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Beating the Odds: The True Opportunity for Women in Technology

November 9, 2021

DTCC’s Anchal Gupta, Managing Director of Enterprise Product and Platform Engineering, spoke at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration. The event brings the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront and highlights the contributions of women to the world of technology. Anchal spoke about her career, from humble beginnings to her role as a groundbreaker in the technology field, and provided advice for women in technology.

I see myself in every young woman who works in technology.

From an early age I knew I wanted to be involved in technology. Growing up in India, computers were kept in a separate temperature-controlled area where you had to remove your shoes before entering. During this time only a select few colleges offered classes in computer programming, and my education came from what would be considered a community college. Your education is what you make of it and how far you are willing to take it, so over the course of my career I augmented my education with double-digit certifications and management programs.

Related: Connecting the Dots with Technology

My career is full of many firsts in various roles, from being part of a critical telecom launch that shaped the future of mobile communication to building one-of-a-kind data analytics software. I’ve always been in the technology field, and over the years it has constantly evolved, and my various roles have enabled me to understand different perspectives on how things are built or designed.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the youngest chief technology officers (CTO) in India and was nominated for the CTO of the Year award. At Barclays, I led their card technology delivery, building co-branded products for major clients like Apple, Uber, and American Airlines. While working at American Express I built lending technologies from the ground up and was part of the core team that launched the first ever Apple Pay product.

When DTCC first approached me, I was excited about their role in the industry and their impact on the global economy. My team at DTCC is responsible for all the Global infrastructure, Data, Cloud, and on-premises platforms supporting clearance and settlement. We run “always-on” solutions for our clients, as any downtime will have a seismic effect across markets.

I joined DTCC at the height of the pandemic last year; while I have not yet met my team in person, I have leaned on video conferencing to help build relationships and navigate my new role.

The energy of our group is intense – I like to equate it to changing the tires on a car as it is running 200 miles per hour – we keep environments running and build new capabilities at the same time. We are constantly innovating, be it advancing our cloud capabilities, modernizing our on-premises infrastructure, or exploring new opportunities for data analytics. I am excited to be part of this organization and lead a talented team that delivers solutions for the global financial services industry.

When we add diversity, we bring different strategies of thinking and an environment that fosters challenging each other to think outside the box.

Listen, Learn, Lean In

My advice to people at any stage of their career is to listen, learn, and lean in. I am always learning from every interaction with a colleague, understanding their thoughts and perspectives. In order to stay engaged with new industry and technology trends, I aim to learn something new every year. It’s important to constantly evolve and keep pace with the next generation of technologists and their great ideas. Finally, when you lean in, you show you are ready to take on new challenges.

Finding Balance in Work and Life

It’s important to understand that work is one aspect of our life and not the only one. We need to make time for what is important to us. I’ve had to balance time with family and a hectic travel schedule for work – it wasn’t always perfect. There have been several times where I left my job to take care of something or someone more important. I left my job as a Chief Technology Officer to spend time with my young daughters. While at home, I started my own business before returning to a “traditional” job as a chief architect for Computer Sciences Corporation. The lesson here is that if you are good at what you do and are confident in yourself, you can make things work.

I appreciate that DTCC embraces a work-life balance that enables employees to do their best work, make a difference and thrive. In fact, DTCC was just named Best Company for Women, Best Finance Company for Women, and Best Company where CEO supports gender diversity by Fairygodboss.

Focus on Mental Wellbeing

The pandemic has reinforced that our mental health is critical and important. Women have to juggle many responsibilities and sometimes it can be difficult to stay focused and motivated. It is imperative to make time for yourself and prioritize doing something each day that brings you peace. For me, that’s a nature walk in the morning before I start my day, and several brief breaks during the day to quickly disconnect. It’s vital to find your own groove and what works for you.

More Women in Technology

I am passionate about bringing more women into technology because there have been many times in my career both in India and the United States that I've been the only woman in the room – imagine that! Research has shown that young women are dropping out of STEM programs and girls need role models and mentors, so sharing our experiences in forums like Grace Hopper is crucial to encourage women to explore a career in technology.

Women bring a diversity of thought and heart to the table that offers a unique perspective. If we have a room full of similar minds who approach problems the same way, then there is little innovation. When we add diversity, we bring together different perspectives and create an environment that challenges each other to think outside the box.

In my experience, I see that women are often hard on themselves and hold themselves to a high standard. With women in leadership positions, companies perform better overall. As I continue my career at DTCC, my goal is to bring more women to technology and do what I can to narrow the gender gap

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Anchal Gupta Managing Director of Enterprise Product and Platform Engineering