Anna leads KPMG’s Digital Technology & Data Strategy. Three years ago, she founded the IT’s Her Future Programme which she continues to expand and lead. The programme has impacted technology teams across KPMG UK and globally, partnering with external organisations to deliver the best results for women in technology, and speaking with clients to assist with their transformations.
Anna Somaiya
Anna Somaiya
Winner of the Champion for Women Award 2019

Anna has obtained buy-in from senior leaders by boasting real results, e.g. reducing the attrition of KPMG women in Technology Consulting by 10%, increasing female technology headcount from 26% to 36%, female experienced hire applications from 15% to 25%, and joiners from 26% to 33%.

Anna has been nominated for the 2019 Champion for Women Award.

How does it feel to be shortlisted?!

I was so proud to just be nominated for this extremely prestigious award, but to be shortlisted is incredible. Championing other women is something I feel incredibly passionate about, and which drives me on a daily basis. This is why I founded IT’s Her Future 3 years ago, with the aim of empowering, inspiring and championing women in technology.

However I am also proud to say that I am simply the representative of the amazing team of men and women who are part of IT’s Her Future day to day, going above and beyond their day jobs to make a step change in our diversity at KPMG and in the wider technology industry.

Being shortlisted for this award will go a long way in motivating and exciting the team who work so hard to make these changes a reality – it’s amazing to have our tireless work recognised.

Can you tell us about your career path that lead you to your current role?

Most of my career has been spent across the Automotive value chain from R&D, manufacturing, F1 and Sales. My career started 21 years ago where after my education I joined Honda R&D as a project manager. I gradually worked up to be the Head of European IT for our R&D division where I also supported Honda Manufacturing. I then worked for F1 where I was the Head of IT supporting the winter 2007 race including merger of IT between BAR and Honda F1. My final 4 years was at Honda HQ when I took on my biggest role as a CSUITE leader responsible for all IT across EMEA that included 28+ countries. I decided to join KPMG in 2015 where I worked across multiple industries and sectors within KPMG, leading clients’ IT Strategies and Business Transformation and was promoted to director in 2017.

You have implemented job descriptions using “growth mindset language”, can you give an overview of how this works?

We reviewed our entire process from vacancy to on boarding and it started with looking at how we attract diverse candidates through our open vacancies. In order to make our Job Descriptions more inclusive and consistent and attractive to women, we developed a Job Description template which is now used firm wide. According to research, Women are twice as likely to follow up on a job role if it contains growth mind-set language: “loves learning, seeks challenges”.

Previously, our job descriptions were lengthy, contained impersonal language and contained corporate clichés. As a result they did not accurately reflect the roles available or our inclusive culture. We believe that this had a direct impact on the number of applications we received, particularly from women for technical roles.

The tool we developed improves consistency, reduces length and ensures our job descriptions explain the job requirements accurately, in a way that appeals to candidates and promotes our inclusive culture. We have pre-populated text written in growth mind-set language which talks about behaviours we seek and the range of intelligent and flexible working patterns we offer. We have also developed a detailed training guide to support our hiring managers.

If your boss had to describe you one sentence, what would it be?!

I tend to have opportunities that flow to me that are of strategic nature or where things have gone terribly wrong and need urgent repair. Based on that, I am fairly confident that my boss would describe me as a, strategic, logical leader with a strong can do approach.

What are the star qualities of the team you work with?

I am really lucky that every day I have the pleasure of working with an amazing talented team at KPMG and 3 specific star qualities that stand out for me are as follows.
A passion to make a difference and to go above and beyond the day job in order to make a step changes in inclusion and diversity.

Living the KPMG values by treating each other and everyone they interact with, with respect and welcoming diverse members into the team, respecting difference of opinion.

And finally, supporting and encouraging each other, communicating freely and easily, sharing ideas and offering each other constructive feedback.

If you could take a month off to go travelling, where would you go and what would you see?

In my previous role at Honda and my current role at KPMG I have been privileged to get to travel to more than 40+ countries. However one country that remains close to my heart from the first moment I ever visited it is India. I was absolutely astonished by the sights, smells, people, poverty, culture and spirituality of the place. If I could take a month off then I would travel right across India and experience its vast and wonderful diverse places. From snow-capped Himalayan mountains to tropical beaches, sail backwaters to chaotic cities and desert forts.