Inspirational Woman: Roberta Lucca | Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Bossa Studios

Roberta Lucca

I believe we can all live multiple lives in our lifetime. I first learned it from my mom, who has been my first leader and high achiever by example.

Throughout my life journey in Brazil and the UK, I developed my eagerness for experimentation. That led me to become a computer scientist, then turned marketer, turned entrepreneur, turned angel investor, turned content creator, turned public speaker. I never lost any of these skills but added them to my toolbox of life.

I spent most of my last ten years building one of the most successful video game companies in Europe. Bossa Studios won multiple awards, including a BAFTA, on its way to becoming a multimillion-dollar business.

Currently, I’m hyper excited to be launching a podcast called Hyper Curious, where I talk with leaders in different industries about their A-ha moments in life and how they embrace changes by following their curiosity. It will be soon available on Apple and Spotify.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not at the start. I realised the importance of planning my next steps rather late in my career.

I remember vividly my A-ha moment about it. I was working so hard on a project that I thought would lead me to a big promotion. It turned out that despite being highly praised about what I achieved, the job I wanted to take was given to a colleague of mine. I didn’t see it coming so that was a big cold shower for me. As I was reflecting on what I did wrong and getting advice on how to do better next, I realised how much he had planned that jump and engaged with the right people in the organisation to open the doors for him. He did not only know what he wanted. He told people about it. Meanwhile, I was just heads down doing my job thinking my boss would notice my deepest wishes.

Since then, I plan my career moves, I sit down to set my intentions and goals (personal and professional) on a yearly basis, and revise them every six months. This year I took a step further: I took the time over the holidays to define my Beta Lucca 2025 Vision/Dream.

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

I'm so interested in how embracing challenges in our lives, rather than fearing them, can keep us curious and evolving - which is one of the reasons I wanted to interview inspirational people (including Mo Gawdat, Sharmadean Reid MBE and Amy Landino) about this on my podcast.

For me, I’ve lost count on how many career challenges I faced. I failed in most of the things I’ve done. It’s painful on the micro-level, when you’re fighting to overcome a challenge - like the one above. But on the macro-level, it’s incredible the reward that comes from taking action and putting yourself out there, starting new things, experimenting with something you’ve never done before, and proving the doubters wrong.

That’s how you achieve great things in life. The cover of the magazine with the most successful person of the year is lie or at least a simplification of what it takes to succeed. Whatever you define as success for you, there’s no overnight success. Overcoming challenges every day is what makes you who you are. It’s a journey.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I won a BAFTA Award! This is the Oscars of the Video Games industry. Worth noting, it’s not about the Award itself, but the representation of it. I was one year into building Bossa Studios with my co-founders and an incredibly passionate team. That was my very first startup, right after “dropping out” of the corporate job I had. To be recognised by the legends of the Video Games industry for something I was an active agent of creating was just out of this world.

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

I never thought I wouldn’t. In fact, I never had a goal of achieving success. I have been always focused on finding what it is that I love doing, doing more of that, less of what I don’t like and looking after my finances on the way, of course. I think that my supporting system has played a huge part on that too. My mom, my sister, my husband, and my best friends always believed in me, even at times I doubted myself.

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

It depends on what they want to do and which stage in their career. If they are starting out now and love video games, make a game. You have all the free tools out there to learn and practice. There is no excuse not to make it nowadays. If you want to be a graphic designer of technology products or a marketer for a technology company, create and connect. Create a mock-up of how you think an app could be so much better or create a marketing plan to help a company market their products better to an audience you know inside out. Then, don’t hold that yourself. Find the C-level people or founders in these organisations on LinkedIn or Twitter, connect with them and share your work. If they are the right employers for you, they will love it.

To excel in their career once you’re into it for a few years, do a lot of soul searching so you can find the real value you bring to the world. Follow your curiosity, practice new skills that may seem unrelated to tech - like improv theatre. Improv can help you so much to be a better communicator and connector.

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

There are tons of barriers, starting by the lack of role models. You can only be what you can see. Plus, women typically revisit their goals and ambitions in life when they have children. That’s a natural thing, a moment of big change in our lifestyles, priorities and how we see the world. On top of it, being out of the market for a year put women in a certain disadvantage, compared with their male colleagues who have not stopped.

How can we overcome those barriers? By actively being a role model to the new generations, showing them it’s possible, and by finding the right partners in life who will be supportive of you becoming a successful women in tech, and sharing the burden that a life with a child brings.

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

Encourage their great talented women to go onto great challenges inside the organisation and in life. Train leaders to identify nuances of communication. For instance, according to research related to attribution theory, most of the time when women succeed, they attribute the success to external factors, while men attribute the success to their efforts. When things go badly, women typically take the blame of the situation while men attributes the failure to things out of their control. Knowing these nuances could make a whole difference next time a manager is talking to their women or men reports about the performance of a project they were involved with.

There is currently only 17% 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?

Make everything that involves tech look as cool and creative as fashion & design!

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

  • - Book: I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was. It helped me see it’s ok not to have a one path in life but to embrace my multipotentialite life.
  • - DailyOm website: I’m loving the inspirations there as an antidote to the overwhelming bad news everywhere
  • - Podcasts: The Knowledge Project - great interviews with people who mastered their craft. Hyper Curious - my show about following your curiosity soon to be out!

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


Inspirational Woman: Piyali Mitra | MD, Pods Programme Lead, Group Technology, Barclays

Piyali Mitra

Piyali Mitra is the Pods Programme Lead at Barclays.

Piyali joined Barclays in 2016 and is currently responsible for enabling cross-functional collaboration and accelerated delivery for the bank’s group wide growth initiatives.

Piyali’s brand is complex problem solving, backed by thorough analysis, strategic thinking and a client/shareholder mindset. An influencer, mentor and a keen collaborator, she is comfortable challenging the status quo to deliver the right outcome. Piyali is an advocate for nurturing diversity of thought and experience at the work place. She believes any business requires a balanced workforce that accurately represents the society which they serve, in order to build the solutions their customers truly need.

