Why did you choose STEM?
It was actually my grandad’s passion for technology that ignited my own and set me on my path in STEM. He helped set up BP’s information science department back when a single computer could fill a whole room, and keen to teach his granddaughters, he bought us a home PC as soon as he could and installed some of the first educational software programmes. I was hooked. My parents connected us to the Internet when it became widely available and I started to learn HTML to format early social media pages, and then how to write scripts to cheat at online games and even crack passwords to takeover accounts (does anyone else remember Neopets?). So throughout school, although I also really enjoyed maths and science, I was always drawn to technology
Talk us through your journey in STEM and what you have achieved?
I decided to study Computer Science at university so that I could learn a broad set of technology skills, and found myself really enjoying the risk and project management modules in particular. When working on group projects, I started to find my niche – helping to translate complex, technical ideas into business language for our corporate sponsors, and when it came to graduating I applied to consulting roles that played to those strengths. I joined KPMG in their technology risk consulting department and got stuck into delivering for customers – everything from performing financial IT audits to managing cyber security remediation and cloud migration projects across a number of different industries. I learnt so much during these first few years of my career, which I credit to being stretched far beyond my comfort zone on a regular basis while having access to experienced teams and mentors. I then moved to EY as a manager in their cyber security practice where I had the opportunity to work full-time at Lloyds Banking Group, leading business change for their authentication & fraud workstream as we built a new Open Banking channel and implemented a new fraud system alongside a refreshed fraud target operating model. This was a highlight of my career, proactively preventing harm to consumers and the reason I decided to pivot into fraud and financial crime prevention – joining Featurespace not long after.
How does Featurespace support your goals and ambitions?
My manager has provided invaluable coaching and support during my time at Featurespace, enabling me to step up and lead the Implementation Consulting practice – another career highlight. Access to management and leadership training has been fantastic, and the mix of in-person and virtual options has made a real difference. I’m incredibly proud of the team I’ve built here. Each and every member is a highly effective, T-shaped consultant who really set the bar for technical, functional and delivery excellence. They impress me every day.
Outside of my day to day role, I was be selected by the Senior Management Team to consult on strategic priorities for the business and be a founding member of what is now the Strategic Execution Team, driving forward key initiatives and improvements across the business, which has been an absolute privilege and a fantastic growth experience.
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in STEM?
It’s not just your technical skills that define your success – it’s your soft skills, your emotional intelligence, how you communicate with and relate to others that really leave their mark. Make time for your self-development and learning. Play to your strengths but don’t be afraid of taking on roles or tasks that stretch you out of your comfort zone as that’s when you learn the most. Be confident in your skills and experience – speak up. And most importantly, pull other women up behind you.
Nikki Burr, Head of Implementation Consulting