After studying to become a chartered accountant, roles with RBS, Aegon and Sainsbury’s Bank set me on a definite path in financial services and banking. Thinking back, Sainsbury’s Bank was the place where I felt my career and personal development really took off and this was all down to the opportunities that were presented to me during that time. I was delighted to be selected for the bank’s ‘Stepping into Leadership’ programme and I also owe a lot to the fantastic managers and mentors I had during that period. They gave me the confidence to bring my own style to the job, pushed me to try new roles and embrace any challenges that came my way.
Whilst my financial services experience underpins being the chief financial officer (CFO) of Stellar Omada, because we’re a startup there are so many other tasks that I have the opportunity to get involved in – from marketing and PR, legals, client-facing meetings and the development of our people. At a startup, it really is all hands to the pump and the fifteen months I’ve spent here has undoubtedly been the steepest learning curve of my career.
People development is integral to everything we do at Stellar Omada and that comes from the top in the form of our founder and managing director Colin Frame. We’re passionate about developing young talent and, for me, it’s about giving back and supporting others in the way that I’ve been supported throughout my career. Our people truly are our business, so their wellbeing and development is always at the top of our agenda.
We want to build one of Scotland’s most successful technology firms, headquartered here in Edinburgh and we’re on course to hit £100 million revenue in the next five years – so, of course, the financials are important too!
Since joining Stellar Omada I’ve developed a strong passion for raising awareness of Women in Technology. What I’ve quickly realised is that a career in technology can take many different directions – you don’t have to be a developer or coder to be in the tech world, there are lots of other great less tech-focused roles too. For women considering a career in tech, I would say not to be intimidated by the subject matter or the gender gap, be confident in your core skill set and the value you can add, and remember you don’t always have to be technically-minded, the key thing is to be willing and open to learning.
A career in technology and the move to a startup wasn’t something that I had in my career plan – however, I can thoroughly recommend it. The move for me has been the best change in my career so far, and underscored my belief in being brave and jumping into new and exciting opportunities.
Zoe Lee is the chief financial officer (CFO) at Stellar Omada