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

I grew up in Mumbai, India, as the youngest of four daughters. I am a qualified Chartered Accountant, and have worked across three continents in Investment Banking, Corporate Finance, and delivering complex Transformational Programmes for global banks. Currently, I am a Managing Director within Group Technology at Barclays, leading on a key strategic priority for the Group COO bringing cross-functional teams together and enabling delivery of our growth initiatives.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

The only thing I planned for in my career is change! Growing up in Mumbai, which is famous for Bollywood movies, I always wanted to do something in the creative industry – following in the footsteps of my grandfather, a successful Hindi film producer and director of his time. That idea changed very early, when in college numbers, accounting and financial management fascinated me. Since then I qualified as an accountant and decided I wanted to be an Investment Banker closing multi-million dollar deals – and as luck would have it, I joined a large US bank in Mumbai and within a year transferred to Wall Street – something I had never dreamt of, let alone plan! I’ve not looked back since then, only embracing change and the opportunities and challenges it brings

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

Absolutely – I have faced challenges. The mantra that gets me through challenges has been around my mind-set of embracing it – knowing that there is something to learn, and something to take away from a tricky or difficult situation has been instrumental in allowing me to face the challenge. Analysing the why and the what, and becoming aware and tackling the issue at hand rather than ignoring it. To be more specific – about five years ago – I made a wrong career move. Being true to myself, understanding why that role and organisation was not right for me and being able to be honest and have those discussions with a number of stakeholders, allowed me to get out of the role, introspect and truly understand in what context I will flourish and then target specific opportunities.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My biggest career achievement has been my ability to successfully span Front Office, Finance Restructuring, and Operations roles. I have always strived to become an SME and gain deep knowledge, whilst also maintaining a broader perspective by doing different roles that enable me to look at the same circumstances, problems and think about solutions from a variety of lenses. Also adopting an infinite learning mind-set has allowed me to be successful in these varied roles and not feel like an imposter (most of time).

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

Believing in myself. Period. If you don’t believe in yourself how will someone else? And, of course I do have doubts time and again, but I use it to identify and further harness any weak spots to become better and play my A game!

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

Your career is a marathon not a sprint. Enjoy the small achievements along the way, there will be short-term setbacks but it’s not game over, so keep your chin up, and keep your eye on the end goal.

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

I do think there is an unconscious bias that exists for any form of diversity. One way to deal with this is to ensure both managers and colleagues are clear on what they bring to the table, what expectations they set around work life balance and how they will deliver the work. There are many unsaid things, which then leads to expectation mismatch – and clear communication can solve this easily.

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

I think men have to take part in diversity conversations and supporting the progress of women. It’s not a token or an allowance women are looking for, and it’s not just for women to bring other women up. For any company to truly support diversity of all kinds, they need to believe in the why – and that why needs to be a business imperative that the senior management truly believe in. For example, diversity is good for business as it mirrors the societies we serve. They need to articulate this “why” clearly – and promote women who are competent to prominent roles – and walk the talk.

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

I enjoy Azeem Azhar’ Exponential View podcast, I also enjoy HBR Ideacast podcast and Thrive Global podcast by Arianna Huffington. In terms of Books – Start with Why by Simon Sinek and How Women Rise by Marshall Goldsmith and Sally Helgesin are pretty good reads.

Learn more about how we’re using tech to solve customers’ problems

Find out more about Tech careers at Barclays


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.

 

 

 


Laura Romanin

Inspirational Woman: Laura Romanin | Founder, WeKleen

Laura Romanin is the CEO and co-founder of WeKleen™  and is the first product line from Eco CoLab Ltd which is a powered partnership with Lovelace & Turing Limited.

WeKleen™ license partnerships include small and large landlords of commercial and private luxury residential real estate to solve the current inefficiencies of high consumption waste, water and value added services, with a special emphasis on smart city integration technology.

With councils and municipalities across the globe recognizing the need to provide a world of convenience, social responsibility and efficiency for communities to thrive, WeKleen™ services offer an effective solution for adopting more responsible consumption habits. cities and communities.

Shortlisted as ‘App of the Year’ category by BusinessGreen Technology Awards and selected by Mayor of London, Better Futures an initiative that supports clean tech businesses was part of the 12-month year old start-up success that started in her kitchen in West London. In 2019, Laura was invited to speak at Financial Times to share her expertise in the future of car care and why a new alternative is essential to protect our planet.

She is an activist in climate change and has over ten years in retail as a brand creative working at Net-A-Porter & Selfridges on project with focus of sustainability.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

Yes, I always wanted to be in the sustainability and tech industries. But every opportunity before that, prepared me for my current role as Founder of WeKleen and as a brand creative working with fashion and beauty brands creating compelling content to tell their story.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Being shortlisted business category by BusinessGreen Technology Awards launched less than a year.

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

Having a close tribe of women: peers and mentors who have supported, inspired and continue to encouraged me to live out my fullest potential. It’s critical to have a supportive community around you -  that is safe, where you can pass on knowledge, and where you [can] open your arms and wrap them around each other to create a strong unit.

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

There’s three tips I would recommend:

  1. Download information: Read books, go to seminars, listen to podcasts, watch docu-series.  Listen and learn as much as you can in the area of interest so that
  2. Create meaningful connections: Paving your way to a new opportunities or advancements to one’s career takes time, patience, and more than a few matcha lattes—it requires making real connections. Think of social media platforms as physical spaces. Networking is your email signature line. It’s your profile on LinkedIn. It’s your business card. If you start looking at the micro-actions you undertake on a daily basis as networking, you can realize you have a far bigger chance of making an impact  that will improve your career than if you worry about that one big cocktail reception to collect business cards.
  3. Be clear what you are asking for: I always had a hard time ‘asking’ in beginning of my career

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

YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP recently launched on International Women’s Day 2020:  sponsorship programme to build the next generation of women leaders in tech. the world leader in online luxury and fashion, is strengthening its commitment to driving gender equality in technology with the launch of a new internal sponsorship programme for women. Pairing rising female talent in its technology team with senior business leaders over a period of 10 months, the initiative aims to provide advanced learning and development opportunities for employees on the path to leadership.

