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International Women’s Day: Our Journeys Into Tech
Katie Richardson

International Women’s Day: Our Journeys Into Tech

In celebration of International Women's Day, we spoke to some of the women of Contino from around the world to find out more about their journeys into tech!

Katie Richardson, Chief People Officer

What do you do at Contino? Describe your typical day.

This is a difficult question to answer as it changes all the time! Since starting at Contino, we have grown the business across the globe from 20 to 350 people so my day-to-day role has changed a lot in that time. When I first started, I was literally building the very basic things that underpin our approach to PeopleOps today. Now I have a People team of over 35 people globally who are working their socks off to make Contino a phenomenal place to work.

I suppose in summary, the best way to describe my day-to-day life at Contino is that it’s 100% focused on delivering, developing and maintaining our people-first culture. That is something that hasn’t changed since day one!

How did you get into the tech sector?

Before starting at Contino I grew another startup consultancy in the Data and Analytics space. I am motivated by fast-paced businesses who are looking to change things up so technology is the natural place to find yourself in. I feel like it was a totally organic move from earlier roles.

What do you like most about working in the DevOps, cloud and data space?

I believe wholeheartedly in the work we’re doing for clients, delivering outcomes and business change in often challenging situations. We practice what we deliver to clients by adopting DevOps practices internally, working purely in the cloud and constantly looking to deliver value. This makes my job truly motivating and a pleasure as I believe we’re doing it the right way.

What is your favourite part about…

your job? The mandate to be able to drive change, with the support of the team to do so, plus the fact that I get access to all parts of the global business.

working at Contino? The people! Our people are keen to contribute and make an impact and there is a never-ending opportunity to progress our people and the business to be the best it can be. Oh, and the beer fridge and the laughter. 

working in tech? I studied English Literature at University. I tried to learn how to code and found it dreadfully frustrating! Every day I am learning something new and it pushes me outside of my natural brain process. And the people can be wonderfully challenging! 

Tuey Le, Delivery Lead, APAC

What do you do at Contino? Describe your typical day.

As a delivery lead, my typical day involves managing teams of Continis and customers to deliver the project outcomes. This consists of tasks like: defining, refining and containing scope of the project, tracking work items via a task-tracking tool, dealing with any escalations, ensuring communication is flowing within the teams, keeping customers up to date and managing their expectations. The list goes on!

How did you get into the tech sector?

I started my career as a graduate programmer in the manufacturing sector. I then moved into a software product startup in the financial services domain. I stayed with this company to see it grow from 20 people to over 400 people across multiple global regions. Through my journey in this startup, I moved up the ranks from programmer, to project manager and then eventually head of development, managing the operations of a software team across multiple locations.

Before joining Contino, I decided to take a step back in my career to focus on family. Contino allowed me the opportunity to join them and go back to my roots of working in a small company.

What do you like most about working in the DevOps, cloud and data space?

I love the dynamic and ever-changing technologies in this space. Although I am not deeply technical, I love keeping abreast of the changes and, more so, how it can benefit companies and our everyday lives.

What is your favourite part about…

your job? The best parts of my job are around working with people, interacting with them and leading teams in order to deliver the best possible outcome to the customer. I get the most satisfaction in assembling a new team and seeing them through the journey of becoming a high-performing team. I love to give them guidance, focus them and remove any blockers getting in the way of their job.

working at Contino? Contino allows me the trust and flexibility to do it my way, yet at the same time, providing the background support along the way.

Laura McBride, Partner Director, US

What do you do at Contino? Describe your typical day.

A typical day usually involves working with different squads across the organization to find out how we can work with our partners (AWS, Google and Microsoft) to help the account. The successful Squad Model that Contino operates in is one of the primary reasons I joined the business in the first place. Squads allow us to stay on top of risks, whether related to project, people, partners, finance, marketing, ops etc. and are KEY to clearing comms and winning more business. On top of squad catch-ups, I communicate daily with each of our key partners about new opportunities as well as existing customers' progress. Driving new pipeline is key which is why I help to plan valuable co-sponsored events, like Incremental AppMod Hands on Labs. I also search for new ways to get the Contino story told inside of these behemoth organizations.

How did you get into the tech sector?

I spent 28 years in telecommunications – what I refer to as my first career. I was in Enterprise Sales and was weary from the lack of relationship sales as it was mostly answering RFPs. I wanted to spend the remainder of my working career in a faster moving, exciting space and discovered cloud through a family friend that launched an AWS consulting startup. It has been FANTASTIC ever since – the best decision I have ever made.

What do you like most about working in the DevOps, cloud and data space?

Every day is a new and interesting day! We are always iterating, improving and influencing.

