Inspiring answers by Anthea Oon (DeSyllas), one of the Women in Data Ambassadors on her life and working as Head of Solutions at Money Dashboard.
Anthea Oon – Head of Solutions at Money Dashboard
About 18 months ago I took up kickboxing and I’m currently in training for my black belt
3. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was really little I wanted to be an accountant as I like numbers and that was the only job I knew of that worked with numbers. I also wanted to be an astronaut! Then in my teenage years, I wanted to be an Architect. Basically, anything beginning with A!
3. Who was your biggest influence growing up?… who were your role models?
My mum was a big driving force as I was growing up (never one to tell me I couldn’t do something – equally happy playing cricket with me in the garden to teaching me how to knit). Later in life I found out more about my grandmother. An amazing, inspirational woman and a force to be reckoned with – the first Chinese woman to be called to the Bar in the UK and an OBE!
4. What were your favourite subjects at school?
PE, Art, Chemistry and Maths
5. What were your least favourite subjects at school?
Home Economics and Languages (the oral part)
6. How did you come to choose your current career path or were you led to it?
By accident. I knew what I didn’t want to do but not what I did! I joined a graduate programme at L’Oreal straight from university and whilst working in market research there I was presented to by a company called dunnhumby. The rest, as they say, is history.
9. What are the biggest changes in the world of work (for women) that you are excited about?
Flexible working – enabling women to better manage their hectic home lives alongside the demands of work.
10. 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 is not the only way but it definitely still helps. There is definitely space for women entrepreneurs and we need more. Most leadership teams/boards I see in our industry are particularly vanilla. We need more diversity in these teams – more diversity in thinking, leading to better, high performing, successful teams.
11. What advice would you give your younger self and school leavers today?
Do what you love and feel passionate about – don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. There are too many people out there who hate what they do which is a travesty, as work takes up such a big part of your life. Focus on something that you’re happy to get out of bed for!
Make sure to follow this series on STEM Careers Guide.
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