When Joanne Hannaford, EMEA head of technology at Goldman Sachs, started her career 30 years ago, she says there were plenty of women interested in the area. In the early 1990s computing was considered to be, “a really great job for a woman,” Hannaford said on a podcast earlier this year. “I look around and I think, where have those women gone?,” she added.
A close look suggests they haven’t disappeared entirely. Women are still inhabiting some of the top technology roles in investment banks, and many have been around for a while. If you’re a woman thinking about a technology career in finance and you’re looking for a female role model, you can always take your pick from the (non-comprehensive) list of potentials below.
Lori Beer – group chief information officer, JPMorgan
Lori Beer is the queen of financial technology. Promoted to group CIO at JPMorgan in 2017, she was previously CIO for the corporate and investment bank. When we spoke to her shortly before her promotion, Beer said she spent years working on predominantly male teams and that her advice to women in tech was to “stop trying to be like one of the guys.”
Beer added that there’s a “social and emotional aspect to the end product,” and that she found she was good at tapping into this and managing this element of the development process. Her own children are now grown up, but she advised young people going into finance technology to be, “mindful of where they want their career to go.
“When I was younger, I moved around the country for different jobs,” said Beer. “But I let the opportunities guide me rather than having a clear plan about where I wanted to be. Too often, people look at what’s in front of them without seeing the bigger picture, so I’d encourage longer term goals.”
Elizabeth Byrnes – MD in engineering, Goldman Sachs
Byrnes is a New York-based managing director in Goldman Sachs’ engineering division. She has a PhD from the Illinois Institute of Technology and joined the firm in 2007 after 11 years at Merrill Lynch. Byrnes is a past director of America’s Women in Technology network.
Joanne Hannaford – EMEA head of technology, Goldman Sachs
Hannaford is special because she doesn’t have the standard U.K. banking tech background of exceptional A levels and an degree from Imperial. She studied a BTEC in engineering, followed by a degree at Staffordshire University (first class), followed by a PhD at UCL. She joined Goldman in 1997 and worked her way up to becme head of EMEA technology in February 2017.
Hannaford said she still codes and still takes time to improve her coding skills. She told a conference earlier this year that she studies two or three coding courses in the evening at City University. “I am often twice the age of the people in those courses but I am there programming,” she says. “It creates a little ecosystem for you. You get to know the people on the course, and you can ask them questions.”
Merav Pepere, head of banking technology Morgan Stanley
Pepere heads banking technology for Morgan Stanley out of New York. A programmer by training, she’s been at the bank for 26 years and is pivotal to Morgan Stanley’s push to digitize its banking processes.
Julie Shapiro, global head of finance & risk IT, UBS
Shapiro joined UBS as global head of finance and risk IT in 2017 after six years at JPMorgan. With a degree from the University of Rochester in mechanical engineering, she started working in banking IT in 1993 – again with JPMorgan. She spent 14 years with the bank initially, including stints at Lehman and Barclays before returning to JPM again.
Katherine Wetmur, international chief information officer, Morgan Stanley
Wetmur was promoted to international CIO at Morgan Stanley in March 2019. She sits on the bank’s EMEA operating committee and reports directly to global CIO Rob Rooney. Wetmur is responsible for in-house technology at Morgan Stanley outside the United States. An American citizen, she graduated from Rice University in 1989.
Emma Williamson, platform as a service product owner, Deutsche Bank
As Deutsche Bank looks to improve upon its millennial-unfriendly IT, Williamson is the owner of its new Platform as a Service (PaaS) initiative, which includes Fabric its new cloud-based interface which allows developers to work on products using Deutsche’s data. Williamson, who also has an atypical background with a computing degree from the Open University, joined Deutsche from Barclays in 2014.
Sigal Zarmi, digital transformation manager, Morgan Stanley
Zarmi is also comparatively new to her role. Morgan Stanley hired her as its first ever head of digital transformation in July 2018. Zarmi, who has a degree in computing and an MBA from Columbia, was previously CIO at PwC, and prior to that she was 16 years at GE Capital.
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