See all 20 About 2020


A collaboration with Snowflake


  1. How do you feel about being recognised as one of Women in Data’s ‘20 in 20’?

It is my delight to be grouped with such young luminaries. Their zest to solve today’s global problems is inspirational.

  1. It’s been an ‘interesting’ 12 months - could you give an example of a personal high and low point?

We are all stronger for having survived the challenges of the pandemic. Lockdown gave me the time to write my second book ‘So To Speak’. It also coincided with my husband’s failing health.

  1. We’ve all had to adjust to a different way of working - how has it affected you professionally?

I’ve always worked from home so am almost embarrassed by how little the pandemic changed my professional life. The biggest difference is that meetings and speeches are now all virtual.

  1. How do you balance work and life responsibilities with the pressure of aspiring to be the best at what you do?

My company was set up to provide flexibility in the extreme and work/life balance to suit women’s needs. But I personally never really managed to balance work and life responsibilities – it’s been (unhealthily) all work though, in the last analysis, family comes first.

  1. What has been the most significant barrier to achieving this stage in your career?

With all the changes in world priorities, in technology, in health, the biggest barrier remains good old-fashioned sexism. It’s a struggle to be taken seriously in a business world where men are in the default position. Sure, it’s better than it was. But women seem to disappear with age and I’m now 87.

  1. Do you experience resistance when you’re leading men - and if so, how do you deal with it?

With my financial success and age, I get fewer sexist micro-aggressions than when I was a novice in some office. I’d advise getting some allies and then using charm, humour and unfailing professionalism to break through.

  1. What is some of the advice you’d share with young women entering a male-dominated profession?

Charm, humour and unfailing professionalism! I’d also advise presenting yourself at your aspirational level and to differentiate yourself from your peer group.

  1. What was your breakthrough moment?

My breakthrough moment came when I stopped trying to be a Superwoman but rather learnt to show my vulnerability and share problems with my team.

  1. What is your greatest strength?

People are remembered for our successes. But it’s the ability to cope with failure that distinguishes the entrepreneur. My resilience is my greatest strength. It stems from my refugee childhood and has made me tough and given me the confidence to cope.

  1. What needs to change in the next 10 Years for women in data and technology?

The coming decade should see major employers increasing their talent pool by welcoming women in technology, as IT leaders and hence as CIOs. Getting that gender mix equitable would give enormous economic benefits.

  1. You started the Oxford internet to focus on the social implications of technology rather than technology itself - how do we balance the speed of innovation with an assessment of its impacts?

Small is beautiful when it comes to size of organisation and speed of innovation. The sense of urgency pervading start-ups is based on their paucity of resources. I follow the scientific principle: try something out; if it works do more of it; if it doesn’t work, try something else.