Aug. 17, 2021

6. Rav Bumbra

6. Rav Bumbra

Hear from Rav Bumbra, the CEO of Structur3d People and Founder of Cajigo, an app that provides mentoring and support to raise the aspirations of girls and women so they can confidently work in a variety of tech careers across industries. Hear how Rav's life  experiences shaped her journey and set her on this path to positively influence the careers of tens of thousands of young women.

Be sure to listen to the very end of the episode for bonus material.

You can follow Rav:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ravbumbra/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ravbumbra/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RavBumbra
Website: https://www.structur3dpeople.co.uk

You can also follow Cajigo:
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cajigo-app/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cajigoapp
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cajigoapp

A transcription of each episode as well as guest profiles and much more is available on our website www.sondership.com

Credits

Title music - Buddha by Kontekst https://soundcloud.com/kontekstmusic
Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0
Free Download or Stream: http://bit.ly/2Pe7mBN
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/b6jK2t3lcRs 

Transcript

Danny:

How you treat people is also influenced by how they look and how they react and how they behave. So I've tried really hard to engage with people positively as if everyone is wonderful and everyone is exciting and if you do that, they turn into wonderful, exciting people, which is kind of cool. I just tried that today at the hairdressers hairdressers, barbers, whatever you want to call it. I don't wanna, I don't wanna give away all my secrets, but this doesn't come naturally.

Rav:

And everyone has a purpose in life and my purpose is to give people that energy, uplift them and make them happy.

Danny:

I love that. That's great. Let's get started. Welcome to the Sondership podcast, my name is Danny Attias and I am your host. The Sondership Podcast is all about hearing, inspiring stories from people with purpose and today's person with purpose is Rav Bumbra. Rav is a entrepreneur, diversity consultant and advisor to organizations. She has been showcased as one of the most influential women in UK tech since 2017. Quite frankly, she's been quite influential in what I've been doing over the last year. As I've been watching her go from strength to strength and influencing young girls into tech. With over 20 years in the tech industry, Rav has switched career from technology consultant to run a diversity focused business. After seeing firsthand, how far too few women were entering the tech industry with even less progressing within it, she founded structured people in 2015 to support organizations in attracting and retaining talent, helping them to overcome the challenges they faced in order to increase diversity in the workplace. In 2017, Rav launched the social arm of the business, Cajigo a dual app that provides mentoring and support to girls and women to accelerate their growth into tech, digital, engineering, and leadership careers. I really enjoy watching you on Instagram TV on Monday nights with my daughter is doing computer science at GCSE, I've been able to expand my network by reaching out to your guests and finding out more about them and their stories. In fact, some of your guests, you will find all the future episodes of the Sondership podcast. schools Cajigo is changing the narrative of STEM, we'll come back to what STEM is, for girls inspiring, engaging, and raising the aspiration of girls from underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds, creating confident women who can clearly see their defined pathways to exciting careers, where they can thrive. In the workplace cajigo is helping employers support the growth of their female talent to senior levels through mentorship, Rav. It is an absolute pleasure to have you on this episode of the Sondership podcast.

Rav:

Thank you for having me, Danny I'm so excited to be here. I must add, I'm just recovering from COVID, so fingers crossed. I do not break into a cough.

Danny:

I hear you. Okay. Thank you and thank you, thank you very much through your recovery, taking the time to be with us today. Let me quickly ask you, what is STEM?

Rav:

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. Although I would like to see everyone using STEAM which brings in the, A for arts, because what we're actually seeing right now in the industry is people who have that creative side to them can also enter technology careers across industries.

Danny:

I like that, I think that's really important, my daughter, who's just a GCSE level at the moment, but she's saying, I think I might do music and physics at A-level. Okay, brilliant. Brilliant. Keep both halves of your brain firing on all cylinders and they compliment each other, you don't want to go down one route. Everyone's got a creative side and it's just really tapping into that creative side. So Rav, hopefully you now know you've listened to the back catalogue, the Sondership podcast, comes from the concept of sonder and sonder is that realization, that moment, every passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Everyone's got their own journey, everyone's got their own stuff happening and they're living their story just as we are living our own and it's those moments where you realize that, just need to remember it's not just my story. So we like to start with what's your earliest or most memorable sonder moment Rav.

