I was born in Famagusta, Cyprus. As a child I had little other than a lot of time and an inquisitive nature. I was always a tinkerer – any toy I received or played with I tended to break down, understand and rebuild, and I took great enjoyment from that. When I was first exposed to computers at school, the internet did not exist, so I used to share programs by walking to my friend's houses with disks. Eventually, I began writing games in Basic and realized that I wanted to be a programmer.
I am the head of Technology Operational Risk, which includes risk oversight of broader technology risk, including cyber, as well as our risk coverage of the Engineering Division. The role is incredibly broad and varied. We participate in a number of fundamental Technology Risk assessment process, such as the Risk Control Self Assessment (RCSA), where we perform a robust challenge function on technology; but we also do independent assessments and reviews of incoming technology, platforms, products and projects from Core Engineering. A big focus at the moment is the Enterprise Risk Assessment performed across Engineering, and we are looking to ensure that it is delivered to scope and capability on time. We also act as a liaison for new business initiatives and acquisitions to make sure that any new venture has a sensible operational risk profile that the firm can stand behind. We are a very data-heavy organization, and one significant strategic area is to continue to move into automated risk metrics and limits. Ultimately, we want to start building cyber and technology risk posture models to help our last main mission of Scenario Analysis, or what could go wrong under certain conditions.
Goldman Sachs impressed me from even before I walked through the door for an interview. Before joining the firm, I worked for a software company that had a strategic relationship with Goldman Sachs and I worked with the Goldman team. I was working with supportive people who were intelligent and driven—and after about three days of working with them, I decided that Goldman Sachs is where I wanted to be for the rest of my career. I’ve been with the firm for more than twenty years now.
Engineering is a creative process – from explaining the problem to providing a solution. Solutions help make our business run better and faster, and I find that very exciting and rewarding. I take a lot of pride in bringing together complex layers of technology in a way where our colleagues on the business side go, “That is exactly what we wanted.” Engineering is also a discipline that does not stay stagnant. Technologies are constantly evolving and changing, and we always have to be open to learning about new technologies and leveraging them to build appropriate strategies.
Aside from my day-to-day role, I am involved with a variety of the firm’s affinity networks. As a refugee, I am strongly supportive of giving back wherever possible. From the LGBT Network to Black Engineers (BE) Network, I consider myself an ally of each network and believe that the more diverse we are, the stronger we are as a firm. I am also very passionate about recruiting and getting out to campuses and lateral hire events that give us a chance to bring talented people to the firm. In 2017, I helped organize and participated in the inaugural Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation Summit in California.
Outside of the office, I love the outdoors and spending time in the sea and in the mountains with my family. I am also interested in modern art and old manuscripts, and sports like rugby and football (the English version). Most importantly, I love watching my son grow and experiencing that through him.
Advice that I give to engineers who are just starting their careers: Be authentic; ask questions; set goals to build confidence; and have patience in yourself. If you can help somebody, do so.