Inspirational Woman: Dr. Elina Naydenova | CEO & Co-Founder, Feebris

Dr. Elina NaydenovaElina Naydenova is a biomedical & AI engineer, with a PhD in Machine Learning for Healthcare Innovation from Oxford University.

She is the CEO & co-founder of Feebris – a company whose AI-powered platform enables carers & community health workers to detect health conditions early.

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

I trained as a biomedical engineer at Oxford University and was initially exploring developing machine learning solutions for cancer imaging. Looking for opportunities to impact global health, I had the privilege of working in the medical device group at the World Health Organisation, where I became obsessed with a wicked problem that has been one of the biggest challenges in global health for decades – childhood pneumonia, the number one killer of children under 5. I could not accept that a perfectly treatable disease would still take the lives of nearly 1 million children every year. So I made it my mission to get to the root cause and develop a solution to this problem. This involved doing a PhD in Healthcare Innovation at Oxford University, where I focused on developing machine learning techniques for early diagnosis of childhood pneumonia in community settings.  Today, I am the co-founder and CEO of Feebris, where we develop AI-powered solutions that enable the early detection of disease and deterioration in community settings. Our vision is to help build a world where no one suffers from treatable conditions simply because they cannot access a doctor.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t have a definite step-by-step process in mind, however  I always have had a strong sense of what my direction of travel is – to help to improve healthcare through innovation. I have always aimed to create and uncover opportunities that will equip me with the breath of insights and skills to realise this purpose.

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

I have been repeatedly told that I am not supposed to have ideas, but that I am to help others realise theirs in different education institutions, work environments, in different contexts. I have learned to derive motivation from proving people wrong by being painfully persistent.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My biggest career achievement to date has been taking Feebris from an idea to a growing business. I find it immensely humbling that my passion for transforming access to healthcare for some of the most vulnerable people in society has inspired others, and we now stand strong together on a mission to build technology that prevents avoidable suffering.

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

Being able to dream big and visualise success. For anyone from an under-represented group trying to achieve success in a field they are not expected to, it’s incredibly important to be able to be able to visualise the world you want to build. If there are very few examples of people like you achieving success in your field, imagine yourself at the top of that mountain and what that would mean for others like you that want to climb it.

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

Technology is a tool, don’t make it your mission. Focus on solving real problems using technology but never be married to the tool and how exactly you use it. This will make you excel in a product environment, this is what differentiates an innovator from an engineer.

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

There are even greater barriers for minorities. There isn’t a silver bullet for overcoming these barriers – representation across the sector is important, embedding diversity in an organisation’s DNA is important, practicing empathy across the organisation is important… But the under-representation starts much earlier, in classrooms and lecture halls, so to really transform the make-up of the industry society needs to bring up boys and girls with the same dreams and expectations.

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

Invest in mentorship within the organisation. This is important for all team members, but for women in particular it can help break some ingrained societal assumptions, nurture self-belief and encourage diversity.

There is currently only 17 per cent 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?

We need to re-write the script girls inherit from society from an early age. We need to bring girls up with the belief, and expectation, that they will be engineers, managers and business leaders in tech.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I wouldn’t recommend tech-specific resources. Own the problem you are trying to solve, be the expert in the problem. Beyond that, Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast is worth a listen.


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Young people in tech, tech careers, mthree featured

Dragon’s Den star, Piers Linney, joins campaign to increase diversity in tech roles

Young people in tech, tech careers, mthree

Former Dragon’s Den star, tech entrepreneur and diversity champion, Piers Linney, has called for more to be done to raise awareness of tech careers after new research has revealed that a lack of awareness is preventing young people from entering the technology industry.

Promisingly, the research, conducted by global emerging talent and reskill training provider, mthree, found that despite rising levels of youth unemployment, 78% of Financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences businesses continued hiring for entry level and graduate tech roles throughout the pandemic in 2020, while 92% are planning to do so in 2021.

Becs Roycroft, senior director at mthree, commented: “Entry level technology recruitment has remained buoyant in recent months, even while other sectors have been badly affected by the current difficult circumstances.

