Christie Osarenren joined the Intel® Software Innovator program earlier this year and right away jumped into taking on hosting a technology event for International Women’s Day. Christie isn’t one to sit still for long, she stays busy working and taking on new challenges to learn new technologies and concepts and then finding ways to use them to help others. Below, in Christie’s own words she shares a bit about herself and how she’s worked to change careers and move into the technology industry.
As a very driven woman, I have created opportunities where they didn't exist for someone of my background and social level. Having been raised in a relatively small town in Nigeria (Benin City) before moving to the UK, I spent a long time learning the ropes all-round. In my estimation I was the best thing since sliced bread, but my environment told me otherwise as I was comparing apples with pears rather than apples with apples. We were raised on a very moderate family income and my parents spent most of their time working. I was the only member of my family to have attended a top-tier university, one of the Russell Group institutions where I graduated with an honors degree in Mathematics.
My career has included working in the Financial Services industry, providing strategic insight as a Client Service Analyst, where my responsibilities covered relationship building and management and also providing technical user support to clients for our proprietary online database: Simfund, containing data on flows, assets, performance, portfolio characteristics, and more, for funds across major European and Global markets. In my day-to-day tasks, I performed quantitative analysis with Microsoft* Excel and Simfund to manipulate large data sets producing regular reports on fund performance, market insights, manager performance, and historical data. It was a role I thoroughly enjoyed because of the constant interaction with data and clients. Progressing on from there, I was presented with the opportunity to join a boutique consultancy providing services to firms looking to expand their operations within the UK market. This role is very rewarding and offers diverse responsibilities and interactions. The key achievement so far has been my promotion from junior level to senior management as I have delivered on several projects.
Before that, during my Mathematics MSci degree at the University of London, my journey began of my love for numbers and all things structured and formulaic. I loved that you could see if it was right or wrong without too much fuss because numbers didn't lie. My keenness for Mathematics has always been because of the precision and the freedom to be creative with problem solving, and dare I say this forms the backbone for my interest in Computer Programming.
After a course with Code First: Girls, in turn inspired by the recommendation of my Course Instructor, David Haber during a Python introduction course with Cognitir. He facilitated an introduction to Amali De Alwis (CEO of Code First: Girls), a very instrumental event. She advised me on how to cultivate a technology focused community, which led to several doors since being opened for me and I am keen to enhance my technical programming skills to transition into a technology based career with an entrepreneurial edge. My intent is to make the transition and help others on their way, especially people like me. I am very plugged into my local community and work with people of all ages (especially women) mentoring and enhancing their skills. Some of my roles have been to introduce them to networks, build their CVs and to provide career advice.
I was brought into the Intel® Innovator Community after meeting the Europe Coordinator, Francesco Baldassarri. He believed in me and accepted me at a relatively new state into the program. I have since gained some insight and much needed guidance to strengthen my awareness of the sector and honing my technical ability, while providing me with further opportunities.
Another strong interest for me is in social enterprises, personal development and raising self-awareness for people to fulfill their purpose. Some companies I have worked with in this area include initiatives such as ReachOut!, WallBuilders and The Brokerage Citylink that are aimed at helping socio-economically marginalized young people and under-represented minorities, gain better access to opportunities in education and work, helping them utilize those opportunities to their advantage.
In a similar fashion, I got involved with the Levo League, a group of millennials mentoring and advancing the professional careers of their peers through regular meet-ups and Influencer Programs. Started by Caroline Goshn, when she saw the need for a platform that encouraged collaboration globally while providing a voice for the not-so-career-savvy millennial to relate with their peers and mentors. I got involved simply for the need it has helped fill for me, as I am a typical candidate who felt displaced on their career journey. I have been working with Levo for over five years now and it was only befitting that I got them on board for the International Women’s Day event.
Hosting the March International Women’s Day Program was an enjoyable and challenging experience at the same time. It required a speed to make decisions while gaining the support of very senior level contacts within the Technology Community. There was such groundbreaking result compared to the time and support given that Francesco marveled at our results calling it a “Miracle”.
Since then, I have been interacting closely with one of my panelists, from Blippar as well as other contacts in Tech. I have been building core skills for Python programming and Big Data while working full-time and engaging in other community endeavors. My goal is to master all the insight within Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. The road has been a rocky one, but like all things uphill one is sure to come to a crest eventually.
So, I’m working on a Tech project called Field Street, which aims to better unify the customer/service provider relationship for small businesses. The project entails using data from sales, logistics, social feeds, community feedback and other interaction points to manage tailored services to clients and business owners. The use of AI will be to match services with customers and create a network within different hubs. The product itself is a platform for the operation of business, logistics and sales. It would combine commerce, customer records, marketing and more. There are currently products on the market which have attributes that will be included in the platform. I have been building the model from the concept stage which I will be able to share soon enough. Support and mentoring for this has come from the 30 Days of Doing meet-ups as well as other technology/business mentors.
The future of tech looks a lot like a data driven minefield. I expect to see more traditional sectors being disrupted by quick thinkers, Uber being the catalyst. The recent boom in AI using big data has me excited as it means we will have more tailored content and services without having to do the mundane and mindless tasks modern life carved out for us. The possibilities for analytics in defining consumerism and service delivery means I’ll say, watch this space!
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