This Wednesday Women in Engineering has an interview for you with a person from industry – this time we have talked to Rebecca McDowall! She has studied Mathematics and Statistics and now she is already working in the industry and shares her experience at Accenture. Rebecca has been involved in several initiatives related to Women in STEM which is very inspiring. We hope that this interview will inspire you as well!
How is your experience so far?
Fantastic! In my short two years at Accenture, I have had two clients in two different industries (telecommunications and healthcare), with two vastly different roles, all the while working with like-minded technology enthusiasts across the world.
My first role allowed me to become a Scrum Master, which involved overseeing a team of 14 to deliver a data governance collaboration tool. Accenture uniquely enables their analysts to engage with senior stakeholders despite their juniority- (stakeholder management is an invaluable skill that is in any industry)!
My current role involves profiling the data of several legacy systems ahead of a large-scale data migration of over 9 million customers to a new customer relation management system. I am currently leading workshops with directorates and showcasing critical data quality insights.
Outside of my project work, I have been part of several Women in Technology incentives that Accenture offer. Notably, I partook in the ‘Developing our Women’ course, where I committed a few hours each month to attend various webinars with colleagues across Europe and Latin America to discuss career progression and create action plans to achieve career goals.
What challenges have you faced so far and how did you overcome them?
I had a fear of public speaking, which I knew would somewhat hinder my career at a later stage.
To overcome this, I attended several Toastmasters meetings and began putting my name down for various panellist and speaking opportunities at Accenture to practice. It was nerve-wracking to begin with (and still is), but I am so grateful that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I feel much better equipped for my future.
What has been your favourite memory while you’ve been in the team/placement/during the job?
Prior to joining Accenture, I completed a Nanodegree from Udacity in Data Analytics which propelled my interest in technology and data. I was later asked to feature in a ‘Women’s History Month’ blog series where I spoke about my journey from University to Udacity to Accenture.
This was a real ‘full circle’ moment; I was able to give back to a platform that gave me the skills to begin my career whilst being able to represent Accenture and engage with potential applicants to the company.
How did you get into STEM? Who inspired you to get into it?
My Mathematics teacher, Ms. Sheikh, she held a master’s in physics and was just one of two women in the Mathematics department. Shortly after she began at my school, she became the head of the department and pushed for my class to be one of the first to take the Mathematics GCSE exam a year early.
Her faith in her pupils and commitment to her profession was always admirable and inspiring.
What would you say to inspire young girls in order to get them into STEM studies?
Walking a path least trodden by your peers can be tough but look outward for inspiration and mentorship by reading books written by pioneering women in STEM, attending meetups/workshops run by organisations such as Girls Who Code or by signing up for a virtual mentor using 1MWIS (1 Million Women in Stem). There is a plethora of resources at your disposal and a community of women who will welcome you!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn!
Thank you, Rebecca, and good luck in the future!