Manuela-Lidia Grindei

Manuela-Lidia Grindei | Mastercard

Manuela-Lidia Grindei

I am currently a Senior Software Development Engineer at Vocalink International, a Mastercard company, and have been working on the back-end of a highly scalable and performant payments project, used by several big financial institutions from different countries.

I started my career in industry with an internship at Pentalog HighTech in Iasi (Romania), which I have completed successfully and was made an offer of permanent employment, which I accepted and worked full-stack on telecom, and flavours and fragrances projects for clients in France and USA. Then I was made an offer of permanent employment by Endava, and this was the first time I worked full-stack for UK clients in the insurance space. Endava paid for my OCPJP version 6 certification, which I passed with maximum score.

A recruiter headhunted me on LinkedIn for a software developer position with Gamesys London and I was heavily involved there in the back-end of some highly successful bingo, slots and poker games. My first role in London enabled me to greatly expand my technical skills and participate in technical meet up communities, which later led to my role in the Expert Group for JSR-354, being chosen a Security and Release Champion for my team at work, and giving internal and external trainings on topics I was passionate about (TDD, Docker, Continuous delivery, OWASP Top 10, Java basics to name but a few).

After attending one of their Women in IT events, I was made an offer by JPMC London, where I worked on the back-end of an equities swaps platform handling the whole swap lifecycle from Middle Office and Front Office perspectives as well as a product providing desk-specific reports & downstream feeds for securitized products. It was the first time when I worked in global teams, and was involved in the development of these products at all stages.

In my free time, I frequently volunteer as a tutor for code clubs (WizzieWizzie and CoderDojo) and Maths lessons (Action Tutoring), a mentor for students, women and black people who are interested in a career in technology (SMF, Brightside, BlackValley), as well as a judge for CREST awards, Nuffield reports, SMF personal statement and CV checker, and from this year BIEA awards.


Maria Cherezova

Maria Cherezova | Mastercard

Maria Cherezova

My career has always been technology orientated - although I wouldn't call myself someone that is technical, I am passionate about translating complex technical concepts to easily digestible end-consumer actions.

I began my career in Paris at Atos in their Canopy Cloud brand where I worked in marketing & communications - this was the perfect landing place of understanding and translating the benefits of technology. I then moved back to London and worked for consulting companies - Capgemini & Capco - where I focused on the Financial Services industry. I was involved in a number of business process transformation, automation and strategy projects. My current role at Mastercard, has been leading the digital product engagement with our banking partners. In this role I am the conduit between technical product teams, customer facing business colleagues and some of technology partners.


Sara Hidayatullah

Sara Hidayatullah | Mastercard

Sara Hidayatullah

Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelors in Economics and Public Policy in 2016.

After graduating, I joined the San Francisco office of Applied Predictive Technologies, which had recently been acquired by Mastercard. In 2017, I relocated to Mastercard’s London office and have been a part of the European team ever since.

I am currently a Managing Consultant in Mastercard’s Data & Services group. Within Data & Services, I am an expert in optimising business innovation and experimentation for our customers, primarily using our Test & Learn software. Test & Learn is a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to accurately measure the profit impact of strategic pricing, merchandising, marketing, operations and capital expenditure initiatives, and to tailor those initiatives for maximum gain. On a day-to-day basis, I lead teams of analytics consultants and data engineers to deliver short-term projects and long-term software-as-a-service engagements to a broad range of clients across Europe.

Over the last two years, I have leveraged the skills I learned through my job to also pursue my passion for social impact; particularly through furthering the use of data science for social good and investing in social impact tech. At Mastercard, I am the UK’s Subject Matter Expert for the Government & Financial Inclusion vertical which involves mapping out how Mastercard can support local and national governments, public sector organisations and charities through its data assets, human capital, commercial partnerships and technologies.

I have run multiple projects aimed at understanding financial exclusion and improving financial inclusion in different parts of the UK and abroad. I have also led two data-thons (pro-bono hackathon-style consulting projects delivered by 10-15 consultants and engineers) with large charities, like the Big Issue Foundation and the Terrence Higgins Trust; helping them to understand their data, so they can tailor the right programs and actions for their community and go further with the resources they have. Most recently, I have led the development of the Inclusive Growth Score, which is a free to access, web-based platform that Mastercard has just launched in the UK. Sparked by the UK government’s levelling up agenda, we created the IGS tool to provide a credible and quantifiable socio-economic profile of each neighborhood in the UK that local planners, governments and impact investors can leverage to ensure that investments are made in communities that need them the most.


Saima Sadiq

Saima Sadiq | Mastercard

Saima Sadiq

I started my technology career fresh out of college as a young 19 year old helping Sky TV customers with their technical equipment issues (and then broadband and mobile technical support when these products came along).

I've worked in a variety of roles with increasing levels of responsibility and escalation resolution. In 2012 I moved in to project management and became responsible for some of Sky's high profile and strategic projects which gave be an opening and insight into a whole different world of technology. This is when I truly became involved in STEM and the growth opportunities within this field for women. Until this point, not only did I not have much awareness of STEM and what this meant but also what this could mean in terms of a long term fulfilling career. 2017, following the e birth of my youngest son at the age of 35 years old I decided to take the leap after 18 years at Sky TV and branch out in to the technology world and took up a position as Senior Program Manager at Mastercard Payment Gateway Services and have never looked back. Payments technology is a fascinating field that we all take for granted but learning and growing my knowledge in this field has really opened my eyes and ignited a new passion in my life. I am part of the group that work with young primary school aged girls as part of the Girls4Tech program to tech them about STEM and the job and career opportunities that are open to them. I now work as the Lead Technical Program Manager for MPGS in Europe leading a high performing team of Technical Program Managers delivering strategic business change working closely with our Product and Engineering partner teams.


