Inspirational Woman: Celia Fleischaker | Chief Marketing Officer, PROS

Celia FleischakerCelia Fleischaker joined PROS in 2017 and serves as its Chief Marketing Officer.

She leads all aspects of marketing, including marketing operations, product marketing, branding, corporate communications, global events, digital strategy and demand generation. Fleischaker is responsible for developing and executing strategies that build on PROS success as a leading provider of commerce solutions and driving growth in the industries it serves.

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

I’ve spent 20 years or so in the B2B tech space, so I’m well-versed in the industry at this stage. My first real introduction to technology came much before that, though – with my dad insisting that I code games before I played them as a child.

I started my career in product marketing and then subsequently had the opportunity to work in field marketing and also on the corporate side of things. I was able to combine that experience in my role as CMO at Epicor. Since then, I’ve been CMO at PROS and have helped to spread the message on smarter selling in the digital economy, and I’m loving it.’

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I can say hand on heart that I absolutely did, yes. But that’s not to say that everyone does or should. I’ve had a fascination with tech from a young age and I’ve carried that all the way from primary education to higher education. College is a time where people tend to sit down and have a serious think about what interests them and how this relates to their future career - and I was no different

I attended the University of Virginia for my undergrad degree. My main focus was always that I wanted to work in software development. I think it’s the logic behind software that I found so appealing. And playing a role in marketing those technological advances is always exciting to me.’

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

Of course, there have been some challenges along the way but I’m lucky to have great support from my family and a good work-life balance. Earlier in my career, there was an assumption that when I came back from maternity leave, I’d want to take a reduced role. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth – that thought had never crossed my mind. Misconceptions like that need addressing and I think society is gradually getting to grips with that fact. I’d like to think this sort of assumption would not be something that today’s generation has to endure.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I have had the opportunity to manage and mentor many amazing women over the years. Knowing that I was able to help them grow in their careers is what I’d consider my biggest accomplishment. I love seeing people that have worked for me grow and advance their careers – either as part of my team or in another organisation. Knowing that I may have influenced that person’s ability to grow into a VP of marketing or CMO makes me incredibly proud.

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

There are a number of factors, but I think having a strong partnership with the leadership team has been vital. At PROS, I feel as though the c-suite genuinely buys into the value of marketing and takes an interest in our work. That’s not the case at all technology companies. From the CEO, to the CFO – everyone is supportive of building budget to drive important initiatives and that’s exciting to be a part of.

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

Whenever I have this conversation with people who are aspiring for careers in tech, I emphasise the importance of finding a mentor. Having someone in the industry that you admire and can offer career advice is incredibly beneficial. Further to that, finding a sponsor is even better – someone who knows people in the industry and how to navigate the various back channels. A mentor will provide advice and guide you. A sponsor goes a step further and really champions you.

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

There are still barriers but I believe the corporate tech world is rapidly improving on that front – I think my time at PROS is a good example of that. The company has made a real effort to bring women into the business and works hard to ensure they have a pathway to succeed. The company’s diversity & inclusion programme has led to growth in number of women hired as well as women in management positions at the company.

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

I would recommend that every business starts an employee resource group (ERG). I’ve spent the past two years as executive advisor of ‘Blaze’ at PROS – a group dedicated to the professional development of women. The group is a great vehicle for women to network, make connections and to discuss issues important to them. The group partners with leadership in the organisation as well, so it’s very much a company-supported programme. I can’t recommend ERGs enough!

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?

There’s got to be education for staff who are involved in the hiring process. You’d like to think that any bias in the hiring process is unconscious, but regardless, it’s important to train people on what this means and how it can impact decisions.

Once hired, women in their early to mid-careers need to be given support to help them develop so we can see that next generation of women in leadership positions.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’d have to say networking. Building that network both inside and outside of your company is something that will serve you well throughout your career. Women are shown to change companies less often than men, so getting that outsider opinion can be really beneficial. Taking the opportunity to connect with other professionals is always time well spent.


Scarlet Jeffers featured

Inspirational Woman: Scarlet Jeffers | VP of Experience, Clario

Scarlet JeffersScarlet joined Clario in the first few days of the company's life and is the driving force behind the innovative, consumer friendly privacy and security solution which is set to revolutionise the sector.

Scarlet is experienced in technology consultancy and has advised brands like Barclays, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Dublin Airport on their UI and UX. Scarlet developed her interest in consumer experience at Apple where she worked whilst studying for her BSc in Physics (with a minor in French) at The University of Aberdeen.

Scarlet is an advocate for women in STEM has been involved in and hosted many women in tech events to encourage greater gender diversity in technology.

Passionate about cars, Scarlet lets off steam by rally driving in her native Northern Ireland. She is an enthusiastic cook and also runs half marathons.

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

As the VP of Experience at Clario I’m responsible for creating a software and service product that challenges all of the expectations and current offerings in consumer cybersecurity.

We’re on a mission to disrupt the cybersecurity industry by building the world’s first truly consumer-centric solution, which will help to tackle the billion dollar cyber security crisis we are facing.

My current passion project in work is leading the UX/UI design team. We had to start completely from scratch and looked at the other players in the market to decide how we were going to design something entirely different. It’s been challenging, thrilling and sometimes a little terrifying - all at once - but the most fun I’ve had in my career yet.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, in the earlier years of my career and particularly after University where I studied Physics, specialising in Nuclear Fusion research, as it took a lot of thought to understand where I wanted to go from there. Tech was always one of my biggest passions so I knew it was an industry I wanted to work in but it took researching a whole plethora of possibilities and paths to explore in what capacity.

One area of particular interest to me is how people interact with technology because of my love for psychology and behavioural studies, so this combined with my passion for creative design meant UX was a perfect niche for me. This was cemented during my time working for Apple and it was after this that I stopped planning and went into management consultancy so I could immerse myself in all kinds of projects and businesses. It was a fantastic way to really push myself out of my comfort zone and discover new skills and strengths. As a consultant, you very quickly crystallise a deep understanding of yourself and what you love and excel at (as well as what you don’t!).

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

Yes, on a weekly basis! Carving out a new path is never easy and there are always growing pains, some much harder than others to overcome.

I think the most challenging thing for me was being faced with my own mistakes or wrong turns, times when I haven’t been true to my own values or expectations of myself,  and learning to forgive myself for that. Forgiving yourself and embracing those mistakes as a way to grow and develop is fundamental to making progress.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’d have to say it’s in my current role at Clario. As proud as I am of the product and brand we’ve created, the transformation in mind-set of our team is what I am most humbled by. We have 800 amazing people who have all come on a personal journey of change and challenges and to play a part in leading that transformation is something I am extremely proud of.

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

It's a combination of having the discipline to keep myself open to opportunities and new experiences, even in uncomfortable situations, with having a strong support network around me, both in work and in my personal life. It took a lot of resilience and grit to get me to this position, and it was made possible because of the great people I have to turn to for help or inspiration when needed.

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

  • Stay creative and be bold.
  • Tech moves so fast, you should always be seeking out innovation.
  • Be collaborative.
  • Try something crazy or new.
  • Look outside of your own niche or industry. Learn from others, and learn from yourself how to fail and stand back up again.

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

Definitely.  At times it’s still challenging as a younger woman in a very senior tech position to be seen as an equal in my peer group and to get the same level of respect as others; this definitely applies to all levels, not just leadership.

I’m so grateful that in my current role the C-suite champion team fully support my efforts (I don’t even notice the gender issue, which is incredibly refreshing), but in almost every job or project previously it’s something I’ve struggled with in the beginning.

For me, the best way to overcome it is to let your work speak for itself. Remain brave and tenacious and open to others and never let it affect your own self-worth. Your opinions, ideas and thoughts matter just as much as those of anyone else.

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

There has been progress with gender parity in junior hires in recent years, which I believe is most likely a result of wonderfully curated girls in STEM programs targeted at school leavers and university students. We need to put a higher level of focus on mentoring women into leadership roles.

When you’re a minority, and perhaps often not  treated  as an equal, it’s very difficult to put yourself forward for promotions or advancements so it’s critical that we work to empower women in tech companies to step up for themselves and work towards a seat at the table.

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?

Shining a light on the work done by women in tech during their careers would be my one wish! When I attend conferences or events for women in STEM the topics often focus on overcoming the gender bias and challenges. I would love to instead see the industry showcase and celebrate of outstanding work done by these very talented ladies.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Online sources such as: Gartner research papers, FTC (Federal Trade Commission), Homeland Security and NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) are great for ensuring that I’m up to speed on industry advancements, regulations, and news. I am also an avid reader of WIRED’s ‘Women in Tech’ interviews, which highlight inspirational women in different areas of the tech industry.


Dr Louise Sheridan featured

Inspirational Woman: Dr Louise Sheridan | COO, Nest Startup Academy

Louise SheridanDr Louise Sheridan is COO of the Nest Startup Academy, which aims to level the playing field for underrepresented founders and address the lack of diversity in tech.

She was previously Head of International Tech Hub network at the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), where she led on establishing tech hubs across Africa, India, Brazil and Indonesia, and helping to build thriving digital ecosystems that supported inclusive innovation and growth. She has worked as International Adviser to the UK’s National Technology Adviser, and represented the UK on the Digital Nations committee. She has also worked on international policies on the rights of women and girls, and holds a PHD and MRes in gender, ethnicity and diaspora studies.

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

I grew up in a small town in South East Ireland, in a family of 6 children. Throughout school I wanted to be a journalist or novelist, but at university, I had some really amazing women lecturers that inspired me to follow their career path. I was fortunate

to pursue an MA and PhD through scholarships. My  primary research interests were how ethnicity, gender and socio-economic backgrounds affected the experiences of migrants and diasporans.  After a few years in academia, much as I loved it, I realised I wanted a career that could greater impact people’s lives. And so I entered the UK Civil Service.

In the Civil Service I was able to work on issues I felt hugely passionate about. In Government Equalities Office for instance, I drove international policies on the rights of women and girls. Over the years, my career took me to Government Digital Services (GDS) and Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), where I saw increasingly the potential of digital tech to improve people’s lives and drive inclusive development. My latest role in government was Head of DCMS’s International Tech Hub Network which sought to help build digital ecosystems across Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and India to drive inclusive and sustainable growth.

Whilst running Go Global Africa, a programme that supported founders in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to scale, I met Gary Stewart, then CEO of Wayra. We continued to work together on various programmes and Gary later invited me to  meet his co-founder Rasha Said Khawaja and join their exciting new company The Nest. The Nest is an online, mobile-first platform that aims to level the playing field for underrepresented founders and drive diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurialism through mobile-first, snackable video content that includes the stories of what we call the 'underrepresented majority'.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really. I’ve always been ambitious, and Iooked ahead, but I’ve never done any real career planning. What I did know was that I enjoyed work that could help to improve people's lives. From a personal perspective, I need a role that I feel passionate about and where I can learn, and I tend to go with my gut instinct on new opportunities and challenges. Hence a move from the relative stability of the Civil Service to Startup life!

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

A challenge for me in the past couple of years has been trying to balance career progression with choosing roles that I loved. It has been a dilemma at times, being aware that to be promoted I may have to take roles that I wouldn’t be so passionate about.  I’ve overcome this challenge recently by moving from public to private sector. Startup life has brought a whole new set of challenges, but positive ones , as I learn how to build from scratch and create something amazing with a talented bunch of colleagues. Taking a leap into the unknown has meant I can continue to drive diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship, but from the front line!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My biggest achievement to date has been the work to establish tech hubs in emerging ecomonies, to support underrepresented founders including women, to scale and grow, and drive inclusive growth and development. But I think my major achievement is yet to come in the Nest, as I continue to support underrepresented founders, but in a way that has huge potential to scale and make even greater difference. That’s incredibly exciting for me.

