions is challenging.

There should be no limit to where your talent, achievement and hard work can take you, whoever you are, and whatever your background – and that is a value which KPMG is very actively striving to achieve. For instance, last year the firm was the first organisation to publish its socio-economic background pay gaps and set a working-class background representation target.

What do you think companies can do to support the careers of women working in your field?

Within healthcare there is still much to be done around flexible training and working opportunities. There are good lessons to be taken from  Scandinavian countries who provide extended parental leave programmes, as well as looking at synching childcare/school provision with workforce needs in terms of shift patterns etc.

Due to burnout over the pandemic we’re seeing a lot of women vote with their feet and leave the healthcare system because there are better paid jobs with better benefits elsewhere. That’s an issue that needs to be addressed at all levels. Crucially, there needs to be greater flexibility in the healthcare system for women to take on more senior roles and have the option of working more flexibly.

But it’s not just about pay and benefits, it’s a culture thing. In all sectors, training, empathy, and support go a long way in keeping women in the building to grow a career. Some women become invisible for promotion and training opportunities while on maternity leave. Whilst that can be challenging for businesses to manage, it opens them up to the risk of losing talented women.

If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in STEM industries?

If we could reprogramme people’s thinking around gender norms that would go some way to addressing a lot of the barriers. Even the most liberal people I know often default to gender norms, and their unconscious biases can kick in when it comes to assuming the roles men and women have and can have in the workplace.

Now, we’ve come a long way in changing attitudes, but there’s still clearly a way to go. In an ideal world, we would see each other as equals, and not be encumbered by an engendered way of thinking which is still extremely prevalent in our society today.

What resources do you recommend for women working in your field, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

Because of the pandemic, it’s been challenging for younger people to get out and network and build relationships. My advice would be to throw yourself into it – everyone is in the same boat and you don’t get something for nothing.

Use platforms such as LinkedIn to speak to people outside your network. Don’t be afraid to reach out and engage with someone you look up to. Be curious, ask them about their work, how they got to where they are, what’s important to them.

Personally, I like to read a lot. That started when I worked in Switzerland and had to commute there from London every week – it gave me a lot of time! Mostly leadership development and self-help and I tend to dip in and out rather than read cover to cover but I love to think about different perspectives, approaches and examples and how I could apply them in my day-to-day work.

Auzma Qureshi

Auzma Qureshi | KPMG

Auzma Qureshi

Auzma has 10 years of experience delivering asset management and digital business improvement engagements for employers and clients in the transport, telecoms, healthcare and legal sectors in the UK.

Auzma has worked as a consultant offering support services to organisations across a broad range of asset and infrastructure classes, focusing on Asset Management, Business Intelligence, Data Analytics and Decision Support tools. Using her combination of Mathematics and Information Systems, Auzma brings particular expertise in strategies, techniques and tools for implementing data analytics in asset-intensive organisations, including requirements gathering, data analysis, interpretation and data visualisation using Microsoft Power Platform amongst many other key solution providers. Auzma has also used her experience to mentor future technical leaders and has spent her down time tutoring in STEM subjects and embraced her voluntary involvement as a digital specialist with the NSPCC

Alina Timofeeva

Alina Timofeeva | KPMG

Alina Timofeeva

Alina specialises in Cloud & Data and has a proven track record across digital, operational and regulatory projects within major clients, including JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, HSBC, RBS, Aviva and Nationwide.

Alina actively contributed to the development, growth and sales of the innovative solutions that help our clients across industries, their customers and employees to benefit from the power of Data & Technology on a daily basis.

Over the years Alina has been consistently demonstrating excellence and high performance in both her career and education. She worked in top companies (KPMG, Accenture, PwC), graduated from prestigious universities (London School of Economics, Moscow State University) and won the Moscow Olympiads in Mathematics (*2) which enabled full sponsorship for her BSc and MSc in Mathematics.

Malika Malik

Malika Malik | KPMG

Malika Malik

I like to solve problems.

Throughout my career, I have been driven by my intellectual curiosity to find answers to the most pressing questions. With my refined skill set, I bring customer-centric mindfulness that enables firms to innovate and thrive. This is what I’ve done for my clients. My intellectual curiosity also drives me to be a lifelong learner. In 2018, I earned my Master’s degree in Data science from London School of Economics, with an undergraduate degree in Statistics.

Outside of work, I am a member of All Party Parliamentary Group of AI, focused to examine the myriad issues raised by the growth in adoption of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems such as changes to the workforce, ethical and legal implications, trust and transparency, and data governance amongst others.

Stephanie Gooch

Stephanie Gooch | KPMG

Stephanie Gooch

I have worked at KPMG for almost 4 years having started out on the technology delivery graduate scheme.

However, I was lucky to be promoted early due to my high performance in the work I was doing at KPMG. I have had the opportunity to work within several different areas in the Cloud Operations team. Primarily I have been working in Internal Project Development and, as part of this role, have the responsibility for managing lower grades. I then moved into Consulting for Cloud which gave me the chance to work with a large insurance company to help migrate their application to the Cloud. This work consisted of several areas of building work using technologies such as Amazon Web Services, Terraform and Python and the use of these applications has been invaluable to me.

At the start of this year I commenced a new role in KPMG’s Solutions and Digital Infrastructure department, which is part of the Enablement team. Initially, my role was not clearly defined however, I have developed a real fascination with cost optimisation in the Cloud and have developed this area and have begun to manage our Financial Operations, or ‘FinOps’, work within KPMG.
My initial interest in this area stemmed from my dissertation for my Masters degree which was based on research into cost-optimisation in Cloud storage. I completed my Masters in Systems and Information Technology earlier this year; working on it part-time whilst working at KPMG. I was the only person to get a Distinction in my course and this won me an individual achievement award within my programme. The focus of my dissertation was on cost visualisation and optimisation in the Cloud and I was instantly able to see the wealth of possibilities and applications for both KPMG and their customers.

