Yuna Lee and Ruth Garcia featured

WeAreTechWomen Conference Speaker Spotlight: Yuna Lee & Ruth Garcia, Spotify

Yuna Lee and Ruth Garcia featured

WeAreTechWomen speaks to Yuna Lee and Ruth Garcia, both Data Scientists at Spotify, about their careers.

Yuna and Ruth are also two of our speakers at our upcoming WeAreTechWomen: The Future World of Work conference on 22 November. They will be discussing life as a data scientists, narrating their journeys, covering the challenges involved, common pitfalls, as well as some practical lessons from the field as women in tech.

Yuna is a Data Scientist at Spotify in the Premium Business unit in London. Yuna is part of Product Insights team in which she collaborates with User Researchers and other Data Scientists to identify opportunities to improve Spotify user journey. Having a business degree as her background and with hands on experience in Data Science in the tech industry, Yuna provides insights that translate to diverse audience in business. A published co-author in Korea, she continues to explore the opportunities to reach out to people with the drive for learning and development. 

Ruth is a Data Scientist at Spotify in London focusing on user engagement and metric setting. Previously, she was a data scientist at Skyscanner and a computational social science researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute (University of Oxford). She obtained her PhD at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and developed her thesis at Yahoo Labs Barcelona. Her work has been exposed in several international conferences. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking and salsa dancing.

WeAreTechWomen, the Technology arm of WeAreTheCity, is hosting its fourth full-day conference in London, aimed at over 400 women who are wanting to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their tech networks.

Our unique conference will include the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a variety of technical topics and get involved in Q&A’s, hands-on activities and interactive workshops. Our aim is to provide an environment where our delegates can upskill and grow their skills/networks for the future.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

Ruth: I am from Ecuador (South America). My undergraduate degree was in Computer Science but never really worked on this field in my country. After two years of graduation and working on different fields, I was accepted into a Master in IT in Barcelona which led me to a PhD in the same city. After my PhD, I received an offer to work as a Post-doc in a field called “Computational Social Science” at the Oxford Internet Institute which belongs to Oxford University. After that, I left Academia and joined Skyscanner as a Data Scientist. Recently, I just joined Spotify also as a data scientist.

Yuna: I am originally from South Korea. I left Korea alone one year into high school. Since then, I have been living abroad. I received an undergraduate degree from a business college in Massachusetts US, where I explored the options for a career in business. Soon after starting the business study and starting my first job in the international compensation survey, I realised that behind the case studies, the principles, and operations of successful businesses the key to success is not the instinct of executives acquired from a crystal ball, but always there are data behind which bring the business closer to the goal. That is how my journey in data began.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Ruth: In my case, I did plan what field to “study.” Soon I realized I liked and was good at programming and numbers so I tried to focus my efforts on a technical field. However, I never really planned to pursue a PhD, enter into academia and much less be a data scientist. Those opportunities came as I moved on.

Yuna: It was the opposite of sitting down but I was always on foot for a constant exploration for the right fit for me through various experiences. One can sit down and start writing down steps she or he could take, however, as we all know learning and opportunities come when we realise the gap in the expectation we have and the reality we face. Advice and support from those who are close to me also helped me shape my career. Beside my professors and friends who were already in the business world, I also seek advice from my dad who had a very successful career as an engineer turn CEO.

What inspired you to get involved with in motivational speaking?

Ruth: The encouragement of people at Spotify. I have been inspired by many motivational speakers but I have not been one myself. I still do not see me as a motivational speaker. I just plan to share my story hoping someone feels identified and finds it useful.

Yuna: A few months ago I attended a women working in technology conference in London where Spotify was participating as a sponsor. With such a great opportunity to be a part, I was able to feel and experience many talented and curious women who were so enthusiastic about the tech world and the career in tech. For those who are seeking to become Data Scientists, I wanted to share my experience with the audience where it all started and how my journey has been. Through this talk, I hope I can motivate and help to visualise the exciting career ahead for the audience interested in becoming Data Scientists.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

Ruth: There were many unforgettable events, my favorites perhaps are when I got my first paper published in a conference, my first travel for a conference and when I left academia to join industry.

