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International Women’s Day 2021

Date published: 11 March 2021

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day 2021 on 8 March, we’re celebrating some of Reveal Group’s brilliant women and sharing insights into their challenges and achievements. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

We would love you to share these questions with your team and those around you so we can all #ChooseToChallenge for #IWD2021 and beyond.

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

I was raised on a farm in country Victoria, Australia.  The middle child of five children. I wanted to leave the farm and move to the ‘big city’ from an early age.  I was fortunate to have supportive parents and left home to go to Melbourne University at 17 and pretty much never went back. This was the start of a journey that has taken me around the world and back.  I graduated with a Mathematics and Computer Science Degree.  Very rare in the ’80s. I recall there were only three other women in many of my lectures vs. 100s of men.  Strangely I didn’t reflect on it much at the time. The women were brilliant and had no problem competing head to head with the men on all subjects. I joined Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture) straight after finishing University.  This provided me with opportunities to work across a range of industries and locations, solving problems for clients in the technology-related space.  After seven years of predominately Australian-based clients in Melbourne and Sydney, I still had a knawing desire to move to the ‘big city’.  The goalposts had moved, and there was only one place I had in mind.  I packed my bags and relocated to New York City. The ’90s were a great time to be in New York, lots of opportunities, lots of people, lots of challenges. When I first arrived, it was the first time when I consciously thought I was outside my comfort zone. It didn’t take long to settle in; I was still working for Andersen Consulting at this time and was part of a large technology project for American Express.  This was the first time that I worked alongside other women in significant numbers.  I still recall an early meeting with some of the Amex executives when the women around the table outnumbered the men.  It was such a novelty that I can remember it vividly 25 years later. It was also apparent that women deal with business issues and discussions very differently when they are not in the minority.  Everyone listened!!  I loved working at Amex, the company was inclusive, and the culture was uplifting.  I left consulting and joined Amex two years later as the VP of one of their International divisions and moved to London. This was my first attempt at driving change as an insider.  I learned a lot about my management style and the importance of business relationships across diverse geographies as I worked for Amex for over six years.  I was still deeply involved in implementing technology-based solutions to solve business problems, so that aspect of my experience carried through from my consulting years. I believe my Amex years cemented my authenticity and management style. 

Personal circumstances forced my move back to Australia in 2002.  After studying Art for three years, my husband and I founded Reveal Group in 2006. I thought I could still pursue some art practice while we got the business established, but that was a bit naïve in retrospect. Suffice to say I haven’t picked up a paintbrush in over 15 years. Building a business is an all-consuming, emotional roller-coaster.  Constant highs and lows.  When it is your own money on the line, business decisions take on a whole new perspective. My Reveal Group years have built my resilience, self-belief, and tolerance.  There is something very satisfying in creating and building a thriving business where people enjoy working.  The final chapter is yet to be written, but I’ve experienced a lot, and life has certainly been exciting and challenging; that gnawing desire to live in the ‘big city’ has certainly been scratched.

What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

I interpret this phrase both internally and externally; Challenging myself to be better and do more, expand on my self-imposed limitations; and Challenging others by choosing to influence and shape their views in becoming more inclusive and tolerant.

Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?

I often ask myself, ‘what would Gina do?’ Gina Rinehart is certainly someone I admire.  She has a cut-through management style and has built a very successful business empire all by herself.  I try to channel some of her toughness.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

One cliché I frequently recite to myself is ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I would tell myself at the age of 20 to strap in for an entertaining ride, harness the fear.

What do you want to achieve next?

Good question… other than the usual to remain happy and centered, I also want to drive growth in Revel Group to position us as the preeminent specialist global automation solutions provider.  Not too much!

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

I was born and raised in Iran. Our family decided to immigrate to Canada when I was finishing up high school and in a matter of few months, I found myself in a new country with a new language taking my first class in English at the University of Toronto (Thank god it was a math class!). I had The privilege of doing advanced research in the field of Aerospace, Robotics, Engineering Education, and business during my undergraduate and graduate studies at U of T. My focus was Robotics and Mechatronics in my bachelor but for my master I got a full scholarship to research the factors that impact innovation in multidisciplinary teams. After I finished my double master’s degree I was eager to know what else is out there aside from research and academia and that’s where I transitioned my career from engineering into the world of technology consulting.  I was eager to learn so I joined Deloitte’s AI practice and I tried to get myself into as many different projects as possible. From management consulting to IT implementation consulting to Human capital consulting, I tried it all. I led a project in the area of Automation and fell in love! Then I got the opportunity to join Reveal Group and specialize in the field of Automation. Since then every day I wake up and I get a chance to solve Automation and AI problems in various industry sectors with my dream team. In my role, I get a chance to work with a world-class team and I get the opportunity to teach our clients and mentor. In the end, I got the best of both worlds of academia and industry and I am so excited to see where my curiosity takes me next. 

What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

It means to find the courage to know that there is still so much hope in the unknown

Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?

