Meet The Role Models is a technology community series which highlights the stories of The Ada Lovelace Initiative role models. The success of the Ada Lovelace Initiative depends on the participation of technology professionals across Ireland & since September 2015, The Ada Lovelace Initiative voluntary speakers have reached approximately 3000 secondary school students between them.
Meet The Role Models offers you the opportunity to learn more about the role models who make these school visits possible. In our last instalment of Meet The Role Models, we had the opportunity to speak to Tanya Beattie who works as a Solution Architect with MDS Global about her experience of visiting Presentation Secondary School in Thurles, County Tipperary.
Meet Mary Browne
Today’s interview is the 16th instalment of Meet The Role Models and features Mary Browne who is a Solutions Analyst Lead with Citi, the global bank. Mary volunteered to take part in The Ada Lovelace Initiative this year & last term she visited the Transition Year pupils of Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel, County Tipperary.
Hi Mary! How would you describe your current role?
My current role is Solutions Analyst Lead, I manage a team of Business Analysts. We work mainly in data warehousing, so storing the banks transactional data for use by other systems or applications. My main client at the moment is Anti money Laundering, we provide all the banks transactions (~7.2 million per day) so they can be checked.
What attracted you to this type of work in the beginning of your career?
Maths was always my favourite subject, I like things to be wrong or right, and IT is right or wrong, there are no miracles.
What would you say is the best part of your work?
Delivering a solution to a problem. When presented with an issue, it’s a analytical approach to figure out what is ‘going on’ versus what is supposed to be ‘going on’, fixing the problem and delivering that fix is the best part of my job.
What would you say is a common misconception about your role type?
You have to be able to code, and that men are better at coding. There are many roles in IT, not everyone is a coder. IT does require logical thinking and in my opinion women are actually naturally suited to logical thinking – often we do not see our own successes, sacrifices and potential and I think men are more likely than women to talk up their successes.
What motivated you to get involved with The Ada Lovelace Initiative?
When looking for candidates for open roles we rarely get applications from girls, on investigation this is because of the lack of girls studying STEM subjects, this is disappointing to me, when I studied IT (NUIGalway 2003) we were one of the first classes to have more girls than boys, so I am not sure why the trend regressed. This inspired me to speak with the girls to see why they are shying away from STEM.
How would you describe your school visit for A.L.I. – My Story?
My visit went well, I spoke at an all girls school and it was my first time ever being in an all girls school, throughout my education I attended co-ed. So I suppose what I noticed most was the fact they were less boisterous than my school days!!
The visit went well, and hopefully the girls took some of what I had to say away, although I was disappointed to hear at the end that Boys are better at Maths because they have bigger brains…. I guess that’s propaganda for you!
Did you feel differently before and after your visit?
No I felt the same before and after and was happy to have the opportunity to partake. I would definitely do it again.
Now that you have completed your school visit, would you have any tips for other role models?
Who is your own role model, and why?
I probably have a few role models and ‘Mentors’. My mother always worked so it was the norm for me and my family do not have or support gender inequality, so coming from such an upbringing made me fearless in my own achievements. I know that boys do not have bigger brains 😉
Early on in my career I had support from a fantastic project manager who made me realise my self-worth and won me promotions and recognition at that time. As I progress my career, my role models tend to be more peers or ex colleagues, people who have supported me during trying times that I can now call on to discuss problems over a glass of wine or slow jog, I’m not a fan of ‘networking’ but to me these ladies are my network and role models that we can inspire each other and help each other.
We would like to thank Mary Browne for sharing her story for Meet The Role Models and also for visiting the pupils of Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel, County Tipperary. 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.