Paul Harrison, Huawei UK

HeForShe: Paul Harrison | Director of Communications, Huawei UK

Meet Paul Harrison, Director of Communications at Huawei UK

Paul Harrison, Huawei UK

Paul is Director of Communications at Huawei UK. Paul joined Huawei in 2020, after spending most of his working life in broadcast journalism at Sky News. In this piece, we talk about his career, his advice to his younger self and why he believes men should be part of the gender equality conversation.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve spent most of my working life in broadcast journalism at Sky News, so working in the tech space is relatively new for me. As Director of Communication, the biggest challenge I’ve faced in the past 3 years since joining Huawei, has been to get up to speed on the tech whilst being asked highly technical questions by super informed journalists. But as a former journalist, you can see the techniques journalists use to trip you up, coming long before they hit you.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not much planning for me. I imagined I would always be involved in the media somehow. Whether you are on the journalism side of the fence or the PR – or ‘dark side’ as it is known in the media – the media has always played a role in my career. Having a journalist as a father meant that from an early age, I was exposed to news, if only to catch sight of my Dad in a war zone or in a far flung part of the world on his latest assignment. So I fell into working in local media after university.

The rest is history.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Watching others, I learned not to sit still for too long and changed things up regularly. Part of this is due to having good mentors in the media who had my back. While remaining at one company for 22 years, I had 6 different roles during that time, spotting new opportunities every 3-4 years. The hardest moment came when changing industry from journalism to PR. Taking the plunge into a new world was scary but people told me to back myself.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I don’t look at my career in terms of my achievements, rather in the form of other people’s achievements.

I get more of a kick out of helping others exceed expectations and achieve.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

For people who are successful, they have had good networks of people around them to help them realise their full potential. Align with good people who believe in you and push you to be the best you can.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I have officially been a mentor in my past as a journalist and having an experienced person to help you negotiate difficult moments in your career or simply offer a guiding hand, can be enormously powerful. I have also benefitted from a mentor. The point is those who have a degree is seniority should factor an element of mentor behaviour into their daily work life.

What can businesses/government/allies do to help diversity and inclusion?

Opportunity is everything.

A level playing field is vital in this regard.

So industry, business and Government must not shy away from making tough decisions to force the issue. Words are cheap, actions are invaluable.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

In an ideal world, equality in the workplace should not even be a discussion. The fact it is means it incumbent upon all of us to realise there is a problem that needs solving, and fast.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Back yourself early on. If you feel something is within your grasp, back yourself to achieve it. But in doing so, remain modest and humble. No-one likes a smart-arse.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

A good night’s sleep.


Rising Star Awards Ceremony 800x600

Recommended Event: 14/07/2022: Rising Star Awards Ceremony

Rising Star Awards Ceremony 800x600

WeAreTheCity are delighted to invite you to our Rising Star awards ceremony! 

The team at WeAreTheCity are incredibly excited to announce that we will once again be holding our awards ceremony, in person. We will be holding a prestigious awards celebration for all winners, sponsors and judges on the evening of 14 July 2022 at Pan Pacific London.

Over the course of the awards ceremony, you will hear from inspirational speakers and entertainers who will all be endeavouring to create a truly magically experience for you all. We cannot wait to give you the true physical experience of one of our award ceremonies!

Please note: this is a ticketed event. Find out more below.

BOOK YOUR TICKET
Pan Pacific London
LOCATION

PAN PACIFIC LONDON

Located in Bishopsgate in the heart of the City of London, moments from Liverpool Street Station, Pan Pacific London is on the doorstep of world-renowned locations, yet also home to its own inner world. A haven in the heart of the City designed by Yabu Pushelberg, the hotel takes innovation and understated luxury to new heights. Epitomising the juxtaposition of old and new London architecture, Bishopsgate Plaza encapsulates a 43-storey bronze tower, home to Pan Pacific London and private residential apartments whilst the 144-year- old Devonshire House showcases designer shops, a restaurant and a contemporary destination cocktail bar. A landscaped public plaza seamlessly connects these two cultural hubs together, making it a 24-hour destination for meeting, living, working and discovering.