“Fortunately, this is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future: the tech industry is still growing rapidly and the digital skills gap is becoming a bigger problem for employers, creating an urgent need for lots of driven new talent.”

However, despite these businesses efforts to recruit young talent, the research found that only a quarter of 18-24 year olds think that technology provides excellent career opportunities, and a fifth admitted to not knowing anything about careers in technology at all.

The report also uncovered concerns regarding the industry's lack of diversity, with 12% of female respondents showing concerns that they wouldn't feel welcome in the industry, and a further 16% commenting that they believe the technology sector is too male-dominated.

Unfortunately, the research shows that these diversity concerns go beyond gender, as one in 10 of those from a mixed ethnic background, as well as 10% of Black respondents, expressed concerns that the industry is not ethically diverse enough. Further to this, 21% of those who identify as homosexual believe that they would not feel welcome in the sector, compared with 9% of heterosexuals.

This highlights that in addition to improving awareness of tech roles, we must also ensure businesses are creating a company culture which people from all backgrounds can connect with, to ensure they are retaining as well as attracting talent from underrepresented groups.

Following the research, former Dragon’s Den star and successful tech entrepreneur, Piers Linney, has called for more young people to explore the different career paths offered by the industry, and encouraged businesses to widen their talent pool to improve their diversity and inclusion.

“I would strongly urge young people to do their own research into the industry, even if they believe it’s not for them, as there is a good chance there’s a role they’re not aware of that could actually be a great fit, and kickstart a really fruitful career.”

Piers LinneyCommenting on the issue, he said: “It’s really clear from this research that not enough is being done to advertise the fantastic job opportunities available in the tech industry or to improve its reputation.

“This is a real shame, particularly in the current circumstances, as it means that certain demographics will continue to benefit from these opportunities more than others, contributing to the inequality that’s so rife in the UK.”

Piers continued: “Tech’s diversity problem is well-documented, so it’s understandable why lots of young people are worried that they won’t feel comfortable in the sector due to their gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

“However, there are many businesses that are genuinely committed to improving their diversity and inclusion, and they can only achieve this with greater numbers of enthusiastic applicants from underrepresented groups.

“I would strongly urge young people to do their own research into the industry, even if they believe it’s not for them, as there is a good chance there’s a role they’re not aware of that could actually be a great fit, and kickstart a really fruitful career.”


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Mechanical Engineering featured

‘Crisis? What crisis?’ — How Middle Eastern women fell in love with STEM

Article by Eliza Cochrane

Mechanical EngineeringIn the Western world, and especially in the UK and the United States, a crisis looms in engineering recruitment.

The sector is struggling to attract talent altogether, a problem worsened by the fact that almost no women seem to want to train to be engineers. In the UK, a scant 11 per cent of engineers are female, despite women outnumbering men in the general population. The problem has been manifest since at least 2016, when Engineering UK unveiled the alarming recruitment figures in its ‘State of the Nation’ report.

But in what might come as a surprise to Western readers, this is not an issue in the Middle East. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and the United Arab Emirates, the STEM fields are dominated by women. In an almost reversal of the trend in the UK, nearly 70 per cent of all STEM university graduates in Iran are women.

Two civilisations, world’s apart

The Western world and the Middle East seem to be poles apart on the women/STEM issue. Which begs the question: what is the underlying reason behind such big differences?

Critics in the West will point to what they consider to be the paradox of extreme gender inequality. In the Middle East, they say, women have less personal freedoms and choices in what they do. Whereas on the other side, free to their own devices in liberal democracies, women tend to dominate subjects that are more people-orientated and less about ‘things’. Similar sentiments are echoed by Saadia Zahidi, author of the book ‘Fifty Million Rising’, who has said women in the Western world are freer to pursue alternatives and not worry about them paying less.