BUMBLE, Wolfe Herd, who founded Bumble in 2014, is fueled by a utopian vision of social justice, where women feel empowered to make the first move in all areas of their lives, and it drives virtually every decision at the company. It influences her hiring: 82 per cent of the employees are female, along with almost all of the executive leadership.

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


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.


Inspirational Woman: Sarah Beardsley | Head of Space Engineering and Technology, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UKRI

Sarah Beardsley

Dr Sarah Beardsley is the Head of Space Engineering and Technology in the RAL Space Department of STFC, part of the UK Research and Innovation organisation.

She heads up a team of 60 engineers and technical project managers who design, build and test scientific instrumentation to go into space, furthering the understanding of our Earth and our place in the universe.

Sarah began her career as a planetary scientist, holding fellowships through Research Councils and the Royal Society. She has represented her scientific community on several national and international committees and working groups, elected by her peers to work with the Royal Astronomical Society and European Space Agency in particular.

More recently she has developed her career as a senior project manager and leader of groups of engineers, culminating in her current role as Division Head. She has overseen the recruitment of almost 70 people in the last five years and developed a collaborative style of leadership, demonstrating empathy and a culture of inclusion within her Division that is well respected. She leads by example – for example Sarah was one of the first in her organisation to share her maternity leave with her husband – long before it became a statutory right; she continues to work flexibly to accommodate caring duties, and is highly supportive of requests to work part-time and flexibly by members of her team. She is a member of the Graduate Training Panel within her organisation and is passionate about development of talent that secures the future of science and engineering in the UK. She regularly gives inspiring talks to encourage the younger generation, both female and male, into STEM fields.

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

I’m a scientist by training – astronomy and astrophysics degree and PhD, moved into studying the Moon (which is my favourite thing!) and then transitioned into project management when I realised I liked working in teams more. I now run a team of around 60 engineers and managers who design, build and test instruments that go into space. It is simply the coolest thing to be able to say that I have sent something into space!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes – I always wanted to be an astronaut when I was little, and all my career choices were based around that. I write to NASA to ask how to be an astronaut – it appeared you needed to have a career first and then become an astronaut. There were two choices for me – pilot or mission specialist. I realised I was going to be too short to be a pilot, so mission specialist it was – I researched the most likely career routes for that, and astronomer and astrophysicist were high up there. Looking up at the Moon and stars was my favourite thing, so I went for that. Although I never became an astronaut, I still work on things that end up in space and I would never have made it here if it were not for my aiming for that goal of being in space myself.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Challenges were two-fold. The first are those from outside. I remember well a quote from a teacher who said “you’ll never be an astrophysicist – you have to be clever to do that”. That never stopped me, but I could imagine such comments really putting off other people.  I was also the first in my family to go to University, and looking back I recognise that was quite a challenge who would have been made oh so much easier if there were family members to talk to about it. The internal challenges are those from within - the self-doubt, the lack of confidence and holding yourself back. Although I did not realise it at the time there were many self-sabotaging moments I can look back on which explain very clearly why I never pursued the dream of being an astronaut as far as I could.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

On a personal level, it has to be achieving a work-life balance that is simply amazing. I have a great career, two wonderful children, an amazing husband and spend lots of time volunteering with Scouts – it is possible to do it all, but you have to have help and support in doing so.

At a work level, it is the fact that I have 40 per cent females in my team of 60 people in an area that typically has 13 per cent. It gives me great pride that such things can happen, we just have to make it so.

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

Making it happen – asking questions and not making assumptions. Then asking another way if you don’t get the answer you want first off. Keep on trying and don’t give up. Also, I have had many supporters over the years – some obvious, some in the background. When I look back at my career I can spot a number of key moments and can identify those people who made those possible. It is really important to have those supporters, and it is important to become one of those people yourself as you rise through the ranks.

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

I think it is incredibly important to have someone to turn to – especially those who have been there before. They can listen, offer advice and can ask those challenging questions of you. It is important to understand what you want to get out of a formal mentoring relationship in order to get the most out of it and to make sure you are paired with the right person. I am a mentor to four people in my workplace and wish there were more mentors out there – it is a great way of helping others to get to where you are, so please do consider giving your time.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

Wow, there’s a question! The problem we have is that it isn’t just one thing. It’s many things, and many of those things taken in isolation are seemingly so small and insignificant that that they couldn’t possibly make a difference, right? Wrong. I think every change starts with us as individuals. We have to call things out when it’s wrong, correct people making stereotypical remarks, changing the language we use, and also helping each other. Let’s create the culture we want to live in, let’s change our behaviour to reflect that and not be afraid to do things differently if we think it’s right – and others will follow when they see it working!

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

Don’t worry about what others think of you. You will never be the perfect little girl you were always told you should be. You will never please everyone, but you can be a person that you want to be. Be accountable to yourself and hold yourself true to what you believe in, you won’t go far wrong.

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

My next challenge is working out what I want to do next. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know…!


Katya Linossi featured

Inspirational Woman: Katya Linossi | Co-Founder & CEO, ClearPeople

Katya LinossiKatya Linossi is the co-founder and CEO of ClearPeople. She has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, most recently scaling and leading the technology business that provides digital workplace solutions for large enterprises.

Last year, Katya was shortlisted as Innovator of the Year at the Women in IT Awards 2019, as well as named Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa at the Stevie Awards for Women in Business.

Katya supports various groups championing women in technology and diversity in the workforce.

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

I’m Katya, the CEO and co-founder of ClearPeople, an award-winning technology company that builds and delivers Atlas - the people-first digital workspace.

I have worked in technology for over 20 years and been fortunate to work in a number of roles from testing software to pre-sales technical consulting to running an e-commerce site with colleagues spread across several countries and finally I worked as a web project manager before launching ClearPeople.

Even though I have worked in a variety of roles in tech, I had no formal background but always held an interest in the subject.

