WeAreTechWomen conference

On Thursday 30th November BP will be attending the WeAreTechWomen Conference in London as headline sponsor

Diana Kennedy, VP strategy, architecture and planning will be opening the conference aimed at women in the tech sector who are looking to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their technology networks.

This interview with Diana is taken from an article first published in The Daily Telegraph. 

Diana Kennedy joined BP in 2010 as group head of technical architecture and has since 2015 held the title of IT&S director, Upstream strategy and architecture, group big data and analytics at the firm. She is now VP Strategy, Architecture and Planning. She has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, a postgraduate degree in computer science, and an MBA in IT strategy. In 2014 she was recognised by the Everywoman organisation as team leader of the year, an industry award for leading women in the tech sector.

To do my kind of job you need to have had some depth of experience, be that in development, or in engineering/manufacturing. Oil and gas is going through almost a second industrial revolution as the whole industry starts to exploit digital technology, through the internet of things, big data and the cloud. It's a fundamental shift in how we do business. It's incredibly exciting. I think it will become less and less the case that people like me will be managing people who have done jobs that I have done. We’ll be developing people to exploit digital technology in a way that no one's done before.

As the oil and gas industry transforms itself into a digitised set of businesses, all of them are underpinned by a massive proliferation of data. To improve our seismic interpretation, we have just replaced all our IT tooling, in something called “Project Chili”. Where previously people would have had to physically move massive files of data across different geographies, which could take weeks, now it can be done immediately. I'm very proud of that particular programme.

I’m also proud of the Modern Muse project (modernmuse.org), where BP collaborated with the Everywoman organisation to create a mobile app and a website to encourage teenage girls to take up STEM subjects at A-level and university, through role models. I think the role model concept is really important in STEM. Girls are inspired by people they know and can relate to. I think I would have benefited from that. It would have been more of a conscious choice for me rather than an accident that I ended up in engineering.

I think if girls in my A-level maths class had been given more access to role models it would have been important.
Diana Kennedy

I just loved maths. I went to what was called a bog-standard comprehensive, in north-west Surrey. The career advice there was very limited. I was lucky enough to be sent on one of these courses for girls doing A-levels, called Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). I absolutely loved it – fixing things and building things and solving problems. I did work experience at a big factory at General Electric, at Trafford Park in Manchester; I was the only girl intern at that time, and the guys who worked at the factory thought, “she must be coming to join the HR department”. I think an engineering degree is a fantastic start to any STEM career.

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