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Peak News

Women in tech

By Sophie Chant on 08/03/19 11:07
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Sophie Chant

Happy International Women's Day! This year, to celebrate, we caught up with some of the amazing women working here at Peak to find out how they got started on their chosen career paths, their biggest achievements at the company to date, and what advice they'd give to those looking to get started in their sector....

 

Amy Szadziewska, data scientist

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
My greatest achievement at Peak so far is developing our hyper-personalisation solution for Footasylum that they currently use for their email marketing but are hoping to roll out to other channels too. I've really enjoyed applying data science to marketing but also building a great relationship with a brand that understands the value that AI and data science can bring to their business.
What inspired you to become a data scientist?
I've always loved maths, but am also passionate about how it can be applied in a commercial setting, especially within marketing. Being a data scientist means I get the best of both worlds!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into data science?
It's not all about how much you know, but how well you know it. When you want to use certain data science techniques, take some time to learn how they work rather than blindly putting your data into it. Try and find some interesting case studies of how data science has been used in practise by companies – it'll make you curious to think about how they turned a general business problem (e.g. How can we improve our marketing) into a data science problem.
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
It's so important to be innovative and creative in what we do, so the more different we are, the better! The more curious we are and the more we think about other points of view, the better our work is.

 

Lauren King, chief marketing officer

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
I have only been at Peak for three months, but within that timeframe my biggest achievement has been to facilitate the connection between the commercial and technical team. I did this by defining a more focused Go to Market plan, and supported our Head of Product to build a process that enabled a stronger feedback loop between what our customers/users are saying and what we are building in the product. This is critical for us to be able to align our product vision with what the market is wanting
What inspired you to become a CMO?
From doing psychology at university, I have always been interested in what drives and influences behaviour. Marketing was a really great way for me to marry that interest up with my target-driven nature, plus always wanting to be the best at what I do! I also really enjoyed learning about business strategy, and had a real interest in growing and leading a business.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your line of work?
To be a successful marketing leader, you need to get experience working across a business or at least exposure of the different functions, to understand the entire customer journey. Only then can you start to grasp how strategy plays out and interconnects between different business functions.
To get this experience, I threw myself into as many projects as possible that were across an entire business – so get involved with different projects and activities as much as you can because you never know what opportunities that experience will lead you towards!
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
Diversity is key to a successful business – research shows that companies with a mixed board of males and females are more successful than their all one sex counterparts. It also allows for different styles of working and dynamics that can lead to better decisions or new ways of doing things.


Kirsty Parsons, data scientist

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
My biggest achievement at Peak has been building an end to end solution for a customer. I've also gained a lot of confidence and experience through Peak, in the opportunities to be in meetings with senior managers and CEOs of our customers. It's a nice feeling to build a product and then present your work to them.
What inspired you to become a data scientist?
I've always enjoyed science and being curious. Data science in particular captured my interest as it moves at such a fast pace, you're never bored, and it has applications across every industry you could think of. It's like puzzle-solving on a daily basis, allowing you to be really creative and constantly challenged, but with great rewards!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into data science?
Get to as many meet ups or local data science/machine learning events. They're a great way to meet people and to get inspired. If there is a specific technique you are interested in, pursue it! Being knowledgable in one area is a great asset.
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
In data science, there's many ways to solve the same problem. A balanced workforce is essential for putting different minds together to produce the best solution. It also brings variety and fun into your work.

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Emma Clayton, management accountant

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
I think my biggest achievement since joining Peak is building Peak’s five year business plan. It was stressful at the time but it’s so rewarding to see that something I did is influencing the future of Peak!
What inspired you to go into finance?
Accountants and finance teams are always going to be vital to any company, so I chose a career in a role that I felt I would always be making an impact – it also helped that I was always good with numbers in school!
There’s so much variety within the role, no two days are ever the same and on top of that the career progression is amazing – almost a fifth of all FTSE 100 CEOs are chartered accountants.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into your line of work?
I’d say to definitely do you research, there’s so many different accountant roles and not every one will suit you. Then, once you’ve decided on the route you’d like to take (tax, finance, management, forensic) you’ll need to decide how you’re going to get there and what route will suit you best (apprenticeship/university degree). Even if you choose one route initially, there’s nothing tying you to that for your whole career!
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
Diversity in the workforce is so key to having a successful team. Everyone has a different variety of skills, experience and ways of thinking. Imagine if you worked with 200 people who were exactly the same as you, you’d probably never be able to overcome the problems you face or come up with that creative amazing new idea that changes the world!