On the other hand, it is thought that the Middle East is not influenced by what some might consider to be harmful gender stereotypes. Sarah Peers of the Women’s Engineering Society in the UK is one voice who has spoken out about the pro-masculine ‘Old Boys Club’ culture that excludes and discourages Western women. In the West, young women are often told to pursue their passions. But if gender stereotypes are tantamount, this might incidentally lead to a young woman looking at the cultural expectations around her, instead of following what she thinks would be the right thing to do from a societal point of view.

On the other hand, the reason women tend to be encouraged into engineering in the Middle East and North Africa is because of the job security such a path provides. One popular Arabic TV show from the 1950s had a popular theme tune that Arab mothers reappropriated as a theme tune to their baby girls. The lyrics included lines such as: “And I will say ‘My girl has grown up, she will be an engineer/She’s her mother’s lovely girl’.” But also because, according to one engineering professor, Raja Ghozi, education systems are not so “flexible” and “quitting or changing a career direction for them is a failure, at least when they embark on their engineering education”.

Breaking the stereotypes

Rana Dajani, a Saudi national of Palestinian, Syrian and Jordanian heritage, and the first woman from the Persian Gulf to complete a PhD in biotechnology from Cambridge University, has stated that women in the Middle East “don’t feel intimidated” by liking science. She believes this is part of an innate drive amongst women to help progress and improve the conditions in society for all women.

There is one stereotype that stubbornly persists for women in the Middle East, at least according to Hoda Baytiyeh, and that is a lack of confidence when it comes to creativity and innovation. This may also be one of the reasons contributing to a lack of women in the workforce. Baytiyeh says that there is a stereotype that women struggle to turn “knowledge to product” under their own ingenuity, which is an image that should begin to fall away after the public successes of figures such as Rana Dajani.

Problems at home: female workplace participation in the Middle East

But despite the fact that Middle Eastern women seem to have no fear in pursuing a tech or engineering degree, such success does not necessarily translate into the wider world of work. Instead, and self-defeatingly, certain cultural, social, and family pressures can result in many women choosing to stay at home.

The result is that the Arab world has some of the lowest rates of female participation in work. In Iran things are not much better, with the female workforce averaging at around only 17 per cent. In the latter case, this may be a combination of both cultural pressures and the enforcement of several discriminatory laws and regulations that limit how women can operate at work. There are signs attitudes are changing, though. In 2013, Iranian president Rouhani voiced his objection to gender discrimination and promised to work towards a more “equal opportunity” society. The speed of which he has set about implementing this new vision has not awed anyone, but nevertheless, the rhetoric is there.

Women, STEM, and the Middle East of tomorrow

In the Middle East, there may be more conservative cultural values that act as barriers to women wanting to pursue STEM-related jobs, including engineering. But given that the tech industry is relatively new in the Arab and Middle Eastern world, there is no legacy — unlike in the West — of it being solely male-dominated. This means that, in the eyes of many young women graduates, technology is looked on as one of those areas that is full of opportunities, and where everything is possible. This is what makes engineering a very attractive pull for women in the Middle East.

In the meantime, we can expect Middle Eastern women to circumvent hostile workplace norms by leaving the structure and starting their own home-based tech companies, by leveraging through the internet to reach new markets. In fact, the Middle East already has a higher percentage of female-led or founded start-ups than Silicon Valley, with about 1 in 3 having some kind of female genesis.

Engineering is naturally a scientific and knowledge-based sector and will help to propel the Middle East into a plethora of knowledge-based economies. The really exciting thing is, this could also, by proxy, transform the Middle East in ways that will undoubtedly make it richer and more prosperous going forward.

Eliza CochraneAbout the author

Article by Eliza Cochrane of Akramatic Engineering, a sheet metal fabrication company based in London. She is apart of a tiny minority of workers in the UK’s engineering sector that happens to be female — and is working hard to change its image of an ‘Old Boys Club’.

 


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Lena Reinhard featured

Inspirational Woman: Lena Reinhard | VP, Product Engineering, CircleCI

Lena ReinhardLena Reinhard is VP Product Engineering at CircleCI, the leader in continuous integration and delivery for developer teams.

