International Women’s Week: Options Takes London

International Women’s Day took place on Tuesday, and 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’ve been sharing stories from the global team over the week.

In the last few days, we’ve caught up with females from the NYC, Singapore, and Toronto offices, and we’ll finish the week with Orla Foley and Hannah McCrory representing Team London.

Way back when

While studying Business Information Technology at Queen’s University, I had a placement opportunity in my third year. So, along with three classmates, I applied to a company called “Options”; in being accepted, we became the first intake of placement students to join the company.

I started my placement in 2015, working as a Technical Support Engineer, and over the past seven years have progressed through technical support and into the Managed Colocation team. The same four placement students that started back in June 2015 are still with the company today across very different roles despite our similar beginnings (Technical Support Team Lead, Server Build Engineer, Networks Engineer, and me, in Colocation Operations). This demonstrates the flexibility and support available within Options. Thanks to the help of senior management and mentors, we have had the opportunity to build a career that suits us.

In my Graduate and Placement programme intake, 75% of the group were women; it was evident even in 2015 that Options was trying to encourage women in tech.

During my time as a Technical Support Engineer, I travelled with the job as much as possible and, as a result, benefitted from countless trips to London and visits to Minneapolis and New York! Travelling to different offices meant meeting my colleagues face-to-face and building relationships that wouldn’t have been possible sitting behind a computer screen. Once I graduated from University, I decided to specialise in our Managed Colocation product, and this brought along the chance to relocate to London!

London calling

I had travelled back and forth to London quite regularly over my four years at Options, so the move itself was effortless! The team made me welcome; we had weekly lunches with the entire office and heard about new and exciting projects different groups worked on.

Being based in London meant I could take full advantage of attending conferences and award ceremonies (which there were many!). One highlight was the Women In Technology conference, as the speakers were inspirational and the workshops insightful. The group came away feeling very motivated and excited to push through our Women In Tech committee internally.

After two years in London, I moved back to Belfast during the pandemic. However, now that the world is opening up again and restrictions have relaxed, I’m currently planning my next adventure with Options. Where to next, I wonder!?

Orla Foley, Managed colocation Operations Engineer.

Hailing from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, I started working at Options in September 2019, shortly after graduating with a degree in Business Management from Queen’s University, Belfast. I applied to Options through the Graduate and Placement Programme after attending one of the team’s careers socials and learning about the company. When I heard I’d got the job, I couldn’t wait to get started!

From Tyrone to Technical Account Manager

After a month of training, I visited the Options London office for the first time. I was initially due to visit the city for a few months, but after getting involved in a couple of projects and falling in love with the city, I was given the opportunity to stay! Two and a half years later, and I’m still here!

As a female in a traditionally male-dominated industry such as FinTech, I was beyond grateful that Options provided me with the chance to prove myself. I was appointed a Technical Account Manager less than a year after my move. Living in London has allowed me to catapult my career and work with business leaders and create, develop, and lead the VIP Client Success Initiative for our clients.

The move has also allowed me to develop my technical and business skills alongside some of the best engineers in the industry, attend award ceremonies on behalf of the company, and get involved in some fantastic charity and social initiatives. I’ve also travelled to New York, Toronto, Paris, and Geneva. I have been welcomed with the same unique Options atmosphere in each office, meeting amazing people in each location.

Another initiative I am honoured to be involved in through Options is the Women in Tech committee. Seeing so many successful females within the company has given me the confidence to drive my career, alongside acting as a role model for younger females just starting in the industry.

Beyond the BAU

Moving to a new city alone could have been extremely daunting, but the London team made it so easy to fit in. I have been lucky enough to live in one of Options’ company apartments with coworkers in a similar position who have become some of my closest friends over the past two and a half years. Together we have seen the sights, been to shows, sampled all the best restaurants London has to offer, and maybe even had a night or two out!

I can’t wait to see where this year takes Options, and more specifically, the women who are breaking down barriers every day.

Hannah McCrory, Technical Account Manager.