I believe that my experience within the digital and software sector has provided me with a wide set of technical skills, and an understanding about how technology can be used as productively as possible to make businesses more effective, efficient and ultimately more profitable.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Unlike most other teenagers I thought I had my career all figured out. When I was 17, I was convinced I was going to be an accountant. But that quickly fell to the wayside in my first year of University when I lost all interest in the course! I spent most of my time in the second year of university trying to figure out what it was I was going to do with my career, but decided in the end that a broad business degree with three majors – including economics and psychology – would open up more opportunities for me and it certainly did. Moving into tech was one of the best decisions I ever made and underlines that if what you’re doing doesn’t feel right, then reassess your priorities and make positive changes.

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

Like anyone else, I have faced career challenges but the best way to overcome any challenge is to look beyond the challenge itself.  It requires determination and being able to pick yourself up and keep going even when things go wrong.

I have also been fortunate through my career that I have worked with bosses who believed in me more than I did in myself. I have always had a “can do” attitude and this definitely helped with my career progression.

In the early days of ClearPeople I was regularly mistaken as the assistant or, occasionally, been completely ignored if accompanied by a male colleague in a meeting. I would sometimes laugh it off but made a definite point to never do business with that person.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I am torn between two achievements: The first is juggling a Master’s in Business Administration with motherhood and launching what is now a successful business.

The second is more recent and that has been the transformation of ClearPeople from a professional services company to being fully product-led. Completely changing your business model is no easy feat and during that time, I was shortlisted as Innovator of the Year at the Women in IT Awards and earlier this year our client won the prestigious Nielsen Norman Group award which is given to only 10 outstanding intranets globally

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

In the early parts of my career, courage certainly helped. My Dad gave me the confidence to be brave and try new things from shooting to diving – my most memorable experience is diving with Ragged Tooth sharks without a cage in South Africa. Moving from being an employee into starting your own business can be daunting and simply having skills and experience isn’t enough, you also need courage and self-belief.

Once I started a business and a family, this would not have succeeded without the amazing support I have both at home and professionally.

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

Be open to new opportunities wherever they come from. I would not be doing what I am doing today without that little voice in my head telling me “why not give it a try?”.

Be more confident in your abilities. This is something that I still struggle with at times and I see it so often when we interview women compared to men. Women will not even apply for a position unless they feel that they fit at least 80% of the criteria.

Don’t try to be someone else. Be yourself and in your own authentic way.

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

Things are certainly getting better but, unfortunately, the barriers do start early on. On several occasions I have provided career advice or talks to schools. From speaking to the students and teachers, girls have predetermined ideas of technology as a career path. Often it is their own parents and peers who discourage girls from pursuing a career in technology. We therefore need to educate girls from a young age about the wide variety of roles available in this sector and that being excellent at maths or science is not essential.

I believe it is also important for women in tech to help other women, whether through mentoring, supporting their career progression or educating those around us by sharing our experience and opinions.

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

First instil a culture of support through mentoring schemes. Review your recruitment process for unconscious bias. Focus less on the person’s background and instead on what you think that person can bring to that role.

At ClearPeople we have hired several women who had no background in technology but possess other fantastic qualities. If the person is a quick learner, you can easily teach them a new skill.

Provide more return to work opportunities. Prior to the lockdown, our HR manager (a returner herself) hosted a “Returners’ breakfast” that was over-subscribed. We heard some fascinating stories from women who stepped back from their careers after their first, second, or frequently third child and their personal stories of climbing on and off the career ladder. This is certainly an untapped market for talented women.

There is currently only 17% 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?

Change the old, outdated perception that technology is a more suitable career path for men than women. Teach schoolgirls that there are amazing, rewarding careers in tech and encourage them to build a fascination in how tech can change the world positively.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are so many places to go for information but I still regularly start with business books. I find  browsing through various titles until I find the parts that resonate the most beneficial personally, opposed to reading cover-to-cover. I then try to apply one or two of the things I have learnt. My go-to-books currently are: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur andRadical Focus by Christina Wodtke.

In recent years, I have joined and highly recommend a couple of membership organisations that not only provide helpful advice, but offer fantastic women in tech networking opportunities. One of these is WIT Network UK; a welcoming environment that encourages women to help other women.

I enjoy attending conferences but, due to time constraints, I try to pick carefully. The pandemic has opened up so many new worlds for me as more companies are using free webinars to promote themselves. Most of these come through scouting LinkedIn, finding pertinent groups and engaging with its members.


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


Roni Savage featured

Inspirational Woman: Roni Savage | Founder, Jomas Associates

Roni SavageRoni, is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Geologist and SiLC (Specialist in Land Condition).

A graduate of University of Portsmouth with a BEng(hons) in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics, she also holds a Masters’ (with distinction) in Environmental Management. She has worked on many major construction schemes, including the widening of the A406 and M25. She received the highly prestigious presidential invitation to Fellowship of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 2019.

She was formerly Associate Director of one of the UK’s largest Engineering Firms.

In 2009, after gaining several years of industry experience, she established Jomas Associates, serving land developers across the UK, and achieving a turnover of £2m in 2017, with further plans for growth. Jomas undertake site investigations, engineering and environmental surveys on construction projects across the UK.

Under Roni’s stewardship, Jomas focus on providing their clients with high quality, high value, expedient, engineering solutions, with emphasis on delivery.

In 2017, Jomas was acknowledged as a high growth company by Goldman Sachs, and Roni took part in the 10kSB business programme run with University of Oxford, Said Business School.

A mother to three boys, Roni is extremely passionate about gender diversity and social mobility, volunteering her time to mentor and coach others.

Roni has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit, with a passion for success and business growth. While acting as sole director of Jomas Associates, she simultaneously co-founded Turner Jomas, a multi-disciplinary civil engineering practice.

