dunnhumby recently hosted a groundbreaking Women In Tech event, and invited three tech trailblazers – Corie Hawkins, Ravneet Shah & Julie Woods-Moss – to share their powerful career trajectories and invaluable lessons learned!
From learning and development options to support networks such as dh Proud, dh GEN (Gender Equality Network) and dh Parents & Careers, dunnhumby make sure that their values of passion, curiosity, courage and collaboration are at the heart of what they do.
A global leader in Customer Data Science, dunnhumby strives to empower businesses everywhere to thrive in a modern data-driven economy. And how do they do that? By always prioritizing customers and placing them at the epicenter of every decision.Their Customer Data Science Platform is a bespoke mix of technology, software and consulting, and as a result, they're looking for tech professionals to join them in their journey to maintaining world-class technologies.
Keep reading to find out their top tips and how, as a woman in tech, you could draw inspiration from this.
An Unexpected Turn: The Power of Embracing Change and Personal Growth on the Path to Becoming CTO!
Have you ever faced unexpected changes and experienced growth as a result? This mirrors the journey of Ravneet Shah, the current CTO of Allica Bank. Through hard work and determination, she realised that nothing was impossible and her career was in her hands.
Early on, she embraced the mantra, "Let's start working on it," recognising that tackling problems step by step is the key to success. Whenever you have a problem, break it down. What needs to be solved, and by what timeframe? Who else can help? What are my aims? Through this, Ravneet built up her resilience and commitment to continuous learning, which proved vital later in her career. This philosophy also propelled her through the ranks, and within three months, she mastered crucial concepts, assuming a leadership role as a head in the telecom industry.
After moving to the UK in 2011, the turning point in Ravneet’s career came when the UK branch of her company closed down unexpectedly. Faced with the necessity to step outside her comfort zone, she joined Santander. This shift became an opportunity for personal and professional growth. At Santander, Ravneet learned the importance of investing in oneself, a philosophy that would later contribute to her rise in the ranks. Joining as a Lead Integration Engineer in January 2020, she quickly ascended to the role of Vice President of Engineering within a year and eventually claimed the position of Chief Technology Officer.
Despite moments of self-doubt, particularly when securing the VP role, Ravneet scaled her team from 5 to an impressive 100. Drawing inspiration from Carl Rogers' "Becoming a Person," she encourages others to challenge themselves continuously. Her story serves as a testament to the extraordinary possibilities that unfold when one navigates the unexpected turns of their professional journey with determination and a willingness to invest in personal and intellectual growth.
From the US to the UK and beyond!
Are you considering a career move that could take you across countries or even continents? You’re in luck! Just like Ravneet, Corie Hawkins, Head of Retail Customer Engineering Google Cloud, is a seasoned professional in the world of tech. She started her career journey in Network Engineering, and as she grew in the world of IT, her trajectory led her into Database Administration. However, it was a move to Switzerland that marked a pivotal moment in her career. Corie was tasked with a significant project involving data centre migration, but initially felt the weight of responsibility and questioned if she could take on the challenges she faced. Yet, this very experience ignited a realisation –growth comes from embracing challenges, even those that initially seem impossible.
Originally hailing from Texas, Corie also learnt to embrace change; and has had a career that spans countries including the UK, Switzerland, and Finland. Central to her success is the importance of knowing one's "North Star" and non-negotiables, and as a firm advocate for a growth mindset, she emphasises the need to stay flexible and open to opportunities, always remaining curious and committed to continuous learning.
Corie also encourages other women to use their platforms not just for personal advancement but to elevate others, recognising that progress is non-linear, and self-compassion is crucial. In a world that often demands unwavering consistency, she advocates for taking one's journey in waves, acknowledging that it's entirely acceptable to reassess and change priorities. Corie’s unique perspective suggests that instead of seeking a single inspirational role model, one should become a "mentor magpie," drawing inspiration from various sources and adapting the best elements to their journey. This nuanced approach offers a refreshing perspective on navigating the dynamic landscape of a tech career.
Decades of tech wisdom
Julie Woods-Moss has worked in the technology sector for the past four decades, and as such had a lot of interesting insights. Embarking on a varied career journey, Julie has made a valuable impact as the Chair of dunnhumby, CMO of ThoughtWorks, and a Non-Executive Director of the Liverpool fund. From her formative years as a teenager, Julie embraced the mantra of forging one's unique path, resisting the conventional pull toward Medicine or Law that was common for her peers. Instead, she became an encrypter, laying the groundwork for a career that would defy expectations and redefine success.
As her twenties unfolded, Julie navigated the corporate landscape with strategic precision. Working at industry giants such as Siemens, IBM, Liberty Global, BT, Tartar (as CTO), and McKinsey, she learned the importance of sponsorship and personal branding. Her thirties brought a new dimension to her life, marked by the delicate balance of career and motherhood. During this phase, Julie enlisted the guidance of a coach, whilst her forties became a period of introspection, where she embraced the 80/20 principle, cultivated a growth mindset, and recognised the significance of building a robust professional network.
Unapologetically labelled as opinionated and pushy, Julie wore these tags as badges of honour, confident in her convictions. Now in her fifties, she imparts the wisdom of knowing oneself and the transformative power of writing a book. Her multifaceted journey serves as a testament to the evolving nature of success and the continual process of self-discovery in the professional realm. She left the audience with her “Julie-isms” which we list below:
- It’s easier to find a good job than a good family
- Schedule business like it’s a fitness
- Mentor all the way
- Create credit before making a debt
- Always prioritise learning
The journey of these tech trailblazers—Ravneet Shah, Corie Hawkins, and Julie Woods-Moss—offers a wealth of inspiration and wisdom for anyone navigating a tech career. Ravneet's story exemplifies the power of determination and continuous learning, proving that overcoming imposter syndrome can lead to extraordinary career heights. Corie's insights underscore the importance of adaptability, curiosity, and the willingness to challenge oneself, providing a refreshing perspective on navigating the intricacies of a tech career. Lastly, Julie's decades of experience serve as a guiding beacon, emphasising the significance of personal branding, a growth mindset, and the value of building a strong professional network.
Whether it's breaking down challenges step by step, navigating international career moves, or embracing a nonlinear path to success, these women advocate for a holistic approach to professional growth.