In her 15+ year career, she’s been building and scaling high-performing engineering organisations and helping distributed teams succeed, starting with her own startup to corporates and NGOs.

Lena is an acclaimed international keynote speaker on topics like leadership, DevOps transformation, and organisational scale, at conferences such as O’Reilly Velocity, The Lead Developer, CTO Summit, and QCon. She is passionate about helping teams increase their effectiveness and business impact, and scaling culture for organisational performance and health. Lena enjoys spending time in books and in nature, and always strives to learn something new, currently focused on how to play the piano and keep houseplants alive.

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

I have a background in Finance, Arts, and Media, but have always gravitated towards leadership. My first tech job was for a small SaaS startup. It was intended as a short-term copywriting gig and turned into a role as Marketing and Key Account Manager. Around a similar time, I started contributing to open source projects, and shortly after co-founded my first software company and became CEO. I started managing distributed, fast-scaling engineering teams, quickly realising that I really enjoyed this work, and that it was a good match with my prior experiences and cross-functional background.

I’ve built and scaled high-performing engineering organisations and helped distributed teams succeed ever since, now as Vice President of Product Engineering at CircleCI. In my current role, I lead our globally distributed and rapidly growing Product Engineering organisation. I am ultimately responsible for accomplishing our business goals and delivering software to our users effectively, timely, and with high quality standards – and for building an thriving organisation to help us achieve these goals.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t, and if you had asked me 15 years ago, I would never have expected I’d be where I am today. How many careers really go ‘according to plan’? My first formal leadership role was as CEO of the company I co-founded. I’d been consulting for the founding team with research and assessments towards the founding process and business setup, and one day, on the way back from lunch, they asked me whether I wanted to become a CEO. I thought about it and said yes.

My first formal engineering leadership role was more of a transition than a conscious decision. I’d been brought into the organisation as a consultant to get the team’s delivery into a better state and ended up taking on team leadership and scaling shortly after. Situations like this where the scope of my role and responsibilities rapidly expand almost over night have occurred many times in my career, and have always been exciting.

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

When starting out, I learned a lot of hard lessons. I had to lead largely intuitively and in reactive ways, due to the intense nature of the work and environment I was in. It effectively meant I did not have a good sense of what it takes for others to be effective in this role and work, and what sustainable frameworks and structures I can build to help my teams be successful in the longer run. This put a huge strain on myself, as well as my ability to delegate effectively and build out better structures for the team.

A former colleague once told me - after we moved into different roles - that I didn't understand what made me good at this work, which meant I was not able to bring it out in others either. It hit me hard. I had to learn how to delegate effectively, as well as invest in developing leaders around me to be able to run teams and organisations more effectively. Part of the biggest job of being a leader is to pull people up from all around. Remaining a critical part of a technical system leads to a feeling of importance, but actually is a terrible sign. The thing that tickles our ego the most is the sign that we’re not doing as well as we could; and to me, that’s the essence of what leadership means in a nutshell.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There are a lot of achievements that I’m very proud of: My first conference talk, my first keynote, being invited to speak at a conference; co-founding a company and becoming CEO; all the teams I got to build and scale rapidly; getting a job I really wanted and getting promoted. Any of those accomplishments were big leaps for me at the time and thinking about them still fills me with great joy.

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

The foundation of being a good leader relies on building trust-based relationships. Here are a few ways that have always helped me get there:

Ask questions. This is one of the most powerful tools of an effective manager. The basis for managing well is listening, observing, taking note of what motivates your teammates, and digging into the responses to your questions.

I usually gather questions before I meet with my team members one-on-one so I am prepared and can guide the conversation toward understanding them better. Asking questions helps you adjust your leadership style to the individuals on your team. It also ensures that they feel understood and heard, which are important pillars of inclusion and belonging.

Connect to the bigger picture. Creating an impact is an excellent motivator, so make sure the members on your team understand how their work helps users or supports other teams. While goal-setting frameworks like OKRs can help with this, it is also crucial to align initiatives with higher-level goals and connect them clearly with user value.

