“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
— Mahatma Gandhi
On Monday, March 8, 2021 the world celebrates International Women’s Day. This year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge, motivated us to celebrate women in tech and honor one of our inspiring customers who is doing just that - choosing to challenge barriers that exclude people while also celebrating diversity in both her personal and professional life.
Meet Geeta Sriskanthan.
Geeta is committed to inclusion which she defines as “a state of being valued, respected and supported,” and actively challenges barriers to inclusion, whether they be systemic barriers to diversity or tackling unconscious biases that limit an individual’s ability to build an inclusive workplace.
Championing inclusion and awareness for women in tech
Geeta has worked in the Financial Services sector for over 14 years, including many FTSE 100 companies. Currently, she is the Head of Information System Risk Management at Mizuho International, where she is a co-champion of the Gender Network as well as the Education Stream Lead for the Mizuho Cultural Network. In those roles, she’s helped organize large events around taboo topics such as mental wellbeing, health topics (such as, menopause, prostate cancer, mental illness) and “race at work” awareness campaigns.
Geeta is passionate about new challenges. She continues educating herself (having just finished the Oxford SAID Business School’s Women in Leadership program) and carrying her passion outside of work where she has promoted women in STEM subjects at school events and university career fairs. She enjoys communicating and mentoring women in tech, financial services and STEM.
And lest we forget, Geeta enjoys travelling, reading, and spending time with her young children.
Committed to the challenge
We were lucky to grab a few minutes of Geeta’s time to ask her a few questions about her #ChooseToChallenge commitments and women in tech.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been at Mizuho?
I work in the Information risk management team and been working for Mizuho International for just shy of 8 years now.
Q: Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
Although my role is in IT, I also work with business colleagues to lead technology projects and serve as a subject matter expert providing guidance and staying involved in projects focused on important areas such as, system identity management and governance. No two days are ever the same. One day I could be managing a project and another I could be hosting a large-scale event as part of the inclusion network.
Q: Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do?
When I was growing up, I was interested in business and people, not so much in technology. But my father who was a retired legal professional took keen interest in computers, which meant I was his natural tech support. His questions and challenges led me to seek out solutions, and then slowly I started to appreciate the wonders of technology and how it helps to transform our lives. The rest is history, I am now totally in love with technology and the new challenges it brings.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you relish in your position?
Technology is growing fast and changing at a rapid pace. The challenges are complex, inter-connected and inter dependent. This means there is no time to get bored and be complacent which helps me to keep my mind active and continue to learn and be curious.
Q: Do you have a guiding quote you live by or a saying that’s meaningful to you?
The quote that I like the most is from Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” because it is empowering, drives ownership and inspires action. It is action that changes the world.
Q: What drew you to helping more girls get into STEM?
My daughter. I initially was interested in helping my daughter develop a strong foundation so that she can be successful. STEM subjects are inclusive and show all genders they can be anything they want to be. I have participated in various campaigns about how to attract future women in tech as leaders. I aim to drive positive change in this area.
Q: What do you think is the best part of being a woman, and a woman of color involved in STEM in the tech industry?
The amount of resilience I have built up over the years, being first generation born and bought up in the United Kingdom. Everything I do is inspired by my children. They motivate me to work hard and challenge the status quo. I work hard every day to be a role model, so that they can one day contribute to our society in a meaningful way.
Q: What advice would you give to women entering the tech field? Anything you wish you had known?
You can be and do anything you want. Look up, look forward and be you. Life will throw you challenges, give you reasons to fail, but be brave and take the plunge.
Thank you, Geeta, for being brave, for #ChoosingToChallenge, and for leading the way for women in tech!