Yasmin Kaur Johal: Winner of the TechWomen100 award!
“If we want more women in tech, we need to showcase the successful women already in that field”
Can you tell us about the industry you’re in and the role you play?
I am a lawyer specialising in FinTech at CMS London. And am one of the few female specialists in the financial services regulatory aspects of FinTech. I provide expert legal and commercial advice to shape trends in FinTech; both domestically and internationally.
I’m a committee member of the equIP accelerator programme at CMS. Which is one of the world’s prominent start-up legal incubators and a founding member of the CMS equIP #LeadHers campaign, which focuses on supporting female founded Tech start-ups. I am actively involved in the CMS FinTech, InsurTech and Blockchain groups. And am helping revamp the firm’s FinTech agenda, through hosting the imminent FinTech Bytes podcast series.
I have also authored industry leading thought leadership on areas of financial regulation, FinTech and innovation. And am a frequent contributor to the Financial Times, Thomson Reuters, the Investment Association and PDP Journals; as well on our CMS Law Now and RegZone platforms.
Tell us about your award win, when did you hear and what does it mean to you?
WeAreTechWomen is an awards programme that recognises remarkable women in the technology sector and it was a privilege to be nominated by CMS. It was really exciting to go through the whole process and be selected as a winner; and of course rally up the troops for votes. I am delighted to be recognised for the work I am doing in FinTech and technology more widely.
When I received the award, I had a very proud feeling. It was nice to see that technology is not limited to traditional STEM careers but also technology as a sector. I’m a lawyer by trade and my specialism is financial services, but my cross specialism is technology. It is important for me to advocate the breadth of technology careers available to women.
Additionally, since receiving the award, I have been able to meet and liaise with other winners who are doing amazing things within the tech space. Not only is it a personal privilege to be recognised as a WeAreTechWomen winner, it has opened up a massive network of talented women!
Why do you think awards like TechWomen100 are so important?
I think it’s important to showcase talent, be it gender, disability or ethnic background. STEM and tech careers are traditionally considered to be careers for men, so showcasing successful women (be it junior or senior) will naturally encourage diversity within the sector.
Young people need role models. If somebody who looks like you or sounds like you is excelling in a specific career path, then naturally you will be inspired and encouraged to pursue a similar path. If we want more women in tech, we need to showcase the successful women already in that field.
Do you think people have any misconceptions about women in Tech?
For women, excelling in a tech career is perceived as a massive achievement. However, what we need is for this to be normalised. If a man can excel in a tech career, so can a woman.
What challenges have you faced, if any, in your career?
Sometimes the imposter syndrome can get the better of me. The belief that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be because of your gender, race or your accent can be overwhelming. However, I am fortunate to have a strong support network. Role models, and colleagues who champion me on daily basis. All of this reminds me that I am doing just fine!
What do you think would encourage more women to work in the tech industry?
Role models, education, networking and showcasing talent are a few things that can help encourage more women in tech. We need to amplify the profiles of successful women to encourage the next generation of women in tech.
What advice would you give to other women looking to begin or further their career in the industry?
Find your champions and cheerleaders. These are the people that can lift you up when you excel, and catch you when you fall.
What piece of advice would you give yourself at the start of your career?
Being a people person can take you a long way. It is also key in building and maintaining relationships, be it personally or professionally. Build and value each relationship to your best ability. The relationships you make will eventually turn into your friends, colleagues or clients one day.
Are you female, or identify as female, and work in the Tech Industry? We would love to feature you in our series of interviews! Contact Harriet at [email protected]