Susie Ramroop speaks to us about her role in the technology sector and shares her thoughts on London's Women of Silicon Roundabout, taking place 25-26th June.
Susie Ramroop tried to change who she was for over a decade in a bid to prove that she was good enough for her senior roles in high-tech innovation. Her career has spanned media, global telecoms, and healthcare. Whilst her work was award-winning, stress spilled into her health and her relationships, until she eventually realised that the cost was just too high.
Having experienced the benefits of coaching, she trained as a Performance Coach in 2005 and coached 'on the side' for many years before making it her sole income source.
Now Susie inspires and supports high performers who are where she was – in a pattern of working longer and harder to avoid being found out. She uses a range of techniques that nurture mindset, positively leverage emotions, and enhance instinct. She specialises in shifting the way that successful women in STEM think so that they can rapidly become better leaders in life and work.
Susie is a passionate speaker, and writes for Families Magazine and Thrive Global. She works with clients privately as well as in a mastermind setting, regularly running corporate workshops, and life-changing retreats exclusively for women in business. She lives in London with her husband and 7 year old daughter and will be sharing her wisdom in a session entitled 'Can We Ever Truly be Ourselves at Work?' on 25th June. This is a talk that overwhelmed high performers cannot afford to miss!
Book your ticket while you still can. Women of Silicon Roundabout returns 25-26 June 2019.
We caught up with Susie ahead of the conference, here's what she had to say.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you initially transitioned into the tech industry.
Since my A levels, I decided that I wanted to follow my brother into the film industry. My plan was to switch to a media degree, but it didn't work out, so I stuck with Philosophy and then got my first job in film PR straight out of uni. I realised after 6 months that it wasn't what I thought it was going to be, and was fired! I then went to a marketing agency and was fired again. I just didn't fit in. Having had my confidence knocked, I was watching the cricket with my Dad one day and saw Cable and Wireless ads everywhere. I looked them up and realised how huge they were, so I applied for a temp to perm admin role just to see what it was like.
At this stage, I was nervous about taking another perm role in case I didn't like it again. I absolutely loved it. It was professional, buzzy, the people were educated and talented and I could feel my potential unlocking. I learned so much in that admin role, and it allowed me to confirm that my passion was in marketing. I quickly moved into a junior product role; fast forward 4 years and I was the Associate Director of Product Development for another global telco.
I didn't set out to have a career in tech, but I loved it. I am a problem-solver, so having products that weren't slow and clunky was a dream for me – creating programmes that would make them slicker, faster, and serve our customers better was at the core of my early career. Then, I progressed to nurturing relationships with suppliers and taking a role in crafting their roadmaps so that my vision for our customers would come to life. Such creative work!
What’s a typical day like for you as a Mindset Coach?
I get up at 5.30 am and analyse the forex markets. I took up trading a couple of months ago as a mindset exercise. I wanted to develop a habit that I could commit to that would stretch me that wasn't running. I then have a client call at 6.30 am several times a week, followed by breakfast with my daughter and walk her to school. After that, my day starts for real! My week is really varied, so I might be with clients and my fellow business coaches, helping a customer with their positioning or culture, other days I will be speaking at conferences or running an internal workshop for a mid to large tier business, or I will be sitting at my desk writing content for my own blog, Families Magazine, opinion pieces for Thrive Global or proposals for new business.
On creative days like this, I make sure I do a pilates or body balance class too to break the day up. Lunchtime is my preferred time to exercise when I am working from home. I aim to stop working by the time my daughter is home from school, at which time we play Ludo if my husband is home, or we talk, read and chill out together. Dinner is normally early, around 6 pm (if I'm home), and then my husband and I will watch an episode of Billions or something similar before bed at around 9.30 pm. As I have got older, I have realised that going to bed later than 10 pm costs me productivity for days afterwards. I am very careful to keep as consistent as possible when it comes to sleep, nutrition, work and play.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment that you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes! I am currently planning my next retreat on 3-5 September. This is the part of my work that I am most passionate about – taking a small group of women (4 or 5) away for 3 days to a forest where I can help them press the reset button. Many people look to a retreat as a sort of escape from a busy and stressful work life or an unhappy home life. It is often a big or desperate decision to book, and when they are there they indeed get a break, but they come straight back to the life they left. I don't think breaks like this are that productive. My retreats are totally different – there is no yoga or vegan food, for a start. I welcome my guests in the evening where we get to know each other over drinks and dinner. This is where all the stresses and strains are outpoured.
The next day, I draw out from the group the common problems that are at the root of their issues, whether they are feeling gridlocked at work, unsupported at home, overwhelmed by life, or feeling like an impostor about stepping up. The themes are always the same! I spend the whole morning teaching and inspiring my guests to no longer tolerate what they have. We then have a break to get our bodies moving, and get out of our heads – ride a bike, walk, or swim. Then we come back to the cabin with new realisations. At this point, people are clear about what they want.
We have a fun evening of games, and then the next day is about crystallising the vision and creating a plan. I then work with each of my guests one on one to write out their plan, and rehearse what the next 2 weeks look like. A number of those guests go on to work with me, so I can support them with that ongoing plan. Everybody leaves the forest not only transformed, but equipped to be a better version of themselves so that they can get what they truly want.
See why I'm excited? These retreats are the most powerful things I offer, and I would love to welcome more people who feel it is right for them. If any of your readers would like to book a call to talk to me about it, they can do so here.
Why have you decided to get involved with Women of Silicon Roundabout?
I am passionate about the tech industry and feel somewhat protective of the women in it. I think there are so many women in tech who know they are capable of more, but are fearful of how much more they will have to give to realise it.
I work to help these women understand that they need to see and do things differently to create a career that excites. If they don't do this, they may find themselves pigeonholed. I can really relate to that because it is easy to feel this way in tech – the more capable you are, the more you become channelled down one particular path and, before you know it, it feels entrenched and like your only option is to stay there. This is how I felt too, but I know that a career in tech is totally transferrable.
There are people in roles that believe that is it for life now, they can't change, and I want to be able to help women in the tech industry see the value they bring and the mountain of capability that they are sitting on. With my help, they can be clear about how to create the right opportunities and develop the skills needed to speak up.
There are many roles within tech that are yet to be created, but will be in demand in the near future. The role you create should be the one that excites you the most.
What is your Women of Silicon Roundabout talk about?
It centres around the question, can you ever really be yourself at work? There is a certain tonality around it, and I love to be different, so I will be going against the grain on this one.
People assume that you must have a work identity and a home one. Doing this creates a huge amount of stress and strain which is completely unnecessary. I am going to look at what motivates us to do this, what the pay off is for faking it until we make it, and how to stop feeling like an impostor. As a lone woman at the top of the tech industry, I spent a long time not being myself at work, and it didn't pay off.
Whilst my career soared, my soul died, and that cost was simply too much to bear. I am going to inspire people to be themselves and see that this is really the only option to being happy AND successful. The audience will see that this isn't about becoming someone else, it's about stripping away the layers to become more of who you already are.
Drive your digital economy at Women of Silicon Roundabout
Join Susie at London's top women in tech conference. Be inspired by the ecosystem's most influential women in technology, network with like-minded female founders, liaise with top Silicon Roundabout tech companies and enhance your skills portfolio in a passion-charged atmosphere.
Book your ticket while you still can. Women of Silicon Roundabout returns 25-26 June 2019.