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

It sounds cliched but the support of people around me. I have great family and friends, who always encouraged me to take chances, and a partner who supported my decision to leave a secure job in government. And my CEO Gary Stewart, who is incredibly supportive and is passionate about driving diversity and inclusion.

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

  • Don’t be intimidated by a career in technology, or rule yourself out of exciting opportunities because you think it is all about coding or deep tech. I don’t have a technical background but I see the enabling potential tech has to accelerate and maximise opportunities to improve the lives of people.
  • Network, network, network! Go to meetups, talks, conferences in tech, and speak to people,
  • If you meet someone you admire, or feel you can learn from, don’t be afraid to ask for their mentorship, or guidance.
  • Be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions or admit you don’t know something.

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

Yes and not just for women, and not just in the tech sector. In entrepreneurialism for example, barriers remain for what we in the Nest call the underrepresented majority; that incudes groups excluded on grounds of gender, ethnicity, race, socioeconomic background.  In Europe 92% of VC-backed teams are all-male. Women are 52% of the population but female-led startups receive only 2% of all VC funding. Black founders receive 0.5% of all VC funding.

One of the ways these barriers can be overcome is to ensure underrepresented founders have access to a community, and to support.  Our solution at The Nest is an online platform designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs, at all skill levels, to navigate the hoops and hurdles into commercial success.  All they will need is a smartphone.  The mobile-first technology we are developing will allow access to a range of threads to empower them: video masterclasses provided by our Pioneers, or inspirational business leaders, interaction within the online community, pitching to investor competitions and more.

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

Companies need to take an honest look at their culture and gender balance, and it must be channelled from the top. Senior leadership needs to role model a commitment to diversity and inclusion, including ensuring women in senior leadership. In many organisations, including in government, women, particularly BAME women, are underrepresented in senior roles, and this impacts the confidence and aspirations of those in less senior roles.

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? 

This isn’t a new concept, but we need to ensure that girls and women are encouraged into tech roles from an early age, across the entire pipeline, and that diverse role models are championed and visible to encourage this. When I was in secondary school, our career guidance teachers firmly encouraged girls into teaching, journalism, the arts. It has improved in recent years but we are not there yet.


Hedy Lamarr featured

Inspirational Quotes: Hedy Lamarr | Actress, Inventor & Film Producer

Hedy LamarrHedy Lamarr (1914-2000) was an Austrian-American actress, inventor and film producer.

She starred in 30 films during her 28 year acting career, such as Tortilla Flat, Lady of the Tropics and Boom Town and co-invented an early version of frequency-hopping spread spectrum at the begginning of World War II.

Lamarr's work on spread spectrum communications have played a vital part in our ability to have wireless communications in the present day. She developed the system with her friend, George Antheil, and it was originally designed to defeat the German Nazis by preventing enemies from decoding messages, though it became an important stepping stone in the development of further military communication technology.

Though she wasn't instantly recognised for her invention, in 1997 Lamarr and Antheil were honored with the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award, and in the same year, she became the first female to receive the BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award - often considered the 'Oscars' of inventing.

Lamarr sadly passed away on 19th January 2000, at the age of 86.

Below, we take a look at some of Hedy Lamarr's most famous quotes


"I know why most people never get rich. They put the money ahead of the job. If you just think of the job, the money will automatically follow. This never fails."

"Analysis gave me great freedom of emotions and fantastic confidence. I felt I had served my time as a puppet."

"Confidence is something you're born with. I know I had loads of it even at the age of 15."

"I don't fear death because I don't fear anything I don't understand."

"I have not been that wise. Health I have taken for granted. Love I have demanded, perhaps too much and too often. As for money, I have only realized its true worth when I didn't have it."

"I was in constant demand, in my professional life and my personal life"

"Jack Kennedy always said to me, Hedy, get involved. That's the secret of life. Try everything. Join everything. Meet everybody."

"Some men like a dull life - they like the routine of eating breakfast, going to work, coming home, petting the dog, watching TV, kissing the kids, and going to bed. Stay clear of it - it's often catching."

"Hope & curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. The unknown was always so attractive to me...and still is."

"All creative people want to do the unexpected"

"If you do good, people will accuse you of being selfish, ulterior motives."

"Think Big"

"Give the world the best you’ve got. And you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you've got anyway"

"Technology is forever"

"If I were to name my favourite past time I'd say talking about myself. I love it and I think most other people do too. We need people like us, more listeners and less talkers"


Mary Sansom featured

Inspirational Woman: Mary Sansom | Tech Talent Acquisition Director, QA

Mary SansomMary looks after all things brand and candidate attraction. She’s made it her mission to raise our profile so more people know about all of the great work QA do.

Mary has tonnes of experience in marketing and communications. Her background is in PR – and she’s helped to get QA featured on Sky News, ITV, BBC local news, London Live, Radio1, and in the national papers.

Mary’s been part of the QA team for over 6 years – starting as marketing manager for the QA technical portfolio and progressing to lead marketing and product development for QA’s apprenticeship programmes. Before then, she worked in senior marketing roles at Capita.

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

I’m Mary Sansom, Tech Talent Acquisition Director at the UK’s leading technical skills and talent provider, QA. I love my job – I get to play a key part in kick-starting the tech careers of around 5,000 young people every year. I’m responsible for attracting and recruiting technical talent onto the graduate and apprenticeship programmes QA delivers. To date, we’ve delivered these programmes to over 25,000 young people all across the UK.

I grew up in an education system where the IT curriculum comprised mostly of how to use Excel and Word applications. It was neither very engaging nor positioned as an exciting career choice. I’d enjoyed humanities subjects at school and decided to study History at university because I thought it would be a good way to develop some useful all-round skills: critical thinking, writing, analytical skills, for example.

My interest in tech was first sparked post-university. I’d started my first job as a graduate Intern for a software development company. It was a six-month stint in the development team, where I was the only woman in a group of 16. That experience really opened my eyes to what a career in tech involved. I was taught basic coding skills by my colleagues, and it couldn’t have been further from those uninspiring IT lessons at school. It was so interesting – just like learning a new language. On top of that, it was my first taste in the work environment, and it made me realise how much I wanted to move up the career ladder, learn new skills and earn more money.

A lot of the developers I was working with were contractors on a very high day-rate of pay and I was struck by how lucrative a career in tech could have been for me. I was annoyed that this career route, even while I was still relatively young, felt completely closed off to me – like I had missed the boat by not studying it at an earlier age. I felt too far behind my colleagues when it came to my coding skills and felt odd being the only female in the group. I was ultimately steered onto a technical business analysis placement. I did this for a year but, again, felt like the odd one out, so ended up pursuing a placement in the marketing department.

This grounding in marketing and tech has stood me in great stead for what I do today. It’s made me hugely passionate about encouraging people into IT both at an early age, but also showing them that there’s still a chance to reskill or retrain and pivot into a new career later in life. It also made me a strong advocate for diversifying the industry – and getting more women into tech careers.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not at all.

I’m still not 100% sure I know what I want to do, even now! I love what I am doing, but who knows what jobs might be created in the future. Maybe I’ll try my hand at something completely different.

I think we’ll start to see a real shift in the coming years, with more people reskilling into tech-focused careers. If the world is becoming more tech-led, we need it. UK businesses are facing a real tech skills crisis and I think more businesses will be looking into how they can support employees to reskill. QA is already working with a number of organisations both to upskill existing employees, but also to retrain people from completely different departments who want to try something new.

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

Deciding what career path to take was a big challenge. I’m not convinced I really knew the different career options available to me when I left school.

Not only was career advice woefully lacking, but I was very influenced by the paths my parents had taken (both worked in PR and marketing). I can see young people still have this issue today. They are hugely influenced and steered by their parents when it comes to deciding next steps after secondary school. But this is a real issue, given how much the world has changed since their parents – and their parents’ parents were making that decision.

The jobs market is shifting and technology skills that were deemed specialist and niche a few years ago are now critical to business success. Technology is not just a viable career, but it can be one of the most lucrative ones, yet tech courses are often dismissed in favour of more traditional ones. This is especially the case for young women, who tend to be regarded as unusual for choosing a tech career at that age. And yet, we need more women in the industry. The job opportunities on offer in this space are varied, plentiful and well-paid but still only 17% of the tech workforce are female.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

One key achievement for me has been being able to use my position to bring young women closer to careers in tech. Whether that’s through apprenticeships, our Consulting Academy, courses, degrees or even teaming up with amazing organisations and people like STEMettes or Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon.

I’m particularly proud of the work we are doing with STEMettes. We recently started an academy for young women, equipping them with free technical skills and certifications. These are the same courses that adults would go on, taught by industry experts, but it’s completely free. The idea is that together we give girls who would not normally have the chance to see what a career in technology could be like, furthering their technical skills on the way.

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

Surrounding myself with people who share that same drive for success has been so important– at QA it’s a case of standing on the shoulders of giants. We have hundreds of technical experts, operations staff and delivery teams as well as many others all working together to create an exceptional learning experience for people. When you’re in such a driven team, you can’t help but drive for success yourself.

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

As the rate of change in technology surges so do the opportunities for personal growth and development. My advice? Try new things, experiment, stay curious. Have a plan but be reactive to change.

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

It’s getting better and there are stats to back that up, but there are still barriers which exist. There is no quick fix, society on the whole needs to keep up the conversation, do more outreach and work to crush stereotypes by providing the next generation with relatable role models. We can all name a lot of successful men in the tech industry, but it’s hard to name more than a handful of women – and that’s not because women aren’t doing great things in the space!

It’s worth noting that the job is only half-done when we attract women in, the key to success is the long-term sustainability. We need to create environments, communities and culture that retains women, and sets them up for success in tech roles.

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

Continue to listen, evolve and shout about the women successfully carving out tech roles at their companies. We partner with thousands of organisations across the UK and I spend time with many of our customers each month. In my recent interactions, I’ve found that generally the issue of gender parity in tech is being discussed far more openly now, but it’s about long-term sustained growth, embedding culture and encouraging reskilling.

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?

Aside from removing all stereotypes and fears? You’ll probably think this is a cliché but I would put the focus on technical education. I see first-hand the change that learning makes on people’s lives and it’s actually a practical solution to the skills gaps we have in the UK. Women are going to play an incredibly important part in the UK’s sustained economic growth in the next 20 years.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’m being biased, but QA has just released episode three of our #Get2020Vision podcast – and it focuses on Women In Tech, so make sure you check that out. It features Anne-Marie from STEMettes (Who also hosts an amazing podcast called ‘Women Tech Charge’) and Lucy, a developer who came through our Consulting Academy.

Elsewhere, podcast-wise I thoroughly recommend The High Low (not strictly about tech careers, but I love it!). I dip in and out of TED Talks and ‘Note to Self’ is also really great.

I’m a bit of a book worm, but I tend to read books that take my mind off work. If there was one book I would recommend, it would be Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez.

There are a host of meet-ups for women in tech now, so make sure you seek those out!  Also, just speak to other women in the industry - make use of social media, I’m seeing more and more groups for technical females on LinkedIn, for example.


Natalie Ray featured

Inspirational Woman: Natalie Ray | Fuels Technology Claims Advisor, BP

Natalie Ray

Over 6 years ago Natalie joined BP as a research chemist, but having realised that she wanted to work outside of a lab, Natalie took advantage of the opportunities available to her at BP.

For the last four years she has worked at the interface between technology, marketing and legal for the Fuels North America business as the fuels technology claims advisor.

