Charlene Svinurayi


My Working Day: Charlene Svinurayi on risk, robots and time management

29 August 2019

Charlene Svinurayi works in the Chief Information Office at Barclays’ HQ in London’s Canary Wharf. She tells us about encouraging girls into a career in tech, her obsession with crime fiction – and why she’s proud to work with such a “talented and diverse” team.

My alarm goes off... at 6.30am. If it’s my week on production support, the first thing I do when I wake up is check my work emails, as some of our systems rely on data that runs overnight. I live in Surrey so my commute into London is quite long. When I first started working at Barclays, I was quite surprised at how many people commute into London. You tend to see familiar faces and I’ve made a few friends on my route. I usually arrive to work at around 9:15am.

My job involves… building tools for our trading desks. At the moment I’m also working with our front office stakeholders to help them understand risk more accurately. Since the 2008 financial crisis, transparency has become key and the reports I work on provide a means for business areas to have visibility of their individual collateral requirements.

As an Assistant Vice President in the team, my role is split 50/50 between business analysis and software development, which is quite cool. With the business analysis, I interact with stakeholders to identify and prioritise business requirements – and then as a software developer, I design and implement the application changes.

I got the job… after doing a Barclays internship in the summer of 2015. I was drawn to working at Barclays because of the brand. Growing up in the UK, Barclays is such a well-known company and has a reputation for being one of the best. I wanted the opportunity to work with a talented and diverse team. Following the internship, I did a Master’s degree in Computer Science and then completed a one-year Barclays graduate scheme before starting my job as a full time Software Developer. 

Charlene Svinurayi, Barclays Assistant Vice President in the Collateral Optimisation Technology

Charlene Svinurayi works with Embrace – the bank’s multicultural employee network

My best day at work was… volunteering for an afternoon with Barclays’ Women in Technology network. We hosted a robotics challenge with young girls from a local school. We guided them through the day and showed them that technology is not just for boys.

When you transition from university to work, it’s easy to forget your journey along the way and it was rewarding to realise that I could pay it forward and inspire others on a similar journey. It’s one of the things that makes me appreciate working at Barclays, you are able to balance your day job with giving back to the community.

Beyond my day job… I’m actively involved in planning events for Embrace – the bank’s multicultural employee network. The most exciting time of the year for the Black Professionals Forum is Black History Month, in October, when we run multiple events highlighting the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion. This year, we planned an event for IDAHOBIT in collaboration with Spectrum, the bank’s LGBT network.

Though there is a similarity in the discrimination faced by some members of Spectrum and the Black Professionals Forum in our society, it was interesting to learn how experiences vary and also to shine a light on those experiences.

The most challenging part of my job is… time management. We have a lot of stakeholders across the bank and I often find myself working on different projects for multiple people. I have to pay a lot of attention to detail and make sure I deliver on those projects.

If I wasn’t working at Barclays, I would… probably own my own boutique somewhere nice outside of London, where it’s not so busy. I’m really interested in fashion and the idea of inclusive clothing lines for all shapes and sizes.

After work… I usually read a book or listen to podcast on my commute back home. I’m obsessed with crime fiction. The one I’m reading at the moment is interesting as it’s quite comical, it’s called ‘My Sister, the Serial Killer’.

When I get home, I make some dinner and relax in front of the TV and switch off the lights around 10.30pm. On a Friday, I usually travel outside of London to visit friends or family for the weekend