Rav:

I think you've really tested me on this one, thank you for introducing sonder to me, because I think before we spoke, I didn't really realize this existed.

Danny:

Well, we're going we have to thank John Koenig who penned the word himself, hear about in Introducing Sondership, episode 0. He created the word and put it into his dictionary of obscure sorrows. So it's not in the Oxford dictionary yet, but we're going to get there aren't we.

Rav:

We will get it there yep there so many people will be using the term. I think for me, the earliest memory, you take me back to my school years. So it. was a realization that I could step out of my comfort zone and help others and it was when I was 10 years old, my last year of primary school, and everyone was asked to put their name forward if they wanted to become a prefect. And it's something that didn't come natural to me because I was a shy little Indian girl who was always keen to learn, but sat at the back of a classroom probably because I didn't fit in and for me it was about last year at school let me see if I can take on this responsible role and to my surprise, I was selected. It was huge responsibility for me because I was helping these wee little ones in school but I didn't use this to inflict power on others. I think for me, it was more about what can I do to stop people from being bullied in the playground or the classrooms? What can I do to make people feel safe? What can I do to make people happy in this environment and let's not forget, this is a very prestigious role when you're in school, people look up to you and so you become a role model if you do the role, right, you inspire these little people to become the next prefect, the following years.

Danny:

I love it, you're 10 years old and you're thinking about the role modeling that you're doing for the next generation. You're 10 years old, this is brilliant.

Rav:

And then you really made me think about my purpose because I think I followed that through throughout all of my career to date and I'm practicing more of that now than ever before, but I did it through later years at secondary school at university and my purpose in life at the time was to keep that energy flowing, to keep everyone uplifted and to make everyone feel happy, everyone around me always tend to me when they were having a down day and it brings you great joy when you do that.

Danny:

Did that ever compound on you, if everyone's coming to you with their down day, did you ever feel burdened by their troubles, you're suddenly soaking up like a sponge or all of that downess or actually were you flipping it around and lifting them up and getting energy from that?

Rav:

Yeah it was the energy that I was getting from that? I didn't absorb any of it as a burden or anything negative for me it was always about how can I help them get out of this situation but also it was very much like, I guess if you were not afraid, what would you do? You know, how do you step out of your comfort zone? How do you make things better? How do you take on those opportunities to grow? How do we get you out of this situation?

Danny:

I really like that. When did you grow up Rav?

Rav:

In the Midlands? Don't ask me to say Birmingham, because I'll say it with a twang.

Danny:

Let's just talk about diversity for a moment, if we can. So little 10 year old, Indian girl Rav at school, pinned the badge of prefect on her. Were you surrounded by people that look familiar to you? What was the environment like around you at school?

Rav:

I would call it multicultural. I think that's the right word to use. I mean, Birmingham is multicultural. We've always grown up in that environment, but I think I had so many people who were very dominant around me and I felt as if I was being held back, I couldn't let my personality flourish because there was so many big personalities around me all the time and then you become this little voice who wants to shout out loudly, but you can't.

Danny:

So were you exercising your voice through your actions rather than through words?

Rav:

I think I was, I think becoming the prefect gave me the confidence to use my voice and that's probably what I try to do right now in the industry. How do we help young girls or women use their voice in a powerful way? It's not lack of confidence, I don't think, I think everybody has that voice, but it's how do you use it? How do you channel it through and how do you use it in a powerful way?

Danny:

Brilliant, every time I say the word prefect, I can hear the pride in your voice, the 10 year old girl's pride coming through, which is just, it's just really wonderful. Tell us about your first job, what was it like entering the workplace? If you think about that happy go lucky, make people feel great and energy is flowing and now you're in a workplace, were you able to be yourself?