From this original piece of work, I have developed in-house cost visualisation, cost optimisation and cost saving tools. These have also been designed to work with multiple clouds which added an extra layer of complexity. I provided reports, analysis and cost saving recommendations to the rest of the staff in the Cloud-based Infrastructure team. This is a huge growth area and currently I am analysing data from different sources in relation to different projects over an estate of more than 400 AWS Accounts, 240+ Azure Subscriptions and 30 GCP Projects.

Identifying a new ‘gap’ in the industry led me to start my own blog called the ‘Road to FinOps’ where I share my knowledge on cost optimisation to help others in the sector to reduce the costs incurred through Cloud storage.

I have also been developing our Infrastructure Commercial Model for the Enablement team in Solutions and Digital at KPMG in order to create a unified commercial model for infrastructure that:
o Helps our clients better understand the value they get from what we do (i.e. customer centric, simple and transparent)
o Recovers all our Infrastructure costs and gives us a more accurate view of utilisation across Infrastructure
o Aligns with Solutions & Digital commercial approach and MI requirements

This work involves engaging with managers, developers and finance teams to bring them together, and the technologies we use, in order to bill our clients fairly and efficiently.

Following this work, I have joined the FinOps Foundation and become a Chartered Member and have agreed to talk at their conference in San Francisco in September this year. For this I will be presenting my experiences in the industry, so far, with FinOps. I will be delivering to other leaders in the industry about the work In FinOps I have been doing. This is mostly around automation and development of my tool but it also involved dealing with different parts of the company such as Finance, Managers, Developers to bring about a culture change.

Alongside my core responsibilities, I also have the responsibility for managing our ‘New Joiner’ programme sprints for technical development. My role is to provide guidance on joining the Infrastructure team, teaching new joiners the skills they need to enable them to complete their work and develop their skills still further whilst also being a mentor for young women joining the industry.

Janette Isiguzo

Janette Isiguzo | KPMG

Janette Isiguzo

From graduating Loughborough University with a First Class Honours, Janette's passion for customer service has led to her working with a diverse range of clients across Public sector, Defence and National Security and the Private sector and currently working in the Financial Services industry at KPMG focusing on service delivery excellence to drive innovation & tech transformation.

Janette is positioned within the Solutions & Digital Infrastructure team as an experienced Service Delivery Manager, managing a portfolio of Public Cloud Services which support KPMG’s Audit, Deals Advisory, Tax Pension Legal & KPMG Business Services clients. Janette is passionate about celebrating Women in IT and as a STEM Ambassador is actively engaged in multiple STEM initiatives that help promote interest in Tech and attract the next generation of talent at KPMG.

Letty Gibbs

Letty Gibbs | KPMG

Letty Gibbs

I was the first person in my family to attend university, graduating with a degree in financial economics from Kingston University in 2008. After spending 18 months as an analyst for an energy consulting company, I was offered a job as a junior Business Analyst at KPMG’s Global Mobility Services (GMS) Technology team. The team implements technology solutions across multinational organisations to support global tax compliance. Although a graduate, I was recruited as an experienced hire.

With no experience in tax or technology, I used tenacity, grit and dedication to settle into my new role. I was exposed to a number of challenges early on - learning how to configure KPMG’s mobility technology as well acquiring new skill sets in project management methodologies, stakeholder management and requirement elicitation techniques. In 2013, I was promoted to an assistant manager.

Following this promotion, I became responsible for leading on the implementation of the multiple projects valued at over £250,000 for a number of key accounts. I also deepened and developed my skills and knowledge by completing my BCS International Diploma in Business Analysis, as well as gaining a basic understanding of SQL and teaching myself how to create SAP crystal reports to meet client demands. To develop my tax knowledge, I am currently studying to complete my Association of Tax Technicians (ATT).

In 2015, I was promoted to manager and in my first year, I was asked to lead a team of Business Analysts, introducing standard practices throughout the team. I am very passionate about the individuals I work with and spend a significant time coaching, training and mentoring the junior members of the team. This is done formally in my role as a performance manager and informally via mentoring relationships that have formed over the past 7 years at KPMG.

Stephanie Gooch

Stephanie Gooch | KPMG

Stephanie Gooch

I completed a BSc Hons in Mathematics at the University of Surrey where I had the opportunity of an industrial placement at a small management solution company focusing on Oracle’s Hyperion applications. Although I had no previous IT experience I gained new skills which enabled me to successfully passed my Oracle Hyperion Essbase exam and this really sparked my interest in technology. However, I realised that I wanted to have the experience of working in a much larger company and so I applied to KPMG’s Graduate Technology Programme.

Fortunately, I was placed in KPMG’s Tech Solutions, CloudOps team which is one of the most interesting and fast-growing teams. The team build, deploy and manage cloud-hosted environments for both internal and client-facing applications, using both Amazon's Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. I became the first female AWS Associate Architect in KPMG after being with the team for less than a year and passing my examination. I am currently studying for my next Amazon exam which I will take in October.

I continued to learn new skills and develop my expertise in all areas and progressed from assisting on projects to building out production-level environments for a range of clients. Alongside this work I am also working on developing a range of automation tools to assist myself and the team, mainly using Python.

Realising that I wanted to continue to develop my expertise in technology I chose to study for a Masters degree in Information Systems and Technology at City University, London whilst working. I am half way through the two year course and currently working towards a first.