What's in this podcast?

In this episode, Jennifer Agnes from Cynozure talks to two inspiring women building communities for the next generation of women in data: Sadiqah Musa, Founder of Black in Data and Sathya Bala, Founder of True Change.

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One big message

Mentorship and community are important for career growth, and it’s especially important for women in data and analytics, seeking to build successful careers in the field. With the increasing demand for data professionals, it is important to create a community that supports and celebrates women in data.

01:00 Introduction to our International Women’s Day Special

02:10 How Sathya Bala went from Deloitte to Head of Global Data at Chanel, through to building a community empowering women in data

08:40 Sadiqah Musa’s journey from geophysics and how having a family became the catalyst to going into data

14:32 Jennifer Agnes’ journey becoming a leader in data

17:00 The importance of mentorship for women in data

21:47 How mentorship for women in data has evolved

26:35 Sathya’s perspective on building a community supporting women in data

33:35 Sadiqah talks about building her community supporting people of colour in data

37:10 Cynozure’s role in creating a community for data professionals


Mentorship for women in data

Mentorship is especially important for women seeking to build successful careers in the data field. Women are underrepresented in the tech industry, and the data field is no exception. As a result, women may experience isolation, lack of role models, and exclusion from career opportunities. Mentorship can help to address these challenges and provide guidance and support tailored to the specific experiences of women in the field.

There are opportunities for minorities in the data field to get support. Organisations such as True Change and Black in Data help thousands of women and people in colour each year, giving them much needed career advice and support to enable individuals to realise their full potential. 


Role models for women in data

As the field of data science continues to grow, it’s crucial to highlight role models who can inspire and guide women, particularly women of colour who are often underrepresented in the industry. While famous women like Serena Williams and Michelle Obama can be a source of inspiration, it’s also important to have mentors and cheerleaders who provide personalised support and guidance.

Good mentors have the ability to change the trajectory of someone’s career. They can offer advice, connect you with helpful resources, and provide encouragement on days when you doubt yourself. For women in data, having access to female leaders who lead with empathy and respect can be particularly empowering. Seeing how these leaders navigate challenges and prioritise collaboration and inclusivity can help women feel more confident and capable in their own careers.

It’s also essential to create a community that supports and celebrates women in data. This can include networking events, mentorship programs, and resources for professional development. By highlighting the achievements of women in data and providing a supportive environment, we can help close the gender and diversity gap in the industry and create more opportunities for underrepresented groups.


Make your voice heard

It’s easy to assume that the quality of your work will speak for itself and lead to recognition and advancement. However, in reality, it’s often necessary to speak up and actively promote your talent and achievements.

Knowing when to speak up and how to own your space can be key to career progression. This might mean volunteering for high-profile projects or sharing your ideas in meetings. It can also mean advocating for yourself in performance evaluations or negotiating for a promotion or raise.

Mentors can be incredibly valuable in navigating the complexities of career progression. They have often been through similar experiences and can provide guidance and support. A good mentor can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and develop strategies for overcoming obstacles.

Creating communities that support both “inside” and “outside” work can also be helpful in promoting career advancement. This might include networking events, mentorship programs, or employee resource groups. These communities can offer opportunities to connect with others in your field, share experiences, and develop new skills.

It’s important to recognise that even in an ideal world, there is always internal work to be done. This might mean overcoming imposter syndrome or building confidence in your abilities. By acknowledging and working on these internal challenges, you can become more effective in promoting yourself and your work.


Building supportive communities

In the world of data science, it’s essential to recognise the importance of building supportive communities. Data professionals, perhaps more than anyone, understand the value of diverse perspectives and the consequences of ignoring subsets of society.

For people coming from demographics outside of the typical leadership mould, it can be challenging to gain access to wisdom and support that is often passed down through generations. That’s why it’s critical to create and maintain supportive communities that can help fill that gap.

Unfortunately, people of colour only make up 3% of data professionals in the UK, which is a clear indication that there is work to be done to make the industry more accessible and inclusive. By creating networking events, mentorship programs, and employee resource groups, we can help foster a sense of community and provide a space for people to develop leadership skills.

It’s important to recognise that frustration and anger can be powerful motivators for change. By channelling those emotions into action, we can work to make businesses more diverse and equitable. This might mean advocating for more inclusive hiring practices or creating opportunities for underrepresented groups.



Communities can also help people thrive, not just survive. By offering resources, mentorship, and a supportive environment, we can help people reach their full potential and achieve their career goals.

Solving one problem at a time is key to making progress, but it’s also important to reach out to people who need help and let them know that support is available. By creating a culture of inclusivity and empathy, we can help create a more equitable and just society.

In summary, building supportive communities is essential for creating a more inclusive and equitable data industry. By recognising the value of diverse perspectives and channelling frustration into action, we can help promote positive change and make a difference in the lives of underrepresented groups.

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