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

Looking back at my youth, like so many science students, I was a pre-med and dreamed of becoming a doctor. But things changed when I got involved in chemistry research at university – it was hands-on and fun and I got hooked! At some point, my professor came up to me and suggested that I majored in Chemistry, which I eventually did.

Following a few history classes I considered going into art restoration, but then decided to pursue catalyst and material development because I was passionate about making things.

After working as a research scientist at BP, I realised that I wanted to try something different. I was interested in a role where I could leverage my technical background and focus on communicating to non-technical audiences. BP supported me in this transition and I’m now the fuels technology claims advisor in Advanced Technology Products. I work at the interface between technology, marketing and legal for the Fuels North America business.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

For me, it’s always been a case of opportunities emerging and feeling right. I may have had a broad plan, but what really shaped my career was following my passions and the work which excited me.

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

In my current role I review any form of advertising that goes out about BP fuel. If it’s technical, talking about engine cleaning and performance, it will have come through me. I review it with our technical and legal experts to ensure that the technology supports the advertising message. It's a unique role that’s challenging and fun.

I remember one particular challenge when I first started my role at BP. We were about to launch a new fuel across the US at thousands of stations. For the product to be successful, there was a huge advertising campaign corresponding with the launch. I reviewed hundreds of advertisements over a couple of months, making sure the fuel claims and disclaimers were accurate.

Those challenging few months taught me to have conversations with people and not just rely on emails. I learned the importance of going back to the roots, talking to people and connecting with them, and this ultimately made us more efficient.

Is there one particular project that you’re passionate about?

Yes! I have recently finished a project which told the technology and people story behind BP’s low carbon products. Getting to net-zero is BP’s ambition and personally, I think it’s one of the most important things impacting the world. I’m thrilled to have worked on it.

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

The reason I'm in my role right now is because BP encouraged my career progression and recognised that I had a skillset that might be suited to somewhere other than lab research. It helped that I had great mentors line managers who made that transition happen for me.

If you had one piece of careers advice to give to your 15-year-old self, what would that be?

I would tell myself to be an engineer and explore all the different engineering careers! When I was younger, I knew about doctors and medicine, but not engineering. If I were to do it all over again, I would absolutely be an engineer.

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

Absolutely yes, there are barriers. I think many women working in tech feel isolated, especially if you’re the only woman in a team! I believe that it’s important to create networks inside and outside of work. There are so many ways to connect with people and it doesn’t have to be just talking about work. Putting time and effort into relationships can help expand networks, develop mentorships and get a sponsor – all contribute to success.

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

Following through on an initiative is key! As part of BP WIN, a BP internal organisation aimed to attract and retain talent by facilitating professional and personal growth, I got involved in a virtual development series to connect women working in STEM roles across BP to tackle some of the challenges they face and offer career and skills development.

The development series began in the US and has expanded to other countries. The results were great! In two and half years we went from concept to an event series that connects hundreds of engineers and leaders across BP. I'm really proud to say that the STEM event series is still up and running.

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?

I don’t think there’s a magic formula that would fix this, otherwise women would have already done it! But if I had to name a few factors I would increase STEM outreach at schools, look at creating better communities for young women and men starting out in their careers, especially in mature industries (i.e. non-silicon valley) to build solid networks. I also think it’s important to have clear deliverables on performance and measure success against them. Additionally, I see great importance in making leaders, managers, sponsors and mentors diverse in terms of gender, background and education.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Harvard Business Review does a podcast called “Women at work” – I get some great advice from them!


Inspirational Quotes: Grace Hopper | Computer Scientist & U.S. Navy Rear Admiral

Grace HopperGrace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906-1992) was a computer pioneer and naval officer who  was best known for her trailblazing contributions to computer programming, software development, and the design and implementation of programming languages. 

Hopper earned a master's degree and PhD in mathematics from Yale in 1934. She joined the Naval Reserve in 1943 as a lieutenant and was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance’s Computation Project at Harvard University, where she worked on Mark I, the first large-scale automatic calculator and a precursor of electronic computers. She remained at Harvard as a civilian research fellow while maintaining her naval career as a reservist.

In 1949, Hopper joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corp, where she designed an improved compiler. Her division also developed Flow-Matic, the first English-language data-processing compiler. At the age of 79, she was the oldest officer on active U.S. naval duty when she retired in 1986.

In 1962, Hopper was elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, was named the first computer science Man of the Year by the Data Processing Management Association (1969), and was awarded the National Medal of Technology (1991). She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, 24 years after her death.

Below, we take a look at some of Grace Hopper's most inspirational quotes:


"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."

"The only phrase I've ever disliked is, 'Why, we've always done it that way.' I always tell young people, 'Go ahead and do it. You can always apologize later.'"

"One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions."

"Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one's superiors; care for one's crew."

"I've always been more interested in the future than in the past."

"The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's simply larger than it needs to be."

"If you do something once, people will call it an accident. If you do it twice, they call it a coincidence. But do it a third time and you've just proven a natural law!"

"In pioneer days they used oxen for heavy pulling, and when one ox couldn't budge a log, they didn't try to grow a larger ox. We shouldn't be trying for bigger computers, but for more systems of computers."

"Manage things. Lead people."

"We've tended to forget that no computer will ever ask a new question."

"If it isn't bolted down, bring it home."

"I will not take what you need to give me. I will take what you want to give me."

"To me programming is more than an important practical art. It is also a gigantic undertaking in the foundations of knowledge."


Inspirational Woman: Bita Milanian | Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Ribbon

Bita MilanianBita Milanian serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Ribbon (ribboncommunications.com) & its Kandy.io division.

Ribbon is a global leader in real-time communications software solutions for service providers, enterprises, independent software vendors, systems integrators and developers, operating in over 80 countries.