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AGENDA

17:30 – Guest arrival and champagne reception

18:15 – Guests called to be seated

18:40 – Welcome Speeches

19:30 – Awards Presentations

20:45 – Entertainment break

21.25 – Awards Presentations Continued

22:35 – Entertainment break

22:45 – Awards Presentations Continued

23:30 – Party on the dance floor

00:00 – Carriages

WATCH OUR 2019 HIGHLIGHTS

SECURE YOUR SEAT

The 2022 Rising Star Award’s Ceremony is a ticketed event. Your ticket includes a drinks reception, 3 course dinner, goody bag, and awards presentation.

BOOK YOUR TICKET
RISING STAR AWARDS

2022 WINNERS

WeAreTheCity, together with the Royal Bank of Canada, are proud to announce the winners of our 2022 Rising Star Awards!

The list of winners showcases remarkable women within the UK from across 20 categories representing different industries and professions. Those highlighted include Ebinehita Iyere, founder of Milk Honey Bees, working with young people who encounter the youth justice system and those who are impacted by violence in the community; Chanelle Smith, a medical student who is an ambassador for the Captain Tom Foundation and features in the children’s book honouring Captain Sir Tom Moore; and law student Sheekeba Nasimi, who leads the legal clinic at the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of Afghans and all refugees in London.

DISCOVER OUR WINNERS

POWERED BY

Royal Bank of Canada

SPONSORED BY


Rising Star Winners Montage 800x600

WeAreTheCity are proud to announce the winners of their 2022 Rising Star Awards

Rising Star Winners Montage

WeAreTheCity, together with the Royal Bank of Canada, are proud to announce the winners of their 2022 Rising Star Awards

Now in their eighth year, the awards are the first to focus on the UK’s female talent pipeline below management level. Through these awards, we celebrate 100 individual female contributors that represent the leaders and role models of tomorrow. WeAreTheCity hope that by raising the profile of our shortlist and winners, we will encourage organisations to consider how they strengthen the development of their female pipeline for the future.

The list of winners showcases remarkable women within the UK from across 20 categories representing different industries and professions. Those highlighted include Ebinehita Iyere, founder of Milk Honey Bees, working with young people who encounter the youth justice system and those who are impacted by violence in the community; Chanelle Smith, a medical student who is an ambassador for the Captain Tom Foundation and features in the children’s book honouring Captain Sir Tom Moore; and law student Sheekeba Nasimi, who leads the legal clinic at the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of Afghans and all refugees in London.

DISCOVER OUR WINNERS
Rising Star Winners Montage (1:2)

The awards also include a Company of the Year prize, awarded to the r10 Consulting.

r10 is a management consultancy, focused on helping the global insurance market embrace change through business and technology transformation.

The awards also recognise five Rising Star Champions, who are actively supporting the progression of women in the workplace. These include Kanika Selvan, Associate Director of Data and Technology at the University of Sheffield, the youngest member of her leadership team and a committed advocate for diversity; Sam Cooper-Gray, Global Head of Market Strategy and Engagement at HSBC, where she advocates for male allyship across the firm through their global Balance network; and Marie Hemingway, founder and CTO of the award-winning not-for-profit, Speak Out Revolution.

We are once again celebrating women around the world with our Global Award for Achievement. This year’s winners include Anna Raduloski, who founded WomenTech Network, a woman-led and woman-focused organisation to empower women globally through mentorship, career development and networking; Aparna Saroagi, who is spearheading inclusive workplace practices at NatWest in India; and Jennifer Kent, a senior associate in Latham’s Washington, D.C. office, who is passionate about advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

We are also celebrating Men for Gender Balance, which celebrates senior men who are championing women and gender balance either inside or outside their organisation. Amongst the winners for this year are Richard Pickard, Founder of Inclusive Search, an advocate for TLA Black Women in Tech and the 30% Club, and the author of the ‘Exceptional Female Role Model’s interview series; Lee Chambers, a psychologist, coach and founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing, a wellbeing and inclusion consultancy; and William Torrie who serves as the UK Deputy Chair for Barclay’s Win group and is widely recognised for his campaign for gender equality.

Rising Star Winners Montage (2:2)

WeAreTheCity also announced their Editor’s Choice winners.

Those receiving the Editor’s Choice award are individuals who have been specifically selected by the leadership team at WeAreTheCity and one independent judge. This award recognises their outstanding contribution and tireless efforts towards gender equality, both in the workplace and across wider society.

Winners include Preet Chandi, who recently became the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition in Antarctica; Ian Clarke, Founder of Deilight Consulting, who holds the Millennium Volunteers Award for Excellence for a lifetime dedicated to mentoring, coaching and counselling disadvantaged young people and their businesses; and Frances Scott, founder and director of 50:50 Parliament, who is a passionate advocate for gender equality of representation.

The awards were entered by over 1,000 individuals and were judged by a panel of over 40 independent judges. Over 35,000 public votes of support were received for the 200 shortlisted nominees from across 115 countries.

The 2022 awards are headline sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada. Category sponsors include an array of leading FTSE 100 companies and industry leaders: 3M, Accenture, Barclays, Bloomberg, The British Army, Citi, CMI Women, EPAA, Funding Circle, GSK, Highways Sector Council, HSBC, Lloyd’s, London Stock Exchange Group, Marie Claire, National Grid, Northern Trust, Oliver Wyman, Pan Pacific London, Reed Smith, Streets Consulting, Warwick Business School, and Wellbeing of Women.

Once again, we would like to congratulate all our winners and extend a sincere thanks to everyone who supported Rising Stars during 2022.

VIEW FINALISTS BY CATEGORY

"Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is delighted to be powering the Rising Stars Awards for the third year and extended our partnership through to 2024. These awards are critical to celebrate and showcase incredible talent across multiple industries in the UK, something that is particularly important during these challenging times. Diversity and inclusion is more than just a value at RBC, it’s our strength, and it’s one of the ways we bring our purpose of helping clients thrive and communities prosper to life."

Dave Thomas, CEO, RBC Europe

Dave Thomas

"I am so proud that for the eighth year running WeAreTheCity has been able to shine a light on the achievements of so many remarkable women across the UK. Our 2022 winners join a phenomenal alumnus of 750 previous winners who continue to soar, both professionally and personally. I am ecstatic to welcome our 2022 winners to the WeAreTheCity family and to watch them progress into the senior positions they so rightly deserve.”

— Vanessa Vallely OBE, Founder, WeAreTheCity

RISING STAR AWARDS

AWARDS CEREMONY | 14 JULY

The team at WeAreTheCity are incredibly excited to announce that we will once again be holding our awards ceremony, in person. We will be holding a prestigious awards celebration for all winners, sponsors and judges on the evening of 14 July 2022 at Pan Pacific London.

Over the course of the awards ceremony, you will hear from inspirational speakers and entertainers who will all be endeavouring to create a truly magically experience for you all. We cannot wait to give you the true physical experience of one of our award ceremonies!

FIND OUT MORE
Pan Pacific Ballroom - Rising Star Awards

RELIVE OUR LAST IN-PERSON AWARD CEREMONY!

To give you an idea of what’s to come, why not remind yourself of what happened at our last in-person award’s ceremony in 2019?

The 2019 winners were celebrated at a prestigious award’s ceremony at The Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, London. Guests were treated to a sparkling reception, a three-course meal and fine wine and had the opportunity to network with over 400 individuals from a multitude of industries. Guests were welcomed by our award’s host, Jane Hill from BBC News, and entertained throughout the night by 1920’s girl band, Just the Tonic, Roger Samuels, 2019 The Voice contestant and soul sensation, Lemar, multi Brit and MOBO award winner and Magic Soul FM DJ.

POWERED BY

Royal Bank of Canada

SPONSORED BY


Women in STEM - March8 LIVE

Recommended Event: 23/06/2022 - 24/06/2022: Women in STEM - TECH LIVE LONDON | March8 LIVE

March8 LIVE - Women in STEM, WeAreTechWomen media partner

March8 LIVE hosts Women in STEM as part of TECH LIVE LONDON, bringing together the leading change-makers in the tech industry who are passionate about elevating women in leadership.

Join us in being a part of the conversation shaping the future of technology and recognising the importance of diversity.

Mark your calendar for June 23rd – 24th for this unmissable hybrid event, in-person at Tobacco Dock in London or tune in virtually to view all sessions online.

TECH LIVE LONDON features inspiring keynotes and lively roundtables alongside fireside discussions and Q&A sessions from some of the world’s largest companies and innovative start-ups.

GET YOUR TICKETS
March8 LIVE logo

She Talk Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Sue Griffin, Head of User Support Services & Head of Service Management Practice, DWP Digital, 800x600

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Sue Griffin, Head of User Support Services & Head of Service Management Practice, DWP Digital

She Talk Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Sue Griffin, Head of User Support Services & Head of Service Management Practice, DWP Digital

In this episode of She Talks Tech, we hear from Sue Griffin – Head of User Support Services AND head of Service Management Practice at DWP digital.

She tells us about her career climb in the public sector, explains the scope of her role as DWP, and shares what it is like to run very large teams. We also discuss the skills required to work UX and how DWP are leading the way with innovation in this space.

If you want to find out more about Sue – you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

LISTEN HERE

‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2022.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 21 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

Listen to more episodes of She Talks Tech here


Inspirational Woman: Zeinab Ardeshir | Co-founder & CEO of PillSorted

Zeinab ArdeshirZeinab Ardeshir co-founded PillSorted, a personalised pharmacy service, nearly three years ago with the aim of disrupting the traditionally transactional pharma experience and instead delivering a compassionate, more relationship-focused experience.

The healthtech – which works with a number of NHS services to deliver medications – uses technology to get medication dispensed and delivered to patients in a timely manner, which in turn means that pharmacists are able to optimise their time consulting patients.

Zeinab holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and a Postgraduate diploma for Overseas Pharmacists from Aston University and prior to Co-founding Pill Sorted, spent nearly 11 years working as a pharmacist at Boots and Tesco.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, your current role

I’m Zeinab Ardeshir, the Co-founder, CEO and Chief Pharmacist of PillSorted. I’m a qualified pharmacist and worked as a community pharmacist for 17 years before starting PillSorted, in various countries.

I’ve always particularly loved community pharmacy, because it’s such a rare blend of science and human relationships.

I set up PillSorted in November 2019, right before the pandemic hit, to deliver a pharmacy experience that combined compassionate care and technology. PillSorted is a product of my love for community pharmacy and my desire to ensure pharmacists are providing the best care possible. Pharmacists are often seen as glorified retail assistants, however I believe their potential is untapped and they could be delivering more holistic care. We provide a completely personalised pharmacy service for people who are on multiple medications, delivering their medication and dosage information to them each month and reviewing their medications constantly. Many of our patients are elderly people who have different medical prescriptions, so our service is designed to provide ongoing support and make managing their prescriptions easier for them.

There are many manual and repetitive tasks in community pharmacy, which is where companies like PillSorted can help. In the same way that we can get groceries delivered on-demand, I  wanted to create a company that could provide something similar for antibiotics. I want PillSorted to play a role in providing preventative healthcare for the community, which is so important given the NHS staff shortages we’re currently seeing.

As the CEO, my focus is on customer care and the clinical side of the business, where my Pharmacist background helps. My co-founder Mohammad ensures that the operations run smoothly and together we make sure all teams work in unison.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I made a very conscious decision to move from being a pharmacist to an entrepreneur pharmacist, as I’ve always prioritised taking care of patients – it’s been my north star in all my career decisions.

Moving from a clinical focused background to being a Founder of a healthtech has definitely been a big change and a learning curve! I enjoy the multifaceted aspect of leadership, from marketing, finance, people management and moving the business forward and towards a common goal.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Starting a company was one of the pivotal changes in my career and definitely hasn’t come without its challenges. I started from thinking I wasn’t good enough, to realising that there are many questions that no one knows the answer to, and that it’s okay not to know everything.

I’d like to think I’ve embraced all the challenges as learning opportunities and am always asking questions.

And, having a great mentor helps too.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Growing PillSorted from zero to where it is now is my biggest achievement to date, but it’s just the beginning. It has given me the chance to take care of patients more than any other time in my career and has been truly rewarding. I feel very lucky to have an amazing team of people in all aspects of the company.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your success?

The obsession with delivering the best care possible has always been at the heart of my career. I’m also brutally honest with people around me and more importantly, with myself. Being true to oneself is absolutely key in making consistent decisions. I also have an incredible support network, particularly my children, who motivate me and are in my corner.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel their career in technology?

Go ahead, be brave and ask questions! We have an amazing female software developer who is incredibly detailed in her work and has a positive attitude. She has been brave to join a sector that is completely new to her. She has been the only developer in our organisation for a while, has asked lots of questions along the way and has pioneered the creation of our operating system as a result. There will always be people in your corner.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think like many male dominated industries, it is challenging to find the right career advice at the right time. Becoming a founder, venturing into business, or asking for investment can all feel like daunting tasks just as being the only female tech developer in a team can be daunting. We need to think of ourselves as pioneers and feel confident that mistakes are learning opportunities and nothing more. Barriers become much easier to overcome when they don’t stem from a fear of failure.

What do you think companies can do to support the progress of the careers of women working in technology?

Creating a culture of nurture and mentorship enables women to flourish.

Companies need to provide training, to create career progression pathways, to proactively offer them to women and to encourage women to keep these decisions in their forecast.

Our employees trust their time and careers with us and we need to enable their career progression and the feeling of success being part of a winning team.

There are currently only 21 percent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry

It starts in school. Educating girls to flourish in STEM topics and showing the excitement and impact that science brings to people’s lives is important. Women are naturally nurturing characters, so showing the impact that the STEM sector can have is especially important.

During their careers, encouraging women to consider choices that include learning and stepping up to the opportunities, are of utmost importance, as they would never know if they enjoy a new profession/ skill until they try.

For women who have been fortunate enough to succeed in their careers, holding the hands of the younger generation, helping them envision different perspectives so they make informed choices, is the most important contribution.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

I have used Coursera for my learnings and would recommend using any of the notable online courses. It is a true blessing to have this wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and being able to learn at your own convenience. I’ve learned a lot from YC Startup School and also following thought leaders in the industry. I prefer a mix of learning methods such as podcasts, well written subjects, and short videos. There’s a plethora of knowledge and I’d advise making it a priority to block time out of the day to learn and think.


Free training courses - WeAreTechWomen (800 × 600 px)

Get into tech with these free training courses

Are you in the tech industry and looking to learn new skills? Or do you want a career change and are unsure of where to start?

There are an abundance of companies and social enterprises that can provide you with free training. Here at WeAreTechWomen, we have pulled together a number of great opportunities for you to explore.

A number of these organisations provide online distance learning, whereas some also provide the opportunity to join them at events and to be part of their communities!

Go explore, and if we have missed an organisation that provides these opportunities for women to get into tech, you can drop us a note at [email protected].

Code First Girls


Code First Girls has become the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK, having delivered over £40 million worth of free technology education and teaching three times as many women to code as the entire UK university undergraduate system!

Find out more

Coding Black Females


Coding Black Females was created in 2017. We are a nonprofit organisation, and our primary aim is to provide opportunities for Black female developers to develop themselves, meet familiar faces, network, receive support and build relationships through having regular meetups.

Find out more

OpenLearn


Produced by The Open University, a world leader in open and distance learning, all OpenLearn courses are free to study. We offer nearly 1000 free courses across eight different subject areas. Find free science, maths and technology courses below.

Find out more

TechUP Women


TechUP is a training programme that focuses on training individuals from minority groups into tech careers. Working closely with industry the TechUP team creates a programme tailored to industry needs whilst also ensuring every participant gets an amazing learning experience.

