A big congratulations on winning the Dynamic Innovator of the Year Award! Sophia Carr, Director of Bays Consulting tells us about her journey to get to where she is today
I didn’t set out wanting, or ever expecting to become, a business owner. In fact, I landed my dream job straight out of university, working as an aeronautical engineer and I genuinely could see my whole life mapped out. Two things combined to change that: I missed the research aspects of university, and I was fascinated about why people were missing (not seeing) information. I persuaded my employer to fund a part-time PhD, and that was game changer. I was introduced to Bayesian Statistics.
It took eight years to get my PhD, studying in the evening and weekends during which time I got married and had a child. It was undoubtedly challenging to finish my studies, and achieving that is something I am really proud of.
Just over a year after I graduated, I was made redundant while my second child was only a few months old. That was during the economic crash of 2008/9 and I couldn’t find part-time technical work. This was important to me, I desperately wanted to stay in technical work and use the skills I gained. Ultimately, I decided to found my own company to do just that.
I mean how hard can that be? It turns out founding a company is pretty easy; building a profitable company is much, much harder. I promised my husband I’d just do some consulting for a couple of years and then go back to a proper job. The thing is, it turned out I really enjoyed running my own company. As Bays has slowly grown I’ve worked hard to ensure that the culture is one where everyone can find their place in tech. I am incredibly proud of the fact that the company has an equitable gender split and that our staff includes reservists, veterans and more part-time men than women.
By allowing the company to grow slowly, the team has really come together and we’ve found ways of working that work for us. I’ve felt the joy in seeing others who were brave enough to join a small company grow and succeed and realised that this gives me huge fulfilment. I am not where I thought I would end up in my career but I am, I think, where I am meant to be.