Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

Asda are delighted to be partnering with Women in Data.  James Morgan, Senior Director of Data said “Asda believe a diverse workforce is key to understanding our customers’ needs and fulfilling them.  Working in diverse teams produces stronger outcomes and increased productivity.  We want to create a fair and safe environment providing access to opportunities for all and the data team are starting from the great position of already having great overall diversity including a very high proportion of women in leadership team positions.  Our partnership with Women in Data will allow us to further grow gender diversity across all roles.

We look forward to the opportunities the collaboration will bring, networking events allowing leaders in the field to share their knowledge and experience and look forward to celebrating the success of women working in data within Asda.

Asda are proud to be heavily involved in STEM activities and we look forward to partnering with Girls in Data to help encourage talent at a young age and highlight the breadth of data careers at Asda.  Women in Data is also a great platform for Asda to showcase the huge data transformation journey which we are embarking on, and we will look forward to the opportunity to share learnings with other Women in Data partners.



How ASDA see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

Data is going to continue to grow in importance for organisations over the coming five years. It is a must have capability to ensure companies really understand their business, their market, their customers, their supply chains, and their colleagues to remain competitive in ever more challenging times. Core to all of this is having the right, diverse, data talent and culture to meet these demands. So, as a data industry, we need to focus on educating, developing and maturing the UK’s data capabilities from a people, culture and diversity perspective.

Therefore, over the next five years our data landscape focus at Asda will continue to be on further enabling, empowering and driving the business through data. At the heart of this is how we can better understand, respond to, and meet the needs of our customers. Key to achieving these objectives are a number of Data Transformation initiatives that are already underway. These include a huge focus on the data culture and literacy within the organisation through our data academy activities, industry and academic partnerships, diversity agenda, and communities of practice. Associated with this is our work on the Data Target Operating model and Data Talent agenda, including aligned Data Job Families, Ways of Working, Competency Frameworks, L&D programmes and Talent pipelines. And finally, the Future Data programme is delivering a best in class, cloud native, Data Ecosystem for the organisation, making high quality, well governed and manged data easily accessible through intuitive tools

about ASDA

ASDA was founded in 1965 through the merger of the Asquith family grocery business with the Associated Dairies company and its name is derived from this merger.

Headquartered in Leeds, ASDA is the UK’s third-largest supermarket by market share, employing more than 140,000 colleagues and serving over 18m customers every week in its 633 stores and online via www.ASDA.com  Its George clothing division, which launched in 1989 and is based in Leicestershire, is the UK’s second-largest clothing retailer by volume.

ASDA has a long heritage in providing customers with low prices and in June 2022 was crowned the UK’s lowest-priced supermarket by the Grocer magazine for the 25th consecutive year. In October 2020, ASDA was acquired from Walmart by the Issa brothers and TDR Capital

Location: Leeds

Expertise: Leadership, programme management and data eco systems

Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-heppinstall-08b82222/

A bit about me….

I have worked at Asda for 11 years, with the last 3 years in the Data Insight & Analytics team.  I’m an active mum of 2 teenage children (Eleanor 17, George 14), plus a little puppy dog – Hugo!  In my spare time I love long walks, hiking mountains and more recently weightlifting.  You will often find me on the side of a football pitch cheering my children on in their many matches.  I have a passion for leadership & delivery and more recently I feel I have found my niche moving into the exciting world of data.

Why did you join Asda?.

Asda is my first Retail role and I haven’t looked back! I love the fast pace and have been lucky enough to touch all areas of the business in my former role as a Business Partner, working in Asda Technology.  The role gave me the confidence to become a strong female leader in a male dominated environment and I continued this into my most recent role.  Here, I have worked with the team to introduce agile and data engineering squads, embedding a more efficient delivery model.  More recently, I have taken on programme management of a highly complex Data Transformation programme,.  This involves implementing a brand new data eco system and associated tools, migrating data away from Walmart to be hosted via new cloud-based infrastructure at Asda, enabling build out of an Enterprise Data Model and bringing colleagues along on an new exciting new data journey.

What do you like most about Asda?

I love the opportunities working at Asda can bring!  You just have to keep your eyes and ears open, make the connections, work hard and stay focussed.  I had only touched data in my previous role when I was offered the opportunity to lead the data team. This was at a point when the organisation was embarking on the largest transformation journey in retail.  I was given the right level of support to enable me to re-shape and grow the data team, working with other like-minded leaders to advocate the importance of data in a large retail environment.


Location: Leeds

Expertise: Customer Analytics, Data Storytelling

Education: BSc in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical and Forensic Science

Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzanne-ross-8593271b9

A bit about me…

I’m coming up to my 1-year anniversary at Asda, having joined the Business Performance and Measurement team after an extended career break looking after my two children.  My role is focused on delving into the wealth of transactional data we have in order to better understand our customers and how they interact with us both in our stores and online.  Teasing out the stories in the data and communicating them in a clear, actionable way is my favourite thing about my role.

Outside of work my time is usually spent enjoying family adventures, but when I get some time to myself, you’ll either find me with my nose in a book or puzzling over pattern pieces at my sewing machine.

Why did you join Asda?

Having enjoyed a number of years working in Customer Insight before taking my career break, I was keen to find a new challenge in that area when I returned to work.  Asda really sees the value of data and puts it at the centre of the decision-making process, and the growing Analytics function is a fast-paced and exciting place to be.  I knew that joining the team would lead to amazing opportunities to learn new skills and develop my career in data.

What do you like most about Asda?

Without a doubt the people are the best thing about working at Asda.  My team are so supportive, and I felt right at home here from the very start.  This extends to colleagues across the business, who have all been happy to share their knowledge and expertise – there is a real sense of collaboration and teamwork.

I’m also really proud to work for an organisation which offers so many opportunities to support young people as they navigate their career choices.  I am part of Asda’s STEM Outreach team and have participated in various events from career discovery sessions to data skills workshops.  Every day really is different!

Location: York

Expertise: Data Engineering

Education: BSc in Digital and Technology Solutions

Social Media URL: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-barnes-aa9a4482

A bit about me…

I got into software engineering by joining a large company as an apprentice at 18 years old. The apprenticeship was 5 years long, with a 3-year sponsored degree from Aston university. I didn’t go the traditional route into IT by going to university directly, as I wasn’t sure if university was for me, and I was really excited to get hands on experience and mentoring.  I then found an opportunity to sidestep on to a project doing data engineering. This came about through by building a network and finding out about what other projects were going on in my company. There was a real gap in the skill set, which meant they were happy to take on anyone who was interested and ready for a challenge. Since then, I have been working with data across many companies, all in different stages of migrating to the cloud, from more traditional data ecosystems. I love how much time I spend problem solving and thinking about the ethical side of data use.

Why did you join Asda?

I joined Asda a year ago, after hearing about their mission to lift and shift their entire data ecosystem and start again from scratch. As they are a large retail company, there are some fascinating problems they face that never have a “perfect” solution.

What do you like most about Asda?

I love that there are always conversations going on about how different areas of the business want to work in the new ecosystem, and how we try to solutionise different architecture to support them. I’m constantly learning and there’s so much opportunity for me to develop in any area I want. I also love how much interaction I get with every area of the business, and how much they are willing to listen and adapt if someone comes in with good ideas.

Come and work with Charlotte: Diverse Data Jobs for Female Data Scientists from Women in Data®