Yuna: I would not say the favourite per se, but the worst experience I encountered so far in my career became one of the most valuable experiences because the drive it created in me to recognise and to promote the need for the fair and harmonised work culture. In my previous job, I had a chance of working with a team of all male engineers and I used to hear the comments of the team not wanting women in “the engineer’s room”. The comment was inconsiderate and very wrong to say and it very much reflected how unfriendly the working environment was for women in the company. I took more initiatives in projects, put more hours, paid more attention to the work, and the ways I could collaborate with the team. It was the moment when I learnt that there will be many challenges ahead as a woman in the career in tech but through those challenges I also learnt that we can grow and proactively shape the culture around us.

What do you think WeAreTechWomen guests will gain from your talk?

Ruth: I hope they will learn about the different ways one can become a data scientist, some of the skills needed and the different ways of working.

Yuna: We need to find what sparks us and continue pursuing it. It is not a straight road and there will be unexpected turns and opportunities on the way. To embrace everything that comes and learn from those experiences and that is how we become a unique talent. There are so many fun and exciting opportunities for women in tech and Data Science.

What are your top three tips for success?

Ruth: Do not let fear stop your actions towards your dreams, do not let others dictate what they think you are (you know yourself better),  take advantage of the opportunities or privileges you have to gain experience, get involved with people who inspire you, ask for feedback and identify constructive feedback, be thankful.

Yuna: Resilience in the face of failure and disappointment. Consistency in our efforts to get to where we want to be. Love and understanding for the people who are in the journey together.

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

Ruth: To have research papers published, to teach in front of smart students, to leave academia and join Industry, to move countries to pursue a Master

Yuna: English being a second language and being an introvert have been the biggest challenges. As a person who did not grow up as bilingual, adopting another language as the main language at a workplace was challenging. Even after 16 years of studying and working abroad, still there are times when I cannot understand or elaborate as quick and there have been times when I had to push myself hard to speak up but failed and made everyone confused. However I have not given up and through these challenges I have learnt how to listen to others and notice ways a team of such diverse individuals can collaborate together and come up with unique and amazing insights.

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

Ruth: Angela Merkel, Michele Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Isabelle Allende, Fei-fei Li

Yuna: Women who challenge and overcome prejudices and obstacles we face everyday and women who give back to the society. I find them everyday through the achievements in athletics such as the professional Triathlete, Katie Zaferes and in politics such as the Foreign Minister of South Korea, Kang Kyung-wha.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

Ruth: In tech I think the major obstacle is that sometimes women are assigned tasks that are less technically challenging. Without experience, it is hard to learn and become expert in complex technical tasks. Men tend to step into more technical complex tasks than women. Second, I think that the effort of many women to be promoted is considerably higher than men. I feel women still have to prove more to get promoted. How to overcome these problems? It is very challenging but one way is companies to evangelize the importance of unbiased thinking for gender and race when assessing skills and competence. Show people the harmful effects of these biases at work.

Yuna: Gender inequality that is presented by the parity in the gender distribution in the industry is the biggest obstacle for women. In most cases, much of discrimination and unfairness I faced was the byproduct of the structural parity. In my opinion, hiring more women in tech could help overcome this obstacle. The environment we are in influences us. It limits us to how we act, how we feel, and how much we see. For us to thrive as professionals, the place we work should enable us to act, to speak, and to see the potential of what we could become which will benefit us all as a community. We cannot do it alone and we should work together as a community. This involves participating in talks and conferences like women in tech and encouraging our colleagues and our friends to share their challenges to help each other.

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

Ruth: Award companies (tax cuts or honor awards) with gender and racial balance in every level of the company. This would generate scholarships to young girls who have potential and low resources and that come from different backgrounds and cultures.

