As a child I loved math, solving puzzles and challenging my teachers. I also found great joy in taking a subject that was seemingly complex and breaking it down into smaller simpler components. I’d tutor my juniors and feel elated when I’d see an Aha! moment on someone’s face. I thought teaching math was my calling. However as life would have it after graduating from an MBA in Finance, I found myself in a data analytics team in a big bank.
All this strangely came together for me when I realised that working in analytics means I get to play around with tons of data, join the dots of a puzzle in terms of what the data means from a strategic perspective, and then simplify the message for a wider audience. Challenging the status quo was looked upon positively where ideas on new ways to do things was a competitive advantage. I have worked in analytics for 12 years in various roles spanning different lending products and geographies (India, US, UK, Southern Europe) and truly enjoy what I do. At Vanquis, I love the fact that I can actively influence the P&L through the work that I and my team do.
In the early stages of my career, I was very conscious of being one of the few coloured women in the room. It didn’t help that I was an immigrant with a strange accent. I decided very early on that I wasn’t going to focus on blending in. I was going to focus on being excellent at my job. Eventually these things faded out from my radar. I also learnt to embrace my feminine traits and accept that it brings a different perspective to work. Being sensitive allows me to build strong relationships with my stakeholders, be empathetic with my team bringing out the best from them and be a strong networker. Our workplace needs this. The only advice to my younger self would be “Don’t be afraid to be ambitious”. In my late 20’s, I passed on several opportunities to step up because I always put my partner’s career’s first and wanted to be a good housemaker, a good wife, a good daughter in law etc. I am not suggesting we completely ignore our personal lives. But I think as women we need to be more comfortable with challenging the need to be perfect in every area of our life and play to a stereotype. Sometimes it’s OK to not fit into a box that society wants us to. It is ok to want to be independent and successful.
At Vanquis, I am excited that I have a female MD as a role model. But I am equally excited to have senior male managers and leaders who are inclusive, believe in meritocracy and are encouraging and supportive of my career goals. I am glad that we are sponsors of Woman in Data UK and all the work that is being done to address the imbalance of men and women in senior leadership positions. I really look forward to more diversity in our work space!