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

Jomas Associates undertake site investigations, land contamination and geotechnical engineering assessments, for construction projects across the UK.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not initially. When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor, but as I grew older, I realised I had a phobia for blood, but a love for mathematics, and solution finding, and that Engineering was a far better fit for me. I didn’t have a plan initially, but I always wanted to be better than I was yesterday.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Where do I start? I work in the construction industry that is pre-dominantly male dominated, where only 12% of the workforce is female. I am aware that I am challenging the status quo, and no two days are the same, but I thrive on breaking down barriers, and tackling challenges.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I am extremely proud of the company that Jomas is today, the team I have working with me, our values and focus on customer satisfaction, as well as the growth we have enjoyed. Furthermore, I have been honoured with several awards in the last two years, including being named Black British Business Person of the Year 2018, Natwest Athena Inspirational Woman 2018, Women in Construction and Engineering Best Consultant 2019, Construction News – InspireMe Award 2019, amongst others. I also provided expert advice to Lord Sugar during the BBC’s 2019 The Apprentice finals.

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

My parents, my family. They have always believed in me and encouraged me to be the best version of myself.

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

I am a huge advocate of mentoring. Irrespective of where one is in their career, it is extremely important to have somebody else to act as a sounding board, advisor, coach, sponsor, or whatever capacity is necessary. I have been mentored, and also partake in several mentoring programmes, and find it very rewarding.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I would make all companies publish their gender parity procedures, from recruitment to internal promotion.

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

It doesn’t matter if no one else in the room looks like you – be the trend setter!

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

Further growth for Jomas


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.


Alex Cappy featured

Inspirational Woman: Alex Cappy | Chief Operations Officer, Hubs

Alex Cappy

Prior to joining Hubs, Alex Cappy was most recently a Digital Expert Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company where she applied her expertise in operations to help companies launch and scale up their digital ventures.

Cappy started her career as a Supply Chain Analyst and Program Manager in the US, before completing her MBA at Wharton. She then joined McKinsey & Company in 2011, where she worked in the New York and London offices. After 3 years in this role, she joined Uber’s London office to become Head of Operations for the UK, leading the team through a period of exponential growth. During her time in England, Cappy also worked for Deliveroo where she was appointed as Head of Supply Operations.

As she sought to further develop her career elsewhere, Cappy found herself in Amsterdam where she first worked for the bike-sharing company ofo as a General Manager, Digital McKinsey, and now 3D Hubs.

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

In total, my tech career has spanned three countries and four industries.

Working in operations in a tech company turned out to be my perfect fit, and that’s what I do as COO at Hubs, an on-demand global manufacturing marketplace. I love using technology to solve problems, whether it’s giving the customer a better solution or building efficient operations. The problem-solving aspect of it gives me a ton of energy.

The industry has changed a lot and I feel lucky to be part of this period of history. I was part of the first generation to have internet at home, starting with AOL when I lived in the US and MSN Messenger when I lived in Italy.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I came into my career in tech over time. For my undergrad, I studied Economics and Psychology. The only overlap between those two were a lot of statistics classes, which I loved. That has always stuck with me. Data helps me make sense of the world.

Later, I was working as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and did a lot of work in supply chain and digital sales channels - back when not every industry was selling online. In 2014, I made the jump to Uber in London, where I was leading the operations team.

I always wanted to do something tangible - with a real-world product. Working in Operations was the perfect mix of being data-driven, solving optimisation problems, and immediately seeing the impact of my work. Operations teams in digital companies move even faster than in more traditional companies, which makes me love it that much more.

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

In my career, change was the only constant. Some may find it unsettling or even challenging, but I’ve consciously embraced it, ‘surfing’ the wave and making the best out of every opportunity.

I feel like I’ve seen the evolution from digital businesses mainly being e-commerce or sales channels, to entire products and new industries in their own right. In non-digital businesses, IT teams are becoming Product teams and are more central to the strategy than ever. I still remember when my first employer decided to use Salesforce and the idea of being in the “cloud” was so novel that you always used quotation marks (and a careful inflection) around “cloud”.

It’s an exciting time to witness, and even better - to be a part of the change!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I am extremely proud of the way we grew Uber in the UK, and of setting up the first centralised country operations team there. We brought a great service to customers, and flexible income to people who didn’t have it. More than that, I’m proud of the team I built there. I look at what all of my direct reports and hires are doing now, and I’m absolutely inspired. I’m excited to see the impact they’ll have on the world.

I also think Hubs is at a similar inflection point. In the next few years, we’ll see just how much impact we can have, by bringing such a great service to an industry in need of change. We’re just starting to see the potential of distributed and automated manufacturing.

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

I’m lucky in that I’ve found a career path that I truly love. I don’t work hard because someone is forcing me to, I wake up wanting to solve the interesting problems I get to address every day.

I’ve also had a couple of really stand-out mentors throughout my career. My first female manager taught me to draft a list of my accomplishments and give it to her before my performance review. She always told me: “Blow your own trumpet, because no one else will do it for you.” I think it’s a great practice, and as a manager, I’ve come to appreciate it for different reasons. I need help remembering everything my team members have worked on!

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

It’s helpful in all industries, but in tech especially, it’s very valuable to know what other teams in your company do and how they like to work. I’ve seen too many cases of teams being misaligned just due to a lack of understanding.

For example, if you’re on the “business” side of the organisation, take a basic coding class! (I suggest starting with python :)) Attend a sprint planning meeting and demos. It helps if you know how your Engineering team does their planning, and you can even ask how they prefer to work with you. (spoiler: most developers do not appreciate you dropping by their desk unannounced, so don’t do it!)

If you’re on the “tech” side of the business, you’ll be that much more powerful if you’re plugged in with your company’s strategy and operations. You can shape your roadmap to deliver maximum impact, make infrastructure/design decisions that are more likely to be future-proof, and have the satisfaction of knowing what you’re solving and why versus just cranking on tickets.

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

One is our own self-perception. Several studies have shown that women perform worse on mathematics tests when they are reminded of negative stereotypes about their abilities. So for starters, let’s stop talking about these things like we’re worse at them. We are not. That starts in early education.

Another is that there are still slight biases in the workplace. People can be more comfortable hiring and working with people who are like them, and when you come from a starting point of having more men, that can be a challenge. Honestly, it hasn’t been a huge factor in places I’ve worked, but you certainly hear a lot of cases. And I can say that I’m probably more inclined to hire women than a man in my role would!

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

Women need a space to be themselves and learn without being afraid to ask “stupid questions”. That can be hard to do in a room full of men who always seem super confident. We can create those forums for each other to build confidence and teach women that they are just as capable as the men in their field.

