Jenna Zhang

Data Scientist, Ladbrokes

How did you get where you are today?

In my current role I analyse customers’ behaviour, so I build customer segmentation propensity models to predict what they’re going to do later. I started computer science when I was in China and I moved here to study machine learning at the University of Bristol. After that I found a job in a marketing agency; because of my background they asked me to build models for their small clients and gradually they began to have bigger clients. After that I moved into the data science field.

What gives you confidence?

Not long after starting my first job, I was made redundant. That was my first role, I was still learning. I had a lot of things to implement, I had plans – I want to do this, I want to do that – and then suddenly there was a full stop: “You’re finished, off you go”. I believe that there are always difficulties when you’re trying to reach your goal so you need to be hardworking and determined all the way – that’s where my confidence comes from.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

One day my manager said to me: “There are things in your life you need to look after properly”. To me that means my parents, good food, travelling. That’s the advice that’s quite important to me.

What do you love about working in the data industry?

Working in data there are always new challenges: new data, new problems, every day won’t be the same problems, different challenges every day. It’s good because you never stop learning; every day you get into work and think ‘maybe there’s something new I can learn’. It’s really interesting.

I believe that there are always difficulties when you’re trying to reach your goal so you need to be hardworking and determined all the way – that’s where my confidence comes from.
What significant object have you chosen?

My significant object is not something physical. It’s my belief: Falun Gong. It’s a practice in China. The three principles of the religion are truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, so you follow these three to be a good person. Falun Gong was persecuted in China in 1999, because the government did a survey and found that the number of people practicing Falun Gong was greater than the Communist membership.

Because Jenna started to petition against the persecution of Falun Gong she can no longer return to China. She continues to petition in the hope that things may change…

I want to make a change in my lifetime, if that’s possible.