Gavin Michael: Next week our largest-ever delegation from Citi will join more than 20,000 attendees from all over the world at the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) produced by AnitaB.org. The annual conference, being held this year in Houston, Texas, draws more female technologists than any other comparable event to learn from and be inspired by peers and industry leaders alike.
GHC attendees have the opportunity to hear from industry pioneers who have made unique contributions in entrepreneurship, law, media, philanthropy, energy, aerospace and other friends. Citi's own Yasaman Hadjibashi, Head of Data and Analytics for the Global Consumer Bank, is one of many talented women who will take the stage.
Yassi Hadjibashi: I'm honored to have been selected to speak about big data and social good and corporate social responsibility. The opportunities at GHC to network, learn about emerging trends and different technology fields and deepen knowledge in my personal interests are incomparable. I'm looking forward to these three days of inspiration.
Gavin: In my view, the opportunities at Citi to work in technology are truly unmatched. We're embracing our strengths as a global bank to be at the forefront of innovation, and we're investing in retraining and upskilling our talent and delivering the best experiences for customers across the globe. Members of our team get the chance to have their best work impact the lives of millions of Citi customers. Today, we're thinking beyond our traditional organizational structure to encourage what we call "forward-compatible" behavior across all of our teams and to cultivate a culture of innovation and self-initiative. And we're looking to leverage GHC as a venue to connect with top talent.
Yassi: Through our recruiting efforts at the conference, we'll be showcasing the breadth and depth of our efforts to attract even more top female talent to our firm. Citi will be at the career fair to share opportunities for women in STEM at all career levels. I think everyone attending from Citi is looking forward to sharing the outstanding work we're doing with the new connections and potential recruits. Personally, I'm deeply proud of Citi's commitments to hiring diverse talent. I know that diversity brings fresh perspective and new approaches to our problems in better addressing the variety of challenges we face as an organization, specifically those that are customer-centric.
Gavin: What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
Yassi: I love to immerse myself in environments that are undergoing very big change. I love complex environments that push my worldview, my beliefs and way of thinking, rather than environments where everything is functional and working well. The constantly evolving technology landscape in most industries these days, and the pace of that evolution to continuously incubate better solutions attracted me to this space, specifically consumer financial services where in addition to the constant change I can emotionally and mentally relate to the products and services. Knowing that there are always bigger challenges and better new creative solutions needed is exciting to me.
Gavin: Your passion makes you an excellent role model for those interested in working in technology.
Yassi: I enjoy having an impact on people in new and unique ways. In my previous organization, I incubated a virtual mentorship initiative and plan to use my experience and interest in big data to bring something similar to Citi. Knowing that technology can really help amplify my impact is something I have a hard time passing up.
I also feel passionate about driving greater exposure to careers in technology for women and girls. The scarcity of technology-related education for children at a young age presents one of the most wide-ranging barriers to women pursuing careers in technology. Introducing tech to young girls during their early education could have a deep impact on the number of women in tech as it fosters interest from a young age and allows ample time to develop the necessary skillset. Additionally, channeling our resources into lateral, mid-career switches for women – that is, giving women the tools and technical skills to reinvent their careers – also has transformative effects on the demographics of the tech industry.
I believe that a great starting point is encouraging and challenging young girls and women already established in their careers to seize new opportunities, ask questions and pursue projects and roles that they may be interested in. The workplace continues to increasingly focus on technical skills and it's important that we support them in those ventures to open door and provide opportunities. That's where our efforts, such as Citi's Women in I.T. program and scholarship initiative with coding bootcamp Flatiron School, can make a difference.
Gavin: Our investment at GHC demonstrates Citi's focus and commitment to advancing the careers in women in technology and diversity, which are core to our values. I'll be following Citi's updates from the event on social and look forward to hearing about your experience. Enjoy GHC!