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IWD: #InspireInclusion with Chryzan Fernandes, MI Business Partner at K2 International

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author:by Jared Cave

​​​This International Women's Day, I interviewed Chryzan Fernandes, MI Business Partner at K2 International, and she shared her thoughts on how we can #InspireInclusion.

When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world. The IWD 2024 campaign theme seeks to inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion. Organisations, groups, and individuals worldwide can all play a part, and to truly include women means to openly embrace their diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image, and how they identify.

International Women’s Day belongs to everyone, everywhere. Collectively, we can all help create a diverse, equitable and inclusive world. ​​​

1. Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

International Women’s Day is important to me and all women like me who are global nomads. It is the day we set aside our local issues and come forth with a holistic view of women’s issues globally. It is also a day to celebrate the strides we have made so far.

Just the other week I was speaking to my mum about the career changes in our family. My grandma was a tailor, my mum is a secretary and now I am in data science.

In three generations of women, we have gone from a very manual discipline to one that is working on automation and strategic decisions through data. A huge leap in professional disciplines for the women in my family is indicative of the progress women have made so far in the world.

If you look at the top-performing tech companies the reason, they are top performing is because of the diversity they have in gender and race, it’s important to have all the perspectives from different demographics that this world has to offer.

2. In your opinion, what steps can the tech industry take to promote diversity and inclusion?

With each passing year, the disparities in opportunities and compensation between men and women become more apparent to me. There exist stark contrasts in different cultures, societies, and even between developed and developing economies. But it is ironic how the similarities lie in the inequalities for women.

Therefore, the importance of an event like International Women’s Day is to continue the conversation in our workplace and our social environment to discuss where gender differences lie so that we as people come together to help uplift one another. Allyship starts with education (a great place to start is reading Invisible Women), and honesty in conversation at company events and social forums.

3. How did your tech career begin?

My introduction to data science happened a little bit by accident. At my first employment, the department I worked in handled huge amounts of data in Excel with lots of manual processes. As I was part of a graduate program, I was introduced to Power Query. I quickly realised I could automate a lot of the manual processes we had. I started to save my team’s time. In the end, I saved two days of work for three people per week.

Gaining time savings through automating data processes ignited my passion to learn more about the other functions that Power Query had to offer.

I moved from processing data to having an interest in transforming data into information through visualisations. I had my ‘Aha!’ moment and realised this is what I enjoy doing for a living. I developed a true liking for inferring insights through data transformation.

As my career progressed, I got closer to strategy teams and would proactively build visualisations that would help inform management decisions. As my colleagues continued to appreciate my proactiveness to help them make data-backed decisions, I started enjoying using my skills. I like solving puzzles, so to me, analytics feels like putting pieces of a puzzle together to visualise the final picture!

4. What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in technology?

If you have an analytical mind, get into data science. It’s still a growing function with so much potential to explore. Business management appreciates insights derived from data.

It is not difficult to set yourself up in the field. One must have a passion for data and have the right skillset. Once you make a mark in the field, the sky is the limit because we are never going to run out of data.

I would recommend gaining a professional understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning as many companies continue to onboard the technology to better process and infer data.