There is currently only 15% 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’d start at the beginning, honestly. In schools, we can tackle biases around how we educate women in the sciences. No more saying men are better at them, no more giving disproportionate attention to students who happen to be louder. Feature female scientists prominently, even though there are fewer to discuss due to the historical context.

Starting at the university level, we can address the “bro” culture that can make tech inhospitable to women. Stereotypically, women are known to be more social creatures, but our teaching methods can celebrate the “lone wolf” stereotypes in these fields, rather than encouraging and celebrating group problem solving - which is a huge part of my job!!

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are a couple of books I’ve read that take the guesswork out of networking, something I would naturally avoid. There’s the classic “Never Eat Alone,” and a very practical short one called “The 20-minute networking meeting”.

I also highly recommend Ben Horowitz’s books “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and “What You Do Is Who You Are.” Besides being full of valuable lessons, they also give some insights into the real-life experience of working in a start-up.

Finally, if your company organises events for women, go to them! It’s great to build that network and spend time with other women informally. I have an amazing group of female friends that I met when we started at McKinsey together. 10 years later, we always have each others’ backs, personally and professionally, and it’s amazing to have women in my life who I can turn to with tricky career questions.


Inspirational Woman: Rachel Keane | Co-Founder, Women in Data UK

Rachel Keane

Rachel Keane is a veteran recruiter with over 15 years’ experience in the industry, and a co-founder of Women in Data (WiD) UK, an organisation that aims to achieve gender parity in the field of data science and analytics.

Rachel enjoys pushing boundaries, asking questions and is passionate about liberating people from their societally-imposed boxes to realise their full potential. This drives Rachel to work tirelessly for the promotion of female participation in the sciences, in particular the field of data science and analytics.

As a fundamentally creative person, Rachel pursued a Bachelor of Arts with Honours at Nottingham Trent University where she dreamt of a career at Karen Millen but was beaten out by candidates with a stronger grasp of mathematics! Without letting this impede her, she focused on her strengths and decided to tackle bigger challenges outside of the fashion world, armed with motivation, people-centric values and attention to detail. She embarked on her journey as a recruiter and communications expert and thrived in this fast paced environment.

Some of Rachel’s notable accomplishments with WiD UK includes 2 invitations to 11 Downing Street in recognition of the work done by WiD, and interviews with BBC South Today. She mentors young women in their careers and speaks at schools to cultivate a love for STEM in children. She is excited about the launch of her new project Girls in Data UK in January 2020 and the collaboration with RANKIN.

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

My name is Rachel Keane and I have been working in the data and analytics recruitment space as a Managing Consultant for Datatech Analytics for the last 11 years. Five years ago, Roisin McCarthy and I co-founded Women in Data, an initiative that connects, equips and inspires women in an industry that is still so desperately under represented with women. Our community has grown exponentially, along with our ideas and ambitions for gender parity in this sector and it is a project that we are incredibly proud to have created and watch grow year on year – To register free, please visit www.womenindata.co.uk

My commercial background prior to Datatech Analytics was always in a sales based role, cementing that the fact that talking too much at school (a comment frequently mentioned by teachers at parents evening!) did lend itself to the commercial world. This coupled with a natural thirst and curiosity (some call nosey) to learn, helped me build successful client relationships and started me on the stepping-stone to a successful relationship based career.

Growing up, I enjoyed two things….talking (a lot!) and being creative making things. I studied a BA Hons in Knitwear Design at Nottingham Trent, spending my placement year working on the M&S account via Courtaulds Knitwear and was lucky enough to spend some time in Hong Kong meeting new and existing suppliers.

Women in Data has allowed me to combine my two passions; a love of connecting with people and building an industry recognised network. Whilst focusing on the creative strategy overall. The Twenty in Data & Technology role model series is a project that I lead and am passionate about. I am always so excited every year meeting the new awardees, learning of their journey’s and the outstanding work they are delivering in industry. The nominations for this are open until Friday 28th August, so please do nominate or self-nominate for 2020’s campaign.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My original plan was to be a buyer for Karen Millen, but my lack of mathematical skills brought that to an abrupt halt! Ironically, I have spent the last decade placing numerical geniuses in job roles!

I believe that on occasion your career finds you….and that the unique skills you have should never be underestimated.

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

Everyone faces challenges, with mine being self-confidence. Being a single mum for the last 15 years, I always felt that I had to over achieve to be taken seriously. Something I later learnt was in my head and no one else’s! I overcame this by investing in a smaller trusted network of people that I have met along the way in my career to guide and mentor me and make me pause and recognise my achievements to date, and taking time to appreciate the present without blindly running into the future.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Attending an event at Downing Street for International Women’s Day in both 2017 and 2018 and being a guest on Women’s hour radio show.

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

Belief! In myself and from others……when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

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

To network and build a community for yourself of all levels of seniority and ask questions. In a field that is, forever evolving it is so important to keep up with what is going on by attending industry seminars and events. It is amazing how many people love to help you answer those questions!

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

We know you can’t be what you can’t see….Women in Data introduced a sub initiative four years ago, called “Twenty in Data & Technology” This project has recognised sixty ambassadors to date across all levels of seniority and data disciplines and has been instrumental in making role models accessible across industry. Encouraging industry to celebrate successful women is paramount – opening up the doors for more women to walk through.

Educating girls early about careers in data and technology is hugely important and inspired me to launch Girls in Data in early 2020. This platform to inspire students, teachers and parents of the wonderfully diverse careers in data is such a rewarding project and has a number of exciting projects in development stages currently.

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

Listen! If we know what women need (everyone’s are different) we can help them succeed in industry.

There is currently only 17% 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?

Remove imposter syndrome from all women and watch them fly!

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Joining communities and relevant networks are imperative to building contacts and confidence. So join the Women in Data community now!

I personally would recommend reading material such as; Let it Go – Dame Stephanie Shirley, A good time to be a girl – Helena Morrissey and The Power of Choices – Janine Woodcock.


