WIT of the Month: Celebrating TechWomen100 award winner Nyree Basdeo
Woman in Tech of the Month is our series exploring the achievements of women who are breaking gender stereotypes to build technology-based careers. This month, we’re celebrating Nyree Basdeo, People and Change expert at PA and TechWomen100 award winner. In our interview, she reflects on her career in tech, discusses what’s been important to her success, and gives advice to other women looking to progress their careers.
Describe your role…
I manage complex and large-scale tech-enabled and digital transformation programmes. My expertise is in accelerating time to value by embedding IT, data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions to blend people’s skills with technology to unlock ingenuity. The key to this is focussing on the mindsets, behaviours, and capabilities needed for people to work successfully in a digital environment.
Tell me about your journey into technology and some of your highlights of your career so far
I have worked within the tech industry for over 15 years. However, this wasn't my intended career. My degree was in Genetics and Microbiology and my dream was to sail the seas and find a cure for diseases in marine life. I decided to take a break after graduation to go into the world of work. A personal highlight was discovering a new species of saltwater marsh fungi!
My first job after university was working within operations at a leading specialist retailer of music, film, pop culture, and technology products. This opened a whole new learning experience for me given my scientific mindset. Part of my role involved leading the customer experience programme. This gave me good insight into service delivery, consumer behaviour, and the retail industry.
During this time, I was recruited by a professional services company specialising in information technology services and consulting. It was a culture shock transitioning to the corporate world. I managed a range of projects ranging from implementation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms to knowledge management solutions. One of my most complex projects involved going to Bangalore to design and set up a shared service support model, which was my first international business trip.
Then, I took a year out of work to study for an MBA full-time. It was challenging to re-train my brain, but it really helped develop my business acumen. My personal highlight was undertaking outreach work in Uganda. I worked with a charity that provides treatment, care, and support to children and adults living with HIV. They also help orphans access basic education. I helped develop their fundraising strategy so they could achieve sustainable benefits and embedded a tech platform to enable data-driven reporting alongside human insights. This was a humbling experience and ignited my passion for volunteering.
After my MBA, I was recruited by a multi-national information technology services and consulting company. As a Prosci-certified change management practitioner, I was responsible for managing complex and large-scale tech enabled and digital transformation programmes across different sectors. One project involved working on a cybersecurity programme for an airline company and being part of a Cyber War Room response during a simulated high-risk cyber-attack scenario, which was fascinating.
I started working at PA three years ago and I’m loving it. One of my favourite projects has been managing the change and adoption aspects of an AI driven solution related to product ingenuity and market superiority.
As you’ve progressed in your career, what’s been important to you?
Hard work, resilience, determination, and making a positive difference when you’re in a position to help others. I am a champion for women in STEM, and as a role model, it’s important for me to empower women and share learning. I encourage my mentees and teams to leverage their strengths and harness the power of tech platforms to grow and unlock their capability. I’m passionate about helping people to realise their potential and reducing inequalities. I’m also fortunate to have a network of wonderful people around me that encourage and support me.
What’s your biggest achievements so far?
I recently became a TechWomen100 Award winner, which celebrates women for their innovation and achievements in the technology field and branded an ‘Ingenuity Iguana’ by my colleagues. I also worked on a project to harness the power of data, digital, and technology to enhance ways of working which won an award. I’ve also been part of our Generation Success partnership which was recognised for delivering the ‘Best Mentoring Programme’ at the Generation Success Equality Awards.
What’s your perspective on current challenges and opportunities for women in the technology space?
We need to support each other, believe in our potential, and encourage all to speak up for equality. I was honoured to be part of the UN Women UK delegation at the recent United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The theme was: 'Innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.' Key takeaways for me included the call to bridge the gender digital divide, enable more inclusive innovation eco-systems, and the promotion of safe and gender-responsive technology and innovation. It also called for inclusive and equitable quality education in STEM, information and communications technology, and digital literacy to ensure that all women and girls can thrive in a rapidly changing world. Initiatives such as our annual Raspberry Pi Competition is how at PA we’re celebrating STEM education, by giving schoolchildren the opportunity to put their ingenuity to the test to come up with inspiring solutions to global challenges.