Rav:

Yeah, I think when you leave university, you're finding your way. So you take on any role to get you some experience and I worked in customer service roles for a few years, but at university I had studied a post-grad in IT and I didn't feel that was the right career for me because it felt like it was a career for boys. Um, there was probably three girls on my course. So for me, I didn't want to go into IT but I kept getting approached by a recruitment agency to go and work for an IT company and I kept turning it down and then after six months they were like, this is a fantastic company you'll enjoy working for them, they're forward thinking. So I went to the first interview, got through and I remember walking out of the office building, thinking d'ya know what this would really suit me it's a very young, fresh company, I'm feeling the vibe. Everybody was in their twenties, it was like, just stepping out of university and walking into another campus. So for me it felt right. I ended up taking the job there

Danny:

Where was this Rav?

Rav:

It's a company called CompuServe, so it was a very first internet service provider back in the mid nineties and it was a very exciting time for technology. So I wasn't coding. I was in their sales team. We were getting people to buy up to the internet. Very strange. If you think about where we are right now, people were paying to use the internet back then. My role was to educate people on the internet, what type of services they would see, people were just starting to code websites, it was just a really exciting time. I think the exciting part of the role was to look at what was coming up in tech. The excitement and buzz that I was getting from being in this industry, which I had never seen before. I think I had this vision of where it would go back then.

Danny:

And Rav, were there many women in similar roles as you?

Rav:

Yes, it was a very diverse company. The CEO and MD of the company were very in touch with their employees. So we would have regular meetups, they would be asking us for advice, what type of things we would like to see coming up on services and products that were being developed. So it was very diverse. It was very ahead of its time. Exactly how you want a company to run.

Danny:

That's incredible to have stumbled into such an awake, uh, or woken, I don't know what the right word is actually, uh, a company that's just in touch and not just doing it for frills cause you feel it, you know, whether the culture is genuine or not, how wonderful. How long were you there for?

Rav:

I was there for just over four years. I had my first child there. When I went back after maternity leave, I didn't go back to my normal hours of working because it didn't suit me as a mum and I wanted to work different hours. So I felt comfortable enough going back to my line manager saying, can I propose a new time schedule, so it would fit around me, my baby, my home life and they were open to it. So we explored something that they'd never done before as a company and they allowed me to work the hours that I wanted to work. So it worked really well for me.

Danny:

You're describing psychological safety it's something that is much talked about now in the workplace and is often neglected, but the fact that you felt comfortable to have that conversation when it's not something that's being done is so essential. I think that's wonderful, that organization clearly was ahead of its time and it sounds like you were wonderfully lucky to have ended up and I assume everything has been plain sailing ever since.

Rav:

Not at all, it doesn't last very long, does it? Having worked for a fantastic company for four and a half years, I couldn't progress any further that I was very sad to leave and I then moved on to technical recruitment. I think that for me was a role that I shouldn't have taken. Stepping into technical recruitment in the early two, thousands was very male dominated. So the opposite of what I had experienced. Very cutthroat, you had to watch your back. I remember working there and walking into a room that had a pool table there and I wanted to go and play pool and it was full of men and they just looked at me like an alien who just stepped into the room.

Danny:

And these are people you work with. So in any other room, they don't just look at you they're just getting on with work, but now suddenly you're in their space, the man's space you had stepped into their cave.

Rav:

I had, yes and it was almost like how dare she come in into our cave, into our space. And, and I remember picking up the cue and it was like, what are you doing? And I was like, I'd love to have a game with one of you guys. You better get out of here before the boss sees you.

Danny:

Oh my goodness.

Rav:

And I think at that point it made me think that I needed to step out of this company, pronto.

Danny:

Let's unpack that for a second, is it because you just had such an incredible experience that you had a sense of perspective? Imagine you had just entered the workplace and that was all you'd ever experienced. Would you have so quickly said that's not right, or would you have gone that's unusual, but, Hmm, I don't know. And then you see it happening again and again, you go, well, this just must be normal.

