In our weekly series, Information Age speaks to Yasmin Taylor, chief technology officer at Cashmere App, on the importance of keeping up to date with emerging technology and championing diversity.
Cashmere App is a social savings platform designed for millennial women to save towards and buy luxury fashion without having to dip into their savings.
Taylor started with Cashmere App earlier this year as a first time CTO following a varied career which involved holding numerous IT project management positions.
In 2014, Taylor also graduated with a degree in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics from the University of Bedfordshire.
Despite this experience and also being able to boast fluency in several coding languages, Taylor said that her young age and gender have often felt restrictive.
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She explained: “When people think of a CTO, they often picture an older man, but here I am this young 25-year-old woman in her first CTO role.”
“Even though I have the respect of a CTO title, many times I am left feeling like I need to audition again and again to prove my worth.”
In 2016, Taylor completed a certificate course with Code First: Girls, a not for profit social enterprise that works exclusively with women in Britain to develop coding skills.
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Taylor said: “I loved it, and it was so empowering to see so many females that are not only passionate about tech, but that know a lot about it.”
“As a result of this, I’ve been inspired to encourage other young females to get into STEM subjects.”
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“I think for many years STEM subjects have been regarded as male fields, so I think we have to start with the kids who are the future and say that coding and maths are for girls too.”
“We need to have more female role models in tech too, instead of looking to the Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs why not look up to Sheryl Sandberg.”
In Information Age’s pursuit of understanding the great variety of chief technology officers that work for technology-led companies in and around our area, we have embarked on a mission to find out what type of CTOs are here, what it takes for them to succeed and what challenges they face.
Throughout this series, we have identified CTOs with a lot of different priorities. Many focus on the product, others on maintaining the infrastructure, while some described their role as hybrid in nature.
Taylor said: “I was brought on board because the company saw me as the type of CTO who can keep up with emerging technologies, I think this drew from my Degree in AI and robotics.”
“AI is very prevalent and important now, and there’s an exception for me to find ways to integrate it into the backend of Cashmere App, as well as looking at ways to go forward with data analytics.”
At the same time, beyond her role being technical, she has a lot of contact with customers and partners.
She explained: “We go to a lot of networking events and outreach with different companies discussing how to integrate their data analytics tool into the Cashmere App.”
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“A lot of companies in the retail space are trying to integrate themselves into technology; so they are quite excited about it.”
“But because we work with luxury brands, we have to reflect this our brand too.”
“Driving Growth through analytics”
Taylor said: “The app has been around for quite some time now and since I’ve been on board, I’ve been on the backend working hard on trend analysis, targeting what demographic we reach.”
“We also want to develop a credit rating feature so that our users can track their credit scores, to do this I’m learning a lot about data visualisation.”
>See also: Tech Talent Charter expands reach across UK to balance diversity
Nominations are now open for the Women in IT Awards Ireland and Women in IT Awards Silicon Valley. Nominate yourself, a colleague or someone in your network now! The Women in IT Awards Series – organised by Information Age – aims to tackle this issue and redress the gender imbalance, by showcasing the achievements of women in the sector and identifying new role models