A round-up of the UK’s first “Women in Data” Summit organised by Datatech November 2015 at UCL.


At Women in Data 2015 we heard from some of the sector’s senior managers and pioneers. Watch a video overview of the event or view videos of the speaker’s presentation in the Video tab below. The speakers have bucked the trend and provide role models for women who are in a minority in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. According to the Office for National Statistics women account for just 13% of STEM professions.

With the rise in popularity of big data it’s giving cause for concern as Britain already faces a 36,000 shortfall in qualified engineers. Today we celebrate the achievements of women in data who are helping to shape the future of Analytics.

Datatech and University College London

Women in Data 2015 was jointly organised by the Department of Statistical Science at UCL and Datatech. Datatech regularly recruits UCL graduates and was pleased to partner with one of the most recognised universities in Analytics. UCL promoted an opportunity for its students to familiarise themselves with some of the numerous exciting careers that they can go into as a data scientist, which will also allowed them to network with established data scientists.

Who attended

People from all stages of their career: students, graduates, analysts, statisticians, consultants, managers and directors.

What attendees heard
  • Success stories: how women have planned, secured and maintained some of the top jobs in industry
  • How skills gaps are being addressed: staying ahead of the curve in skill acquisition.
  • Key industry developments: insight on why the industry has shifted and what to expect over the next 12 months.
Women in Data 2015

Women in Data was unlike other events in the industry. Our guests left feeling inspired as the forum was designed to:

  • Go beyond just discussing trends, and focus on the personal accounts of successful women in the industry so you can learn from their experiences.
  • Facilitate networking by seating guests around small, intimate tables, allowing you the opportunity to foster new relationships, learn from your peers and discover how to take the next step in your career.
  • Educate with useful insights on data science from our partner UCL.
  • Bring important stakeholders in the industry together, from students to directors of companies in diverse industries. Our agenda includes valuable content and lessons learnt for people at every stage in their career.
5 reasons women are reluctant to choose a career in data

1) Balancing family life: a survey by the Guardian and Netmums has found that 60% of mothers put their careers on hold to care for their children.

2) No career path: traditionally data analytics has been shoehorned into existing departments, such as marketing, finance and IT, with no clear career progression.

3) No female leaders: without someone aspirational to look up to, many women are unable to picture themselves working in high-powered positions, so stay in mid-level jobs.

4) Lack of awareness: students may love science and maths but simply don’t know a career in data analytics is available to them, instead choosing to stick to traditional careers in finance.

5) Low confidence: male colleagues tend to have a stronger sense of self-belief. A recent OECD study found that even in school, girls lacked confidence in science and maths, even when their results were as good, or better, than boys’.

However, the landscape is shifting. Women in data are no longer seen as anomalies in what was a male dominated environment. Now they’re seen as an opportunity for companies moving towards big data analytics.

3 reasons women are suited to data analytics

1) A 360 degree view: with an inherent sense of creativity, women are equipped to balance the maths and science elements of data analytics to produce a comprehensive and more innovative outcome.

2) Better team dynamics: women are inclusive and have a gentle and warm approach that generally brings balance to a work environment, which can lead to a better standard of work being produced.

3) Stronger relationships: with data analytics becoming a more integral part of business, women typically build relationships with others that open up access to information and its flow throughout an organisation.

Women in Data 2015 helped us to:
  • See how women can carve a long and successful career in data analytics.
  • Learn from the past to help shape the future.
  • Find support that is available to aid women in their career choice.

3 minute Women in Data 2015 event overview. The venue, the hosts, the delegates and great networking.

The talk given by Payal Jain, Managing Director, Strategic Analytics, Barclaycard, will be an invaluable watch for those new to data or looking to enhance a career in this field.

Stacie Maxey, Director of Database Marketing, Domestic & General, considered the skills required for analytics teams, and the relative strengths of men and women.

“Oh, you’re a mum?!” was Claire Thompson’s topic. As Head of Customer Analytics, RBS, she advised us on how to achieve work-life balance.

Gabrielle de Wardener, Culture & CSR Director, EMEA at AIMIA & Jackie Clayton, Global Analytics Academy Director, AIMIA gave us an inspiring view of how AIMIA embraces a culture that allows individual personalities and strengths to shine.

Laura Scarlett, Loyalty/Insight/CRM Director, explored the future of data in marketing and tried to guess what the young people entering the industry today might be working on in 20 years’ time!

Charlotte Richards, Business Intelligence Strategy and Times & Sunday Times Director, News UK, discussed the cultural changes required for organisations to be receptive to decision making using data.

Opportunities for Data scientists, one of the most sought career paths, was presented by Codina Cotar, Lecturer (Assistant Professor), University College London.

The Topics

Payal Jain, Managing Director, Strategic Analytics, Barclaycard

Topic: A woman’s career in data

Payal Jain’s session that explored a woman’s career in data. She considered her own journey from a degree in mathematics to becoming Managing Director of Strategic Analytics at Barclaycard. The interactive session included a look at her own promotion process and interview strategy as well as what Payal looks for when recruiting in her own team. Whether you are new to data or looking to enhance your career in this field, this was an informative session.

Stacie Maxey, Director of Database Marketing, Domestic & General

Topic: Are women better than men in data?

In order to answer this question, Stacie covered off the data landscape in business, the skills required for analytics teams, the character strengths of men and women. She discussed her experiences through her career and her transition to a more senior management role.

Claire Thompson, Head of Customer Analytics, RBS

Topic: “Oh, you’re a mum?!”

People are often surprised to learn I’m a full-time working mum with two children and a senior role. When they find out they then often ask, “What’s it like and how do you juggle it all?” My honest answer is that it’s hard at times, but possible. My children are now ten and eight and it’s getting easier, but when they were very young there were times when I questioned why I made the decision to do both. In her session, Claire talked about the challenges she’s faced in her career being a working mum and how she found a work/life balance that suits her.

Gabrielle de Wardener, Culture & CSR Director, EMEA at AIMIA& Jackie Clayton, Global Analytics Academy Director, AIMIA

Topic: Women in leadership

AIMIA is passionate about supporting pathways for Women into leadership. Playing to individual talents, AIMIA has embraced a culture that allows individual personalities and strengths to shine. Gabrielle and Jackie joined the business that was to become AIMIA around the same time, from very different backgrounds. Two women led two fledgling ideas to become two outstanding examples of transformational change. Gabrielle and Jackie shared how AIMIA stands out today for its innovative work in Corporate Social Responsibility and the unique support provided to the analytical community through the Global Analytics Academy.

Laura Scarlett, Loyalty/Insight/CRM Director

Topic: Change and constancy: data-driven marketing.

The National Trust is (by its very nature) a deeply conservative organisation, yet over the last 2 years they have implemented cutting-edge analytics and data-driven marketing capabilities at an urgent pace. How has this been possible? Laura explained how customer engagement and commercial results combine to provide an invincible case for analytics, data management, data visualisation and campaign engine integration. Leading on from this, Laura explored the future of data in marketing and tried to guess what the young people entering the industry today might be working on in 20 years’ time!

Charlotte Richards, Business Intelligence Strategy and Times & Sunday Times Director, News UK

Topic: Making data headline news

One of the greatest challenges when applying data, analytics and insight to the world of traditional media and publishing is the long-held and revered role of editorial instinct and gut feel. Often businesses have been doing perfectly fine without data for decades or, in some cases, centuries, and they are wary of becoming ‘followers’ rather than innovators. The biggest challenge isn’t about how you structure or analyse your data, it’s the huge cultural and process change an organisation has to go through to become receptive to making decisions using it.

Codina Cotar, Lecturer (Assistant Professor), University College London

Topic: Data scientists, one of the most sought career paths

In October 2012, The Harvard Business Review named the job of data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” Nowadays, the position of data scientist is at the forefront of many industries ranging from marketing to financial services to telecommunications. Many of the top-paying job listings at Facebook and LinkedIn are for data scientists – not for software engineers. As such, this is currently one of the most sought career paths with many interesting and cutting-edge career opportunities available for young people.

University College London

Codina Cotar, Lecturer (Assistant Professor), UCL

Codina Cotar from UCL is one of our Keynote speakers. She is joined by her colleagues who have a deep interest in our subjects today and are here to promote UCL’s work in Analytics and new courses.

Tom Fearn, Professor of Applied Statistics and Head of the Department of Statistical Science at UCL

Before joining UCL, Tom worked for 11 years at the Flour Milling and Baking Research Association, where he designed experiments and developed an interest in the analysis of high-dimensional spectroscopic data. Tom’s research interests have in common a need to interpret and analyse high-dimensional data, generally arising from some type of spectroscopy. Tom is possibly the only Professor of Statistics to have donned a hairnet to take part in experiments on industrial-scale bread and puff-pastry ovens.

Statistical skills have always been in demand across a wide spectrum of industry and commerce, often in support of research activities such as clinical trials carried out by pharmaceutical companies, product testing by manufacturers, or surveys of various kinds. More recently, many statisticians have become involved in quantitative finance, and the content of many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees has evolved to reflect this. The problem is not finding relationships – if the data are rich enough there will be plenty – the problem is knowing when to believe them.

Ricardo Silva, Lecturer at the Department of Statistical Science and Adjunct Faculty of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit

Ricardo is a Lecturer at the Department of Statistical Science. His interests are computational statistics and machine learning. Ricardo develops methods for understanding interactions in complex systems and cause-effect relationships. As a PhD
student he furthered science by filling up the departmental coke machine to guarantee a steady supply of caffeine for all.

Technological advances have made an unprecedented amount of data amenable to statistical analysis, in fields as varied as customer analytics, healthcare, risk assessment or finance. With that, new ways of doing statistics have also emerged. The new MSc in Data Science at the Department of Statistical Science, UCL, offers data analysts a programme covering modern computationally intense approaches for statistical modelling combined with careful reasoning and statistically sound interpretation.

Datatech Analytics

Roisin McCarthy and Rachel Keane

Roisin and Rachel have more than 24 years of recruitment experience in the data market.

They have seen the discipline of analytics evolve to become a cornerstone of many businesses and organisations from being a subset of many department in the past. Roisin and Rachel have been fortunate to work with many of the data sectors trailblazers and their insight is unrivalled.

Having been trained as executive search consultants, recruitment is their mother tongue, however data practitioners and their environments are the areas of specialism that run throughout their careers. Over the last 16 years Roisin and Rachel have facilitated some of the most influential careers in the data world and assisted in building some of the most cutting edge teams in industry.

Datatech and its recruiters have always seen the data space as a barometer; when companies are expanding or contracting teams, it’s a clear indication of movement in the wider market. They also get to monitor developments in technology and techniques and are ahead of the curve in industry trends.

Roisin and Rachel had a clear objective at the beginning of 2015, for both Datatech and the wider data community, to highlight the achievements of, and opportunities for women. This is not a cause or a mission for the ladies; it makes great business sense. By balancing teams and facilitating more female careers it broadens our client base.