Rav:

I think for me, it was just feeling uncomfortable in that environment, stepping into a room and all these eyeballs on me as if I had committed a crime.

Danny:

The crime of being female in a male dominated tech workplace, terrible.

Rav:

Yeah, and also it's, it's a boys club. You know women aren't allowed to be part of this boys club. And I really felt that. I felt that I didn't belong there anymore

Danny:

Did you feel, I need to get out of here obviously, but did that trigger any other thoughts? Like, can I do something about this or not quite yet, when are these thoughts starting to come in? Cause you're now a huge ambassador of encouraging women into tech. So, these kind of workplaces and these kind of environments clearly are not acceptable and you personally are doing something about that. So, at that point, were you thinking that's not good for me or were you thinking that's not good for anyone, what can I do about that?

Rav:

When you're put in that situation, I think you ask the question if I use my voice will it create change, or will it backfire and get me sacked? And for me it was, it will backfire and get me sacked. And I felt that my voice would not be powerful and therefore I didn't use it. And you go through all sorts of emotions. For me, the best route to take was to find another opportunity and go work for an employer where I would feel valued and I had that sense of belonging. Very similar to what I had with CompuServe.

Danny:

And did you find that?

Rav:

Do you know, I went to, I went to work as a consultant at another company and it wasn't quite the same, but I really did enjoy working there. think there's lots of different barriers that you will face

Danny:

Hmm,

Rav:

in any workplace. for me, the standards were already set high when I went to work with CompuServe so for me, I was always comparing.

Danny:

And that's great you've got to set high expectations. Otherwise you, accept, you tolerate, you endure and it's not about enduring it's about succeeding and pushing the boundaries. And when you say consultant, is that still in the tech field?

Rav:

Yes. So I became, yes, no, I was consultant in the tech industry. So it was selling solutions, to companies, selling infrastructure, networking maintenance services,

Danny:

so glamorous, but let's talk

Rav:

and not a lot of women were doing.

Danny:

No,

Rav:

were doing this.

Danny:

no. Though I have to say, sitting on the other side of the table. During that period, I would have been the customer, not your customer, but I would have been a customer. And you would go to all the exhibitions and women were there simply to lure in the male buyers to get their business cards. And then you ask you a question, they go, let me hand you over to my colleague, mind his sandals in his beard you know, straight over and you, you weren't getting those technical conversations, you must've been the

Rav:

I've been there, that's it was like at conferences and it's very sad to see that women were put forward in that way, at conferences and I hope that it has changed a lot now, being in this virtual world, we don't get to see much of that I'm so glad. This is why we fight for change because, we fight for this equality, women on not just the face of tech at conferences. Women bring their own perspectives to the table.

Danny:

That's a great segue to talk about diversity and inclusion. It's not just about giving women an equal chance. It's recognizing the enormous contribution that people from all different backgrounds, be it gender, ethnicity, neurodiversity, bring to the conversation.

Rav:

Definitely, you're right. When you look at society and how it is made up, our workplaces do not represent that at this moment in time and that's what we should all strive towards because different perspectives gives a company, their competitive edge. We need to bring that diverse thinking at all levels within an organization. Companies need to represent the society that we live in, and also I think it's important that we're actually building products and services for this diverse society. Everybody is using different products and services to make their lives easier. And we all think differently.

Danny:

So when you build products and services, it's a lot easier to do it for normal people, people with normal vision, normal language skills, normal technical skills, and, oh, it's so hard to do different languages and people may be dyslexic and it's really hard, but it's just so important. I'm seeing a real shift when I engage with big corporations, the likes of Microsoft and others, but big organizations, it just feels like it has gone way beyond lip service, it's now they're recognizing their social responsibility, I went to one of their conferences a couple of years ago, they just talked about diversity and artificial intelligence. That was it. That was the theme for the whole conference. I'm like, wow, this is, I mean, I get that. It's a add on, oh, by the way, we've got language translation built into X, Y, and Z. But actually no they're saying this is really important because number of people and their own recruits so anyone who has used Zoom or Microsoft teams and they have the option to blow the background and you think of that as a privacy feature. So it blurs out your bed or your ironing board or whatever it is behind you, actually, that's not what it is at all. It was designed by a deaf developer in Microsoft who said, when I am skitting from box to box to box of all these people to lip read, to see what's going on, it's really distracting. So they created this blurred background, so they can really just focus on a sea of faces and not a sea of lots of other things as well and it just shows how important the giving that, that voice in that opportunity to make things accessible for all.

Rav:

Yes. And let's not forget about the biases that are being built into the solutions when diversity is not present. So if you are not bringing women into the conversation when we are strategizing, or when we are developing these products, what you're actually doing is you're building those biases in so women don't benefit from the solutions that we're building.

Danny:

Can you give an example?

Rav:

The seatbelt, for example, the design was built around white middle-aged men who were designing the system and it wasn't built with women and children in mind. So therefore women and children were hurt more in car accidents because the seatbelt wasn't working for them. There are many instances of where these biases are now being built into the solution because we don't have those diverse voices behind the design of it.

Danny:

Let's hear about the point that your journey changed. You had a great start with a multicultural upbringing in what sounds like an incredible company, I want to go and work for them right now. Then you got a taste of the real world, sounds like. When did things change in terms of your path? You mentioned earlier that you have to ask yourself if I use my voice, will it create change or will it just get me fired? When did you decide? Yeah, it might create change.

Rav:

I continued working as a consultant for over 10 years, and then I had my second child and I had been traveling all over the country and I wanted a better work-life balance. So again, I moved into technical recruitment, but went to work for a very good company, a local company where I was an account director and working on a prestigious account and it was during this time that my team were sourcing candidates for roles and we time and time again, we would just see male candidates being put forward. And for me it was like, where are all the women? I think when you start asking that question, you go out and looking for them. So every woman that I find for a role and showed them most women I'd say showed them the job description. In the first instance, it was very much like, oh, I don't want you to put me forward for this role. Rav because I just don't have this experience and I can't do this and I ended up mentoring and coaching them and It was changing mindset. It was believed that you can actually do 75% of this. Let's get you through the interview and let's take it from there. So don't discount yourself at this first stage.

Danny:

Hm.

Rav:

I think that mentoring and coaching started to help, it built up their confidence, and when they did eventually get through the interviews and they were offered the roles, it was Rav thank you so much I wouldn't have got this without you. But for me it was very much like I just gave you a, a push in the right direction. I didn't do anything, the majority of this you've got yourself through this interview.

Danny:

That's really interesting, you saw the problem, you're seeing all these male CVs coming through, and your initial reaction was to go to the women that weren't there, the women that were missing and say, why aren't you applying? So Empowering them rather than try and change the system, which is really hard start by giving these women a step up by having the benefit of the insight that you've gained by being on the other side and giving them that confidence, which is really wonderful. At what point did you go to the other side and say, okay, now we need to change the way we are trying to attract these candidates?

Rav:

I would definitely ask them to see who is sitting around their table. Does it represent the society that we live in? And if it's, no, it means I need to change that. So it's, I guess it's just sowing the seeds and not being direct with this is what you must do, but have you thought of doing things differently? And what is the competitive gain for you in doing it differently now? 10 years ago were companies focused on diversity? No, they weren't. And So for me, I was ahead of the time I wanted to create that change back then and I think managers at the time were just focused on delivery, project, you had a budget, you had to use it very quickly and it was getting those candidates in as quick as possible.

Danny:

So on the employer side, some of those efforts were probably falling upon deaf ears, but on the candidate side, you've got these people saying these women in this case saying, you know, I can't find, I can't find roles and there's this mismatch. I think partly it's because it's complicated. To be ultra generic here to the white man writing job description he is looking at the doctors from going well, that's it that's the role. I don't see the problem. What's the problem. There's no, it doesn't say men only women not allowed it I don't see the problem, but it's only when you look at that job description from a female perspective, is it using strong, powerful words that were all about achievement and competition? Is it saying you must have this, you must have this, you must have this and the woman that's reading it is going, I don't know if I really have all of those things. Whereas the man reading of going down, I've got one of those that we'll do, let's go. It must be really difficult on one side to influence. How did you go about make some change?

Rav:

It made me think about it, how I could be a change maker and I actually left my role to start up a business and that's when I started structured people with a focus on working with employers to start working with leaders and to help them build a diversity strategy that was led from the top. Really, to getting them to understand what diversity meant to them and how they can attract more women into their organization. Not just attracting them, but retaining them as well. We've got this whole piece around learning and development, which is key, I think right now to progressing women into senior levels and that is key to retaining women within an organization. I think we've seen the most change happen in the last few years. So I started this 2015 when it was, it was just starting to become a tick box exercise and I'm so glad that we're actually starting to move away from that. People aren't giving it that lip service now they are actually seeing how diversity is now giving them the competitive edge. They are going to new lengths to develop diversity strategies, which will attract, but also retain more women in their organization. What came out of structured people was I was so passionate about helping women. In 2017, I was going through all these events in London to see these great panelists on lots of different events in the city. You could attend three or four different events in the evenings. Everyone talking about diversity, everybody talking about this need to change and make a difference and come together because we are stronger together. But I was more focused on speaking to the audience, I was more focused on speaking to these women and finding out, you know, are they, are they still facing challenges? Are they still facing these barriers despite all this talk, these events. And they were, you know, every woman that I turned to they told me about a different story, whether it was entering the workplace, it was conflict within teams. It was lack of progression to senior levels or negotiating that pay increase and when you're making that comparison to men and you see how well they're doing, you're still seeing that women are being left behind, despite all this talk within the industry. So I self-funded and put together a mentoring program, which ran for a year. We bought together 10 industry executives who delivered curated content to these women, and it was phenomenal. We had 70 women come onto the program. We had over 300 women, apply for 70 seats, which does tell you women are looking for support.

Danny:

Where's this drive coming from you're going to these events, you're hearing these stories and suddenly you're running a self-funded I think you said it yourself funding and running these mentoring sessions, was it, I've got a business idea. I'm going to invest some money to test that business idea what was it that motivated you?

Rav:

I think it just comes back from what we talked about earlier. know what,

Danny:

It's just,

Rav:

your

Danny:

This is ten-year-old, little Rav prefect, kind of going, okay I'm gonna look out for you guys. I've had it good. I've got privilege be it through a prefect's badge or through having had that wonderful experience from previous companies and I've seen this firsthand, the good and the bad, and I can use that to help you.

Rav:

Yes. And not only that, I think it was CompuServe made me happy for those four and a half years. I wanted women to see how exciting the tech industry is that they do have a place within it and their voice does matter. And once they are included in this wonderful industry, we can create even better services and products for society. For me, it was just really giving them that confidence to go and explore. But once they had entered the workplace, how can they then progress further into those senior levels where their voice really does matter when we're looking at that strategy? And six months into the program starting, we had 50% of the group apply for roles and they got them first time. So whether it was entering a new career within technology or moving into senior levels, and they told me not to stop this program, they told me it had to continue because they hadn't seen anything out there and it changed lives, I think that was the most important thing for me. So what we did was we curated the content and put it into an app and Cajigo was born? And it meant that we could reach more women through, to an app. And we trialled it with women in industry, worked really well. We took it to university students and they absolutely loved using it and then we thought if we take this even further back, let's look at where this gender gap starts in schools. What sort of impact would it have? And that's really where it pulled at my heartstrings because when you go into a school and when you are talking to young girls about what does their future look like? And they tell you that they might work at the local retail store

Danny:

Yeah.

