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Jia-Yan Gu


Winner of the 2012 WISE Excellence Award

30 November 2012

Recognising the achievement of women in the early stages of their STEM career

Jia-Yan arrived in the UK from China speaking no English at all. Discouraged by her school from studying A-Level Biology, she taught herself and went on to achieve six Grade A's. She went on to graduate from Cambridge University and gained her first job with technology giant BT. Jia-Yan started working at Goldman Sachs as a Technology Associate. She is now Executive Director (2016), working in Synthetics Product Group Trading Technology to develop strategic frameworks, applications and tools to support new revenue opportunities in the equity derivatives SPG business.

She is also an Ambassador for One Young World, where she is involved in raising awareness and changing perceptions of careers in science, engineering and technology for girls. This work also includes collaborating with ImpartLiberia.org to provide women who are subject to domestic violence with skills to earn a living in order to gain financial independence.

My proudest moment - Giving a live demonstration of a novel cloud-based supply chain software system to ten of China’s media companies at the Launch of BT’s Advanced ICT Lab at Tsinghua University in Beijing, having been selected to lead and manage a growing team to run the first projects that built this platform, hosted at the new Research & Technology facility, during an International Assignment to support BT Global Services and BT’s Strategic University Programme.

My advice to girls - The advice I would give to any girl or young woman considering a STEM career is to spend time to discover the true breadth of opportunities that this can lead to. Applications of technology have added so much value across every industry from aircraft control systems, fashion designs embedding textile electronics, software- based surgery to social networking platforms. Finding ways to gain experience will help girls to understand what the real opportunities are and where their passions lie. Expect that technology will continue to advance so choosing STEM subjects to study is the first step to gaining those essential skills so that you can make an impact and be part of that evolution.

My advice to the UK - Increase investment across all schools, from the early stages of education, so that they are able to dedicate school time to providing girls with hands-on understanding of how technology they use and see in the world around them works ‘under-the-bonnet’. It is especially with a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at what the roles of different people in a typically multi-disciplinary team are, that will make that happen. It is invaluable for girls to experience working in diverse teams to simply build something from a young age.

Partnerships - Improving partnerships between schools partnerships and industry for girls to have the opportunity to be inspired by role models across different sectors and ask questions that will help them to feel confident about choosing their future to be in science, engineering and technology.

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