Inspiring answers by Dizem OZALP SARI, one of the Women in Data Ambassadors 2019, on her life and working as a Senior Data and Machine Learning Services Manager.
2. What is something about you people might not know? What are your hobbies?
I reckon that people might not know that I like dancing and once I took lessons to learn how to dance Greek Syrtaki.
History, economics and technology and comic books are my hobbies. I do jogging and pilates regularly.
3. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a historian.
4. Who was your biggest influence growing up?… who were your role models?
My biggest influence and role model was my mother. She was brought up in a very small village in Turkey and was the first girl to go to secondary school. She then had gone to uni and become a mathematician and astronomer, completing a double major.
5. What were your favourite subjects at school?
My favourite subjects were history, Geometry and English.
6. What were your least favourite subjects at school?
My least favourite subject was Music. I am terrible with any musical instrument.
7. How did you come to choose your current career path or were you led to it?
I was led to become an engineer by my teachers mostly. I was not very well informed when I made this choice. Luckily, I then discovered that engineering is my thing and really enjoyed this. I had the opportunity to combine my enthusiasm in history and economics with engineering during my postgrad and studied science and technology policies as masters.
8. What are the biggest changes in the world of work (for women) that you are excited about?
Learning is now not restricted in classrooms. Anywhere or on any device, as long as you are keen to improve your knowledge, there is a platform and mostly free that can help you to do that. In my perspective, this is groundbreaking and will def change our world moving forward. Human capital is still the most important part of our job.
9. Would you say having a degree is the only path to a successful career? Would you say there are opportunities for women entrepreneurs in your career?
No, I would not say but it is still the most exploited one. I would advise young people to consider going to uni as an opportunity rather than an obligatory step for their career. Splitting from the family can be a significant learning point for an adult to discover their real and own aspirations and strengths. Women entrepreneurs have access to only 2% of total VC funds. This number only can tell you that there are things we need to fight for more. This does not necessarily say that there is discrimination but we need to understand the reasons for this significantly low number. On the other hand, there are funds supporting particularly women entrepreneurs and applying positive discrimination, which could be a great opportunity for a woman with a business idea.
10. What advice would you give your younger self and school leavers today?
I would advice to care less what other people think of you, care more what you can do for less advantageous communities. You can create more impact than what you believe.
Make sure to follow this series on STEM Careers Guide.
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