With over 20 years of marketing, branding and communications experience, Bita has held senior-level marketing positions at various companies, including TPx Communications and Global Crossing.  Prior to joining Ribbon, she held the top post of Executive Director for Farhang Foundation (farhang.org) and is also the founder of the creative and consulting agency Butterfly Buzz (bflybuzz.com), which she still operates as a means to continue her humanitarian work, support up-and-coming artists, as well as non-profits, to enable them to increase their profiles and optimize their brands.

A passionate community organizer, Bita actively volunteers her time and expertise in support of numerous causes and organizations and is a popular speaker at various conferences and programs on the topics of technology, philanthropy, art, culture, social justice and gender equality.

Bita has been a social media influencer and blogger since 2000, leveraging her expertise in online platforms for business to raise the profiles of global entrepreneurs, immigrants and artists alike who are being the change in the world they wish to see, building on Gandhi’s philosophy.

Although an Angeleno for nearly 30 years, Bita considers herself a global citizen and focuses her efforts on that scale.  Bita attended California State University, Northridge studying Business Administration and Marketing, and Kaiserin Augusta Schule in Cologne, Germany. Prior to Germany, she spent the first 13 years of her life in Iran, where she was born.

She is fluent in Persian and German, and proficient in conversational Spanish, French and Azeri Turkish.  As a seasoned traveler, she has had the pleasure of experiencing cuisines from various corners of the world. She enjoys trying new and bold flavors, and is equally as passionate about creating them in her own kitchen. “Food connects us,” Bita writes, “and when we are connected, we have the power to bring cultures together for positive change.”

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

Bita Milanian serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Ribbon & its Kandy.io division, a global technology company with more than two decades of leadership in real-time communications for service providers, enterprises, independent software vendors, systems integrators and developers in over 80 countries.

With over 20 years of marketing, branding and communications experience, Bita has held senior-level marketing positions at various companies, including TPx Communications and Global Crossing.  Prior to joining Ribbon, she held the top post of Executive Director for Farhang Foundation and is also the founder of the creative and consulting agency Butterfly Buzz, which she still operates as a means to continue her humanitarian work, support up-and-coming artists, as well as non-profits, to enable them to increase their profiles and optimize their brands.

A passionate community organizer, Bita actively volunteers her time and expertise in support of numerous causes and organizations and is a popular speaker at various conferences and programs on the topics of technology, philanthropy, art, culture, social justice and gender equality.

Bita has been a social media influencer and blogger since 2000, leveraging her expertise in online platforms for business to raise the profiles of global entrepreneurs, immigrants and artists alike who are being the change in the world they wish to see, building on Gandhi’s philosophy.  In January 2020, she launched her radio show called B the Change on Radio Iran 670AMKIRN (SoCalPersian.com), feautirng immigrant journeys of some of the most remarkable Iranian-Americans, from hardships to successes, and their positive impact in the world, being the change and inspiring the next generation.

Although an Angeleno for 30 plus years, Bita considers herself a global citizen and focuses her efforts on that scale.  Bita attended California State University, Northridge studying Business Administration and Marketing, and Kaiserin Augusta Schule in Cologne, Germany. Prior to Germany, she spent the first 13 years of her life in Iran, where she was born.

She is fluent in Persian and German, and proficient in conversational Spanish, French and Azeri Turkish.  As a seasoned traveler, she has had the pleasure of experiencing cuisines from various corners of the world. She enjoys trying new and bold flavors, and is equally as passionate about creating them in her own kitchen. “Food connects us,” Bita writes, “and when we are connected, we have the power to bring cultures together for positive change.”  As a result, she also shares her own healthy and quick recipes via BitaKitchen.com @bitakitchenofficial.

Bita has won many awards for her professional work as well as her humanitarian efforts. Most recently she was recognized as part of the “35 World Changing Women” by Conscious Company Magazine and Global Women in Telco & Tech 2019 "Agent of Change" Award and shortlisted for the Women in IT Awards in London as Business Role Model of the Year.

More information about her activism and philanthropic efforts, as well as her love of cooking, dancing and family can be found on her Instagram @bitamilanian.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve been fortunate in that opportunities have come to me, largely based on a personal and professional network I value greatly as both are made up of talented, successful and creative people I love working with. My career is intentionally intertwined with my life, and because life is not something we can plan (though we can set our paths, organize our finances, prioritize our time, and balance our energies), my professional journey has been shaped by my passions and interests, which makes even the hardest work joyful.  I learned when I was very young that trying to force things to happen doesn’t work, and that by embracing the mystery of life, being loyal, being a leader and working hard, magical things happen and life is enriched by a series of moments to be grateful for.

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

We all face challenges, and in the industry I’m current working in – advanced communications software and technology and Internet innovations in the real time communications space – challenges are often caused by constant changes to the business, economic and social landscape. There is rarely a day that goes by that doesn’t include a robust challenge for my team, my colleagues and myself; overcoming challenges takes creativity, deep thinking, hard work, courage and above all a great sense of humor!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

It is impossible to name one, but what I am most proud of is mentoring dozens of people, supporting them in their pursuits, challenging them, encouraging them, pointing out opportunities for improvement, and of course singing their praises when they accomplish things that scared them in the beginning. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to experience the growth of one of my team members, or one of my colleagues. That said, there have been monumental moments I’ll always remember including taking a company public on the Nasdaq, producing and hosting multiple extremely successful global tech events 6 years in a row, rebranding and relaunching multi-billion valuation companies, being part of the groundworks and then becoming the founding executive director of the most prominent Iranian-American non-profit, Farhang Foundation in southern California and more.

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

Knowing that we can find a solution for every problem and not ever giving up easily; in fact, I don’t give up at all. We can ALWAYS find a way to achieve our goals when we stay focused and committed.