What is your favourite part about…

your job? Networking and connecting our team with our partner contacts, searching for new opportunities for Contino to grow our revenue and our Contino brand and unique business model.

working at Contino? I love the people across all regions and experiencing hockey stick growth.

working in tech? I enjoy the fast pace and the challenges that brings. I am always learning!

Simone Occulate, Principal Consultant, APAC

I don’t really have a typical day as each day can be completely different from the one before! I could either be at Contino’s office, a customer site, or at a partner’s site. It might involve video calls with our wider or global teams, running training sessions or I might have no meetings at all! Some days, it involves helping to plan one of our meetups, the FiiT (Female Influencers in Tech), which has had great feedback from the community who felt inspired by its speakers and their topics.

I also have regular squad catch ups where technical and non-technical people get together from across Contino to help achieve our customer goals in a friendly environment – the squad model is one of the things I love most about the Contino way of working.

How did you get into the tech sector?

Before the age of ten, I had my whole professional life figured out: I was determined to be a ballerina and to have my own gym! That career path was interrupted when I broke my knee and had to move on. I decided that I wanted to work with computers as I was really good at mathematics and physics and it seemed to be a logical path to follow, as well as something challenging with a promising future.

I started my career as a software developer while still studying at a technical high school. I got my computer science bachelor’s degree followed by post-graduate studies in object-oriented analysis and corporate finance, in order to have a non-tech perspective. A few years later, I started a master’s degree in software engineering with a focus on data quality, however I had to stop it when I moved to Australia. I’ve always been focused on the data side which made the next step easy. I changed to an Oracle DBA, then to data architect, enterprise data architect, a reviewer of DAMA DMBoK, working across different industries, overseas and in Australia. I used to be a data modelling instructor and have run training sessions.

What do you like most about working in the DevOps, cloud and data space?

I’m a data specialist and evangelist and data is of course an essential part of the cloud story. One of the things I like most about this industry is the speed of movement and the quick advances in technology. Keeping up-to-date is of course a challenge on its own, but I like to think of it as a part of life! It’s part of who I am – feeling comfortable being outside my comfort zone. Most recently, I’ve been interested in DataOps. Reach out to me if you would like to know more about it.

What is your favourite part about your job?

My job is as dynamic as it can be so there are no boring days! The beauty of it is that you know you are contributing, evolving and helping your colleagues and customers to also evolve. We help to bring out the best in each other, which is reflected in our results and in the long term relationships we build along the way.

Amy Darlow, Head of People, EMEA

What do you do at Contino? Describe your typical day.

No two days are ever the same for the PeopleOps team at Contino and I love the variety this brings to my role. My days can range from 121 catch ups on anything from personal development to general wellbeing, to working with our leadership team on driving our People priorities, to collaborating with our global PeopleOps teams or facilitating Consulting with Impact (our two day custom consulting training!). As part of our squad model, I have also had the opportunity to join our consulting teams on site to support our clients with aspects of their people, culture and engagement initiatives. There are always new challenges or requirements from customers coming in which we as a PeopleOps team have to adapt to, alongside our consultants.

How did you get into the tech sector?

After studying Business at University, I gained exposure to all the different business functions... however I was drawn to HR which allows you to really collaborate with everyone. My first exposure to working within tech was as a HR and recruitment assistant at a webhosting company, hiring everyone from developers to credit control and implementing HR initiatives. It was a fantastic learning opportunity which not only cemented my passion for all things PeopleOps but exposed me to an industry I really enjoyed working in. After some time spent working at a traditional organisation, I was eager to get back to a more agile and fast-paced organisation with technology and people at its heart - and that’s how I landed at Contino almost three years ago!

What is your favourite part about…

your job? Being able to proactively help and support other Continis. We don't believe in red tape and process for process sake which enables the PeopleOps team to focus on enabling our people to deliver within their roles and bring value to Contino.

working at Contino? Contino is very much a people-led organisation despite operating within the technology sector, a vision which aligns closely to my personal values. It's awesome to be able to action People initiatives iteratively and see the outcomes and feedback in a relatively short space of time. A lot of this is driven by the nature of our business. Working with others from different regions is a great way to ensure across Contino we are striving to maintain being a great place to work.

What do you like most about working in the DevOps, cloud and data space?

I especially like the forward-thinking nature of the work our consultants do. It isn't just about using tools, knowledge and experience to support clients now but also to help them to future-proof their business, by thinking sustainably about their needs and maintaining flexibility to adapt their technical solutions. I also love that things are always changing (and quickly!). There are always new challenges or needs from clients which our consultants have to embrace and upskill in or, as we have seen, huge growth due to the popularity of emerging technology.

Join us at our London HQ to celebrate International Women's Day with WomenTech Makers:



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