Interview: Anita Patel, First Derivative, Women in Tech Excellence Awards finalist

'We recognise that diversity and equality drive innovation'

clock • 4 min read
Interview: Anita Patel, First Derivative, Women in Tech Excellence Awards finalist

Anita Patel discusses First Derivative's commitment to empowering women and promoting diversity to drive innovation, growth and engagement across the firm.

This Thursday, Magazine London will host Computing's signature event bolstering inclusion across technology: the seventh annual Women in Tech Excellence Awards.

Spotlighting over 1,800 women and attended by over 2,700 industry members over the years, this event is a nexus point bringing together trailblazers across specialties and seniorities. From promising coders to leading executives, these women drive advancements across tech. By celebrating change-makers past and present, the event continues Computing's years-long tradition of uplifting women in tech to inspire those who will shape tomorrow.

One of those impressive women is Anita Patel, an accomplished managing principal consultant at First Derivative, who is in the shortlist for Role Model of the Year.

Anita has over 16 years of experience leading teams to successfully deliver results across multiple international Tier 1 banks in regulatory change, remediation, risk and transformation. She also holds a pivotal role within the Regulatory Solutions Senior Leadership Team, spearheading core initiatives integral to the practice.

Anita is passionate about fostering people culture and continuous learning. She is recognised for her motivational leadership style and excels in guiding teams and running complex assignments.

Computing: Tell us about First Derivative

Anita Patel: Founded in 1996, First Derivative stands as the world's largest dedicated capital markets consulting firm, supporting all 20 of the world's leading banks. With over 2,000 employees and global network of offices, we specialise in helping clients navigate the data-driven, digital revolution that is both disrupting and transforming the financial services sector.

Our primary business objective is sustained growth, which starts with our most valuable asset: our people. They are at the heart of what we do and play a crucial role in our business success. We recognise that diversity and equality drive innovation.

Internally, our people are encouraged to continuously evolve via the dedicated support of our Learning & Development team. Empowered and included employees are more engaged, leading to satisfied customers, and in turn, leading to further growth.

Whilst diversity has traditionally been viewed in our industry from a gender perspective, we understand that it ultimately boils down to skills. Our focus lies in positioning ourselves to tap into more diverse skill sets. Our graduate programme has predominately attracted the best talent from often male dominated STEM focused degrees. We are actively addressing the gap by hiring outside of the STEM subject area to attract more females and help them grow.

Over the years, we have seen the transition of the recruitment model and have continued to adapt how we operate to tap in and continue to be a diverse organisation.

What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?

In the context of our discussion today, the Financial Services & Capital Markets industry is predominately male orientated which is one thing First Derivative has a commitment to changing.

First Derivative actively promotes a fair and even playing field for women with a notable significant promotion of women into senior positions.

We run many programmes/initiatives to support women in the business. Our female leadership programme, STRIVE, empowers women to excel, while the IMPACT mentorship programme provides valuable insights to women studying any university degree.

On International Women's Day 2023, First Derivative launched lean-in circles, an initiative which helps women achieve their ambitions and helps companies build inclusive workplaces where women of all identities are supported and empowered.

Additional achievements in this space include partnering with Now Group supporting individuals with learning difficulties and autism to realise their full potential, and the creation of various networks including the internal women's network, pride, multicultural and the recently established neurodiversity network, all serve as forums for collaboration and support.

What are you working on this year?

As part of the Senior Leadership Team for the Regulatory Solutions Practice, my responsibilities extend beyond business development, core initiatives, and building consensus. I also have the privilege of mentoring employees and creating a community of equal voices.

I am currently driving efforts to promote engagement and networking across the Regulatory Solutions Community to foster an environment where every consultant feels respected and empowered to bring ideas to the table.

Why are events like the Women in Tech Excellence important to the IT industry?

The success of women goes beyond individual triumphs; it encompasses the advancement of society as a whole and the initiation of systemic change and empowerment of fellow women to thrive. 

Events such as these inspire aspiring women to pursue their passions, galvanising them to step outside comfort zones, face obstacles head-on, and unleash their innate capabilities.

They serve as a powerful reminder of the potential that lies within individuals when they are provided with the necessary support. It demonstrates the significance of creating encouraging environments for women in business, where their talents are nurtured.

By promoting and supporting women to be bold and take calculated risks, we are establishing a solid foundation for forthcoming generations of technologists to thrive in an expansive, welcoming, and pioneering technology industry.

The Women in Tech Excellence Awards will take place on 23rd November in London. Click here to view the shortlist and here to book your table.

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