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Edel Owen

news published date 2 June 2019
  • Our Stories

Edel joined Barclays more than 25 years ago on the Graduate Scheme and has been with the firm ever since. She has led large, complex projects such as absorbing the Woolwich business into Barclays technology architecture, architecting Debit Card Platforms, developing cross-border digital aggregation services for customers in UK and South Africa, and designed an industry standard ATM platform.

Edel has won Best IT team at Barclays, among other awards. Most recently, she has set the architecture and roadmap for Barclays Strategic Aggregation using Open Banking APIs, helping Barclays to be first to market in the industry. As a respected leader, she is a positive and proactive role model for other women in technology careers. She is a frequent speaker at schools and universities, promoting STEM subjects to girls and women and encouraging them to pursue technology as a career choice. Edel is an active mentor and role model, having set up a network for women within Barclays.

Edel has been shortlisted for the 2019 Award for Achievement.

How does it feel to be nominated for a WIBF Award for Achievement?

I was delighted and honoured to be nominated among a group of such incredibly talented women. This award is a gratifying recognition of all the work done across the industry and field and I am pleased to represent women in IT roles. I hope that I can continue to inspire them to ‘leave footsteps for many other women to follow’.

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

Having joined Barclays on the Graduate Programme, I have architected, designed and delivered industry-leading technical solutions ranging from Open Banking to customer-facing cross-border Digital propositions. With over 27 years’ experience in Financial Services technology, I now sit as Chief Technology Officer for Barclays Ventures, a business unit that focuses on developing new business lines, promoting innovation and driving returns within Barclays. My most recent work has focussed on leveraging the latest technology tools & platforms to improve Barclays’ services.

You have a lead role in inspiring girls into technology careers can you tell us more about this?

At Barclays I’ve been involved in “IT girls allowed” since the programme started 5 years ago. In that time we have touched the lives of over 1500 girls across the UK, encouraging them to take up technology as a career. More recently, I’ve been running a sponsorship programme at Barclays called “DOIT” (Diversity Opportunities in IT) for high-performing women in the field, which has received resoundingly positive feedback from the participants and hiring managers.

As a female CTO, I feel privileged to act as a role model and I take the responsibility of inspiring women seriously. I speak at universities several times a year to attract young women to technology careers, I’ve also been running networking events in Barclays to help colleagues to establish important connections and to develop their careers, and having worked flexibly throughout my career I’ve been role-modelling and promoting dynamic working for our colleagues who have families.

What would you tell the 14 year old you knowing what you know now with regards to your career?

At 14, I didn’t know what I wanted to do or be. I suppose I would tell my teenage self, “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to be ambitious. Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose. Know your own worth. When you are offered an opportunity don’t think, ‘I can’t do this.’ Instead, ‘What can I bring to this opportunity?’”

If you could have one wish for the Banking & Finance industry what would it be?

If I could have one wish for the sector, it would be to increase gender balance. There is clearly an underrepresentation of women in senior positions in the financial services sector. The gender distribution of financial firms typically follows a “pyramid” model where the number of women diminishes in line with seniority. We know that firms with higher numbers of women in senior management positions tend to perform better financially as well as demonstrating increased innovation and creativity, and the potential for a larger market share.

If you were stuck in a lift with three people, who would you want them to be and why?

Madame Clicquot the “Grand Dame of Champagne”, the woman behind the sparkling wine we have today – she took over her husband’s business, created never-before-seen wine making techniques and built a brand known around the world. She would provide something to drink.

Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host. She’d be a great conversationalist who would provide plenty of stories to pass the time.

Hannah Fry the British mathematician, author & presenter would calculate our chances of getting out of the lift as well as entertaining us with her latest book ‘Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine’