International Women’s Week: Options Takes APAC

International Women’s Day took place yesterday, but with so much female Tech talent at Options, we couldn’t squeeze all the stories of the incredible females who have relocated through their careers with Options into one day, so we’ll be sharing stories from the global team over the course of the week.

Following on from yesterday’s blog “Options Takes NYC”, today we’ll hear from Lucy McCormack and Razel Santos-Atienza in Singapore…

Born and bred in Belfast, I never thought I would end up living nearly 7,000 miles away in Singapore.  However, it’s a decision that has completely changed my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Options for this opportunity.

So, how did I get here?

In 2018, I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a degree in Business Information Technology.  Shortly after graduating, I began working in a local Belfast company, and while I enjoyed my job, I couldn’t help but notice a number of my fellow graduates travelling the world for their job, and I knew this was something I needed to get involved in!  The company they worked for?  Options Technology.

So, I made a move, and here I am, two and half years later, writing this blog from sunny Singapore as a Technical Account Manager for Options APAC.

I joined Options in mid-2019 as a Technical Support Engineer, and after eight weeks of training, I took the opportunity to jet off to Hong Kong, where I got my first taste of living and working in Asia.  Hong Kong was like nowhere I had ever been before; it was gritty, busy, and was a real test of my capabilities.  Thanks to our initial support training in Belfast and with help from the Engineering team, I was more than prepared for the challenge.  After eight weeks, I went back to Belfast with a better understanding and new outlook on what life working for a FinTech company would be like, and I was excited!  After only a few days at home, I was dreaming of jetting off once more and was soon sent to Dublin, then New York, and finally Singapore.

Living in Singapore during Covid-19

I landed here in December 2019, a time when Covid-19 was only a whisper.  During this time, I was lucky enough to get out and about and enjoy all the sites Singapore has to offer.  I hadn’t been here long, but I knew Singapore was special even then.

After 12 weeks and amidst the early stages of the pandemic, I decided to stay and ride out the lockdown wave.  What I didn’t realise at the time was this meant being away from my family for over two years.  As tough as it was, the entire team at Options was there for me throughout, and that time spent away from home helped me grow, develop, and learn – not only personally but also professionally.  I used the pandemic lockdowns to educate myself on our company infrastructure and established new relationships with our APAC clients.  By doing this, I opened myself up to other career opportunities and landed a role as a Technical Account Manager.

Since the Covid restrictions have loosened here, life has been a whirlwind.  From spending my evenings on the beach to heading up the Singapore Gaelic Lion’s social committee and getting to book my first post-pandemic weekend break away to Cambodia with friends – this is never a position I thought I would be in.  Still, I am so grateful that I am, and it’s all thanks to Options!

As the saying goes, ”what’s meant for you won’t pass you by”, and I feel the chance to relocate to Singapore and build my life and career out here has truly been one of those experiences.  I know there are still so many more exciting opportunities on this side of the world to come my way, and I am so ready for them!

How it all began

I graduated from Queen’s University in Belfast in 2017, having studied a degree in Computer Science and got an opportunity to work with Options as part of their 2017-2018 Graduate and Placement Programme.

The training programme was a great first step into the FinTech world.  On my first day, it was a nice surprise to realise that a group of eight of us were all starting at the same time.  I instantly had seven new work friends – one less ”new job” thing to worry about!  On that first day, we were invited to different talks and conferences hosted by Options engineers and management from across the company, who all shed light and their different perspectives on what working in Options was like and what we could expect from the Graduate and Placement programme.

While these talks were helpful and exciting, nothing could have prepared me for what was about to come!  I got to spend the majority of my first two years in Options travelling the globe visiting Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Texas, Canada, and Singapore, where I eventually decided to relocate permanently.

When I moved to Singapore, I was a Technical Support Engineer making regular site visits and troubleshooting client issues directly.  This exposure helped me develop my communication skills but also helped me fine-tune my technical knowledge as I was constantly working with engineers one-on-one.

From Graduate to Management

After six months, our Head of Support and regional team leads encouraged me to put myself forward for a more senior role, Singapore Technical Support Team Lead.  With their kind words of encouragement and mentoring, I became the first woman in the Options APAC team to receive a senior title –  no mean feat for a 27-year-old female in the land of FinTech!

Working in a company such as Options has given me endless opportunities, and I can’t stress enough how supportive my colleagues have been throughout my career journey.  They have always believed in me and helped me to push myself and discover skillsets that I never knew existed.

Additionally, being based in Singapore full-time meant that before Covid, I could fly to nearby Asian countries for weekend breaks.  I have spent weekends in South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.  Not exactly destinations I could have nipped across to for a weekend if I was still based in Belfast!

And the best surprise of all!

When I moved to Singapore, I initially thought I would be here for a one-to-two-year stint.  That was until I made a few friends, one of which is now my husband!!  My time here has flown in, and I am now into my third year in Singapore!  I settled into my new home well and have even picked up new hobbies outside of work.

Without Options, I don’t think I would have been able to avail of all these opportunities and probably would have never met my now-husband.  So, a big shout out and thanks to the Options team from my husband and me!

For more on our amazing, talented females, check out our earlier Women’s Week blog here:

International Women’s Week – Options Takes NYC


Fancy joining Lucy, Razel, and the team in APAC?  Check out our careers sections to apply for our Graduate and Placement Programme 2022.