Thomson Reuters and Urban Synergy held their first STEM seminar for 2018 on Wednesday 9th May at the Thomson Reuters building in Canary Wharf. 70 students from Conisborough College school, based in Catford, South East London, attended to listen to the STEM panelists and also to take part in speed mentoring with Thomson Reuters employees from various departments and also guest employees from JP Morgan and Ernst & Young.
Leila Thomas, Founder of Urban Synergy and also a Delivery Manager at Thomson Reuters, addressed the audience to tell them about the charity and then introduced the keynote speaker Jacqueline Guichelaar, Chief Information Officer for Thomson Reuters who has worked around the world including Australia, New York and the UK. Jacqueline talked about growing up in Uruguay and her love of latin music/dancing and then about her career journey in the often male orientated world of Technology and emphasised to the young audience that ‘you don’t need to be technical to be in technology.’ Jacqueline advised ‘when you’re not sure if you can do something..do it anyway. Have the courage to do what you want.’ Jacqueline also stressed to ‘have fun, work would be boring without it.’
Dianne Johnson, Urban Synergy, interviewed the Thomson Reuters’ panelists who all worked in the Technology Operations team;
Gameli Ladzekpo, Business Graduate:
Gameli talked about life at school and university and was asked about the advantages of being on a graduate scheme. Gameli talked about obtaining technical experience in different areas by being on different rotations. The three top tips he provided to the students were:
- Do your homework, preparation pays dividends
- Step outside your social group sometimes
- Try to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Angela Jones, Senior Director Networks Team
Angela spoke about managing a team of 200 staff and the challenges to ensure that everything in the network is maintained and operational, she also spoke about going to work in India something she would have never considered had it not been required for her job. Angela spoke of her career journey and some of her difficulties in school which helped to shape her into the person that she is today. She also spoke about her love of football and experiences as a qualified referee, something she used to do. Angela’s top tips to the students were;
- Take opportunities to get outside of your comfort zone.
- Be confident - put yourself forward for things.
Kowsar Mozumdar, Project Manager (via Apprenticeship scheme)
Kowsar talked about his journey from school to college and deciding his next steps to take a degree or to apply for an apprenticeship scheme. Kowsar mentioned working on different projects and at the same time obtaining valuable qualifications through the apprenticeship. He also spoke about his love of cars which was a hobby and also a business that he runs in his spare time. Kowsar’s top tips for students were:
- In any professional environment, make sure that your conduct is of a high standard.
- Never delay things (especially in relation to homework or revision)
- Always ask questions
Leila Thomas, Delivery Manager
Leila was asked to talk about working on one of her most complex projects, she spoke about a project for a bank and project managing the team and the importance of getting along with different personalities. Also the challenges of working with people in different time zones and from different cultures i.e. India and China. Leila’s top tips for students were:
- Stay true to your word
- Try to focus on what you want to be
- Build good relationships with your working colleagues (and teachers)
- Get as much work experience as you can
Darren Rowe, Head of Year 9 from Conisborough College, addressed the audience of students and role models and said ‘The journey to success begins now, broaden your horizons. Here, there is a range of backgrounds, a range of pathways and a range of stories.
Jagi aged 14 yrs: ‘I learned that I should socialise more with different groups of people and meet deadlines. Also focus more on studies and be the best I could be - because challenges and mistakes make you learn and be stronger. I will always work hard, accept challenges and overcome them.’
Amari aged 14 yrs: ‘I learned that you should work your hardest and never give up, no matter what. I will revise more and will not be scared to ask questions when I need help. I enjoyed how the role models were trying to help us by letting us know what we need to do, to get where we want to be.’
Sophie aged 14 yrs: ‘I learned that sometimes you should take risks to be successful. I will work harder in school and revise more. Also start looking into careers to do with things like graphic design.’
Justin aged 14 yrs: ‘I learned I must work hard and work for my success, if I don’t who will? I will do the best I can and always look for advice. I enjoyed the panel, looking at the journey to where they are now.’
Elvis aged 13 yrs: I enjoyed listening to the role models and their diverse backgrounds. We were taught to have ambition and integrity.’
Rose aged 14 yrs: ‘I enjoyed speaking to the role models and asking them about their experience and advice. I also enjoyed the panel because everyone was different and their three tips were very useful and inspirational.’