International Women’s Day with Bel Merid

Bel Merid

Senior Operations Manager, CognitionX.

What do you do?

Hello, My name is Bel Merid, I’m the Senior Operations Manager at CognitionX. I’m the glue within our cross-functional teams responsible for ensuring we get things done, which often involves building processes or strategy, identifying and addressing bottlenecks, and managing various strategic projects (currently the CogX Festival). I also run our awards program including the exciting launch of our Climate Innovation Series – watch this space!

What is something about yourself that many people are surprised to learn?
Something surprising about me is that yes, I work in tech, but I am also a creative. I have an MSc in Media and Communications from LSE and am a founding member and creative producer for a London-based but globally affiliated creative agency called Female Narratives. We tell stories for brands using the real narratives of our collective of over 100 female millennial talent.

Describe yourself in three words
Make it Happen-er

What advice would you give to a young woman getting into tech?
As a young black woman who studied the humanities and worked in the creative/media industries I didn’t think there was space for someone like me within Tech. If I pictured a tech start-up, I pictured a group of (white) male developers or coders, far away in Silicon Valley who all studied computer science. While this is still accurate, it is slowly improving and there are many roles that actually require creative, strategic or logistical minds and would greatly benefit from the insight of people with different life experiences, ages, cultures and ways of thinking. So remember that your lived experiences matter and that bringing your unique insights into your work can only lead to improvements for you, your team and the tech industry. Also surround yourself with other women who you can learn from, share experiences with and lean on in hard times; this really makes a difference!

If you could go back in time to speak to your younger self, what would you tell her?
I would tell her that saying yes to opportunities even if they initially scared you or were outside of your comfort zone led to some of the most rewarding and successful work you’ve ever done. Also, never underestimate her ability to influence or change things for the better, and the situations where she rose to the occasion and spoke up when others fell silent led to growth, strength, and exciting new opportunities… So boldly storm ahead!

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