Nafi Olatigbe

Nafi Olatigbe | Mastercard

Nafi Olatigbe

I’ve always had an interest in finding ways to improve processes or create solutions to help tackle engineering or technical challenges.

This resulted in me pursuing further education in technology, securing a BA Hons degree in Business and IT, and then advancing my studies in Computing, IT law, and Management at King’s College London. I have since worked across industries and today I have been able to work for one of the leading financial technology companies in the world; Mastercard. Working as a Product and Engineering manager in the financial technology space has so far been the most interesting and engaging experience. As I’ve developed my career in this sector, I continue to seek out opportunities to remain educated, engaged, and informed, by participating in networking events and technological ideation sessions to fully understand consumer pain points and provide technical solutions that are useful and fit for purpose.


Jessica Wareing

Jessica Wareing | Mastercard

Jessica Wareing

Jessica Wareing is currently leading delivery of new technologies across Europe through Open Banking for Mastercard.

She is responsible for defining the delivery strategy for this new product and executing this with customers.

Jessica previously led digital and innovation initiatives globally across HSBC which saw her leading cultural change work streams, driving transformation programmes and owning mobile product developments.

Jessica has a breadth of global experience and a demonstrated history of working with large and complex digital projects. Jessica’s aspiration is to become a future leader in emerging technologies and financial inclusion led products across the UK and Europe.


Niti Paul

Niti Paul | MasterCard

Niti Paul

I am experienced Programme Manager with expertise lies in leading strategic technology initiatives and transformations.

I started my career as Technologist after graduating in Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering. Because of my passion towards technology and providing client solutions in compelling ways, I was the fastest promoted graduate to Technology Consultant within one year. I spent couple of years working as Management Consultant in CIO Advisory helping clients to shape their Technology road maps. I have worked in JPMorgan to streamline WCOB Team using technology transformation. In my last role with KPMG,I have led various client transformation programmes along with internal business transformations. I have recently joined Mastercard to lead Strategic Programme Roadmaps for major products.

During my time in KPMG I led no. of initiates with maternity returners and Return to Work Programme. My contributions were widely recognised in the firm and was nominate as Rising Star of UK.I am currently working closely with Women in Leadership Network within Mastercard on neutralising gender gap.

I also work as School Governor and Enterprise Advisor under LEAN Network-London Mayor s Initiate to bring professional people close to school and colleges.


Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith | Mastercard

Stephanie Smith

After graduating from Oxford University, Stephanie began her professional career at a rapidly growing technology company (Applied Predictive Technologies, APT) delivering analytics software and consulting engagements to Fortune 500s.

Fast forward 5 years, and she has rapidly moved up through the organization, was selected as APT's first global ambassador to spend one year training in Washington D.C., and most recently promoted into a role at Mastercard (who acquired APT). Stephanie is particularly passionate about diversity & inclusion and solving social problems, and has experience delivering projects and technologies that drive a lasting social impact. For example, Stephanie led a pro bono project in partnership with the city government of New Orleans and a non-profit, that pioneered how APT applies data assets and technology to facilitate and measure inclusive growth. Stephanie also proactively took on new projects in social-impact oriented industries (for example, applying Test & Learn analytics to education), and co-led APT's global Women’s Leadership Network (a business resource group to connect female leaders and build a more inclusive workplace). She has also demonstrated herself as an outstanding people manager and mentor of junior staff. Outside of work, Stephanie has volunteered time as a mentor with the Girls Network in London, and fundraising with Girls on the Run in Washington D.C.


Katherine Shailer Smith

Katherine Shailer Smith | Mastercard

Katherine Shailer Smith

My inspiration for a career in technology came rather unexpectedly.

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

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

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

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

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


Shannon Grehan

Shannon Grehan | Mastercard

I am a passionate, fearless and ambitious lady with a lot of energy. I thrive on interaction with others which was inherent growing up with a large family and making a fantastic friends throughout school. I swam competitively for my local borough which developed my ambitious streak.

I have an undergraduate Law LLB degree from Sussex University (2:1) and during my holiday periods I worked at GlobeOp as a Legal assistant. Upon graduation I joined Fried Frank law firm in their Asset Management Department and after 2 years I left to go travelling around the world for 6months backpacking. Upon return, I joined Raphael's Bank in Card Services as a Paralegal where I was introduced into the Payments Industry.

I am a quick learner and soon became known for my ability to quickly grasp complex cross functional issues and connect with people at all levels - listening to the needs of new clients and building genuine trust. I decided to change my career path to a more commercial/ client facing role with suited my personality and joined FIS, Global Processor as an Account Manager. After 18months, I was lucky enough to join Mastercard where I have been for 3 years now in their UK&I Issuing division responsible for leading and setting sales strategies for high profile customer accounts that are aligned with market strategy and achieving sales goals to drive market share, volume and revenue growth.

I joined as an Account Manager supporting RBS and in less than 18months was promoted to Account Director responsible for managing six Challenger Banks in the UK, including our Digital Banking customers Monzo, Tandem, Starling and Atom. I was also Social Secretary of the Young Professionals Committee and actively participate at our charity events, Girls4Tech and the Foodbank at Tower Hamlets. Last year, I then stepped up and took over Tesco Bank which is UK’s biggest Retail Co-Brand Bank partner and have been working closely to deliver new technology in retail payments.

I am currently a committee member of the Mastercard’s European Women’s Leadership Network looking after the WISE Campaign who work with large Companies to promote women in STEM roles. I also volunteer regularly at my local MIND charity as a shop-floor assistant to help the community; creating awareness for mental health issues, especially for young people, is extremely close to my heart.

I am a natural networker and hope to be a future leader at Mastercard where I can be instrumental in shaping a collaborative working culture to drive new initiatives in the Payment Industry.