The importance of being an ally

Richard Tate, EVP Data at DAZN Group & Chapter Lead at Women in Data®

Watch The importance of being an ally session

1-2pm – Lunch and Learn – Virtual Wednesday, 24th November


Richard Tate, EVP Data at DAZN Group & Chapter Lead at Women in Data®

The panel: 

Amritpal Assi, Director, Data Innovation and Delivery at GSK

Simon Walker, Managing Partner at Kubrick Group

Robert Barbour, Data Director at Travis Perkins

Paul Hollands, Chief Data Officer at Hastings Direct


The importance of being an ally


A 40 minute panel discussion, followed by Q&A

What is allyship and why get involved?

Richard Tate, Women in Data’s chapter lead for Allyship will discuss the significance of being an ally, its many benefits and how best to encompass and encourage it when building data capability.

He will be joined by inspirational leaders from across industry to discuss the roles they play in the development of female talent – whether that be throughout their own careers, in their organisations or more widely.  Richard will share what the panel has learnt, immediate actions to take away and reinforce that it is never too late to become an ally.

Richard hails from Yorkshire originally, and began his career working as a journalist for BBC Radio York, before moving to work for the BBC and then Sky in London. Returning to the BBC, he was tasked with building the Crimewatch website, and it was curiosity over how many people were interacting with it that launched his career in data. Over the last 20 years Richard’s work has included mobile and web analytics at Three UK, global digital and marketing analytics at Telefonica Digital and hardware and software data analytics at Tesco. Originally joining EE, Richard developed a broad data organisation spanning analytics, engineering, decisioning and data science across all BT’s Consumer’s brands before joining the world of sports streaming at global platform DAZN. 

The Panel

Simon Walker

Founder, Kubrick

Simon founded Kubrick with Managing Partner Tim Smeaton in response to the expanding technology skills gap, which has continued to accelerate with an acute shortage in the data, and AI, and cloud space. With 20 years of experience as a business partnership, Simon and Tim shared a vision of an alternative model which could solve this most pressing issue for businesses and society at large, helping organisations to evolve and embrace next generation technology whilst kick-starting the careers of our future workforce and leaders.

Upon graduating from university, Simon began his career in the film industry. However, he quickly realised this was not his strong suit and made the sensible decision to become an entrepreneur. He utilised his creative faculties to design businesses which address the most pressing industry issues, joining forces with Tim for their first business in 2000. They launched a search business which specialised in finding talent with both technical skill and business literacy – a much sought-after combination of the time. Their experience was invaluable, as they learned to grow a business from a small, niche operator to a listed company which operates in 70+ countries with over 500 members of staff.

Simon is especially passionate about the economic and social possibilities of harnessing data and AI; whilst it has already revolutionised our capabilities in areas such as healthcare, renewable energy, and space exploration, we are still at the start of our journey. He is a strong advocate for improving diversity and inclusion in data and AI, recognising that we all reap the benefits of diversity of thought and representation. He works closely with both our clients and technology partners to understand and anticipate upcoming challenges in an everchanging world.

“I am incredibly proud of the strategic partnerships we have forged with our clients. They continue to use Kubrick consultants to transform and better prepare themselves for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Amritpal Assi

Director – Data Innovation & Delivery, GSK

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Amrit leads the Data Innovation and Delivery Team in GSK, whose focus is on using data in innovative ways, and in aggressive time scales, to drive immediate business performance. Amrit has worked in various data roles and industries over the last 15 years of his career, namely in Healthcare Insurance, Retail, Financial Services, Management Consulting, Media Agencies and Media and Technology firms.

Upon graduating from University, Amrit set out his career in the field of Data as a Data Specialist in the Healthcare Insurance Industry, this sparked his passion on how data can drive positive change in every aspect of an organisation. Amrit formed a foundation as developer analyst on a core set of tools and technologies, but through time having an agnostic view of the world of data enabling him to work on a growing set of tools and technologies.

With 15 years’ experience in the field of Data, Amrit is passionate on how Data is used to drive positive change in and for organisations, Beit through the direct value it delivers, to achieving sustainability goals. The use of data touches almost every aspect of our lives, from when we go shopping to using the various apps on our smart devices. 

Amrit is a strong advocate and champion for improving and role modelling diversity and inclusion in the workplace through the growth of the large and diverse teams he has led. This includes diversity of thought, social mobility, and backgrounds, as he has seen the tangible and direct value having diverse workforces bring to an organisation. Amrit is mentor at the university he attended, and an Advisor for the Media and Technology industry.

Rob Barbour

Director – Group Data & Insights, Travis Perkins PLC

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Rob Barbour is the Group Data and Insights Director for Travis Perkins Plc; the UK’s largest distributor of building materials to the building, construction and home improvement markets.  Rob graduated in Computer Science, and went on to study an MSc in Computational Methods and Imaging in Medicine at the University of Manchester, focussing on software development, biophysics and medical imaging techniques.  

He joined Travis Perkins Plc from Accenture where he developed his fast-moving, data-focused career over 14 years. He had pivotal roles in large scale, global transformation projects across the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa spanning a wide range of sectors, including government, comms, high tech and banking.  He is a BCS Fellow who is passionate about using data for good in our industry, promoting collaboration and innovation through diversity, and he strives to  empower colleagues in his team and across the TP Group with Data Literacy/skills enabling them to embrace digital transformation.  A big believer in continual skills development, to this day he sets himself annual learning targets from leadership development right down to analytics/data science programming.

Travis Perkins Plc has a clear strategic focus to treat data as an asset, becoming an insight driven business, empowered with the right skills and underpinned by trustworthy data.

Paul Hollands

Chief Data Officer, Hastings Direct

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Paul is an experienced senior data leader with nearly 20 years experience in data roles. He has a strong track record of successful data transformation programmes, leading both organisational & people capability programmes as well as technical transformation programmes in order to help organisations fully leverage their data for commercial and customer value.

Paul started as an analyst, working in risk, pricing and customer analytical teams, working up to lead large analytical teams. He has thrived in putting people development at the centre of his transformation programmes, in particular focusing on leadership development and supporting talented people to leverage their own potential to meet their career aspirations.

Whilst at NatWest he led the development and launch of NatWest Data Academy, an industry first capability that changed how continuous learning of technical and non-technical skills, across the organisation, could contribute to a data first culture.

Paul’s current role at Hastings sees him leading an exciting, cloud first data transformation programme, rapidly modernising the data capability at Hastings and building a strong foundation of people capabilities to ensure the organisation becomes an industry leader in its use of data and analytics. A year in to that work, the technical landscape is already completely transformed, with users already delivering benefits from that investment to drive exciting new use cases, with the pace of change challenging typical industry best practice.