Professor Cristina Amon, I have had the privilege of working with Professor Amon during my time at U of T and she is my role model. She taught me to find the strength that will allow me to take risks

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

If you are afraid of something, dive straight into it because the intensity of abstaining from it is greater than what you are afraid of.

What do you want to achieve next?

I want to continue mentoring young females to give them an opportunity to pursue a career in STEM.  I want to be open and outspoken about the challenges that I face every day to raise awareness and build a support system for the generations to come. 

  • What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?
  • Growing up, I was really into math and science. At college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on, so started in math and went into engineering. My first job out of college was with ATT in Georgia. They were just starting up with RPA projects and asked if I was interested. I got involved and really enjoyed it. From my home in Tennessee, I followed love to NYC and while the relationship didn’t last, my passion for RPA and the career I’ve built with Reveal Group did and the rest is history!
  • What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?
  • If people underestimate you based on your age or gender then, rather than letting it bring you down, prove them wrong. In the past, people have doubted my capabilities because I may not be a typical RPA developer but I’ve always had confidence in my abilities and just focussed on working hard and being great at my job, and it’s worked out pretty well so far.
  • Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?
  • My mom. She constantly excelled in her career and managed to raise two successful and confident women. Family has always been her number one priority over work but she still was able to crush it in her career.
  • What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
  • You don’t have to have everything figured out, even if a lot of people around you seem like they do. And getting an A on every single college assignment is not that big of a deal!
  • What do you want to achieve next?
  • I want to make Manager and continue to learn from others and excel in my career while maintaining a level of balance across my personal life.

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

I grew up in a household where my father kept shifting to different places due to the nature of his work. This exposed me to different cultures in different countries and also the ability to adapt quickly to new environments at a very young age. And so, it was not a tough choice for me to pursue my post-graduate studies in a new foreign land, down under, of which I knew very little. The vibrance and the aura of Melbourne had never let me go back. As soon as I completed my Master’s in Telecommunication and Network Engineering, the tedious, nerve-wracking process of job hunting started. I finally got a break into the IT corporate industry as an intern in a Networking firm. While working there, I realized how big the industry was and there is a lot more to explore than what I knew. Being new to the corporate working culture, I decided to do it right and got myself into a graduate program in one of the top Consulting firms, where I got to specialize in the Automation space. This molded me and gave me the opportunity to identify what I should be doing going forward. And here I am today with Reveal. Somewhere along the way, Crypto trading caught my attention which has now become a part of my life, where I research, trade, express my views, engage in related conversations and of course, occasionally lose money and make some (which I keep a secret). I have never believed in luck but strongly believe that who I am today is the outcome of the choices I made yesterday.

What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Challenging myself to be a better human and pushing myself to do something I haven’t done before. Getting out of the comfort zone and testing my limits whether I succeed or fail.

Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?

Honestly, not one but many. There are different qualities in different people that have inspired me in every chapter of my life. Listing a couple of them; My mother is definitely one among them, who has shown me what multitasking is, by handling everything promptly what the family needs. Her time management skills were impeccable. Though I did not realize this while I was young, today I very well understand how effective she manages. Earlier, in my career, I met a colleague whose confidence inspired me to be as confident and bold as her. Every time we were in the same space, she would inspire me to push harder.  

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Have an open mind, think positive and don’t hesitate to take risks. This is when you can do it.

What do you want to achieve next?

Life is full of surprises, so, I would like to take it one step at a time. There is an interesting version of the very famous “the tortoise and the hare” story, from the Hare’s perspective on why the Hare chose to lose (I will let you all google it) which makes a lot of sense to me and I will leave it at that.  

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

I grew up in Mississippi. I studied Political Science and Psychology in college then went on to law school. Towards then end of my first year, I came to the realization that I had no desire to practice law or pursue a career in politics. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew it wasn’t law. So I travelled to NYC to visit a friend and fell in love with the city. Two weeks later I was back with two suitcases, ready to live a life of ramen and tiny apartments if that was what it took. I fell into a recruitment role and then started with Reveal Group a little over two years ago. Since then I’ve interviewed more people than I can count (I currently have over 600 CV’s in my OneDrive) and hired 27 (soon to be 31) people – and I’m so proud of each of them.

What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Choosing to challenge the ideas of society and yourself through self-reflection and pushing against what you were taught growing up. Where I’m from, we’re taught that men and women have their place in society and to accept the status quo. Men should be the breadwinners, while women should prioritize being a wife and mom over everything else. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to be a wife and a mom, but I do think it’s wrong to limit women are in terms of what they can seek to achieve. Even in a city as progressive as New York, women do not hold many positions of power and influence. I choose to challenge ‘traditional’ gender roles and stereotypes. I choose to challenge the patriarchal system that has created multiple glass ceilings for us to shatter.

Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?

My grandmother. She was a military wife who didn’t go to college and found herself widowed with two young kids at a young age. Contrary to societies expectations, she put herself through school, worked night and day jobs and went on to get her Masters and became a school counselor. She kicked ass, took names and did it in a time when women were expected to stay quiet and at home. She is such a kind-hearted, strong-willed person who I look up to, to this day.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Don’t be so hard on yourself; you don’t expect perfection from others, so don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake. Your inner confidence shouldn’t come from other people’s compliments. The best way to get over feeling sad or insecure, is finding a way to help someone else.

