Can you give an example of support or inspiration you’ve experienced in your career?
There is one instance from a few years ago which I will never forget. I had only just gotten my first job as a Senior Engineer and was struggling with impostor syndrome and not feeling “senior enough” for the role. One day over lunch, I confided about this insecurity to one of my female colleagues, who said quite plainly - “If you want to be a senior engineer, you need to start thinking of yourself as a senior engineer”. Her simple piece of advice proved to be life-changing for me, and it completely changed my perspective about my skills and how I approached my daily work. This experience also taught me how valuable it is to have allies at work, and that a little encouragement for someone can go a long way.
What biases have you experienced in your career and how have you overcome them?
The thing with biases, or at least with the ones I’ve faced, is that they can be very subtle. You could easily talk yourself into believing that it is not a big deal, and you can blame it on conditioning. One common bias I have seen among developers is that software engineers should fit into a certain mould - be into pop culture, play video games, watch nerdy science fiction movies etc. I have been told more than once that “I am not a real developer” because I do not play video games and because I did not watch Star Wars. These comments were probably made as a joke, but imagine the same people interviewing candidates who do not fit the mould. It is so easy for this subconscious bias to influence, for example, the decision-making process. I have found that the only way to overcome these biases is by educating myself, and always questioning the people who openly demonstrate a bias.
What’s something you’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic you would have never expected and what advice would you share with other women?
I never expected to miss my morning commute! I realised how important that commute time was for both for my mental and physical health. Even on busy days, I could count on the walk on either side of my tube journey to get some much-needed exercise, and the journey itself gave me time to organise my thoughts and get into “work” mode.
What advice would you give to this generation of girls about how to achieve their goals?
Keep asking “why”. It is the most natural thing as a kid but as we grow into adults, we have a tendency to stop doing it. Conditioning plays a big role in this as well, especially for girls. But once you know what you what to want to achieve, don’t let the “status quo” stop you from getting there. Don’t stop questioning it, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to get to where you want to be.
A diverse and inclusive LEGO GroupIt is our ambition to build a truly diverse and inclusive organization that helps us reach and inspire all children, regardless of who they are or where they come from.
An empowering partnershipRead about the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) set by UN Women to guide us on our journey of equality and inclusivity.