Find out more

LinkedIn Learning


Advance your career with LinkedIn Learning. Learn from courses taught by industry experts in leadership, management, marketing, programming, IT, photography, graphic design, web and interactive design, 3D animation and much more.

Find out more

Trailhead by Salesforce


Start your adventure by learning the way you want with Salesforce’s Trailhead. Learn at your own pace with learning paths designed just for you, take classes taught by Salesforce experts, and get answers from fellow Trailblazers in our community.

Find out more

Discover more free training courses


We've rounded-up a number of different organisations that offer free coding clubs, training courses and ways you can get into the tech industry.

LEARN MORE

Tenni Theurer

Inspirational Woman: Tenni Theurer | Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Spring Free EV

Tenni Theurer

Tenni Theurer leads product expansion efforts as Chief Product Officer of Spring Free EV, a financial technology company built to accelerate the adoption of EVs opening the doors to hassle-free financing for all.

Theurer has 20+ years of leadership experience in tech, media, telecom and fintech, and previously served as GM and VP of Product at Yahoo, where she managed 130+ person teams and $1.6B/year businesses with over 300+ MAUs. Tenni also served as Sr Business Leader at Visa and launched their first digital wallet solution from conception to market with 50+ participating issuers and 35+ merchant partners.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am an outdoor lover with a deep passion for creating climate solutions. During the pandemic, my family and I visited nine national parks in a travel trailer. On one of our journeys, we were forced to reroute to escape wildfires and smoke. For the first time in my life, I witnessed some of the devastating results of climate change. I knew I wanted to do everything in my power to protect our beautiful planet, which was a part of the catalyst behind my joining Spring Free EV.

As Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Spring Free EV, I lead product expansion efforts. Spring Free EV is a financial technology company built to make EVs accessible for everyone through flexible financing. We are accelerating adoption of EVs with a goal of reducing one gigaton of carbon emissions by 2030.

Coming into my role, I bring 20+ years of leadership experience in tech, media, telecom and fintech. I previously served as GM and VP of Product at Yahoo, where I managed 130+ person teams and $1.6B/year businesses with over 300+ MAUs. I also served as Senior Business Leader at Visa and launched their first digital wallet solution from conception to market with 50+ participating issuers and 35+ merchant partners. 

One of my goals now is to make EVs accessible beyond the top 1% of earners. To make that happen, most recently at Spring Free EV, we launched a new product called the “Free EV” that brings the upfront costs of EVs down to $0. This is an industry-first product aimed at helping high-mileage drivers — think ride-hailing and last-mile delivery drivers — who are the backbone of the American economy make the switch to electric.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Life has gifted me many surprises, and my career path has certainly been full of them. When I was studying computer science at UC San Diego, I never thought I would one day be leading a fintech startup. While I was focused on computer science in school, I always remained curious, and curiosity eventually led me to manage teams at Yahoo and drive innovation at Visa. One thing I promised myself was that with any twist and turn in my career, I would always remain humble and try to help those around me.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Absolutely. Fresh out of college, I got a painful, though essential, lesson in failure. After graduation, I was lucky enough to be fielding a few different job offers. I ultimately chose the riskiest option, and after only a few months in the role, a large group of employees and myself were called into a room and laid off. Getting fired from my first job stung, and it was scary. How am I going to pay rent? What do I tell my family? However, being laid-off taught me a crucial skill: resilience. Getting knocked down did not mean I couldn’t get back up.

I got up, brushed myself off, and explored my options.

Challenges often help you find a few important things: the strength within yourself to lead to new opportunities and the network of support you have around you who is willing to help.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Helping to co-found the Spring Free EV team has been among the most rewarding, important achievements of my career to date. According to the EPA, road transportation is one of the largest contributors to global CO2 emissions. Despite widespread interest in EVs to curb climate change, cost remains a critical barrier to sales – particularly the higher upfront cost of driving an EV, which is a deterrent for most people. We aim to break down those barriers and make EVs widely accessible. I am so happy to be a part of something that is so much bigger than myself and critical to the survival of our natural earth.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

The main trait I would highlight is soliciting frequent feedback.

Do not wait for a quarterly or yearly review to talk about expectations for your role.

