Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

Vanquis Banking Group recognise that gender diversity is extremely important in all functions of an organisation, but especially so in technical functions such as Data & Analytics and Technology & Change, where the benefits of a diverse workforce add vibrancy, creativity, productivity, innovation, and collaboration through differing views, perspectives, approaches, and life-experiences. We want to ensure that here at Vanquis we reach that balanced diversity and believe that Women in Data is the best placed partner out there to help us achieve this.


Sarah Stott
Sarah Stott
Data Governance Controls Manager
Vikki Palmer Corporate
Vikki Palmer
Lead – Client Engineering
Nadia Zaheer
Nadia Zaheer
Data Science Manager

How Vanquis Banking Group see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

In the next few years, we expect to see the amount of data associated with our customers and prospective customers grow exponentially, and the recency of this data be shortened significantly. There are pros and cons to this. On the one hand, access to more granular, richer and expansive data will provide us with much deeper insights and understanding into our customer’s wants and needs, allowing us to make even better decisions for them financially at the most appropriate point in time. On the other hand, the confidence in the validity and accuracy of this expansive data may diminish, subject to it’s source and how it has been transformed, whether generatively using AI or otherwise. We therefore see data governance playing an even greater role in the data strategy than it does today.

about Vanquis Banking Group

Vanquis Banking Group is a leading specialist bank, for the 14 million UK adults not well served by traditional lenders. Since 1880, the Group has been providing financial inclusion and supporting social mobility through a range of products and services to those whose needs have not been well met by traditional lenders .

We offer credit cards and loans as Vanquis, Vehicle Finance as Moneybarn and through the award-winning fin-tech brand Snoop, our group can now provide people with personalised insights to help them better manage and understand their finances.

Expertise: Data Transformation, Data Governance, Data Stewardship, Controls Building, Technical Business Analysis, Requirements Gathering, Problem Solving, Root Cause Analysis, Project Management

Education: BSc in Management Science (First Class Hons)

Social Media: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/sarahlwstott

I am so lucky to work at an organisation that supports and encourages my development.  I have been at Vanquis Banking Group for 18 years, and in this time I have worked in four different parts of the business.  Each role has given me an opportunity to work with our data in a different way, along with exposing me to different areas of the Finance industry.

This journey has taken me from querying and report building, through the hustle and bustle of Operations, through to process development and technical requirements gathering.  It was during my time as a Data Steward that I became even more passionate about protecting and improving our data, which led to me moving into my current role in Data Governance.  Hands-on experience with a lot of our data sources, along with strong working relationships through the virtual network of Data Stewards and data SMEs puts me in a great position to understand how we can make the most of our data, along with the opportunities we have to improve it.

I have benefitted from very experienced and generous mentors – and I am now reciprocating through taking on mentees of my own.  I believe these relationships have the potential to make huge differences in careers.

I’m an introvert and I am a strong advocate for Diversity of Thought within teams, and I work hard to run meetings where everyone has the opportunity to contribute in their chosen way.

Outside of work my main hobby is learning and performing magic – predominantly with cards.  I was recently incredibly proud to be promoted to become a Member of the Inner Magic Circle, a real honour as a maximum of 300 people can hold this degree worldwide.

Expertise: Microsoft 365, Azure Virtual Desktop, Communication and Engagement, Incident Management, Training and Coaching

Education: GCSE level Maths, English Literature & Language, French, Business Studies, History, Science, and IT.

Social Media:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/vikki-palmer-30786879/

If you had asked me ten years ago if I thought I would be part of Women in Data, I would have most likely laughed and told you that the career path I wanted to take was firmly in customer service. My exposure to IT as a small child was limited although having a brother in IT definitely helped me develop an appreciation for how cool technology was and lit a fire in my young analytical brain.

By the age of 27 I had carved out a career as a contact centre manager and it was at that time, I was fortunate to have a fantastic female manager who encouraged her managers to always challenge, always ask questions and always improve.  Three years after that I found myself in IT having decided I wanted our customer facing IT to be better and never looked back! I can’t say I was raised in a family who were particularly aware or educational when it came to inequality, but I did have parents who always wanted better for me and for me to achieve to avoid the same struggles they had faced. No one told me I couldn’t do anything because I was a girl (except football) and with a primary school class of predominantly girls it didn’t occur to me that I would one day work in a field which might be male dominated.