Rav:

supermarket, they don't have hope for a good future. That's really when you want to create the change and that's really, when you want to say, have you seen this big world out here for you is crying out for you? Yes. Come and join it. Yeah. And you, you spark that curiosity when you do that spark, that curiosity they want to join in, they want to learn more.

Danny:

I've learned lots from women talk tech, which I'm sure you'll mention in a moment, but watching you live on Instagram TV on Monday nights at eight o'clock you've talked about the proportion of roles in the future that will have some dependency on technology and digital skills. What is that?

Rav:

Yes. Well, 75% of each roles will involve STEM skills. And that's why stem education is really important for young girls. To see that in the future STEM education plays a huge part in what they're doing. Currently women make up 17% of tech industry. There's a lot of work that needs to be done in schools. The interesting number is if you look back to 2009 and all the money that's been ploughed into these diversity initiatives, the number of women working in tech has only increased by 2%.

Danny:

What I'm thinking about here is you talk about this in schools and they do career planning. What do you want to be when you grew up butcher ,baker or candlestick maker? I've just recently launched a digital literacy apprenticeship program and it's just gone to non-technical people and I asked one of them, what do you want to be when you grow up? Okay. So she fresh out of uni arts degree, so on. And she said, I don't know. And I said, right answer, because the role that you're going to be in in 10 years doesn't exist yet. So all of this, you've got to have a plan. You've got to do a degree. You've got to build up skills, capability, and experience, but those 70 X percent of roles are going to have some kind of digital or stem skills that are related, that are needed. They haven't been defined yet. And many of those traditional roles are largely going to be replaced by AI artificial intelligence. So I really like that you're trying to encourage these young women, these girls to soak up the knowledge and experience that will make them more viable, more successful and give them more opportunities.

Rav:

Yes, definitely.

Danny:

does Cajigo come from where's the word come from? What does it mean?

Rav:

I pondered over this for ages. It was agonizing, you know, what, what can we call this app? And for me, it was always about people flourishing and Cajigo is a Spanish word, which means flourishing tree.

Danny:

Love it. So you saw this problem

Rav:

Yep.

Danny:

Where did you get the drive and energy to tackle something as huge as this head on?

Rav:

I think when you're listening to women's stories every single day, you want to make a difference and we have to then take it back to the next generation, because if we don't have enough women working in the tech industry right now, and we don't demystify tech for this next generation, we're going to have a talent pool, which is shrinking.

Danny:

When was Cajigo founded Rav? When did you start down this journey?

Rav:

It was 2018 we launched with Amazon, and that's when we started to do the pilots Two years to do the pilots with different age groups

Danny:

And now you're setting up, you're setting up a product, you're an entrepreneur. How did that feel? How was that journey?

Rav:

Um, it's been a, for me, I'd like to say it's been very easy one, but it hasn't it's, you know, being an entrepreneur is,

Danny:

if you said it was very easy.

Rav:

uh, being an entrepreneur, I think is a very fancy title. You are solving a problem that you see in the world, but the problem that I faced as an entrepreneur is not being able to scale it up as fast as I wanted to and not having the funding behind me and that's the reality of it. It's been self-funded to date. And when you, I think when you go out to work with partners, or collaborate with other organizations. It's a real struggle to get that funding.

Danny:

It's reasonably established, you've had lots of guests on women talk tech, are you now finding the, sponsorship or opportunity, is starting to appear or are you just, kind of still ticking over, trying to make the mark.

Rav:

I've been very grateful to a program that I went on to last year. I got accepted on the NatWest back a business accelerator program back in August and that really helped me reflect and reframe the business and look at how I was going to really move forward with this and scale up. As a result of that, we have a number of partners who are now starting to work with us. I'm pleased to say we have Goldman Sachs working with us. We have Moonpig and we have a company called EPAM systems. And we now go into a number of schools to deliver. Cajigo STEM talks, where we are working with industry and bringing in role models who are sharing their stories and creating huge impact with girls in schools. So just over this last week alone, we delivered talks to over 500 girls in Bristol schools. Yeah to date, we've done 1,500 and we are now on a mission to support 20,000 girls over the next two years. I would encourage every employer out there to come and work with us because we are really making a difference. They're generation alpha they are born using technology at their fingertips. They're using apps, they're using devices. They use social platforms for sources of information. They get technology. What they don't get is the types of roles that they can go and work in, in the future.

