The rise of an award-winning female Leyland-based bank vice president in male-dominated IT
Rachel Ryan, 49, is Senior Vice President and Global Head of IT Asset Management at Danske Bank, and last year’s winner of the ITAM Project of the Year award by the ITAM Review.
Living in Leyland, she is a world renowned public authority and thought leader in the industry and all of this has been achieved unlike the majority of her peers who have taken the more traditional path of college or software developer. .
She retains her broad Lancashire accent and has carved out an exceptional career for herself accepting challenges despite her own doubts and staying focused on very specific goals.
Rachel grew up in Langho in the Ribble Valley and left school at age 16 to go into sales, joining Time Computers, a Simonstone-based company that was a major player in the personal computer market in the late 1990s. .
Having some sales experience, but above all a thirst for knowledge, Rachel enthusiastically trained in IT, learning quickly as the end users she was selling always asked a lot of questions and therefore in-depth knowledge was required.
After a year working as a nanny in the United States, she joined a standish company working in a department specializing around software licensing. Rachel said, “I was a licensing specialist and Fujitsu in Warrington was looking to build a team of licensing consultants.
“During the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak (in 2001), Fujitsu needed people to take care of the networking: wiring installations, routers and switches. Working with large accounts such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Retail and Banking, I became responsible for software operations.
“I did a secondment in purchasing, then I had the opportunity to do my software asset management certification. It was a promising thing at the time as many customers requested this service.
“They wanted to manage the range of software they were using versus the licenses they had.
“Back then, a lot of software vendors were starting to do major audits and that’s where a lot of the big money came from. By then, I had followed the entire software lifecycle from sales to recycling, so I was ideally placed to move into software asset management.
“I was interviewed by the ISO board for standards for ITAM and was very scared to go out with all these asset management experts and talk about what I had did, but they were amazed that I had managed to gain so much experience, hands-on experience. ”
In 2010, she was approached by Astra Zenica to become their first global asset manager. “It was around this time that I went to a software advisory board conference and listened to all the speakers and thought it wouldn’t be great if it could be me in a few years.
“I have always firmly believed that if you take risks it will pay off. I knew that if I wanted to advance in my career I would have to do something different and take risks. I was lucky to be. invited to go to berlin and present. This first presentation was kind of like walking the green mile. I was so nervous, but I did.
“I had always thought that being from the North people would always hear the accent and think that I was not credible or qualified. But when you’re in Europe, the accent is actually seen as endearing.
“Perception is reality and that’s something I had to learn. I found that my career was sometimes denied to companies because I was not from London. I had to go further to prove myself. Unless you have exhibits on a regular basis, don’t expect anyone to know about it. “
I volunteered for various programs to help others and ended up being nominated for the Inspiring Women’s Awards in Manchester.
“From there I did lectures and lectures on ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ It’s one of the things I’ve always tried to do, to push myself through the worries. that you might have. “
After ten years, she decided the time had come to leave and won the position of Senior Vice President of Danske Bank.
She said: “IT asset management works very well in the financial industry due to the high level of regulation. It’s really important. We need to be able to prove where all of our assets are and what we are using them for. The result is that we are saving a lot of money, millions.
Software, she explained, tends to be deployed and forgotten in businesses, which means that a business can pay for licenses that it doesn’t use often, or when it’s bundled into groups. packages, pay for items she never uses. Reducing this waste offers a surprising amount of savings for businesses large and small.
She has traveled all over Europe during her career. Her team is based in Vilnius, Lithuania, the bank’s head office is in Copenhagen, she travels regularly to London and she has just set up a team in India.
“There is that side that is great. You meet people from other cultures and experience different ways of life. I attend many conferences and events.
“IT isn’t just for developers. There is so much to do. I am not a super technical person. This relates to processes, improvements, the ability to manage projects well, service management and people management. You don’t need to have a computer science degree, I don’t, there are some accreditations you can learn along the way.
“Development is a very specific area of IT. You don’t have to be technical for a career in this area. What I have learned is to seize opportunities when they arise and which I started to do really well when I got authentic with myself.
“Some people think it’s wrong to be too bubbly, to have a sense of humor, or to be too Nordic, but that’s not true. You don’t have to be a robot. Be yourself, but keep pushing yourself and trying new things to keep growing. If you do, good things will happen. “
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