The story so far
After I completed a Master of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, I wanted to stay in research, so I began a PhD in the field of microbiology, working with Procter and Gamble to research the effects of enzymes on the adhesion of biofilms. During the course of the project, the ability to innovate and learn was slowly replaced by the monotony of repeated data collection. So what really piqued my interest was how to find specific data from readings, which is typically hard to access because of software limitations. As part of my PhD I began experimenting with coding, writing software to help pull better data and working with collaborators at different universities to see how this software could help understand the research in a more comprehensive way. This is how I found my way into data engineering and data science.
I completed my doctorate two days before lockdown began, and was lucky in getting a job in data science shortly afterwards. One of my clients in that role was OMERS Ventures and I ended up joining the team full time.
What should people know about you?
One thing that makes our team unique is that when we’re interested in investing in a company, we dive in and really understand it from all levels. This includes using platforms and/or software, along with often trying to implement it into our own workflows. Part of my role is to help our investment team better understand the tools we invest in by translating the technical benefits into real-life use cases. With this, I become a real champion for the companies we look into. I’ll be in the background using the product and thinking of ways to integrate it into our own operations, or those of our other portfolio companies, and help our investment team understand the full value.
Even when I’m not at work, I like to play around with code and teach myself new things that may or may not be relevant to my job. For example, I’ve recently joined a Korfball league - a Dutch variation of basketball and netball combined (and a little bit of neither of those things, too), which now has me working on a piece of software that uses computer vision to make sports highlights from our games. You can also find me having lengthy conversations with my cat, a white and ginger named Farley, who loves to chat.
What's something about you that people would be surprised by?
I’m naturally very shy. Even though I enjoy meeting new people and socializing with friends and family, I’m very comfortable in my own company or with those that know me best. This is something I had to actively work on when I was younger. In university I joined the student radio, which put me massively outside my comfort zone. I was attending sports events with professional journalists, interviewing athletes after games, presenting on TV - generally being very social. These were all great experiences, as the journalists and athletes were all very kind in offering tips, helping me become more comfortable in social situations. You’re still more likely to find me doing more listening than talking!