I joined the Vanquis Banking Group in 2019 as an IT Product Adoption Specialist and two years later became the Client Engineering Lead. Some days it still terrifies me. I still don’t consider myself as technical, I had no idea what a client was until two years ago or how applications mysteriously came to be on them and now, I run a team who look after multiple device types, device builds, application deployments as well as Azure Virtual Desktop for more than 2000 people. I’ve taken part in industry recognised benchmarking exercises with Forrester, been filmed for a webinar with Microsoft showcasing and sharing our Azure Virtual Desktop implementation and partnered with Nerdio for a customer case study. I love being part of Women in Data and feel that its important to let people know that you don’t have to come from an IT background, have a string of qualifications or a planned career path to get here.

Nadia, the Data Science Manager at VBG, has been recognized as the UK’s Global Exceptional Talent & Proven Leader in Data Science [ML and AI] for 2020 and was named an IBM Data Science Industry Thought Leader in 2019. She holds a PhD in understanding why people don’t share data.

With 18 years of cross-industry expertise—including in sectors such as Telecoms, Banks, Retail, Supply Chain, Airlines, and Fintech—she has built 8 high-performing teams from scratch, spanning from IBM to startups and now at Vanquis Banking Group. She leads organizations through their MLOps/AIOps transformation journey, currently spearheading this initiative at Vanquis Banking Group. Her ability to transform data into value by understanding the customer life cycle exemplifies her strategic approach. She is at the helm of the AI and GenAI strategy for VBG, aiming to drive growth, efficiency and cost savings for the group. She speaks to both humans and machines, connecting diverse perspectives.

Her passion for STEM4Girls and role as the SteerCo Lead of Women in Data Brand Partnership at Vanquis Banking Group reflect her commitment to fostering diversity and empowerment in the field.

Name: Samantha Musiyiwa

Job Title: Data and Analytics Apprentice

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-musiyiwa-7175a5246

What’s your role and what is involved?

Role: Data & Analytics apprentice at Chaucer Group

I am Data & Analytics apprentice at Chaucer. My role involves dashboard development for Chaucer’s analytical platforms. I have experience using tools such as Tableau, Power Bi, SQL and Snowflake. I also undertake a lot of studying by doing courses so I can continue to upskill myself and quench my curiosity for all things Data.

What was journey into Data?

After completing secondary school, I was not sure what profession I wanted to go into until I was inspired to work in Data by my aunt who worked in the industry. Her role intrigued me as it was unlike anything I knew at the time. I did not know of anyone else who was working a career in Data and at school, working in this industry wasn’t discussed either. I was inquisitive about her career in Data and as it peaked my interest, I decided I wanted to work in the Data industry too. Eventually I landed the role as the first Data & Analytics Apprentice at Chaucer. My journey into Data will not end here as I aspire to continue working in Data roles beyond my apprenticeship.

What does joining Women in Data mean to me?

Joining Women in Data means an opportunity for me to join this positive movement and in doing so, continue to champion women working in the data industry and inspire women to embark on a career in data. I hope I can be the representation that may encourage a woman to take the leap of faith and explore a career in this fascinating industry.

Name: Amita Butt

Job Title: Senior Business Intelligence Analyst

LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/amita-butt-32531112/

What’s your role and what is involved?

Role: Senior Business Intelligence Analyst at Chaucer Group.

I am responsible for evaluating business processes and complex sets of data to determine recommendations for business growth and improvement. I play a key role in developing and maintaining our data infrastructure. This includes managing our data warehouse and ensuring data is properly stored, organised, and maintained. To achieve this, I work closely with data engineers, data testers and a scrum master and together we ensure that our data architecture is scalable, reliable, and efficient. I enjoy the diverseness of this role as it means not doing the same thing every day.

What was your journey into data?

Having completed a master’s in business systems Analysis and Design I began my career as a Visual Basic and SQL Analyst Developer in the London Market Insurance Sector. I now have over 21 years’ experience within the financial services industry and my desire to acquire the ‘single source of the truth’ shifted my career into the BI space in 2008. Having the required soft skills, I’ve successfully managed to gather key information, ask the right questions, and using strong business acumen to provide important data insights. This role continues to excite me, AI and Machine Learning is the next chapter in my data journey and I’m looking forward to what the future holds for me in this technology space.

What does joining women in data mean to me?

As a co-founder of the Women in Chaucer Employee Relationship Group representing and encouraging women to be the best version of themselves is pivotal to my self-belief. When I began my journey in IT as a 23-year-old British Asian female I had to work extra hard to ‘fit’ into a male dominated industry.  I now want to support other females to have a seat around the table and to encourage them to follow their dreams.