About Meet The Role Models

Meet The Role Models is a technology community series which highlights the stories of The Ada Lovelace Initiative role models;  the female technology professionals who are committed to promoting technology careers to pupils nationwide. In this series, we feature interviews with a diverse range of technology professionals, with a variety of roles from over 75 companies in Ireland.

The success of the Ada Lovelace Initiative depends on the participation of role models & since September 2015, The Ada Lovelace Initiative role models have reached almost 3000 pupils nationwide. In Meet The Role Models, we offer you the opportunity to get to know the role models who make these visits possible.

In our last instalment of Meet The Role Models, we had the opportunity to speak to Louise Bernstein who is a Senior Product Manager at Altify (Formerly known as The Tas Group).

Meet Sarah Loughran

Today’s interview is the 12th instalment of Meet The Role Models and we would like to introduce you now to Sarah Loughran who is a Solutions Analyst at Citi – the global bank.

Sarah volunteered to take part in The Ada Lovelace Initiative as part of the ‘Back To School‘ campaign which we are currently running with with the Citi WIT group.

Sarah Loughran recently visited her old school, Loreto Secondary School in Navan, County Meath. (Pictured below)

Sarah_Loughran

Hi Sarah – how would you describe your current role?

I work in Citibank as an analyst. I create solutions for data issues by producing requirements documents and data mapping documents. It requires a degree of analysis to ensure that data quality standards are adhered to and I’m mainly concerned with ensuring all relevant data is available for Anti Money Laundering reviews.

What attracted you to this type of work in the beginning of your career?

I realized that I loved working with data. I loved creating charts, working with large datasets and figuring out patterns and trends. I really enjoyed trying to figure out problems, whether it was doing a logic puzzle, a strategic game or solving issues at work.

I offered to take on a variety of work in my previous roles that gave me insight into the different areas that I really enjoyed.

What would you say is the best part of your work?

My job is very challenging. I have the opportunity to apply my analytical skills on a daily basis and to collaborate with global teams on various different projects.

I also work with some very experienced teams that help me expand my knowledge daily. As a result I’m able to create effective solutions that enable the business to be more efficient and meet our Clients needs.

What would you say is a common misconception about your role type?

A common misconception of my role is the assumption that I sit at a desk and never communicate with anyone. Realistically, I could not do my job if I never communicated with anyone.

I rely on information from other areas of the business and regulatory teams to do my job effectively. As a result I regularly need to interact with other teams and host meetings of all sizes.

ALI

What motivated you to get involved with The Ada Lovelace Initiative?

I got involved because I became aware that the percentage of women in technology roles is extremely low.

At school, I didn’t realize what a role in Technology involved and I really would have appreciated someone telling me what it was like when I was a student. For a long time I never considered Technology as an option as it didn’t seem possible. I wanted to let the students know that it is an option and it’s not as scary as I once thought it was.

How would you describe your school visit for A.L.I. – My Story?

It was a very pleasant experience and I would definitely do it again. I spoke about what I do and why it’s important. I also spoke about how it takes many different people in varied roles to deliver a project and where I sit in that chain. I also mentioned that I have the option to work from home which I think they found very appealing.

I really enjoyed sharing my story as I took an alternative route to Technology. I tried to express that it is possible to move around a company into different roles and learn new skills as you gain more knowledge. I highlighted the fact that there are many opportunities in Technology that are open to everyone.

Did you feel differently before and after your visit?

I was nervous before the visit. I wasn’t sure that the students would be interested in my story but both the students and teachers seemed very interested and asked some great questions. The presentation went very well and my former I.T. teacher gave me a tour of the school to show me all of the changes since I left.

Personally I found it a very rewarding experience to share my own story which is a little unconventional in the hope that it reached out to some students.

Now that you have completed your school visit, would you have any tips for other role models?

I would suggest keeping it simple and examples relatable. I’d also recommend engaging the students by asking them some questions at the beginning to get their interest.

Who is your own role model?

Brienne Ghafourifar is one of my role models. In her teens she was co-founder of Entefy with her brother. She set a world record as the first college graduate to raise $1million to fund her Tech startup.It is apparent that the technology industry is largely populated with men which can be disconcerting for women. Brienne acknowledges the fact that there are a lot of hurdles when it comes to gender and age but she doesn’t think that these should be factors in whether or not you succeed.

Brienne-Ghafourifar

Her background is in Economics and she is motivated by being innovative and making things that people need. She has observed the lack of women in leadership and is committed to giving back and helping other young women grow.She is my role model as even at such a young age she has already accomplished so much just by challenging the gender and age barriers and doing something that she loves to do.

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We would like to thank Sarah Loughran for sharing her story for Meet The Role Models and also for visiting the pupils of Loreto Secondary School Navan! If you would like to learn more about The Ada Lovelace Initiative, please visit our A.L.I page. We are looking for role models from every county, if you would like more information about visiting a school on our waiting list or your old school, please fill out our form here and we will be in touch shortly.

Stay tuned for more A.L.I. news from Verify on LinkedIn or @VerifyCommunity on Twitter – #alimystory