Friday, April 15, 2016

Spotlight on .............. Diana Bang

In the next in our inspirational Spotlight series, we meet Diana Bang, Client Director at Decoded

Diana leads the innovation work at Decoded, working with global clients to define digital transformation strategies, creating programs to envision them and facilitating Decoded workshops.

After being exposed to coding, she realised technology was something everyone should understand to be better equipped to excel in a digital economy. Prior to working at Decoded Diana’s background was in fashion marketing, and she holds a Masters in Strategic Marketing specifically focusing on beacon technology in retail. 

Who are you, what is your current role?
I'm currently Client Director at technology educator -  Decoded. I work closely with boards and leadership teams across a huge range of industries all over the world to define their digital transformation strategies by creating programmes to help meet their business ambitions and measure the impact they have on the organisation.

What’s the most exciting part of your role?
I feel very privileged to be in a position where I get to have detailed conversations with people from such varied industries and roles about something that is so current and impactful for businesses.

There is always something new to learn at Decoded. We are continuously working on new products. I'm especially proud of the work I have been doing on developing our new Innovation programme which help businesses embrace a culture of innovation and agile approach to product development.

For the past year I have been working with clients globally on live projects, developing experiments with them to help validate their ideas. It's very exciting to be in a company where you can take something and run with it!

What personal and professional strengths do you think have been crucial to your success?
I have always worked in smaller businesses. From fashion, lifestyle to technology focused companies. I think what's key as a personality trait is to be continuously curious, and also to not be afraid to voice your ideas and be prepared to have them be dismissed.
The success to small businesses are the people who push the companies forward.
I have also been a bit of a 'jack of all trade' (I'm not even British but I use that slang). My background involves aspects of graphic design, video editing, marketing, coding and account management. It's about using all variations of your abilities to get things done, efficiently.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve done in your career to date?
The larger contracts we work with, the more pressure there is to deliver. You work hard to be successful in your role, when you then are, it's about maintaining that which I think is more challenging.

At Decoded I've brought in the largest contracts to date, but that's only the beginning, then you need to work hard to deliver on that promise.

On a personal level, I think the most challenging thing is moving away from working in the fashion industry to technology. I've always been in between the two, so for me personally it's challenging to ensure I get the right exposure to both to ensure I'm on the right career path for my future.

If you were mentoring your younger self knowing what you now know what advice would you give?
Whatever you are passionate about, there is a career in that. When I was younger in high school your education was separated into either the 'Math' line or 'Language' line. I was on the Math line for the last three years of my school. Imagine being so boxed at a young age when you are constantly changing your mind about what you want to do.

One you've then defined your passion, make sure to get into that field of work or industry. Once you're in, there's more opportunities to develop, progress and even try new roles. As long as you're excited everyday about the environment you're in, then you can challenge yourself by working on new projects, with new teams and have new responsibilities. Essentially ensure you're excited and always challenging yourself in your career.

Have you got any role models? Who are they and why are they your role models?
I'm inspired by people with tenacity and unconventional career paths.   Natalie Massenet, current Chairman of the BFC, started Net-a-Porter in her Chelsea flat. This was during the .com boom in 2000 when e-commerce was on the tip of either being a massive fail or success. She had the vision that people would spend ££££ on luxury items online without ever trying them on beforehand, something that many doubted her for. She began her career as an editor for Tatler, stayed in the industry she's passionate about, but has completely re-invented that industry. She keeps herself challenged, and I love and am inspired by that drive.

What are your top 3 interests outside of work?
1. I have an MA in Strategic Fashion Marketing at London College of Fashion, and am still fascinating by the fashion industry. So in my spare time I post inspirations and thoughts on my blog:

2. I love going to the gym. I can be there for over two hours. When I go, that's my plan for the evening. I think that's how you can gather motivation to really push yourself. Just think 'this is my plan for my evening and nothing else', don't have a deadline for when you need to leave the gym.

3. Spending time with my friends and family. They're a great source of energy to be around. Whether you're discussing ideas, nonsense or letting off steam - a big part of who I am and will become is because of them.

What kind of career would you have in an alternative universe?  
Fitness instructor. Imagine having a job that is keeping you healthy, and you can manage your own time!

What are the major barriers facing women in tech today
There are two aspects. Our school system and confidence.

In the past, working in technology was very linear. In primary school you were taught ICT, which focused a lot on how to use computers. So it interested a certain group of people. In today's world technology is now an enabler for so many creative outputs. And thus the school system has now removed ICT and replaced it with computer science since 2014 to teach programming skills at a young age. Teaching programming at a young age I believe will level the playing field. Programming involves a logical, research & detail-driven, creative mindset. Something that appeals to both girls and boys. I'm excited to see the output of this in the next 20 years.

However, at the moment, I think the biggest barrier is confidence. At Decoded, we see that technology confidence scores are much lower with women than men. I hate stereotyping women, but I do think women feel they need to prove themselves more than men do. It's almost as if it's been implanted at a young age. I need to work on that myself because I feel like that sometimes, and I think many others do as well. We need to change that way of thinking to begin with.

What’s the one piece of advice that has always stuck with you
Robin Sharma 'Monk who sold his Ferrari' is a book that helped me through difficult times. I love his messages, especially this one:

'Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality'

Twitter: @Diana_Bang  (@Decodedco)

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