Tell us about your journey with Apex group NZ
I started off working in the Operations team for our Registry services as part of the onboarding team for MMC, now re-branded as Apex Group NZ following the acquisition in April 2022. This gave me a solid foundation in understanding the business and our clients’ needs.
However, even as far back as middle school I was certain I wanted a career in IT. I like building things. I get a lot of satisfaction out of creating a solution to a problem, then taking a step back and seeing that it works. I was therefore excited when Apex Group saw value in my IT education and offered me an opportunity to progress my career in the Product & Technology team as a Software Developer. One of the great things about working at Apex Group has been the chance to gain hands-on experience across both finance and technology and see the whole picture.
During my time at Apex Group NZ there have been great opportunities across various projects to pick up new technologies and concepts like event streaming, robotic process automation, and even the recent shift to deploying with Kubernetes. I am currently part of a team working on creating a new digital adviser portal in the fund administration space. Our goal is to provide an improved management experience for advisers, allowing them to more easily track their investors’ investments and access meaningful data from anywhere at any time.
One of the key pieces of infrastructure behind this new portal is the move to event streaming using Kafka and Azure Event Hubs. Event streaming allows us to process events from multiple sources as they happen and efficiently update the data store that drives our portal’s API. Compared to the overnight batch-based ETL process used to populate the old portal’s data store, event streaming gets data into the hands of our clients faster, reduces system down-time, and has been set up to be more scalable and more easily maintained.
What can organisations do to accelerate the promotion of women into senior roles?
I think the central challenge in attracting diverse talent is proving that the organization is committed to creating a safe and encouraging environment for people of all demographics. It is easy to say that Apex Group is a good environment, but to show it can be more difficult. Having women in leadership positions, giving women opportunities to grow their career across departments, and even exercises like this where women are encouraged to speak to their experience are all ways in which I think Apex Group has demonstrated that commitment.
Developing a positive and inclusive culture is instrumental in attracting and keeping any kind of talent. The best thing about Apex Group is the people working here, and it has been fun to meet so many well-travelled people from so many different places and backgrounds. I would be happy to welcome more women into our tech team, as I’ve found it to be a safe place to learn and collaborate. Having worked in multiple departments, there really is a company-wide culture of kindness and encouragement.
“Time and time again my co-workers and managers have empowered me to go for new opportunities and stretch my abilities.”
When I expressed to my team lead in the Operations department that I was interested in working in the IT field, she told the Head of Registry that my skills were valuable, and I was offered a hybrid role in Registry and IT. This allowed me to use my education to help the IT team set up automation that removed a lot of manual work from the onboarding process. After some time, I was invited to join IT full-time as a developer, and this is a perfect example of Apex Group recognizing and nurturing what their employees have to offer.
Through these transitions I felt welcomed and appreciated, and that is the feeling I would want for any woman looking to advance her career in IT. I think the greatest effort Apex Group can make to get women into leadership roles is to seek out these opportunities. Encourage upskilling and cross-training, make space for their talent to grow, and really advertise that this option is available to them.
In my view, the benefits of hiring and promoting more women is not so much due to any intrinsic or unique value that women have, but more in the widening of perspective. The wider you cast your net when looking for talent, the more likely you are to find creative problem-solvers and excellent collaborators. There is comfort in seeing yourself represented, and this can help employees to feel confident and share their great ideas that may otherwise have been missed. I have so much respect for the women I work with, and so much hope for their futures. I would love to see the number of incredible women in the IT team grow!
What advice would you give to women considering a career in tech?
One of the greatest challenges women in tech face is the pressure not to advocate for themselves.
“Do not be afraid to speak up, ask questions and be assertive. Get stuck in and learn as much as you can, taking every opportunity to upskill.”
The IT team of Apex Group NZ is full of developers who are happy to share their knowledge and experience, and there is always something new going on.