My Journey In Tech
by Meera Garratt, Vice President, FX eTrading, Citibank
My career path has never been mapped out. At school I was strong in Mathematics and Foreign Languages and I went on to study Mathematics at University. As a graduate I was open to a number of career options and was successful in joining the prestigious IT graduate training scheme at The John Lewis Partnership as a software developer.
This was a leap of faith on my part, as I had shown no skill in technology up to that point! I remember being the only female on my intake of 12 but soon realised that I had joined an exciting, fast-paced industry.
Over the years I have worked in many different business sectors including: retail banking, a technology start-up and more recently, Investment Banking where I transitioned from my role as a Software developer to an IT Project Manager. I now work in the Foreign Exchange Business with responsibility for the delivery of all technology projects and I love it!
Earlier this year, as part of my career development programme, I was invited to attend a technology event aimed at Women in Technology. Sitting in a room with over 200 women from the technology sector, I felt inspired and re-invigorated about the industry I worked in.
During the event I met Rav Bumbra, Director of Structur3dpeople and learned about their mentoring programme. The meeting was fortuitous as I was at a stage where I wanted to grow my career and take it to the next level and felt that mentoring could help me.
Through this mentoring programme I have had the opportunity to learn from my mentor’s experience and receive valuable career guidance and support. Over the year we have been assigned books to read, looked at personality profiling, identified challenges we want to overcome in the workplace and attended talks, workshops and listened to guest speakers.
One of my tasks this winter is to talk at my children’s school and help to spread the message to young children that technology can be an exciting career.
Mentoring has increased my self-confidence and made me appreciate and celebrate my career successes and achievements. I realise there is no failing, only learning and trying again. I am motivated and I am taking control of my career rather than waiting for someone else to do it for me. The benefits are multiple and the personal growth of the women in my group has been remarkable.
My career has not been predictable or typical, as I’ve changed roles and moved between industries, but I’d highly recommend brave moves as this has given me the freedom to evolve and develop my career. Surrounded by the intelligent and accomplished women in my mentoring group, I realise that this is my journey and I have achieved a great deal. I am very excited about what the future will bring!