Inspiring answers by Leyre Murillo Villar, one of the Women in Data Ambassadors 2019 on her life and working as a CDO Data Controller.
Name and job role. Leyre Murillo Villar. CDO Data Controller.
2. What is something about you people might not know? What are your hobbies?
I love music. I’m a pianist (I started playing the piano when I was 8) and also I am part of the BNPP choir. We rehearse every week! I also love practising yoga, try to practise every day, even if it is for 10 minutes. It helps me to structure better my time, my mind and to focus my energy.
3. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I changed my mind several times while I was growing up. First I wanted to be a teacher and I would use my brother to practice. Then a lab scientist, later on, a lawyer (do you remember the series “Ally Mc Beal”?). There was no specific path for me or a unique skill I wanted to develop and shine. I enjoyed creative tasks, like painting, drawing, acting, singing, dancing and really enjoyed talking, asking a lot of questions and telling stories! I wanted to be an independent woman (probably wanted to wear suits!) and make an impact with the quality of my work.
4. Who was your biggest influence growing up?… who were your role models?
There was no internet or social network at that time so it was a bit more difficult to know what other people were doing and TV and books/magazines played a big part in influencing kids and teenagers. Anyway, I think I didn’t have any specific famous role model to look up to. I guess I wanted to be like my mum, hardworking woman, personal and professional and well respected. I also liked Princess Diana!
5. What were your favourite subjects at school?
I enjoyed Maths (I had the best teacher one can ask during my time in high school!), and especially Biology and Chemistry. Also, I loved languages (I am currently fluent in English, French and Spanish) and literature. I used to devour books at a young age!
6. What were your least favourite subjects at school?
I’m afraid History was one of my least favourites subjects at school. Not because it was not important. Rather, because I found very hard to memorise facts and dates. It was very difficult to come up with schemas or processes to study. However I passed all my exams with very good marks (have I mentioned that both my mum and dad were teachers, so at home, doing the homework every day was mandatory!).
7. How did you come to choose your current career path or were you led to it?
I did an MSc in Computer Science. The first three years of the degree was focused on data structures and data management. The second part on artificial intelligence and neuronal networks. I had many options and was unsure about which career to pursue. I chose computer engineer degree as it was the most unknown to me, where my knowledge gap was bigger and because it sounded fancy.
Once I finished I started working in Madrid at Deloitte for Santander Group, developing data analysis initiatives, where I managed to apply all the programming and data skills I had learnt at university. I guess it was a mix of luck, effort and true enjoyment that kept me going. After a couple of years working in the external audit domain for Santander, I joined EY. There I was given the opportunity to launch/create the data quality service. And I realised that not only I was good at it but also everything made sense in my head and I was able to make the best use of my creativity and my curious mindset.
8. What are the biggest changes in the world of work (for women) that you are excited about?
We are seeing more women in a management position, leading to a diverse blend of skills and leadership styles. Also diversity and inclusive policies in companies that are being developed, for example, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, among them the Goal 5: Gender Equality that talks about how to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
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?
Having a degree it is definitely not the only path to a successful career. It helps because it gives you the possibility to learn some skills and problem-solving mindset that you may need in the future. But the most important part is your willingness to understand problems and find suitable solutions, your passion to get to the root of the real-life problems and ask appropriate questions and your ability to network with different people, connect the dots and find patterns and meaning in the chaos.
10. What advice would you give your younger self and school leavers today?
Ask questions, understand the why and the how. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, learn from them. Fully embrace chaos and changes, as many challenges will come, use them as a testing environment to try new things. Think where you are today, where you want to be and build your path to get there.
Make sure to follow this series on STEM Careers Guide.
For more career-related and job search options, visit Rob Williams Assessment.
Data Controller Job