What do you want to achieve next?

On a professional level, I want to hire people who are going to bring more diversity to the company. On a personal level, I want to go through a yoga instructor certification program.

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

Being born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand and spending most of my childhood in the comfort zone, I never dreamt of being where I am today. Having grown up in a largely patriarchal society where there was a limitation for women to grow professionally and realize their true potential, my younger self had always aspired to defy this limitation, step out of the comfort zone and become the best version of myself. At the age of 17, I embarked on my first solo journey abroad and spent one year in Belgium on a cultural exchange program. There, I stayed with a Belgian family, learned to speak Flemish and went to a local high school. A few culture shocks later, I found myself falling in love with this type of adventure, learning and embracing cultural differences and needless to say…I craved for more as soon as I came back home in Thailand. To continue with the ‘overseas adventure’ theme, I chose to study in an international double degree program with majors in Aerospace Engineering and Business Management. Since the program was jointly run by two universities: Kasetsart University (KU) in Thailand and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia – I got to study at both places, starting with the first three years at KU and the remaining two and a half years at RMIT. My study pathway unfurled an opportunity for me to permanently migrate to Australia, which is where I have truly lived my life, made my mistakes and owned them, and shaped myself into who I am today. In this environment that is both new and far from home, I have grown (and continue to grow) personally and professionally.

In terms of my career life, I spent my early days in the engineering industry. I was involved in a range of exciting projects from drafting blueprints of ceiling panels of a train station to designing a seaplane. I also had an opportunity to work as a tutor at RMIT University, where I led a series of tutorials and guided students through workshops in an engineering computer-aided design subject. All was great – but after a while, I found myself in a new comfort zone and I told myself it was time to embark on yet another new ‘adventure’ but this time – a new career path. That was when I joined Reveal Group. Reveal Group has offered me the opportunity to constantly being challenged in various unique environments – which immediately kicked me out of my comfort zone. Ever since, I have been learning to adapt and react quickly to new challenges and situations – as well as, submerging myself into a world of Robotic Process Automation.

Last but not least, I was very fortunate to have a very supportive family and partner who played a big part in contributing towards my success today. Without them, I would not get to where I am and I simply cannot thank them enough for being there for me.

What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

To me, ‘Choose to Challenge’ means that you are strong, determined and confident to face whatever challenges lay ahead. You are fully equipped with skills and knowledge, and ready to tackle it with your best abilities!

Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?

Jacinda Ardern – she is truly an inspiring leader who has been able to handle situations which the whole world deems extremely challenging very well.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Follow your heart and let your imagination run wild. Do a lot of art because when ‘life’ happens, you will not get to do it as often. Also, don’t forget to fasten your seat belt, your life is going to be a crazy ride from now on!

What do you want to achieve next?

What I want to achieve next lies a bit in my personal life. My mum has just embarked on a new career journey to create a cooking channel on YouTube. I want to be able to utilize my skill set and help contribute to her success.

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

For most of my childhood, I dreamed of being a choreographer, dancing since I was 2 years old. I loved the arts, but my attention shifted to architecture by the time I began my undergraduate studies. Within my first year I recognized architecture wasn’t the best fit for me, so I followed my counselor’s recommendation to make a collage. While my magazine cutouts didn’t exactly point me to Industrial Engineering, that’s where I landed. After three insightful internships in manufacturing and technical sales, I knew a career in tech consulting would best suit me. Looking back on the five years I spent consulting in Financial Services, I found the projects where we delivered Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions for clients to be most satisfying. Following that feeling, I was thrilled to join Reveal Group where I have become an expert in RPA. Ultimately, I followed the opportunities as they fit, guided by my mentors and allies.

What does ‘Choose to Challenge’ mean to you?

Question the status quo – why do we do what we do the way we do it and is it fair and right? Could it be better? We’re constantly learning, whether that’s technical or personal, and with each new insight, we should have a new lens through to view our day to day.

Which woman has been the greatest inspiration to you, or had the greatest impact on your career?

I’ve often found myself in male-dominated fields where I’m one of just a few women (if not the only woman). Because of that, nearly every woman I’ve worked with closely has had a profound impact on me. The first woman who really inspired me was an undergraduate engineering professor of mine, Dr. Elif Akçali. Of course, she pushed us as students, but I also saw her following her own passions in engineering and art. She showed if there’s not a path already paved, make one yourself.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Make space for yourself, take the time to understand what really drives you, and don’t let that be what someone else tells you it should be. Let your journey be unique to you. Make clear for yourself and others what you aim to achieve in a role, at a company, in relationships. Lack of communication is the quickest way to fail.

What do you want to achieve next?

I’m excited to continue supporting Reveal Group’s growth, both through client engagements and internal Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. As a newly promoted Senior Manager, I’m looking forward to deepening my skills as a consulting professional.

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