Happy International Women’s Day! This year we wanted to highlight the voices of two women within Team TouchNote: Kate, Head of Finance; and Archana, Senior QA engineer. We had a lot of fun chatting to them about their career paths and advice they have for women entering their respective industries.
Can you tell us a little about your role at TouchNote?
I’ve been at TouchNote for almost 4 years now, and spent the last 18 months as Head of Finance, leading both commercial & core Finance as well as Data & Insights. When working for a small business your role becomes very diverse and you’ve got to be comfortable getting stuck in and hands on, as well as tackling the bigger picture questions. I love working with such a talented and driven team and it’s a big motivator for me to be constantly learning and developing such a diverse skill set.
This year, the International Women’s Day slogan is #ChooseToChallenge, what does that mean for you in your work and general life?
Two things spring to mind for this question:
Choosetochallenge yourself – you have a choice to challenge yourself but it’s also okay to not always be your best. As long as you feel that your general direction is taking you where you want to go then persevere and don’t let go of your dreams. Don’t forget, mistakes lead to growth!
Choosetochallenge Corporate Mentality – As a leader it’s important to me to embrace gender parity. This means keeping teams as equal and balanced as possible, and checking in constantly on unconscious bias. Currently, I think it’s really important that we should be aware of the adverse effect that the pandemic has had particularly on women and how we can address this issue moving forwards. At TouchNote I know we are striving to continue educating ourselves on mental health and that we should all lead with empathy, especially during these challenging times.
What advice would you give to women considering a career in your field?
In the finance world, understand as much as you can about all the different routes you can take as early as possible. Speak to wider networks (friends, family, colleagues) to understand what your desired job entails, and identify what areas you have an interest in. It’s really important to have a passion for what you’re doing everyday and to work for a sector that excites you, and for a company whose products you believe in, whether that be in professional services or industry.
If you can, try to set a goal for where you want to be in your career and work backwards from there, ensuring you know what qualifications and experience you’ll need to build up to get there. Always think about what’s important to you and how you want to achieve a fulfilling life. It can be very exciting throwing yourself into your career but it’s also important to maintain a work life balance that works for you so that you can sustain your motivation levels further down the line.
What more do you think could be done to support women entering your industry?
I was really inspired by my female Economics teacher at school who had a real passion for the subject and so much so that I went on to study it at University. I think having women mentors and role models is a really powerful channel to build confidence in women looking to have a career in Finance.
Having trained in a graduate scheme in one of the Big 4 accountancy firms, it was great to be in a department that was quite balanced in terms of gender, but you could definitely see that balance start to taper off as you looked further up in management. I think more women in those senior leadership positions will lead to more women being inspired to enter the industry as a whole.
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
If you set your mind to it, you really can do whatever you want to do in life. Persevere and be prepared to work hard but also know that it’s ok to deviate from your original path as you learn more and more about what you do and don’t like in a work context (and also on a personal level!). Learn as much as you can, adapt and improve and most importantly try to enjoy yourself along the way.
1. Can you tell us a little about your role at TouchNote?
I have been working as a Senior QA Engineer for TouchNote for almost 2 years now.
The TouchNote testing team test the app on all the platforms; Android, iOS, Web and Backend to make sure our application is bug free all the time. In other words, we are the gatekeepers of the product.
2. This year, the International Women’s Day slogan is #ChooseToChallenge, what does that mean for you in your work and general life?
You always grow when you choose to challenge yourself and challenge the situation. In my first job in my career, my job locations kept changing more frequently, sometimes to locations whose native language I didn’t speak. And sometimes I had to travel longer distances to the workplace (sometimes more than 2 hours each way). After getting married and having a baby, I’m challenged to keep the balance between family and work, which TouchNote really support me with. While working, I keep myself up to date by learning.
3. What barrier have you faced as a woman becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
As a woman, we have to chase success constantly with confidence. For example, when I was working in my first job, when everything was going fine and my client was happy with my work, I had to change my project as I was getting married and as I had to relocate to a different location. And again, as things were progressing and a promotion was almost there but I had to resign from my job as my spouse got a job in a different country and I had to travel alone. And here I am, working for TouchNote chasing my dream!
4. What advice would you give to women considering a career in your field?
Have perseverance, focus on goals, try to gather as much support as possible from family and friends. Be self motivated and in no means lose your self confidence.
5. What more do you think could be done to support women entering your industry?
Many highly qualified women with children are leaving their careers or taking a break for a period of time. Companies must support and encourage such women willing to work after the break.
6. On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Live from your heart. Do what you like. And again be focused on your goal. This is a changing world and always be ready to face the changing world by keeping yourself updated.