Session: Breaking barriers and the power of mentoring
Who am I and what is my brand? This is a question we should ask ourselves. If I was to Google myself, what would appear? Would I be satisfied with what comes up? Having not come from a technical background, I was apprehensive to apply initially. However, my experience has shown you can succeed and break barriers with patience and perseverance. How do we overcome that stereotype that tech is a man's profession? Women represent only 17% of the technology workforce, despite representing 47% of the UK workforce. Targeted interventions such as mentoring and getting your profile out there are required to bring about change. There's always someone else coming up behind you who needs guidance and can benefit from your wisdom. If you've only been in the industry for a couple of years, you might think you don't have the experience to mentor effectively. But, actually, you might be really good at it precisely because you are new: you'll remember things that more established people will have long forgotten, plus you can always learn what has been passed down to you. Programs aimed at support, retention, community and progression makes tangible leaps to gender parity. Being a mentee, and a mentor, I recognise the role I play in creating a step-change in the wider industry, yes ‘little’ me.
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Bio: Andjela Djukanovic
After gaining experience in PR in Paris, agriculture in Germany and Africa, international relations in the UK and technology at KPMG UK and now in Belgium, I have cultivated a diverse skill set that is applicable to the deliverables expected to be a strong female technology advisor.
My affinity for strategy, operations and being a sounding board for people’s opinions makes being part of wider business discussions attractive. Throughout my time at KPMG I’ve consistently been looking for ways to help as much as I can with the progression of my role in the IT Risk team, as well as challenge myself and take on opportunities outside of my job role. This curiosity and desire to broaden my network has led me to be a guest speaker on multiple technology panels, become an UpReach mentor and be selected as a member of KPMG’s Next Generation Council and Board of Young Professionals.
These attributes are central to my approach in delivering high quality risk management work and providing feedback on the business, as well as contributing to ideas crucial to maximising profits and minimising waste.
My experience and understanding of different departments across various industries has enhanced my ability to grasp the feedback and ideas brought before the teams I lead, as well as allowed me to assess risks within the technology industry effectively. Furthermore, my commitment to inclusion and diversity has been demonstrated by my active engagement with local communities but also internally within KPMG through being a member of the different networks – IT’s Her Future Mentoring Scheme, KNOW and BeMindful. All this demonstrates my ability to communicate with people within the wider sector, with my clients and internally and not shy away from speaking with senior staff and my desire to see visible change.
Since joining KPMG four and a half years ago straight out of University, I have developed a successful reputation within the risk management industry. Despite not coming from an IT background, this has not stopped me from leading projects, advising management at clients and delivering new ways of quality working within IT, all at the age of 28. I am a proud member of the IT Quality Network that supports our risk management and security teams to implement new procedures, raise standardisation initiatives and deliver IT training to experienced hires and more junior grades joining the Information Risk Management industry. I have now successfully gained a one-year secondment to Belgium KPMG as a Senior Advisor.
Despite my non-technical background out of University, this has not held me back from becoming a strong female assistant manager within Technology.