Kritika Sharma, people manager and administrator

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
Organising two events within a week of my joining felt like an achievement! However, I'm new, so my greatest one is yet to come!
What inspired you to join the People team?
I have always been a good listener and very organised, and this role requires one to possess such qualities. Moreover, what could be better then being in a job you not only like, but are good at?!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into HR?
My advice to all the HR aspirants would be to first and foremost figure out their actual traits and acknowledge their strengths, because I seriously feel it's a personality-driven profile instead of skills. You don't need any specific degree or special course to be in the role – all you need is the right approach. If you are genuinely a people person, then the sky's the limit!
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
Excess of anything is bad – imagine the world full of only women or only men! I am sure we don't like the sound of that. Variety is the spice of life, so don't keep yourself restricted to one thing. Be a learner, develop some hobbies and spend some time with your loved ones!



Kaylea Haynes, data science team leader

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
My greatest achievement to date is implementing a demand forecasting solution for Speedy, which they now use across a range of their products over the majority of their depots. It's really cool seeing my algorithms come to life and really impacting a business process!
What inspired you to become a data scientist?
I've always loved maths and data science is a really great way to apply maths/statistics and computer science to every day problems.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into data science?
Get to know the area well. Data science is a huge field so work out what interests you. Read blogs and listen to podcasts; some of my favourites are R bloggers, Pydata Manchester podcast and the Not so Standard Deviations podcast. Also, attend events and talk to other data scientists. Great events in Manchester are Her + Data, Manchester R and Manchester R Ladies, Pydata and PyLadies and MancML.
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
A data science team made up of a range of backgrounds and experiences is more innovative and creative as we can learn and share ideas to really push the boundaries of what is possible. It’s a lot more fun too as we can discuss and challenge each others' ideas – if we all thought the same it would be boring!

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Sophie Chant, people, team and culture manager

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
My greatest achievement at Peak is coordinating our office move from Jactin House to Neo. I had never project managed on such a scale, and it was a massive learning curve – challenging but, most of all, exciting and rewarding!
What inspired you to get into HR?
I love helping people. If I know I have made a positive difference to someone’s day, that is job satisfaction for me. The career progression in HR is fairly limitless, which for me is really important. I wanted a role that enabled me to effect change and shake up the way we view the work place.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into HR?
Make sure you have a real passion for people and wellbeing. This role is about people and you need to genuinely care. Our impact can be massive and that is a big responsibility.
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
We all have different life experiences. When you bring that all together, magic happens. If we all experienced, thought and felt the same, life would be one dimensional and nothing amazing would happen!


Lauren Rodgers, data scientist

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
I would say my biggest achievement at Peak is implementing a solution from start to finish for a customer.  There were lots of obstacles but by persisting through the tough times a fully working API was deployed.
What inspired you to become a data scientist?
I wanted to be a data scientist to show that doing a maths degree didn’t mean you only had accountancy or teaching as career options. I also loved the idea of seeing mathematical algorithms being applied to real life problems. The field of Data Science is constantly evolving with new methods and tools so keeping ahead of the game makes it very exciting!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into data science?
I definitely would recommend taking part in your local meet ups, and select a mini project you would like to do in your spare time. This shows you have the passion and initiative for this line of work, but is also a great talking point for your job interviews.
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
I think a balanced workforce is essential to maximise productivity – too much of one thing can lead to problems, as we are all told, too much chocolate isn’t good! A balanced workforce ensures a wide breadth of experience is in the team and creates a great culture too!



Ritika Dhyawala, software developer

What is your biggest achievement since joining Peak?
I've only been at Peak for two months, but I have managed to get an app in a good shape so that it can be delivered next week – this included its product management and development at the same time.
What inspired you to become a software developer?
I have always loved maths and programming, and this is what inspired me to take up software engineering as my profession!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into software engineering?
It requires patience, dedication and hard work to sustain a career in it. Never wait for anyone to come for solutions or instructions, be proactive enough to do things by yourself and keep learning.
In your opinion, why is a balanced workforce important?
This is really crucial if you want to stay motivated and happy. Excess of anything is bad – we have one life and we should think of exploring and experiencing every flavour of it!

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