Asking for continuous feedback helps you quickly improve and empowers you to set new goals. I have had over a dozen managers, mentors and coaches throughout my career, and I learned invaluable lessons from each of them. They taught me valuable lessons like slowing down to avoid mistakes and how to lead and manage high performers. I also learned to play to my strengths to be more effective and successful and to identify the pitfalls of being too collaborative. Over the years, I have found ways to keep in touch with many of them and know that they are only a few keystrokes away when I need them. Take the time to cultivate and develop the relationship, and it will pay dividends down the road.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

The technology world is full of flashy successes, and I think it is important to remain humble and stay focused in the midst of that. Avoid being swept up in the daily grind by simply focusing on how each day impacts your overall career. I have spent over 20 years in Silicon Valley working on technology products, and every day I still jot down notes, ideas, and learnings in my notebook. On a day-to-day basis, my notebook helps me stay organized and focused in the present moment. Longer-term, my notebooks help me reflect, learn and draw upon my experiences. At the end of each day, write out a few things you accomplished that you were proud of, or things you need to work on, to connect your experiences.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

A former colleague of mine at Yahoo turned out to be one of my biggest supporters. She was direct, honest, and extremely passionate about women in tech. At the time, I wasn’t aware of all her efforts to advocate for me in the background. One day when I was promoted to Vice President, I found out how much she had worked to champion my success. When I went to thank her, she told me that the way to repay her is to make sure I used my new position to pay it forward for other women. That simple request has stuck with me ever since.

To this day, I continue to look for opportunities to “pay it forward” and make the same request to others.

As women in the tech space, we should take every opportunity to lift each other up and celebrate each other’s wins. When we empower other women around us, we create more opportunities for other women to join us in the tech community.

What do you think companies can do to support the progress of the careers of women working in technology?

It is crucially important to the success of any company to hire great women. Developing any new technology requires a diverse network of people who care about a common goal and are dedicated to the work being done. Once you have those women around you, do everything you can to value, honor, and respect their work and contributions. At Spring Free EV, we do everything in our power to find and hire great women and support them once they are on our team. If you are interested in applying, we would love to hear from you here.

There are currently only 21 percent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I have dedicated a lot of time to developing mentor/mentee business relationships throughout my career.

I think the more women that take the time to mentor and build up others in the tech industry, the more interest and success we will see in the next generation joining us in creating the great innovations that will power the future.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

My top three podcasts to listen to for inspiration and education are: 


Vacancy Spotlight: Pulsed Power Engineer | First Light Fusion

First Light Fusion

We are looking to expand the Pulsed Power team, who are responsible for the design, construction and operation of our pulsed power fusion experiments.

We are interested in talented individuals with a range of experience to complement the existing world class team of engineers and scientists, and have positions available for a range of different experience levels up to and including lead scientist or engineer roles

You will work on projects which will range from the design and construction of M4, our future experimental driver, developing our electro-magnetic launch capability through simulation and experiments on both our existing and external facilities, and development of machine and experimental diagnostics.

Responsibilities will include

Providing expert engineering/scientific input into multidisciplinary teams
Producing analysis and calculations for design work
Using schematic capture, circuit simulation and other modelling package

Essential

Degree in Physics, Engineering or similar
Experience of CAD design tools and simulation software, for example COMSOL and SolidWorks; training in the specific tools used at First Light will be provided
Ability to perform calculations and analysis associated with electrical engineering
Knowledge of health and safety matters relating to pulsed power systems
Passion for fusion and for taking a bold approach to a high-risk transformational
technology
Fast and effective problem solving skills
Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines
Strong communication and interpersonal skills

Desirable

Experience solving complex engineering problems in a scientific environment
Demonstrated ability to deliver to agreed objectives and manage resources using project management techniques

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She Talks Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Mitra Roknabadi, Vice President & Global Head of Marketing, OpenFin, 800X600

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Mitra Roknabadi, Vice President & Global Head of Marketing, OpenFin

She Talks Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Mitra Roknabadi, Vice President & Global Head of Marketing, OpenFin, 800X600

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