Give feedback. One of the best things you can do as a manager is to support your team members’ growth. Give feedback regularly to help them understand where they are and how they can grow – by course-correcting where needed and setting new goals in areas in which they excel.

Also, managers need feedback too: Don’t forget to ask your team for feedback regularly, on big and small things, so you can also adjust as needed.

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

Look for role models. Finding people whose career paths you want to take inspiration from can be a really good thing, especially now that there's a more diverse group of people than there used to be in the past. Mentors can also be a crucial source of inspiration, experience, support and knowledge. With remote working, it makes it even harder to find one, so take a look into webinars, virtual events and LinkedIn to scope out mentors. Look for someone who you believe you could learn from, reach out with a specific request and reason why you’d like for them to be your mentor.

Staying curious and constantly learning is also important. The industry is evolving really fast and that can be quite a lot to process sometimes. There've been a lot of critical movements over the last couple of years, especially in the DevOps space, as well as other cultural shifts, and many people are still working to make this industry better, more inclusive, and more diverse every day. Stay curious and stay connected to the broader industry and to developments in the space.

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

The tech industry has come a long way, but it doesn’t exist in isolation: in the same way as our societies aren’t equal to people of all genders, we can always do better. As a white woman, I have a lot of privileges, and I’m especially happy to see more women of colour and non-binary people enter our industry, many of whom have faced many more structural issues than I have. Companies need to treat diversity and inclusion as an ongoing learning process, which means listening and learning; this is true for everyone, and especially all of us who have more privileges. Leaders need to consciously think about how they evaluate applicants during hiring process, as well as their existing staff: think about the tasks they are giving employees i.e. where there are any discrepancies in how they are managed, the diversity and inclusivity of their teams, and whether all individuals have an opportunity to be heard and equal opportunities to succeed and thrive.

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

Hire women; train, mentor and coach women; sponsor women; promote women. After all, it’s about ensuring that all your employees get the same opportunities to succeed. In the UK alone, 90% of women experience imposter syndrome at work. Different people have vastly different experiences in the workplace, and it’s important to understand those and build systems and structures that support everyone in their different experiences. Mentorship programmes that provide support and professional guidance, can help in maturing skills and developing confidence.

There is currently only 17 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?

Increase the number of women in leadership roles.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Brené Brown: Dare to Lead: “Leadership is not about titles, status and power over people. Leaders are people who hold themselves accountable for recognising the potential in people and ideas, and developing that potential. This is a book for everyone who is ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference and lead.”

Reply-all podcast: A podcast about tech, the internet, but also on modern life.

HBR’s Women at Work podcast: Expert interviews, and hosts sharing their own experiences, as well as practical advice.

I attended and spoke at LeadDev several times and have gotten a lot of learning out of those events, highly recommended.

HBR guide to managing up and across: It’s a skill that can transform your career, and this guide has a ton of information on managing into all directions, and how to develop the skills to do it well, highly recommend.

Kerry Patterson: Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high. Good on communication when things get tough.

Lara Hogan has a great newsletter, and her blog is a great resource for leadership-related content

Julie Zhuo: The Making of a Manager. Very good primer on management if that’s a path you’re curious about or interested in.


WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here


Women in Data International Women's Day event featured

08/03/2021: Women in Data International Women's Day

Women in Data International Women's Day event

Celebrating women all over the world! By coming together in regions we can increase our reach and impact #strongertogether.

Join us as we celebrate women from all over the world! We have 3 networking events hosted in different time zones so the party never stops!

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SheSays Brighton, Internationl Women's Day event featured

08/03/2021: SheSays Brighton - International Women's Day 2021 | Rifa Thorpe-Tracey

SheSays Brighton, Internationl Women's Day event

SheSays Brighton for International Women's Day 2021 and Spring Forward Festival

All are welcome at this virtual SheSays evening of online talks with three fantastic speakers, talking about their extraordinary journeys in the digital world and celebrating International Women’s Day.