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

  • Study up constantly
  • Work hard every day
  • Aim high and disrupt
  • Avoid mediocre ideas
  • Aim for perfection
  • Have the courage to go up against incumbents
  • Have the wisdom to understand that without resources even the best ideas will fail
  • Listen closely to the most successful people in the industry
  • Know there is always something new under the sun; everything is new under the sun
  • Admit mistakes quickly
  • Regroup with agility
  • Focus on simplicity
  • Be kind.
  • Give back.
  • Leverage all of the resources available to you

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

The data suggests the barriers for women in tech are still present, including lack of equal pay for equal work, and an imbalance in the number of women in senior positions, and that is wrong. I’ve advocated for girls and women my entire life. As for me, personally, I’ve overcome barriers by refusing to be defined by my gender, my age, my looks, my skin color, my heritage, my beliefs or my personal choices; instead I chose to be defined by the quality of my ideas, my work, my commitment to excellence, my steadfast loyalty to my friends, my support of my team and colleagues, and the consistency of my achievements. You can’t argue with successful outcomes, no matter which gender you are or identify with.

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

Be conscious that without women across positions in all levels and departments, the business will suffer. Hire strong women, and support training and career development initiatives. Set goals and measure progress. Show pride in developing and maintaining a diverse culture, and bring your daughters – and granddaughters - to work!

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?

Start by establishing curriculum promoting women in technology and female leaders in first grade and continuing all the way through high school (enhancing STEAM programs to focus more on female technology leaders). Establish female technology mentoring programs at every high school in the country and make it easier for female, especially minority and low income students to pursue education in the technology field by offering more public and private scholarships. Work closely with organizations like Girl Scouts to ensure that they make STEAM a greater area of focus and highlight current female technology leaders as role models.  Target more high profile male CEO and technology executives to  be advocates for hiring and promoting more women C-Level technology executives (by serving on Women-technology boards, speaking at conferences, through advertising, PR, etc.) .

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

The technology industry is vast, and we’re starting to see various interest groups – for example teaching girls to code, women in the Internet of Things industry, women in healthcare technology, women in telecom, women in the channel, women in AI, and so much more. I suggest the greatest resource a woman interested in excelling in this industry can find is a successful woman in tech willing to mentor her. That said, many – in fact the majority – of my mentors have been men who not only respect and admire women, but who actively recruit and support women because they have experienced the qualities women bring to the tech industry. Ultimately, I hope we will one day advance a society where the imbalances fall away and we need less time to advocate for the right things, and have more time to drive achievements that make the planet and the workplace a better place for all with no distinctions based on our differences.


Katherine Johnson featured

Inspirational Quotes: Katherine Johnson | NASA Mathematician

Katherine JohnsonKatherine Johnson was an American mathematician who calculated and analysed the flight paths of many spacecraft during her more than three decades as a NASA employee.

Her calculations were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights.

Johnson's skill and intelligence with numbers became apparent when she was a young child. By the age of 10 she had started attending high school and by the age of 18 had graduated with the highest honours from West Virginia State College, earning bachelor's degrees in Maths and French.

In 1953 she was employed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, later becoming National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where she formed part of the Space Task Group. Here she calculated the flight trajectory for Alan Shepherd, the first American to go into space in 1959, as well as many other significant missions until her retirement in 1986.

Johnson has been the recipient of NASA’s Lunar Spacecraft and Operation’s Group Achievement Award and NASA’s Apollo Group Achievement Award. She received the NASA Langely Research Center Special Achievement Award in 1971, 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1986.

Below, we take a look at some of Katherine Johnson's most inspirational quotes:


"Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing. Sometimes they have more imagination than men."

"I don't have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I'm as good as anybody, but no better."

"Like what you do, and then you will do your best."

"We will always have STEM with us. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering, and technology. And there will always, always be mathematics."

"We needed to be assertive as women in those days - assertive and aggressive - and the degree to which we had to be that way depended on where you were. I had to be."

"I like to learn. That's an art and a science."

"In math, you’re either right or you’re wrong.”

“I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed ... anything that could be counted, I did.”

“The women did what they were told to do. They didn’t ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there.”

“You are no better than anyone else, and no one is better than you.”

"Take all the courses in your curriculum. Do the research. Ask questions. Find someone doing what you are interested in! Be curious!"

"I see a picture right now that's not parallel, so I'm going to go straighten it. Things must be in order."

"Everything was so new - the whole idea of going into space was new and daring. There were no textbooks, so we had to write them."

"Let me do it. You tell me when you want it and where you want it to land, and I'll do it backwards and tell you when to take off."


Inspirational Woman: Professor Dimitra Simeonidou | Professor, University of Bristol

By Professor Dimitra Simeonidou IEEE Fellow, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, co-director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute and Director of Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol 

Professor Dimitra SimeonidouDimitra Simeonidou is a Full Professor at the University of Bristol, the Co-Director of the Bristol Digital Futures Institute and the Director of Smart Internet Lab.

Her research is focusing in the fields of high performance networks, programmable networks, wireless-optical convergence, 5G/B5G and smart city infrastructures. She is increasingly working with Social Sciences on topics of digital transformation for society and businesses. Dimitra has been the Technical Architect and the CTO of the smart city project Bristol Is Open. She is currently leading the Bristol City/Region 5G urban pilots. ​

She is the author and co-author of over 600 publications, numerous patents and several major contributions to standards.​

She has been co-founder of two spin-out companies, the latest being the University of Bristol VC funded spin-out Zeetta Networks, http://www.zeetta.com, delivering SDN solutions for enterprise and emergency networks.​

Dimitra is a Fellow of the Royal Academy  of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE and a Royal Society Wolfson Scholar​

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

I am currently a professor for High Performance Networks at the University of Bristol, and my work expands the development of future telecommunications networks, and smart city infrastructures.

As Director of the Smart Internet Lab, I am working in one of the most prominent research labs in Europe. Our research focuses primarily on end-to-end networking, working across all technology domains – including IoT, wireless, optical, datacentres, hardware and software technologies. Through our research, we design the next generation of network architectures enabling mobile communications, cloud services and the global Internet connectivity.