WeAreTheCity 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


Roisin McCarthy featured

Inspirational Woman: Roisin McCarthy | Co-Founder, Women in Data UK

Roisin McCarthyStarting her career as a junior recruiter in 2000, focusing exclusively on data and analytics, McCarthy has forged her career by building relationships between people who want to develop their careers and those who need the rare skills that these people can provide.

As a result of her own efforts, over two thousand people have moved into more satisfying roles and dozens of teams put together. Furthermore, she has managed a successful team of professional recruiters which, over the years, has placed thousands more. Today, she runs the successful recruitment firm, Datatech Analytics, and is the co-founder of the ground-breaking initiative, Women in Data UK. Over the past 19 years, McCarthy has been responsible for building some of the UK’s most cutting-edge data teams and has facilitated some of the most influential and successful careers in this sector, building relationships, influence and firm friendships along the way. McCarthy is seen as a thought-leader and an authority on careers, team development and talent acquisition in the field. Her unrivalled network of contacts, commitment to the data and analytics community and her unwavering passion for building strong, skilled teams is what makes her so unique.

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

My name is Roisin McCarthy and I am the Business lead at Datatech Analytics, alongside my voluntary role of Co-Founder on the ever-growing movement Women in Data.

I have had a career in Headhunting in the Data world for almost two decades, building strong long lasting relationships whilst building some of the most innovative data capability in the UK.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never, like most people I fell in to it, after a lack of success in other fields.  However, after reflecting on my own achievements and the value they added to the organisation, I quickly started to define a plan of ambition.  I suppose, I needed the confidence in my own capability, which allowed me to focus further than the “here and now”.  With experience, my biggest learning is, always have a short-term achievable goal, working alongside your long-term road map and ambitions.

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

Plenty!  From tricky legal disputes, to on the job learning how to manage a team, challenges come thick and fast and often daily.  However, they are what develop your skills and growth.  They are what keep you fresh and relevant and each problem, uses unique skills and attributes.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I have been very fortunate, in that there have been so many.  Some of the key highlights have been recognition from industry peers of my contribution in industry.  Placing in excess of 3000 individuals, but my personal most cherished achievement is seeing the growth and measurable success of Women in Data.  Its trajectory of community growth, the value and safe space it offers its members.

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

Surrounding yourself with the right people, in talent, attitude, work ethic and ambition.  Women in data would simply not be the success it is without the hard work and dedication of the team who deliver.

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

Spread your learning, you cannot be a subject matter expert in all elements of technology, technique and tools.  A little knowledge of many skills, will allow you to identify your strengths and hopefully allow you to enjoy applying the skills to productive use.

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

Yes, I think whilst attitude and understanding towards gender equality has come a long way,  I do believe there is a huge distance still to go to ensure we are seeing parity in the years ahead.  From inclusive culture, to equal opportunities these are a long way from acceptable in many organisations.  WE alo have a longer term issue that will come as no surprise.  Women in Data’s research suggests gender equality will only get worse over the next decade and few women enter the profession to men at a rate of 4 men to 0.68 women.

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

I believe there has been some pioneering work undertaken by organisations to really drive the dial, shared maternity/paternity leave, flexible working, additional academic support, leadership development and many more great initiatives.  We still don’t see many of these inclusive strategies in the Data teams we work with and for the Women in our community.  It needs to become the normal.

There is currently only 17% 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 has to start with grassroots.  Ensuring young girls and women are introduced, excited and educated on the word of tech.  Allowing them to understand the importance of building these skills early on and knowing there is an inclusive, well paid, equal opportunity for them to build it their careers

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Every career in tech will have a requirement for some level of data literacy, by joining Women in Data you not only will build your personal network in the space, but you will really see under the bonnet of what is needed to excel in the space.  You will find up to date podcasts on industry hot topics, blogs and interviews, opportunities to self-develop and be part of our mentoring mission.


WeAreTheCity 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


Margarete McGrath

Inspirational Woman: Margarete McGrath | Chief Digital Officer, Dell Technologies

Margarete McGrathMargarete McGrath is the Chief Digital Officer for Dell Technologies for the UK. 

Previous to that, Margarete worked as a Management Consultant where she worked for EY and PwC leading complex change programmes. She previously worked for PwC in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and more recently in Ireland. Margarete  supported many public and private sector clients with their business transformations.  

Alongside this, Margarete  previously ran two successful start up’s focusing on sharing models in food sustainability and building social networks while in New Zealand. 

Today, Margarete  works with a diverse group of Dell Technologies clients to support them with their digital and security transformations. Dell Technologies provides a wide range of solutions ranging from edge computing delivering smart solutions to advanced analytics to drive enhanced and secure customer experiences and new business model opportunities for leading financial institutions.  

Dell Technologies is continuing to invest and innovate in research and development across its seven technology businesses which enables Dell Technologies to partner with leading global clients to support them automate, modernise and transform their business models. 

Margarete is a champion of diversity in digital and a strong advocate of STEM. She is big believer in female entrepreneurship and green technology. Margarete is an advocate of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Dell. 

Margarete is also one of our speakers at our upcoming virtual tech conference, Disrupt. Innovate. Lead. on 26 June. This unique learning experience is aimed at individuals working in technology who would like broaden their industry knowledge, learn new skills and benefit from the thought leadership of some of the brightest minds in the tech industry.

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

I am the Chief Digital Officer for Dell Technologies in the UK. Prior to that, I worked as a management consultant with EY and PwC for many years driving large scale change programmes, many of which had a strong connection with technology. My current role is diverse with a focus on both internal and external change to drive digital adoption. I am big supporter of internal people focussed change initiatives such as reverse mentoring, mental health awareness and building collaborative networks with our clients.

A big part of my role today is focused on driving greater digital transformation and adoption of new ways of working particularly considering this pandemic. We are focused on supporting our clients with how they return to work safely and how we help businesses reimagine their business models to leverage existing and new technologies and platforms to drive value.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

To an extent I did have a plan or at least an idea of a plan. I really enjoyed working on big transformation programmes for global business while I was in the advisory world. That provided me with some insight into the power of technology and the value it can unlock for organisations with the right business readiness and change management support. Since then, I was drawn to a move into technology as I wanted to learn more about how it can really accelerate growth.
Michael Dell is an impressive entrepreneur and inspirational leader and so when the opportunity presented itself to work full time in technology, I made the change. In summary to answer the question, I always had an idea that technology would be part of my career journey and it hasn’t disappointed yet.

