At the end of last year, the Women in Data conference hosted by Datatech Analytics, had a line-up that was noticeably different from that of the year before. At the end of the 2017, a member of the audience questioned the organisers about why the speakers at the event were not more racially diverse. Roisin McCarthy accepted that criticism and invited the delegate to help make the following year’s event more inclusive. Her name is Yasmin Hinds.
She told me that following the exchange, she was invited to the Women in Data committee to help shape the vision for the 2018 event. She said: “I found that to be a very useful group to participate in because it helped me to shape the agenda and provide some input. I found the organisers to be extremely engaging and very co-operative in terms of peoples’ ideas so that was really positive.” Hinds was a panellist on the ‘Data Trust’ session, moderated by DataIQ’s David Reed.
But there is still a way to go. She said: “I am still very acutely aware that despite people’s best efforts there is a need for more women and more women of colour to be given some opportunities to enter into the more senior roles within various data disciplines.” Hinds would like to see further changes in the data and analytics industry that would encourage and support women and women of colour to be decision makers.
She went on: “Generally the work place is still quite dominated by men and what I’d love to see in the next five years is women being given a platform within which they can be decision makers and they are at the table or the board table and the C-suite so that they can influence some of the vision and strategy for the businesses within which they work.” She commends organisations that are taking the lead on this issue and implementing initiatives such as a mentoring for people who are just starting in their data careers.
Hinds is used to taking charge and being a decision maker. She started her own business in Data Currency, an online service that serves as a data and practitioning forum providing individuals or organisations with legal knowledge around data protection and data security. A few years in, she decided to embark on an MBA. “The MBA gave me a direction towards consultancy within legal. It gave me a bit more of a business focus than I had initially.” She added that the high level study helped her to solidify her vision of how to make the business work.
Though Hinds is still a business owner, she is also employed by Sopra Steria as a consultant where she goes in to work with clients and does advisory work with them. This is about the protection of information, and ensuring compliance with data regulations, particularly those regarding data protection and data protection in relation to Brexit. “The particular focus is around what is the impact for businesses and how should they best prepare now and working towards the 30th March, talking to businesses around what will their data transfers and data security look like if we have a no deal,” she said.
Hinds said that working in regulation suits her personality and working style, due to its order, structure and regimented nature. “I like to have defined beginnings and end dates and regulation provides because it has set rules and requirements and you have a baseline to work to from.”
With so many years of experience, Hinds is able to comment on trends of organisational attitudes to data regulation. She said that there is a heightened awareness of the need for regulation, thanks to pervasiveness of data in this digital age. She said: “As technology becomes more apparent within our everyday lives, both personal and work there is a need to make sure that data is safeguarded. Compliance has become a lot more prominent.”