Social media handle(s): LinkedIn
A few words about me:
With 20+ years of experience in the tech industry, I am a seasoned product management professional who has worked on diverse projects such as building digital banks and e-wallets in the MENA region and a connected cars initiative for Samsung and AT&T in the USA.
My background includes collaborations with the UK government, global tech giants, and my own business ventures, which provide me with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. I am a passionate innovator who thrives on challenges and also owns a successful fashion brand.
Martial Arts, traveling and chocolate are my ultimate sources of joy.
Are there any professional experiences you've had that are quite unexpected compared to what you do nowadays?
I used to sell oil based perfumes, worked in business door to door sales of goods 12 hours a day, and been part of some Multi-Level Marketing businesses from beauty to household products.
Is your background more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or non-STEM related?
I graduated as an Economist but moved in to the world of tech by mistake or by chance. Tech was never on my radar as a career but I am very happy that I ended up in the world of tech.
Where did your professional journey start?
After trying my hand at accounting, teaching, local government jobs, I went for an interview for an 'IT job' which turned out to be a sales pitch for an IT course with a guaranteed job at the end of it. Unable to get out of what I signed up for, I ended up doing part of the course and the first few exams and then went on to find my first job working in the IT department of Western Union logging calls.
How did you get into tech and what motivated you?
Having landed my first job after completing a few exams, I joined the Western Union tech team and went from logging calls, to being responsible for the entire telecoms for the UK HQ and then on to managing the entire service desk team over my 8 year stint there. The fact that I loved solving problems kept me going and I was learning and growing throughout my 8 years there. I had the opportunity to try new things, thrown in the deep end and came up swimming!
After taking a voluntary redundancy, I then went on to manage more IT teams in the world of retail, logistics and central government. I realised that I liked challenges and taking low performing teams to become the best and most productive teams in the company. My love for new challenges took me in to the world of contracting and consultancy.
Now I got to join some amazing new and exciting projects, more fast paced environments and keeping up to date with the latest and most innovative technology. From here I went on to co-founding a few tech and startup based companies and moved in to the world of tech entrepreneurship - my latest company being Mantraverse.
Have you experienced any 'career in tech' challenges / stereotypes?
When I first started my career in tech, people who would contact the IT department thought they had reached the reception desk because they were not used to hearing a female answer the call. I always worked in a male dominated environment throughout my IT career, but I can say it has always been a very positive experiences. I managed to move up the career ladder with no issues and with the support of my colleagues.
It is great to see more women in the tech world now and it becoming normal, but when I started (over 20 years ago) it definitely was rare to find women in this industry.
I co-founded a healthtech startup and eventually had to exit after 2 years as the environment got very toxic and challenging. I learnt that choosing the right co-founders was the most important thing as it can make or break your company!
I have also learnt that things won't always work out in your career and some moves may not be the best for you, but the good thing is that you can move on and pivot along the way. You have to find the right opportunity for you as you spend the majority of your life working, so you might as well do something you enjoy that can also compliment the lifestyle you are after. And you can do more than one thing!
"Don't think twice, it is a very rewarding career."
What you wish you knew before getting started in tech...
I wish I knew the different career paths I could take in technology. It is very fast paced now with so much changing that it is both exciting and challenging all at the same time. I went with the flow in my career (...still do) and my first tech job really helped shape the direction of my career as I went from being more technical to managing technical teams.
What has been your biggest 'wow!' moment related to working in tech so far?
When I started my tech career, those 8 years was all I knew and when I look back, what I thought was tech, was just a tiny bit of this enormous tech world! I went on to discover a whole new world and realised that it is not just a pool with a deep end but its an ocean that goes so so deep! The ever changing tech landscape with so much to continuously learn and do. Everything from advisory and consulting to designing, delivering and supporting tech. The exciting world of AI and Machine Learning, Web3, Crypto, NFTs, Metaverse ... there is always so much to learn and experience ... and there will always be more!
What do you like / not like about working in tech?
There isn't anything I don't like. It is a fast paced world and there is always so much to learn. I have never looked back since entering my tech career and I continue to be excited about what changes are coming next!
"There is so much to learn, so many different paths you can take, so many industries you can work in and you learn transferable skills!"
What's been your favourite / most memorable / funniest 'career in tech' moment so far?
When someone thought they had reached the reception desk as they were not expecting to be greeted by a woman on the other end of the phone! SO much has changed since ... I found it funny at the time and am glad that it soon became a point of people wanting to speak to me to help them with their tech issues rather than anyone else in the team!
And to wrap up, is there any advice you'd like to give to others interested in a career in tech?
Don't think twice, it is a very rewarding career. There is so much to learn, so many different paths you can take, so many industries you can work in and you learn transferable skills!