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Happy International Women’s Day

To all women across the world, we wish you a very, Happy International Women’s Day!

Below you can read what 5 women from Bank of America had to say about their experience in technology. Covering, how being mentored and supported helped them in their career journey and their best piece of advice for their younger self.

Photo Suzanne

Suzanne Janse van Rensburg

Managing Director, Global Technology Executive at Bank of America

How did you get into the tech space?

I studied Business at university, but had always been interested in technology and thought about ways I could ultimately combine the two fields.

I was delighted to secure a role at Bank of America and have worked here for a number of years across various roles. In 2018, a colleague recommended me for the role of Chief Operating Officer, Technology & Operations, EMEA. Two and half years later, I am still very much enjoying the role and I am excited to say it has recently been expanded to include COO for Global Markets Operations Technology. The growth opportunities in technology are boundless!

What is it like being a woman working in technology?

I find it hugely rewarding and enjoyable. Technology is a fast-paced dynamic environment and a truly great space to learn and develop new skills in a variety of roles.  

Who is your visible female role model?

The greatest female role model in my life is my grandmother, an amazing lady, extremely hard-working, and a strong woman who cared about people, the community, and the environment.  She taught me to be resilient and that strength and growth come through continuous effort and determination. 

Did you have a mentor when you started your career journey? How important was this, what impact did this have? 

Yes. Throughout my career I have been lucky to have a number of mentors and sponsors, their feedback and guidance continue to have a positive impact on my career. I pay this forward by ensuring I carve out time in my schedule for people in the same way people do for me. 

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

The advice I would give my younger self is that in every challenge lies an opportunity to learn and grow, so face them head-on because you will look back on them and smile.

Photo of Nikita Bascombe, Assistant Vice President, Software Engineer at Bank of America

Nikita Bascombe

Assistant Vice President, Software Engineer at Bank of America

How did you get into the tech space?
I’ve always enjoyed solving problems and learning about new technologies.  Studying mechanical engineering at university gave me the opportunity to build a CubeSat satellite prototype and conduct experiments using a 3D printer. Learning to code was another new challenge that I was able to first pursue during an internship at Bank of America. Four years on I’m now continuing this journey as a software engineer. 

What is it like being a woman working in technology?
The breadth of the industry means the number of opportunities does not fall short. However, it’s not uncommon for me to be the only woman in a meeting. This gender imbalance stems back to university where less than 20% of my course were female.  Although incoming graduate talent is gender diverse, there is still progress to be made in ensuring this diversity is reflected across leadership roles.

Who is your visible female role model?
My role model is my mum who has always supported me in all of my endeavours. 

Did you have a mentor when you started your career journey? How important was this, what impact did this have on your career? 

Having someone who is willing to share their expertise, is available for advice, and gives honest feedback is invaluable. I’ve been able to expand my network and better understand how my work fits into the larger picture. I hope to do the same with new graduates and as a volunteer instructor on an upcoming CFG course. 

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Be more confident in yourself! 

Photo Letizia Pepe (1)

Letizia Pepe

Global Markets Technology Senior Delivery Lead at Bank of America

How did you get into the tech space?

I have always loved mathematics and problem solving as a young girl. Then, while I was studying electrical and electronic engineering at University, I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to talk to, meet and network with a range of people from different industries and explore opportunities in the tech space. The scope of opportunities available in the technology space at Bank of America is what attracted me to work here.

What is it like being a woman working in technology?

At Bank of America, I never felt like a ‘woman working in technology’ rather a teammate/employee. There are a vast array of roles within technology, suitable for all skill sets, it’s an excellent environment to learn and develop and I’m delighted to see more and more women are choosing a career in technology.  

Who is your visible female role model?

Cathy Bessant, our chief operations and technology officer is an amazing female role model. A woman of integrity with drive and passion for our work, who has truly maintained her identity and is one of our most positive, successful executives globally. 

Did you have a mentor when you started your career journey? How important was this, what impact did this have on your career? 

