Leyre Murillo-Villar is chief data officer and data control lead at BNP Paribas. She is also a member of the Women in Data 20 in Data and Tech list. She told DataIQ about the need to close the gender gap and how data is at the heart of managing risk.
DataIQ (DIQ): Firstly, congratulations on being selected for the 20 in Data and Tech list. What do you feel about being included this year?
Leyre Murillo-Villar (LMV): Thank you, I am very happy with the award. I feel very proud and honoured to be part of the 20 in Data and Tech list, and to find myself among this group of talented women that are such an inspiration. It is a recognition to my hard work, passion and effort, and also a big responsibility for 2020 and years to come as many young women may see themselves reflected in my story and my path. So, I need to lead by example and continue giving my 100% every day.
DIQ: You are now viewed as a role model - is that a status you inhabit easily and were already active around (for example through mentoring or similar activities)?
LMV: As far as I know, I haven’t had the “role model” tag before. I’ve done mentoring and have participated as speaker or panellist in conferences. Once I was approached by a couple of young students asking me how I got there and what was the path that led me to being there.
I felt very comfortable during my mentoring activities, tried to give honest advice and opinion, based on my own experience. I try to give always my best with the work I do and with the people I work with. It is so important to make the best of our days and to make an impact.
DIQ: How important do you see initiatives like Women in Data to be? Are there still gender and diversity issues to resolve within the data and tech sectors?
LMV: These types of initiative are extremely important as they are a channel to inspire and educate data experts in the UK and worldwide and to support women in the field. Such initiatives give women a voice to speak out loud and a way to tell the world we are here to stay, we need diverse teams, and we need more women in senior positions.
Although different initiatives are being implemented in the data and tech domain, there is still a gender gap. We need to tackle the issue from diverse perspectives, for example, by engaging and attracting girls at college and university, improving recruiting and retention policies in companies, facilitating going back to work after maternity or care leaves.
DIQ: Given the level of regulation of financial services, does this make data-specific regulations (eg, GDPR) just one of a number of challenges, or can the data aspects of regulation be pulled out into one consistent challenge?
LMV: Financial services are strongly regulated in all aspects. There are some data-driven regulations (such as GDPR) or standards such as BCBS239. However, I would say that the willingness to govern, improve and monetise data properly is a transversal challenge that needs to be considered across all regulations. Without good, managed, clean data, can we aim to successfully comply with MIFID II, PSD2 or Open Banking?
DIQ: How has your experience on the advisory side helped you in your current role?
LMV: I’m very proud of my student and professional background. I keep positive souvenirs from my period at Deloitte and EY Spain and UK. My years in practice taught me the skills and tools to successfully navigate difficult situations, to understand there are no problems, but opportunities, and that there is always a solution!
DIQ: What changes to data management as a result of technology are you seeing? Is it making your task easier or more complicated?
LMV: From our side, technology is providing data management and analytics experts with the tools we need to support our job. Then we were using Excel and Powerpoint, now we are using advanced data management tools to help us with our job.
Also, technology is making digitalisation a reality, streamlining and automating processes. However, we need to consider all the new potential risks that are appearing, and adapt our strategy to the new environment accordingly.