Welcome to the show, Tanya Tygesen
On this week’s episode of Women Talk Tech, we are joined by Tanya Tygesen. Tanya is the Director of Client Service and Relationship Management at SS&C Salentica, a division of SS&C Technologies – a multinational financial technology company with offices around the globe. Tanya is also a single mom (by design) to 3 year old twin boys, is a former competitive athlete (who was Olympics-bound) and is passionate about continual learning on a variety of topics including leadership, technology, art, fashion, cooking and parenting.
When Tanya was in high school she began her athletic career in fencing, however she was also considering other long-term career options as well. Tanya wanted to combine her love for chemistry and the sciences with her interest in fashion and cosmetics by pursuing a career as a chemist in the field of cosmetics production. After sharing this idea with a guidance counsellor, her technical skills were questioned and her guidance counsellor pushed Tanya towards other options which did not interest her. This left Tanya unsure of her long-term career aspirations as she moved into her post-secondary life.
Tanya attended Western University in London, Ontario, where she studied Anthropology and French as she continued to pursue her competitive fencing career.
Women in Sports
Beginning in high school, Tanya had faced adversity in her efforts and triumphs in breaking into traditionally male-dominated spaces. When Tanya arrived to high school she was among the first cohort of young women to attend the previously all-boys school. The school had done little to adjust the ways in which the environment was designed for male students to thrive; especially in the athletics department.
Tanya began fencing throughout high school, and later continued pursuing the sport as a professional athletic career. Her first competitive events in the sport were challenging, with Tanya recounting the absence of young women athletes to compete against, and her school disallowing for the girls and boys to compete against each other. When Tanya was able to compete, she recalls young men gathering around her matches and laughing, heckling, and teasing her and her opponents.
“For me that just propelled me forward. It just flipped a switch in me where I needed to prove them differently. I just love this sport and I’m not going to stop because they’re laughing at me.”
Tanya carried this determination and drive with her into her career in the tech sector.
Tech and Y2K
After earning an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and French, and later a Bachelor’s of Education, Tanya made the choice to go back to school to earn an MBA in Financial Services and Technology from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Ontario. Prior to returning to school, Tanya was working for a corporate lawyer and was in the process of moving into working for a mutual fund company in Toronto. She saw everyone around her growing nervous and panicked at the possibilities of what the turn of the century would mean for the technology sector, and wanted to know more about just how intertwined tech was in our lives. A desire to understand the possible implications of Y2K are what ultimately drove Tanya to go back to school and later enter into the tech sector.
“I wanted to always be on the side of understanding. I figured I had two paths; I could either be on the side of never understanding technology, or do I dive in and learn about it and then I will always understand it.”
In her work, Tanya ensures that she creates opportunities for mentorship and sponsorship for the young women on her team. Seeking out mentorship opportunities is the greatest piece of advice Tanya has for young women entering the tech sector today.
To learn more about the benefits of mentorship and sponsorship, read the Women Talk Tech Taking Action Plan.
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