Ashley Chalmers on her career in the Computing & IT sector interviews Ashley Chalmers, Head of Applications and Project Delivery at Baillie Gifford & Co.

What's the best career advice you've ever received?

Don’t change yourself to fit in, embrace your strengths and utilise them to be the best version of you that you can be.

How did you choose what industry you wanted to work in?

As a Computer Science graduate I didn’t have a particular industry in mind, to be perfectly honest, instead I cast a wide net so I could meet people from different industries and companies and made a call from there. I was incredibly lucky to interview at Baillie Gifford, and what I found was more than a financial services company - it was the culture, people and mindset that attracted me to accept the offer here. My knowledge and interest in the financial sector has grown from there.

What difference do you believe being a woman has made to your career?

Being a woman in technology is not the norm, so I believe that it gives me the edge to stand out. You need to be able to deliver on standing out, being noticed is one thing but adding value is really the key.

What have you had to risk/sacrifice to get to the position you have?

I don’t believe I have had to risk or sacrifice anything to progress and succeed at Baillie Gifford. I have been supported throughout my career including maternity leave and reducing working hours. None of these things halted my progression in any way, which is a real testament to Baillie Gifford as employers.

What advice would you give to aspiring graduates looking to work in your field?

Be curious, be yourself and don’t be afraid to say what your hopes and aspirations are for the future.

What have you struggled most with since starting your career, and do you have any advice on how to overcome it?

When I had my children I really struggled with work/life balance and the concept of being the primary carer whilst still having my own hopes and aspirations for the future. What I quickly realised was that this feeling of being primary carer and having that guilt was learned societal behaviour, and that actually I shared responsibility with my husband, who also wanted to be an equal in the partnership. I took time to listen to my husband and he then shared responsibility for things that I had just assumed responsibility for. This in turn gave me the space to balance everything out and allowed me to continue to pursue my career which is really important to me.

Do you feel diversity is an issue where you work?

Diversity is not a box ticking exercise, it is a journey and a mindset. Baillie Gifford puts a lot of time and effort into Diversity and Inclusion and will continue to do so, as it is very important.

What do you enjoy most about working in this industry?

I enjoy the pace; no two days are the same and we are constantly evolving and changing. The excitement of that is something that gets me out of bed every morning!

More role models in similar sectors