I have always had mentors and sponsors throughout my career, never formally and each has been incredibly important to act as a sounding board, to help guide me to take the next step, and to raise my profile. It’s important to find such figures in your career and equally important to give back especially to junior women working in technology, to nurture talent and support growth in the sector.

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be impatient would be my advice. I wish I had taken more time working as a developer before pursuing a management track. Success will come, but the time to build a strong foundation is key to a strong career. Be patient!

Photo Anita Patel

Anita Patel

Vice President, Data Scientist at Bank of America

How did you get into the tech space?
I’m a Computing graduate. I started my technology career as a software developer and am now a Lead Data Scientist within Global Corporate Investment Banking (GCIB) & Sales Technology. I interned with Bank of America in my penultimate year and then joined as a graduate in Sales, Research and Capital Markets (SRCM) Technology in 2013. I have had a host of incredible opportunities to work on some super interesting projects and last year, I was delighted to be named ‘Data Science Professional of the Year’ by WatersTechnology.

What is it like being a woman working in technology?
My experience of being a woman in technology has been positive. There is a lot of support and opportunities to meet fellow women in the industry which can help you build a strong network. Although it is currently a male-dominated field, things are changing and there are lots of ways to help mentor and inspire the future generation to pursue a career in technology. 

Who is your visible female role model?
My female role model is my mother. Her ability to balance her career and family life inspired me from a young age as it was not the norm amongst my friends. She has always motivated me to do my best and never give up, especially in the face of adversity. Her nature as a teacher inspires me to always share my knowledge and experience with others.

Did you have a mentor when you started your career journey? How important was this, what impact did this have on your career? 

I have had some great mentors who have helped shape my career and given me invaluable advice and strong encouragement which has helped me pursue goals that I may not have thought possible.

I am passionate about sharing my experience and knowledge as well as demystifying any preconceptions, in order to inspire others, especially girls, to pursue careers in technology. I am a mentor for Code First: Girls and Ada College and involved in various recruitment events for Imperial College London. In addition, I am keen to help others in technology to continue to grow their skillset especially in areas such as data science. At the bank, I hosted a hands-on data science workshop, in collaboration with the Women’s Developers Group, which aimed to teach developers and non-developers the process of creating a predictive model. 

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I would say be more confident in your abilities – you have more knowledge and are capable of more than you think. And even if the worst happens and you fail, that is still an experience that you can learn from and use while moving forward onto the next opportunity. Don’t be afraid of a challenge, accept the risk and go for it, you will regret not taking it more!

Photo Andrea Fagan

Andrea Fagan

Vice President, Software Engineer III at Bank of America

How did you get into the tech space?

Originally, I graduated in Science in 2008. For those who remember this was the middle of a recession. I was interested in technology, so I reskilled as a developer and worked on building my tech network. This helped me obtain my current role in Bank of America. 

What is it like being a woman working in technology?
I really enjoy technology. I love to be learning continuously so technology suits me very well. The teams I have worked on have been very supportive and I have never felt different. That said, I feel we cannot rest on our laurels with the success in supporting women into technology that we have seen. Continued focus on unconscious bias is essential to maintain and see further progress. .

Who is your visible female role model?
I have many female role models all for different reasons. My Aunt is one who I have admired over the years, building a career in a new country and leading a good life as a result of her efforts. 

Did you have a mentor when you started your career journey? How important was this, what impact did this have on your career? 

I did. I was fortunate to have a mentor who was also a sponsor. They gave me the opportunity to learn how to be an enterprise-level software developer. I have been able to seek their advice over the years to help with my career development. To pay it forward I am now a mentor for the CFG mentoring program and continue to be an instructor on their courses. I just love to see people flourish, it fills me with joy to watch as somebody gains confidence and starts to take control of their career. I have learned that potential comes in many forms and sometimes it just needs a bit of care and support to help it grow.

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Enjoy where you are right now and really look for all the learning opportunities.

 

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