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

Yes, I think that’s where most of my learning comes from. I think the challenges and set backs we have are often the biggest teachers for us. I have had lots of setbacks from change programmes falling over at the eleventh hour, to unions refusing to adopt new protocols and embrace digital devices to drive efficiency after considerable rounds of consultation and agreements to integration project not meshing together as planned. Some of these challenges have been disappointing and frustrating at the time but I know in hindsight, there have been lessons to learn from each of these experiences. You have to take the positives from each situation, I really believe that there is learning to be had from everything.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I think many of the achievements have been personal where I have delivered a large result for a client or I have seen an organisation make a large shift in behaviours to drive and spin up a new business model.

Some of the most memorable achievements are the small wins where I know that I have shifted my perspective on something in a considerable way. One small example is the move I made from an Advisory Partnership focussed on long term value creation to a US quarterly driven technology organisation. A technology company that is looking to drive quarterly sales but also develop long term value driven transformational solutions. This was a significant shift for me, one that I really feel I have gained hugely from a learning perspective. I remember feeling that it was a bit of a leap of faith at the time.

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

I have always had great mentors and sponsors throughout my career, both at PwC and beyond. These relationships have been invaluable to me and I draw upon them regularly to seek their guidance and wisdom. I think the other factor is that quest for learning and curiousity, I have always believed that we are always learning and developing so being open minded has really helped me throughout my journey so far.

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

Firstly, I think the first thing is to believe in yourself and your value. Self-worth and self-belief go a long way when you are facing a shift or a change in career.

There are lots of pathways into technology firms whether it is through technology sales, business operations, engineering, marketing, eco system ventures etc... I think if you can identify the companies that your values align to and see what opportunities they may have available, that’s a start. Right now, there is a hold on recruitment across the technology and innovation space, but this is short term and things will reopen so my guidance would be to use this time well. Figure out what you want to do in technology, research and short list the technology firms that resonate with you and start to build your network. If you are entrepreneurial minded, you may want to consider setting up your own start up, there are lots of platforms and support mechanisms available to encourage early stage start ups with bright ideas get off the ground.

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

I think things have come along way in the past few years, but we can do better across all parts of technology. We still do not have enough STEM graduates and young girls looking at STEM courses in school and university. At a board level, female representation is still under represented despite the great efforts by Helena Morrissey in the 30% club. I think we have a long way to go in the Venture Capital space particularly around tech and innovation and it is disappointing to see the slow pace of change in terms of diversity and inclusion. I think the barriers stem from are a mix of people reverting back to old ways because that’s what they have always had and a lack of courage to invest, nurture and grow both internal and external talent in STEM roles.

In summary, I think we have a lot more to do. However, I am hopeful as we have many more senior female and male champions flying the flag for young women in technology. It’s a start but much work needs to be done to get this more balanced across all capability areas in the technology sector.

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

I think there are several ways to support the growth of women in technology and there is no single bullet. I think much of the progress can be traced to a few key mechanisms:

Commitment from senior male and females leaders in the industry to get more women and great ethnic groups in technology roles. We also need to recognise that it’s not okay to have all male executive teams. This also goes for all male panels at conferences. There needs to be wider recognition at senior levels that diverse organisations drive better financial performance, and this is not just relating to females. We need greater diversity of thought all round and greater BAME representation to bring the best thinking to the table to create the right technology solutions for everyone.

Other mechanisms include schools outreach programmes and reaching out to young girls to encourage them to take an interest in STEAM subjects from an early age. Another mechanism is to focus on returnships and attracting mums who have been out of the workforce for a while to come join us and support them with retraining and development programmes in technology and coding.

Lastly, the importance of role models cannot be underestimated. We really need more female figures at the top table actively supporting young women to follow careers in STEAM. Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, Karen Quintos from Dell Technologies, Susan Wojcicki from UTube, Angela Ahrendts from Apple. More locally Sue Black from Tech Mums, Emer Coleman, Parul Green from AXA, Jane Duncan and Fiona Capstick from EY, Jayne Ann Gahdia in Salesforce are all strong role models, we need some many more to drive this sea change.

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?

Greater focus at schools and less unconscious bias to encourage young girls to reach for their stars and set their sights on anything that want to. I think we are still conditioned to think in one way and follow certain career paths. Giving people the permission to think bigger and to broaden their perspectives from an early age by exposing them to new things whether its computer coding, access to new technologies, learning new languages, a greater focus on sustainability etc... In many countries, around the world, women are still very much considered to be secondary citizens. I think we have some amazing young talent coming through in the UK who are not shy, this brings us hope for the future.

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

There are some many resources out there now, its hard to list them all off. I think We are the City has done an impressive job making webinars and digital assets available to some many. I would strongly encourage women to get on social and really start to engage and listen to some of the live discussions underway on many tech podcasts, LinkedIn, Instagram, twitter, whatever platforms works on technology for good, ethics in technology, new innovations to solve today’s challenges using tech, green tech, med tech and many others. There are so many insightful conversations that are live on technology right now so get involved and find the ones, that interest you.

Lastly, I wanted to finish with a quote that my dear friend and mentor, Emer Coleman gave to me many years ago, Emer encouraged me to make the leap into the technology world. “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” – by Madeline Albright. We all need to support each other right now and I have been lucky to have some great female mentors and I hope I can encourage some young talent to be bold and make the move to a career in technology.


Augmented workingMargarete is hosting a WeAreVirtual webinar on 24 June, discussing the future of work with guest speaker, Mona Bitar.

This conversation will explore some of the emerging workplace trends and how workplaces are being reset for a new reality. You can join us for what will be an engaging discussion on the workplace reality, one that is unlikely to revert to old patterns but presents an opportunity to reshape workplaces as we know them.

Find out more and register here