Our speakers are:

the wonderful Rachel McConnell, a content designer, strategist and consultant who's used to building and leading content teams. She's worked with brands such as Deliveroo, M&S, John Lewis and Virgin Holidays and also trains UX professionals in UX writing. She's currently content strategist at BT and was the content strategy lead for Clearleft. Rachel is the author of 'Why You Need A Content Team'. Follow @Minette_78

We're excited to hear from Johana Riquier, business strategist at Unity. She’s a prominent advocate for the widespread use of Unity Technologies, promoting minorities in the gaming space and works to bring awareness of the African and Middle-Eastern gaming industry. Follow  @jo_riquier

A warm welcome to Michelle Steele, lead software engineer with 25 years of experience, currently at Brighton tech company Avalara. She coaches at Codebar, is a STEM Ambassador and is the Head of Volunteer Coordinating at Trans Pride Brighton. Michelle is also the drummer in indie band Slum of Legs @octoberclub

can't wait to see you there

Love from Rifa and the SheSays Brighton team

This event is part of Spring Forward Festival and open to all backgrounds, ages and genders. Trans and non-binary people are very welcome at all our events.

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Peakon, International Women's Day event featured

08/03/2021: International Women's Day with Peakon - How we're choosing to challenge

Peakon IWD event

Join us and our panel of experts for an engaging hour to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), where we will share interesting insights from our data on diversity, equity and inclusion, and discuss this year’s IWD theme of “Choose To Challenge.”

We'll be joined by industry leaders across the world, who will be adding their insights and answering your hard-hitting questions!

BOOK NOW


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Inspirational Woman: Elise Connors | Director of Marketing Client Services, Happy Cog

Elise Connors

Elise’s expertise is in crafting complex digital strategies, with a focus on Conversion Rate Optimization.

With over 13 years of digital marketing experience, she’s passionate about sharing her extensive knowledge with others who are interested in starting their careers. As Director of Marketing Client Services at Happy Cog, Elise is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the agency’s digital marketing (SEO, Paid Media, and Analytics) strategy and execution on clients like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Adelphi University, and Lonza. When not busy with work, Elise is a fan of theater, poetry, and okay, yeah, also reality TV.

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

I’m a 13-year veteran of the digital marketing industry. I started out in SEO and worked my way up to learning everything from there. After a few tours around several marketing agencies, I landed in a Director-level role at NYC-based Happy Cog. There I lead the digital marketing team, which consists of Paid Media, SEO, and Digital Analytics practitioners.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Well, I planned to be a corporate attorney. (smile)

When that didn’t work out, I let go of the need to plan. As I mentioned, I started in SEO and just picked up new skills from there as I had projects to work on. It’s what turned me into this “Jill of All Trades,” if you will. I’d venture to say that’s served me well.

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

The biggest challenge is being a Black woman in an industry that, like most industries, is dominated by White males. Getting people to take you and your ideas seriously is not the easiest job in the world. That meant I had to make a conscious effort to find places where my voice would be heard and possibly even amplified. It was also helpful to surround myself with people who looked like me. That was a mission of mine in 2018 when I founded Black Folks in Digital, an organization that exists both to help Black digital professionals connect with others in the industry and show young Black professionals that a career in digital makes good financial sense.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There are honestly too many to list. If I picked a “biggest,” that could diminish the value of the other experiences I’ve had. I feel like every achievement, every rung of the ladder I’ve climbed, I’m stronger because of it. My life has truly been the greatest example of the butterfly effect.

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

The biggest factor has been surrounding myself with people who believe in me. Certainly, I am a quick, independent learner, but I only thrive in environments where I’m supported. In environments where I don’t have that support, I’m definitely not going to bring my best self to the table.

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

Don’t be afraid of uncharted territory. You’ll find the biggest, tastiest fish where there are no other lines. You never know when the smallest opportunity could be a pivotal moment for your career.

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

There are certainly barriers, and until we dismantle the patriarchy, I don’t see that going away any time soon. However, as women, we can be change agents for other women. Stand up for equal pay. Stand up for equal hiring processes. Just stand up.

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

Listen. Listen to women’s experiences and don’t gaslight them on the backend of them sharing something and being vulnerable.

