Kathryn Parsons

Founder & CEO of Decoded

What does your job entail?

Decoded is a technology and education business. We started with a mission to teach anyone to code in a single day but now we decode all the digital dark arts including data, AI, machine learning and beyond.

How did you get where you are?

A lot of people ask me whether I studied computer science and I actually have a bit of a guilty secret: I didn’t. I studied Latin and Ancient Greek, so I studied the most ancient languages before I discovered the languages of today! For me, I don’t think it’s a surprise that I ended up in the world of code and data – it’s just a new language that really anyone can learn.

What’s next for you and your business?

There’s so much more that I want to achieve – big, ambitious goals. Why don’t we set a goal that we will have 50% women in data by 2020. Why not? Why is that impossible? I want to scale the impact of the work we’re doing, I want us to be touching millions, and I want to see the impact of technology education upon society, right from primary, secondary, right through to the life-long learning challenge of taking professionals and getting them very quickly up-skilled for a new digital economy.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the data industry?

I almost want to take those words away – data and analytics. I like solving problems and I like using the best tools available to help me solve those problems. For me everything is a puzzle, everything is something you can figure out and make better and tweak and improve. That’s what data allows you to do; it allows you to be endlessly creative and solve some of the biggest problems in society.

Why don’t we set a goal that we will have 50% women in data by 2020? Why not? Why is that impossible?
What significant object have you chosen?

My significant object is hanging around my neck. It’s a hand – you’ll see that it could either look like a fist or it could also look like an open hand. I bought this two weeks’ ago in Toronto but I had a sketch of this in my notebook for three years. I sketched ten charms that I wanted to get designed that represent mantras that I want to live by in my life and my business. This was for resistance; it was about putting an open hand to people and inviting people in and not pushing people away.

I like having a reminder of the best ways you want to behave, in life, in business, towards your team. Having a physical reminder of how to be your best you is important to me.