TUI and Women In Data partnership launch

Spotlight - Jie Zheng

Live Happy with TUI

We are one of the world’s leading tourism groups, with 27 million customers across Europe who we take on holiday all over the world. We are a vertically integrated business, which means we not only sell great experiences over the web, through our mobile app and in store, but we also operate 150 aircraft, over 400 hotels and 16 cruise ships.

What’s it like working for tui?

At TUI, we know people are as diverse as the destinations we send our customers to. Just as travel is about exploration, we are on a journey to make our work culture always more inclusive.

At TUI, we create a culture of trust and passion that enables a sense of belonging for our colleagues, wherever they choose to work. Our colleagues enjoy flexibility whilst keeping performance and efficiency high. Work is something we do, not somewhere we go. This is the foundation of our hybrid work environment, and we call it the TUI Way of Working.

It’s our people that make us number one. Instead of staying on the beaten track, TUI believes in the power of change. We are constantly transforming ourselves and our business to stay competitive in a fastchanging environment. To become more digital, more flexible, and more global, we need strong values.

Trusted, Unique, Inspiring – these are the values we embrace at TUI. Being the world’s leading tourism company, we take our responsibility seriously, whether you embark on a holiday experience with us or work as a TUI employee in one of our diverse locations.

Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

Women in Data’s mission to increase diversity in data careers through empowerment and awareness is something that TUI also strongly believes in. We have a wealth of diverse talent across the business but recognise there is an abundance of untapped talent among women who don’t necessarily consider careers in data. This is something we want to change. We aim to be an attractive employer for new data talent coming through the ranks from graduate to leadership roles and believe our partnership with Women in Data will help.

Lilian Pswarayi – Head of Commercial Analytics and Reporting – Commercial Data, Margins and Ancillaries

Bio

Expertise: Stakeholder Management, Project Management, Business Analysis, Data Analysis, Data Warehousing, Data Modelling, Reporting Solutions
Education: Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (FCCA), Bachelor in Accounting Science in Accounting and Audit, Prince 2
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lilian-pswarayi-fcca-089202b/

I never considered or imagined that a career in data could be an option for me.  This was primarily due to the fact that when I was growing up in Zimbabwe, there was an absence of female role models working and thriving in a data career for me to look up to.  Instead, when I left school, my career path was very clear.  I would take up the training contract that Ernst & Young had offered me, qualify as an accountant and hopefully, one day, become a trail blazer and take on a senior leadership position in one of the companies I had been fortunate enough to audit. 

I arrived in the UK without a job and naturally assumed that I would easily slot into an accounting role. However, after several unsuccessful applications, Amanda – the recruitment agent I was working with – asked me to consider a role focused on the testing of reports being created in a reporting tool called Cognos as part of the implementation of Oracle Financials here at TUI. I had no prerequisite experience in this space, and because I did not know anyone working in similar roles to ask the simple questions: – 

  • What is a reporting tool?
  • How do you use it to create reports?
  • What skills do I need to have to do well at my job?

I was hesitant to consider the role.  My experience of systems and data was as a user of audit software and a user of Excel to consolidate data in held in reporting packs created in Excel spreadsheets, so how could I do a reporting role. 

To this day, I am grateful to Amanda.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t know, she took the time to explain to me her understanding of the role and the capabilities required.  She helped me to see that if I was brave enough to take a leap of faith, I had enough transferable skills that would set me off in the right direction to do a role I knew nothing about. She took the time to explain that and if I applied myself, listened to what was required of me, observed what my colleagues were doing and had the willingness to learn the technical aspects I felt I lacked, I would be fine. 

I am so glad I took her advice. Because I took the leap of faith, I am now a data professional, with a breadth of experience, working in an organisation that is using market-leading technologies to deliver data and analytics solutions.  I am a female leader, so can bring my voice and experience to the table and help TUI to deliver its strategic ambitions.  I work with fantastic individuals and teams and get the opportunity to continuously learn new skills because of TUI’s continuous investment in data and analytics.  I have been involved in the delivery of a new data warehouse, the successful migration of the data and reporting for one of our source markets to our common Northern Region platform, delivered reporting to manage the crisis created in our industry by Covid. I have been involved in the process of selecting the right reporting tool to use at TUI, just to name a few things.  But most of all, I am glad I took Amanda’s advice because I can hopefully be the role model that I never had and encourage other women to consider careers in data and analytics.

