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Women at Toustone International Women's Day three female professionals standing together outside building

Heather Fielding

Lead Business Analyst / Project Manager / Technical Writer

Aayushi Vyas

Data & Business Analyst

Marilyn Martin

Chief Marketing Officer

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we interviewed some of our talented professionals at Toustone about their career and jobs in the STEM industry.

In a sector that is continually adapting and growing in diversity, inclusion and equality, we want to continue doing what we can to build a supportive community for female professionals in data and STEM roles.

That involves taking this moment on International Women’s Day to recognise and celebrate the contributions women have made to innovation, research and progress in this industry.

Heather, Aayushi and Marilyn represent just some of the valued female staff members at Toustone, but we thoroughly enjoyed their insight and perspective shared in the following interview:

How did you become interested in the STEM industry?

“I am a book/movie buff and much inspiration in my life has come from either reading or watching movies. As silly as this might sound, my initial interest came after watching a movie called ‘The Big Short’ based on the GFC of 2008. What I understood from it was that data gave all the answers. All it took was for a couple of people to “look” (better word: analyse) at it to see the crisis coming.”


“After a decade in government and non-profit roles, I wanted to experience the corporate world. Seeing the rapid growth and innovation in the tech sector, I decided to throw myself in the deep end and applied for a marketing role at an Australian SME that specialised in embedded computing, industrial communications, MarTech, and MedTech. These were areas I knew little about at the time.”


“I grew up around computers, as my father worked in IT before the acronym was even invented. I remember the excitement when he brought home an early PC, on which there was a text-based command-line game (‘you are in a forest, you are surrounded by trees’… there was a troll of the old-fashioned type in there somewhere).

After I graduated, I lived in Cambridge, UK (AKA ‘Silicon Fen’), and there were many opportunities to work within IT development. Technical Writing was a fairly new discipline at the time, and I was drawn to the opportunity to engage with technical subject matter, but also use my communication skills.

Being the champion for the end users with a deep understanding of the system, my role as Technical Writer naturally evolved over time to encompass what we now call ‘user experience’ and ‘business analysis.'”


Can you share a pivotal moment or experience that led you to choose a career path in this field?

“My first Machine Learning class back in 2018 when it wasn’t as popular as it is right now and the field was kind of new for students being able to actually take a class. What I learned in that class about the uses of machine learning, deep learning and the whole field in general blew my mind away. And fast forward to the end of 2019, I successfully built and deployed my first ever deep learning model for object detection in a live video.”


Were there any specific influences or role models that inspired your passion for this area?

“One of the most famous leaders in the Machine Learning industry is Andrew Ng. I started watching his lectures and followed his work through the years.”


What do you enjoy about working in the STEM industry and your role?

“The aspects I find most fulfilling or enjoyable are being able to learn beyond my own work and extend the boundaries of my role.

Another aspect would be to overcome new challenges everyday. Whether that is negotiating work tasks with the incredible developers I work with and getting the opportunity to understand technical solutions in great detail, managing relationships with stakeholders and clients, or managing projects as a whole.”


“The top 3 things I love about this industry are;

  1. That the folk in STEM are metric and data-driven as this is something I am passionate about as a marketer.
  2. The ‘leading edge’/incredible products and solutions that I get to learn about and market, like predictive analytics.
  3. The People: High IQ, Low Ego is a good summary of the STEM colleagues at Toustone.”


“I enjoy the variety of my role. At Toustone, I get to grapple with multi-layered requirements. I love the challenge of reducing complex contractual clauses down to simple, concise, unambiguous business and system rules ready to be implemented.
I also have a passion for driving best practice on business analysis, the application of Agile principles, and knowledge sharing, and I get to do this on a daily basis at Toustone.”


How do you feel your role in a data analytics company contributes to your personal and professional growth?

“Data Analysis is what I was interested in from the beginning (early university days) and I am so very lucky to have found a company that aligns with not only my professional goals but also my personal beliefs. Along with my manager Adam Sharp, the team I work with have been incredibly supportive and mindful of my wellbeing.”


Can you highlight any exciting projects or challenges you've encountered in your work within the STEM field that have been particularly rewarding?

“I have recently had the opportunity to work with ML in the sustainability area which is growing at a rapid pace. It has opened up a whole new area of learning for me and it becomes more interesting and important as the whole world pushes towards reducing carbon emissions and converting into a ‘greener’ environment.”


How do you navigate and overcome challenges or barriers you may face as a woman in the STEM industry/your job role?

“March on! Only you can stop yourself. Choose the correct battles to fight. If you get a chance to support other women, do it.”


What are your tips for other women or students considering a career in STEM?

“Just apply. It can be intimidating at first, especially if, like me, you’ve previously had limited experience in the STEM industry. However, it is an industry that desires and needs more women to join. So don’t doubt yourself; instead, know that you will be supported along the way.”


“If you want a career in STEM, go for it! Things have very much changed for the better since I started out, but as women, you may still find yourself in a minority, so seek each other out, and support each other.
And celebrate each other! Happy International Women’s Day!”


Want to learn more about who we are, what we stand for and what we do at Toustone?