Dil Khosa, the Operations Director of Parrot Analytics, has been named one of the country’s most entrepreneurial, creative people. As well as working round the clock to build a world-class business, she hopes to help level the playing field for women working in research and tech.
Working with a small business from day one and building it into an award-winning global operation has been hugely transformative for Dil Khosa. “I am starting to embrace that challenges make you more resilient, and you end up learning at a much faster rate,” she says.
Being part of a small but global team means Dil often works unimaginable hours with team members in different time zones to service a global clientele. “You have to be strong, you have to find ways to manage your energy and to ensure you are working on the right thing, the one that will make the most impact,” she says.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Dil does day-to-day, because the company is evolving so quickly and her role is, as she says, “very nebulous”. She helps the CEO execute the vision and strategy, and scale processes from a start-up to a world-class international company. One of her biggest challenges has been scaling the company culture within a team spread across the globe.
Since joining the team, Dil’s been named one of NZ’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women by Ernst & Young (2015) and was more recently a people’s choice winner in the Digital category of Idealog’s Most Creative People Awards (2017). She also received a Diane Foreman Scholarship to attend the visiting faculty of Darden Business School’s (University of Virginia) executive programme in New Zealand in 2016.
I was passionate about seeing some of the very innovative research and development happening in the country being commercialised.
Shifting the dial in a male-dominated industry, and levelling the playing field for all
Dil is very aware that just 26% of all people working in the tech industry in New Zealand are women, and is passionate about shifting the balance to be more equal. She is an executive member of Tech Women, which seeks to get more women involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) from a young age, and is also an active member of the New Zealand Women in Film and TV organisation.
In her spare time, she volunteers as a mentor with Empower, a non-profit mentoring and support initiative to try address the under-representation of refugees in higher education in New Zealand.
How to succeed in a fast-paced industry: plan ahead
While she ultimately did not end up working in the field, Dil says her Masters in Bioscience was a crucial bridge between the worlds of science and commerce.
The entire MBE programme, from the then Director Margot Bethell, to the lecturers and classmates, set the groundwork and inspired more corporate career success, Dil says. “Then again, there are some things you can only learn by doing, by working in the industry, making mistakes, and learning from them,” she says.
Dil recommends that any students looking to work in science, tech or research continuously plan ahead:
“Think about where you want to be in 18 months or so, and then re-evaluate every 18 months. The world of tech is changing fast, some of the jobs in the future will be very different to what we see now; there will be new jobs that we have not even heard of. So, always keep an eye on the tech refresh rate, and work hard – especially if you want to be the best in the world at what you do.”
Dil also made the most of her time in tertiary study by involving herself in the industries that interested her. She encourage students to do the same, via programmes like Chiasma and Velocity, or internships.
“Be strong, be confident and get out there!” she says.
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