“Every single role is technology-related in some way, shape or form whether: you’re reliant upon technology to support your role; or you’re pioneering the creation of technology itself“
How did you find your way into tech?
I have always been passionate about a variety of different things, each of these not necessarily tech-related – and that’s an important thing to remember – these interests, when combined together, led me to where I am today:
- A desire to learn, in general, using technology from a young age (e.g. French games on the PC to learn phrases to help me when on holiday, designing CD covers in high school using limited drawing packages
- An interest in learning how things work in general
- A loathing of bad customer experience, bad user design, and rotten customer journeys
- A bit of a creative streak and a love of designing things (from clothes to interior decoration)
- An eye for detail, whether through selecting an ideal landscape position for a photo shot or noticing that digital visuals were just a little off-centre / too high / not the right shade
- And a yearning to fight the norm
Interestingly, to combine all of these I fell firstly into website design / game design & creation, then application design & building (think Matrix / CSI swipe touch screens), then I stumbled upon the beginnings of what was to become the Social Media wave, landing firmly in the exciting realm of data, analytics & insights, handling strategically every type of data you can imagine!
What does your role involve?
I’m the Global Head of Data Science & Strategy for Grünenthal, a pharmaceutical company focusing on pain management and related diseases.
The role itself ranges from the definition of business strategy to the implementation of everything that entails: initiative roadmap creation, process definition, platform technology, the governance of it all, but most importantly is the exciting possibility of using Data Science to get the data to talk, ensuring that our business is truly data-driven in all decisions made.
As well as having a business-facing focus, there is also a market-facing focus, meaning that it’s my responsibility to keep up with the latest trends, understand what’s happening across industries in terms of data, and keep my ear to the floor for exciting developments as well as looking at potential opportunities for partnerships.
My previous role involved testing out bleeding-edge technologies so I love to find new ways in which we can innovate, whilst also combatting things like data bias, ensuring that solutions are built responsibly – ethical / responsible AI is a huge interest of mine and it’s imperative that everyone plays a role in ensuring technology is responsibly built to ensure existing stereotypes & bias are quashed and not emphasised further through technology.
What advice would you offer?
Create your own path forward – there are so many exciting roles to choose from, some which won’t even exist today: my role didn’t exist when I was in school, or even in University!
Also, do not be put off by stereotypes – I think I’ve came up against (and thrown out!) every stereotype humanly possible!
Every single role is technology-related in some way, shape or form, whether you’re reliant upon technology to support your role, or you’re pioneering the creation of technology itself.
What did you enjoy about your education?
I absolutely loved being able to explore things and get creative whilst learning. It’s opened the doors to many possibilities.
Don’t be afraid to throw yourself into any opportunities that arise, even if completely outwith your comfort zone – one of the best early opportunities I had (despite it being a bit scary!) was the possibility to extend the council’s employee portal as part of my Master’s degree – such a great experience and I’m still, to this day, in contact with the person who was my boss back then!