I am also Co-Director of the University’s Institute of Digital Futures, where we aspire to transform the way we create new digital technology for inclusive, prosperous and sustainable societies, driving social-technical innovation for a better digital future. Given the importance and attention that emerging digital technologies are having for the society, businesses, public regulatory bodies, this is a critical research area and of great importance for the UK and globally.

With regards to industry, I am also a co-founder Zeetta Networks, a venture capital funded spinout company funded from the University of Bristol which delivers Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solutions for enterprise and emergency networks. To date, we have completed several projects, including providing enterprise solutions and network automation tools for stadia, cities and manufacturing plants.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My love for STEM, and my ardent belief that STEM can change the world, started early. A story I always tell my children and students is that I can remember when I was nine years old, I was lucky enough to read the biography of Marie Curie – I believe I read it five times in one week. I remember at that early age, having a eureka moment, realising that I wanted to conduct research and become a university professor. In hindsight, it’s quite strange, as I come from a remote town in Greece and not from a university-educated family. However, I held onto that initial childhood dream and was inspired to become an academic, pursuing a career in STEM.

That said, I don’t think at any stage of my life I purposely sat down and planned my career, things just happened. I started studying physics, and it wasn’t until I got to higher education that I developed an interest in the field of telecommunications. I have always been driven by interest and curiosity, rather than having any defined career plan. I was greatly inspired by the story of another woman, making real change in another place at a different time.  As such, I believe having female mentors or female role models is extremely important. For me, the story of Marie Curie’s life led to the realisation that a successful career in STEM is possible and rewarding.

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

Male or female, working in research and being an academic has great challenges. I was pretty determined to pursue an academic career, but after completing my PhD, I moved into industry and worked there for four years. During that time, I worked on the design of the first optical transatlantic submarine network (TAT12), connecting the UK with the US– and forming the backbone of what we call ‘the global internet’ today.

In those four years, I grew from a graduate or research engineer to a chief engineer, having full responsibility over system design for the submarine optical links.  I had proven myself as a relatively young, non-British, female engineer in a male-dominated environment. It was at that point I saw the first glimpse of potential, and I realised that I could achieve things with a profound global impact.

Following those incredible four years, I resumed a career in academia – because, as mentioned, this was my childhood dream. However, academia is not easy, and one must work hard and with great commitment over a long period of time. This is a significant challenge that many young academics face at the onset of their career. I would encourage anybody considering this path to always look at long term career aspirations – don’t expect instant return or immediate success. For example, most research proposals have less than10 percent success rate for being funded, so be vigilant, but remain positive.

Being a woman in engineering and persisting at that level over long periods of time can be particularly difficult. This is because for many of us, having children and young families can cause difficulties in trying to balance academic work and family life. It requires commitment and hard work on both fronts. However, it is extremely rewarding.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Of course, working on the deployment of an optical network between the UK and USA is a huge achievement.  In addition, a notable achievement would be my work on a second system called SEAMEWE3.  This was the longest optical submarine telecommunications cable in the world linking South-East Asia, Middle East and Western Europe. It was during this project that I developed and used my own patent – a wavelength add-drop multiplexer– which allows a single optical system to connect multiple countries in its path. My patent was fundamental for the deployment of such system by significantly reducing the costs and easing operations.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the industry, and I have also enjoyed adding value through commercialising my research, with the companies I founded. However, but my biggest achievement has been the people that I have mentored – specifically, my PhD students. They have completed their research and now hold key posts in businesses and academia, contributing to the international technical community. I am proud to have been part of their journey. For me, the most fulfilling part of being an academic is helping younger people, nurturing their passion and hopefully watching them go on to make a difference around the world.

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

My career didn’t necessarily stem from wanting to prove myself as a woman, but from my genuine love of the research field. Even now, this work gets me out of bed every morning, and I am excited to get to my lab to talk to my colleagues.  It is indescribable when we see new discoveries coming out as result of our research and leading to real commercial impact or societal benefits. My curiosity has been my driver to date, and the pursuit of a new discovery.

Research is a long-term career. You can’t sustain it if you are simply driven by your own success without real enthusiasm and passion for your technical field. I am grateful to work at a university where my colleagues are also driven by the same passion, vision and principles.

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

Research in Engineering and specific digital technologies is a magnificent career and a thriving sector to get into. Engineers don’t always have the best image in the UK and the public does not always have a true understanding of what we do. Often, many people assume we operate in a world filled with dark labs, lab coats and overalls day-in and day-out! The truth is, we do so much more than that. We solve real world problems, we travel the world, we build wonderful international relationships and work in a supportive community of very intelligent and creative people. It truly is a rewarding profession.

In this profession, expect to be challenged every day – there is never a dull moment, if you choose to become an engineer. The work is interesting, and you get to see the direct impact of your work. Consider the contribution that I have made to the internet during my career, the internet through which you are now reading my story. Consider the people working in energy, and how they are leading solutions on environmental sustainability and driving the economy. With a career in STEM you see how your work touches every aspect of our lives. You are working for the benefit of society, humanity and the economy. I would go so far as to say that it’s a glamourous profession – but the public don’t really see that side!

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

There are still barriers for women. For me, the fact that I am a woman and have a family has been challenging, considering my career in research and the required travel as part of an international community. Often, women are still expected to perform a balancing act and naturally, this can impact our career progression. There should be more support for women in this respect.

When I was an early career academic, I was extremely lucky. We had childcare on campus – but without that, it would have been a struggle, given the hours we devote to our research and teaching. There are some examples of best practice, but more needs to be done. This is especially true within companies and industry to attract and keep talented women in the workforce when they choose to have a family.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I strongly believe that successful women in senior positions have a responsibility to nurture and encourage a pipeline of future female talent. There needs to be more intervention at earlier stages – schools, teachers and government should continue to encourage young girls into STEM, explaining just how amazing, and accessible, this profession can be.