There is currently only 17 per cent 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?

Get more women in leadership roles. We don’t just need any seat at the table. We need the decision-making seats. And even further, we need women who are supportive of other women in those decision-making seats.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Together Digital is a great organization that offers the opportunity to connect with women across all different career paths in tech. Also, scour Meetup for your local area (once the pandemic is over, that is) to find opportunities to meet people in person. Nothing beats a face-to-face connection.


WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here


Vacancy Spotlight: Digital Consultant | Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting.

With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

For more information, visit www.oliverwyman.com.

Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.

Oliver Wyman Digital is a dedicated practice within Oliver Wyman, we deliver world-class products that give our clients a competitive edge and our mission is to leave a positive impact on the world. We have mixed agency skills with our consulting roots in order that we can best answer some of the largest companies’ toughest questions. Our global dynamic team deliver at the highest levels across many specialist skill sets including Design, Data Science & Analytics, Project Delivery and Engineering. We’re committed to growth that provides our people the most exciting and fulfilling opportunities and we are looking for more people to join us.

The Role And Responsibilities

No two Oliver Wyman projects are the same: You’ll be working with hugely varied and diverse teams to deliver unique and unprecedented products across industries. You’ll have an opportunity to grow the business through becoming a trusted technology advisor to our clients by solving their business problems. Operating within high-performing, collaborative teams consisting of industry experts, consultants, change-makers, creative designers, technologists and engineers, you will be engaged on rich and varied projects ranging from niche technology proof of concepts to large scale System Integrations. Bridging the gap between OW Consultants and our Digital practice you will be owning the technical project from conception through to delivery

Examples of your project responsibilities will include:

  • Having a clear business vision on technology strategies
  • Provide technology leadership and solutions to clients and colleagues
  • Grow transformational products, platforms and spot new business opportunities
  • Advise and deliver software selection process appropriate for the client - combining bespoke and commercial software solutions

We would love to see some of the following

  • Minimum of 7 - 10 years of relevant digital experience, ideally with a top-tier strategy consulting or technology firms
  • Experience of leading digital delivery projects at scale
  • Knowledge within aspects of digital technology such as tech innovation and strategy, mobile, API design and architecture
  •  Strong background in strategic problem solving with demonstrable analytical skills
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills in both formal and informal settings
  •  Willingness to travel although flexibility offered if you need it
  • Know how to take the initiative, seeking out opportunities to learn new skills and put the ones you’ve already got to good use.
  •  Are not just intelligent, but creative too: ready to come up with novel ideas to solve our clients’ biggest problems.
  • Have an aptitude for analytical work, like sniffing out clues in massive data sets or hunting down the key issues in a hugely complex challenge.
  • A willingness to work fluidly and respectfully with our incredibly talented team

OUR VALUES & CULTURE

We’re serious about making OW a rewarding, progressive, enjoyable and balanced place to work.

Self starters and free thinkers who work well in a team

We are individuals who are self-starting, motivated, energetic, entrepreneurial about what we do

Common aspiration, collective endeavor, shared success

We have the common aspiration to have an impact, leave a legacy and change the world. We have no interest in running a steady-state business. We want to build, grow and shape the environment around us

Straightforward, open, respectful interaction

We value an environment where every member of Oliver Wyman is encouraged and expected to voice his or her opinion

Opportunity without artificial barriers

We value merit and believe that to create a true meritocracy we need to remove artificial barriers to opportunity

Balanced lives

We value people whose lives balance work and non-work activities because we believe they are both more interesting colleagues and are able to make better contributions to the Firm. We push ourselves hard to deliver excellence, but we also work to extract the maximum benefit from the flexibility of a project-based business. We provide the ability to take career breaks for personal or family reasons. We fundamentally value each other’s time, and are sensitive to how it is used. We are an output not input-based culture, have respect for people’s personal decisions, and believe that one's workload must be sustainable. We seek balance for ourselves and our colleagues.