Deepali Pandey – Analytics Manager

Bio

Expertise: Project Management, Business Analysis, Data Analysis, Stakeholder Management. Have been leading projects in Financial Services in areas of Data Tracing/Lineage, Customer Remediation, Collections/Recovery, LIBOR Transitioning, ISO20022 and Customer Analytics.
Education: Masters in Business Administration,Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science Engineering, BASE SAS Certified Programmer, BCS Certified Business Analyst
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepali-s-pandey-22466222 | https://twitter.com/DeepaliSonpatki

Right from my University days, I have always been very passionate about working with data. However, the turning point for me was when I started preparing for my dissertation during my Bachelor degree. My topic was Search Engine Optimisation. Back in those days, Google was still a newbie and MSN was the norm. As I started diving deeper into it, I was amazed to see how data can empower you and at the same time change everything around you. Since then, it has been a decade and I still find myself amazed at every role in my career in a data-driven industry.

However, there have been ups and downs. Often in my career I have had to deal with biases, partly due to my ethnic background and partly due to my gender, with the common excuse being that I am not ready yet when in fact I would have been doing that very same role unofficially. But the senior management would always shy away from giving me the actual title. When I started as a Graduate in Consultancy with my first company, I was very keen on learning and focused mainly on applying my knowledge to deliver that added value for our clients and customers. My line manager at the time observed this and was very supportive of building my case for promotion. However, he got a lot of push-back from senior management as they thought that I didn’t have sufficient years of experience on my resume. Every now and again I would be told that I can’t do certain type and level of roles because I wasn’t yet ready. And yet, I have managed to prove them all wrong on every single one of those occasions. This led to my decision about moving away from such companies who have a culture of rewarding colleagues based on number of years rather than merit.

When I was undergoing the recruitment process with TUI, I was actually being interviewed for senior consultant roles. After three rounds of interview, my manager got in touch to say that she felt I was a better fit for a managerial role that was actually a level up from the original role that I had applied for. Although, I did end up taking another three rounds of interviews I was genuinely touched by this gesture. I feel so proud to be part of TUI and its open culture.

I believe the Women in Data and TUI partnership provides the very platform to share our experiences and encourage and motivate other women who might have similar stories to tell and to say that they are not alone in this journey. This is the forum where we can all connect together and support each other to collectively grow in our individual career paths.

Jie Zheng – Lead Data Scientist

Bio

Expertise: Providing robust and scalable data science solutions for complex business problems in the domain of customer insight, personalization and marketing
Education: MSc in Data Science from the University of London, Birkbeck 2021
MSc in Environment science, policy and management, the University of Manchester 2008
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jie-zheng-44823951/

I was born in a small city in China.  I studied hard in school and was admitted to one of the top universities in China where I studied life science. In the course of my studies, I was inspired to develop a career supporting sustainability, so I decided to enrol in an Erasmus Master’s program with a focus on environmental policy. Luckily, I was awarded a full scholarship to support my studies in Europe. I was the first person in my family to travel aboard so this was a major step for me and daunting initially, requiring me to adjust to multiple new cultures as the Master’s programme meant I would spend time living in both Budapest and Manchester. It was during this period that I first discovered a love of travel, travelling around Europe between semesters.

After graduating from the Erasmus programme with an MSc degree in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, I lacked work experience in Europe, so I initially worked as a waitress to make ends meet. While seeking work in the sustainability sector following the 2008 crash, I worked my way up the restaurant management ladder and focussed on self-development in my free time. I studied accounting, obtaining a chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification, and then completed a bootcamp in data analytics. I discovered a passion for data science and enrolled in the MSc in Data Science at the University of London, Birkbeck. I was determined to work in a company with a strong emphasis on sustainability and when I saw that TUI were hiring, I realised working there would allow me to combine my passions for data science, travel and sustainability!

I joined TUI in February 2020 as a marketing data scientist. Upon joining TUI, I was nervous about my career transition and had concerns about my seemingly irrelevant professional background and wondered how I would fit in. TUI’s inclusive and diversified culture welcomed me with open arms and provided me with reassurance and support every step of the way. Through the TUI Care Foundation’s Covid Tourism recovery programme, I was even able to provide mentoring support to start-up tourist companies in developing countries and fulfil my desire to contribute to sustainable businesses. 

