Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK in 2023.
Bilge Mert, CTO at Brit Insurance, has 19 years' experience in technology, with a strong track record in driving commercial value and business transformation through the integration of automation and technology. She joined Brit from InsurTech iptiQ, Swiss Re's start-up where she held the position of Senior Director and member of the Executive Committee.
Bilge brings valuable experience from outside the insurance industry, with a career that has spanned fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), pharmaceuticals and consultancy.
How did you get into IT?
I studied Computer Science in Turkey and was selected to become a international intern so I moved to London to work for Mondelez. Through that I went first to the Application Support team and then to various roles in the change & transformation space, working as BA, configurator/tester, functional consultant and made my way up to team lead, delivery and architecture roles.
How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?
Inclusion & diversity is a key part of my agenda and something personally I am passionate about. My leadership team is 50% female and from different nationalities and cultural and religious backgrounds, championing inclusion and innovation. I work closely with the HR function to have a holistic approach, ensuring that we review job descriptions to use inclusive language, have a diverse interview panel, work with our recruitment team and agencies to ensure that we are widening the net when we look for talent and continuously get feedback on candidate experience. I have also been championing Code First Girls and other grad schemes, and have brought in engineering talent.
Tech & data has the most diverse team in the organisation, which I am proud of, and we're currently exploring further initiatives to help career returners to progress further.
Which technology are you currently most excited by?
I think generative AI can be revolutionary if used in the right way and truly change the way we interact with technology with a wider impact. There are a lot of things that need to be considered, such as ethics in AI and regulation, to ensure that we leverage the tech for good and mitigate the risks that come with it in an appropriate manner.
What would an outsider find the most surprising part of your job?
How much of my time is spent aligning and influencing stakeholders and change management aspects.
What's your secret talent?
My ability to stay calm in the most pressured environments.
What makes you laugh?
Cat videos! I love cats! :-D