Danny:

yeah.

Rav:

And when you look at gen Z and you look at generation alpha, they are very passionate about lots of different causes right now. Whether it's climate change, social causes, poverty world piece. Can you imagine the impact that these girls can have when they grow up developing technology products, services, solutions that are going to have global impact, not forgetting that we are creating innovators and leaders of tomorrow. I think It really changes that conversation. doesn't it.

Danny:

These young people have got much more social conscience than previous generations and organizations are going to need to shape up because young people are not expecting to work for an employer full time for years and years and years, and get that gold watch at 25 years. They're promiscuous. They want to have purpose in their lives. They want to work for an organization that doesn't just say they care, but actually do care. In the same way that you see this gap of talent coming through and digital skills, there's also this potential gap in the employment space where employers need to really buck up their social ideas, like B-Corps for example, that are really focusing on their purpose and their mission. And I just think over, I hope actually more than to think, but I hope over time, those big faceless corporates are polluting and consuming and generating fast fashion will over time. Well, they're going to find it harder and harder to recruit people unless they change their ways. I hope at the very least.

Rav:

Definitely. I mean, these generations think very differently to you and I, and they're going to work very differently to you and I, and they're living life with purpose and passion and they are activists and they care about the world and when you think about how technology is changing our lives, that's when it becomes very powerful. So you have this group of people now who are living their lives through passion and purpose. When you tie tech around that, can you imagine the impact.

Danny:

Yeah. Yeah. And you are, you are doing what you can to try and increase the size of that talent pool and the diversity of our talent pool. You're doing amazing things Rav. Rav tell our listeners how they can find out more about Cajigo and women talk tech, and how they can get involved.

Rav:

So Women Talk Tech, is live every Monday, you will see a post if you follow me on LinkedIn about joining our live session and we always have them recorded. So they will always be on our Instagram page and you can catch up on previous episodes. We are at episode 37 right now and if anybody wants to come onto the show, just drop me a DM on LinkedIn. And if you want to get involved with our work in schools, I would really encourage that. So again, just drop me a DM under, we can have a conversation about what that involvement looks like and let's create change together.

Danny:

That's wonderful. Rav Bumbra thank you very much for being on the Sondership podcast.

Rav:

It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. it was really important to go and work with the managers of these teams and say what diversity have you got in your teams? Have you thought of increasing that diversity from a gender perspective but also ethnicity perspective, what is it going to do for you?

Danny:

Go, on ask, ask me, those questions. I want to answer it as a, as a technology leader, you can, you can ask me that question. yeah, yeah, yeah. yeah,

Rav:

Have you thought of diversity in your team? Have you thought of how much? I can't even do it now. You've got the, you you've put me off.

Rav Bumbra

Diversity Consultant / Advisor / Founder / Chat Show Host

Rav Bumbra is a diversity consultant, advisor to organisations, entrepreneur and award-winning diversity champion. She has been showcased as one of the Most Influential Women in UK Tech since 2017.

She is Founder of Structur3dpeople, a diversity consultancy that helps organisations attract, develop and retain talent. She is also driving a social mission as Founder of Cajigo, providing mentoring and support, to inspire 20,000 girls into STEM and empower women of all ages into a variety of careers that use technology, across industries.

With a 20-year consulting background, Rav also sits on the Women in Business Board in Bristol, to support the progression of women in the South West, and on the Advisory Board for Learning People, supporting young people into technology careers.

Rav is also host of “Women Talk Tech” a weekly Instagram Live chat show, where she talks to women leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and everyday role models who share their tech journeys and strategies for a successful career, to inspire more women to see their limitless possibilities from a career in technology.