Now two years have flown by and I’ve been promoted to Lead Data Scientist! I will strive to be a cultural ambassador and to be the cheerleader for newcomers in the field, following in the footsteps of those who did so much to welcome me to TUI and support my development.

Ekta Dixit – Product Owner

Bio

Expertise: Analytical skills – Data and Business, Product Roadmap, Stakeholder Management, Project Management
Education: B.Tech- Chemical Engineering
Social Media: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ekta-dixit-3b224225

I did my Bachelor’s in Chemical engineering followed by an internship with Dulux Paints Ltd but I had a strong interest in IT so navigated my way into the world of computing and data over the course of next few years. There is a saying that “Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves”, and it stuck with me. I have seen how utilisation of data has changed over the past fifteen years of my career from something seen as storage overhead to being one of the most valuable assets for an organisation which open new avenues when aggregated, refined and analysed to bring real insights and value.

I have worked in various sectors including telecoms, banking, commodity reporting and travel & leisure. It is fascinating to see how data is used in so many ways. 

I am currently working in Customer Data Services (CDS) in which we ingest data from different legacy source systems into CDS and standardise the data. CDS acts as a data provider for various systems including Qualtrics, which uses this data to send out personalised post-holiday questionnaires to the customers; and Braze to send out email campaigns. This data is also used by other areas, including Analytics, to create sophisticated dashboards and reporting. 

I can see data provided by CDS will help realise several benefits for TUI including improving customer experiences, solving problems, data monetisation and reducing costs.

Memory Madziire – Business Analyst

Bio

Expertise: Data story telling (not limited to) process analysis and improvement, Initial stakeholder management, requirement gathering, report specification , development and implementation.
Education: Degree level Bsc in Business Informatics
Social Media: https:/www.linkedin.com/in/memory-ndhlovu-madziire-42674572

As young girl growing up in Africa to a mother who worked in the aviation industry l aspired to work in the airline industry too.  Before the age of 10 l wanted to be just like my mum, working for Zimbabwean Aviation, but between the ages of 10 and 14 l wanted to be in the glamour and be an air hostess, but l was told l was too short and, in my culture, that job was considered to be for women who did not aspire to be much in the world, which we now all know is far from the truth!  But as a respectful teenager l had to believe my elders. 

Between 14 and 16 l investigated being an Air Control Officer and finally – just after turning 16 – l decided l was going to try my hand at flying. l started the journey as a private pilot student in Zimbabwe and intended to continue this in the UK. However, once l had moved from home it become unsustainable and l was forced to pursue other lines of work and started a family.  After the birth of my son, with loads of time at home l found myself intrigued by the computer and how it worked.  This led to a flow of information that resulted in my Degree in Business Informatics.  Once l had accomplished this l finally landed the job at TUI as a Business Analyst.  As l see it l have come full circle, back to where my interests as a child started and a seed was planted. 

Since then, the growth that l have gone through working within data-focused positions, both before and with TUI, has made me realise a fact about myself that l think many women may suffer from in the industry.  As data and IT is still evolving from being mainly male dominated to being more gender inclusive, despite my drive and initiative I have struggled with impostor syndrome.  This is the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.  This potentially leads to anxiety within the workplace. 

The support and encouragement of strong, data-focused women within TUI to contribute, grow my skill and understand the data processes within the business, has allowed me to take a breath and appreciate the skills l am bringing to the team. l have found myself needing less validation and contributing more and even asking the questions that help data processes along. 

So now what?  The support l received has really encouraged me to thrive within the data and airline industry and now l am hoping l can give the same support to other women who are thinking of coming into data or already within. There is definitely strength in numbers.

Women in Data’s mission to increase diversity in data careers through empowerment and awareness is something that TUI also strongly believes in.

about tui

TUI is one of the world’s leading tourism groups. The broad portfolio gathered under the Group umbrella consists of strong tour operators, 1,600 travel agencies and leading online portals, five airlines with around 150 aircraft, over 400 hotels, 16 cruise liners and many incoming agencies in all major holiday destinations around the globe. It covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof. This integrated offering enables us to provide our 27 million customers with an unmatched holiday experience in 180 regions. A key feature of our corporate culture is our global responsibility for economic, environmental and social sustainability.

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