Women have paved their way in the tech space and achieved remarkable milestones. They have climbed the leadership ladder in tech organizations by bringing different perspectives, skill sets, and approaches to the table. One such striking instance of the above statement is Natalie Cramp. Through her leadership, Natalie has aptly exemplified how a tech company can thrive by having women at the helm.
Natalie is the CEO of Profusion, a customer and business analytics agency that supports clients of all sizes to monetise their data. She brings more than a decade of experience leading private, public, and third sector organizations through significant periods of innovation and change to the company. At Profusion, she leads a team of 80 consultants, data scientists, data architects, developers, and digital marketing experts.
We at Insights Success got into conversation with Natalie to learn more about her journey and how her dynamic contribution to the tech space
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Profusion. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My journey as a business leader has been about helping people solve problems, be that for their transformation programs for their businesses, supporting to deliver the London 2012 Olympics, or tackling some of the challenges we face as a society that will have a broader public benefit. I truly believe data is the way to solve our problems. As CEO at Profusion, we support people to tackle the challenges their organizations face using the power of data science.
There are few female CEOs in data, and whilst it can be a challenge, it is also an opportunity to add more diversity of thought and approach. One of the things I am very determined to do as a leader is to surround myself with as many people with differing backgrounds and approaches as possible.
Tell us something more about the company and its mission and vision.
Profusion helps businesses to grow using data and AI. We believe that data is often an untapped asset – widely available and frequently underused. We create multidisciplinary teams to look at people, technology, and culture to embed data-led ways of thinking and operating. We don’t just help you create the data strategy that will support your business strategy, but we ensure that you have the technology you need to deliver it, the people who are skilled and confident to both deliver the projects and put the insight into action in their everyday roles, and when you need us to, deliver projects themselves.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the tech industry through your expertise in the market.
Outside of working with companies to deliver cutting-edge data projects, I’m proud of the work Profusion has done to promote the ethical use of data, improve data literacy and drive better representation in the industry.
Our Data Academy is geared towards both developing data literacy in organizations and helping underrepresented groups get into the data profession. Often businesses don’t have the data literacy in the leadership of the organization to ask the right questions of their data, understand the art of the possible, and execute on the insight they receive. We enable organizations through training and support programs to develop their knowledge and confidence. We also support young people from diverse backgrounds to get their first opportunities in data, with exposure to commercial projects.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our organization.
Profusion embraces different ways of thinking and working because we fundamentally believe that this drives better results. We are proud that our team of 80 people is made up of over 20 nationalities with more than 25 languages spoken.
We have a foundation, Profusion Cares, which seeks to use data with purpose and impact to make a difference in society – this ranges from pro bono data projects to a big focus on supporting the next generation to embrace the data profession and secure opportunities in this very exciting field.
Finally, innovation is unsurprisingly an important tenet of our culture. We partner with leading Universities to bring the latest academic thinking to our commercial clients and have won multiple awards for this partnership working.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the tech space?
Improve diversity in the data and AI industry. As long as there are limited backgrounds and ways of thinking for our practitioners and leaders, there will be limited progress. We are trying to contribute to this through our Data Academy where we bring candidates from different backgrounds into the industry and retrain existing leaders with different skills into data and AI. We operate on a model where for each course we sell, we gift places to education and charity leaders and teams to also gain the benefits of this learning.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the tech industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
Technology moves at a faster pace than the law, and we have seen many instances where data and AI have been used poorly, in invasive or unsafe ways. The field of Data Ethics is growing rapidly and is set up to be the next big change in the industry.
There is always more than a business could do than perhaps it should do. When a business could use the data to help, but a customer may consider that an invasion of their privacy, where should the balance fall?
It’s hard to have a simple answer, so our Data Ethics Advisory Board is helping us to create The Good Data Guide, a set of principles and advice that companies can use when they don’t necessarily have ethicists available.
What would be your advice to budding women entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the tech industry?
Recognize the skills you bring – it is not all about being able to code. Data is a collaboration between technology, technical skills, and business, and business understanding is critical. Understand the assets you bring to the table and find a role that lets you use those strengths. Secondly, ask for help and support – people like to be useful, and there is a lot of support available: networking groups, educational charities, mentoring schemes, free online training, and much more. Until you talk to them, you won’t know what you don’t know. Ask for help before you need it, and don’t forget you’re never too old to do work experience.
Having a support network both personally and professionally is critical. It’s not a lie that it is lonely at the top, and you need those people to help guide, challenge, connect, support, and listen to you – don’t be afraid to ask. All of us need help.