FIND OUT MORE & APPLY


teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber security

How to make it in the video games industry

teenager on a computer, gaming, cyber securityThe video games industry has experienced huge growth in the last year, particularly in the mobile games space. And it’s set to grow even more this year, with research by App Annie predicting that mobile games spending could grow by 20% in 2021.

This growth has already prompted a surge in applications from those hopeful of joining the industry, but what does it take to really make it in video games if you’re just starting out?

Aline Krebs, Game Artist for hyper casual mobile games developer, Voodoo, was encouraged by her parents, her father in particular, to follow a career path that she loves. For her, that was working with video games.

Aline shares her top tips on how to get into the video games industry, the challenges she faced on her own journey, and how to overcome them.

Follow industry trends and be curious about everything

Being on top of the biggest industry trends is vital in order to demonstrate your knowledge and value to potential employers. You should keep a keen eye on what the next big games will be, look at which ones were a success or a failure, and try to understand why.

And don’t forget to expand your industry research outside of your own personal interests. You might love mobile games above all else, but it’s extremely important to engage with AAA and indie titles so you’re well-informed on the biggest topics in the industry.

Inspiration can, and often does, come from outside the video games space too. Some of the best games that have ever been made have been inspired by other forms of entertainment such as board games, books, films and theatre, or even a personal hobby.

You can take any concept and make a video game from it, whether that’s playing as a slice of bread on a mission to be made into toast, controlling a goat with a penchant for destruction or turning the serious business of immigration into a game.

Make yourself visible on social media

It’s a no brainer to keep your LinkedIn profile updated from a professional perspective, but it’s surprising how many people neglect this and other social channels. By constantly maintaining and updating your social presence, including channels such as Twitter and Instagram, you will make sure you’re ready to send your portfolio to a potential employer or recruiter at a moment’s notice.

Think of your social channels like a live portfolio of your work. You don’t need to have thousands of followers, and sometimes all it takes is for just one person to see your work to change your life, but this won’t happen if you don’t make yourself visible and show off your skills.

Believe in yourself and ignore your inner saboteur

Impostor syndrome is experienced by millions across the world, including me, and something that women in particular face in tech specific industries. It can be challenging to fight, but it’s incredibly important as a woman in the industry to believe in yourself at all times.

When I was first trying to break into the industry, I was told that my experience with 2D and 3D graphics meant I was too much of a generalist, that I wasn’t good enough and required a specialism. It hurts when people tell you that you haven’t made the grade, but instead of dwelling on it and letting your inner saboteur take over, try to understand why they’ve said that and look at ways you can improve.

One of the best ways to fight against your inner saboteur is to focus on what makes you special, and boost yourself with positive affirmations. And don’t compare yourself to other people, because that’s a sure fire way to start the negative cycle all over again.

Always keep learning

The old adage that we’re always learning is true, and exceptionally so in the video games industry. Things move incredibly fast, so you need to make sure that you’re constantly developing your skills so that you don’t get left behind.

Nobody is a master of all trades, and you’re not expected to know everything when you’re just starting out, but prioritise learning as much as possible to give yourself a competitive edge. And just because you don’t have certain skills yet, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn them.

Don’t give up

The most important thing is to never give up. It took me several years to land a permanent role in the games industry, and there were multiple times where I felt like giving up. But I couldn’t imagine working in any other industry, so I kept pushing myself because I knew there was a job out there for me somewhere. Sometimes, you have to dig deep to find it and wait longer than you might want to. But it's not impossible, so don’t give up.

Aline KrebsAbout the author

Aline is a 2D/3D Game Artist for Voodoo Berlin, where she creates concept art and both in-game and production assets. With a passion for 3D environments and all things colourful, Aline has produced artwork for mobile games such as City of Love: Paris and Partouche Casino Games, alongside working as the solo artist for Steam and Switch game BAFL - Brakes Are For Losers. After being introduced to video games by her parents at a young age, Aline made the decision to enter the games industry as a teenager, teaching herself the skills she needed before securing a diploma in graphic design and attending Enjmin to study games and interactive digital media.


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