Yuna: The change starts from an early age. Reaching out to students in their early education to show the diverse options that are out there in their career and possibilities they can achieve. I attended all female middle and high school in Korea and I did not have much chance to know the opportunities in the tech world until later and I am the only person in my group of friends from childhood who has a job in tech. I truly believe being exposed to these options earlier on makes a difference in which path we take later on.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Ruth: To my undergraduate self: surround yourself with good and smart friends and trust your own research even if you are not 100 per cent sure. Value yourself above everything, do not let  other people's opinions dictate your life. Do not give up your professional dreams for any guy and do not waste your precious time with men who do not value and respect you above all even if you are wrong. The best cure for a heartbreak is to work out and keep busy. To my graduate self: it´s ok to fail, keep trying, devote more time to think about the methodology you will use, make a plan and then execute. Try not to execute without having a plan. Do not fear to ask and get feedback, ask for help and express with confidence your thoughts when you think something is wrong. Be good at time management, practice it over and over again.

Yuna: To dream in colour and to express it without the fear of judgement. To remind myself that it is okay to fail. That success does not mean not failing but it means not giving up on what we believe in despite. How we overcome defines who we are and failures are many parts of our journey to reach our goal.


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WeAreTechWomen Conference Speaker Spotlight: Mivy James, BAE Systems

WeAreTechWomen speaks to Mivy James, Head of Consulting, BAE Systems, about her career.

Mivy is also one of our speakers at our upcoming WeAreTechWomen: The Future World of Work conference on 22 November. Mivy will be discussing transforming technology leadership and systems engineering.

Mivy James has been an IT professional for 25 years. Having started her career as an analyst / programmer she is now Head of Consulting at BAE Systems were she is responsible for around 200 technical consultants. Her current areas of interest include supporting government departments on their digital transformation journeys and adoption of agile ways of working. She is also a passionate advocate for STEM careers and is the founder of her organisation’s gender balance network.

WeAreTechWomen, the Technology arm of WeAreTheCity, is hosting its fourth full-day conference in London, aimed at over 400 women who are wanting to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their tech networks.

Our unique conference will include the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a variety of technical topics and get involved in Q&A’s, hands-on activities and interactive workshops. Our aim is to provide an environment where our delegates can upskill and grow their skills/networks for the future.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

I started my career as an analyst / programmer after graduating in Computer Science & Maths 25 years ago. I really enjoyed the system engineering and design aspects of building IT systems so have gradually got involved in larger and larger challenges whilst slowly reducing the focus on coding. I really got into system design and architecture whilst working on an air traffic control system and having to create lots of analytical models to check that everything behaved as expected.

I then became more aware of the necessity for technology solutions to align with business vision – prompted by having witnessed some major programmes run away with themselves and forget this. This led me into enterprise architecture which is what I do these days, along with being the Head of Consulting for part of BAE Systems.

I work with UK government departments to support them on their digital transformation journeys.

And I am also the founder and chair of our gender balance network.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Far from it, or certainly not a long term plan. I have always followed what is interesting, what is useful and stepped up to pick up responsibility where I think it’s needed. Roles often change in the tech industry anyway so the interesting jobs in five years’ time probably don’t exist today.

But that said, I regularly revisit my strengths and interests to check that I am making the most of those in whatever I am doing as it’s so easy to slip into being generally busy but without a focus.

What inspired you to get involved with in motivational speaking?

We can all learn from each other and everyone has it in them to be a role model. I can’t ask others to step up to do public speaking if I’m not prepared to do it myself.

The process of having to prepare something actually helps me cement a lot of my own thoughts.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

A few years ago I was involved in defining the strategy and technical aspects of a business case for a large government digital transformation programme. There were some press releases about it and I saw some of my own work on the front pages of every single national paper. I was quite far removed from the parliamentary team so didn’t know it would be published. Imagine my surprise when I saw all the newspaper headlines at the station newsagent during my early morning commute.

What do you think WeAreTechWomen guests will gain from your talk?

The topic that I’ve chosen is relevant to most organisations today, and not just for technology programmes. Digital transformation is a major shift in the way organisations manage themselves. We’ve heard a lot about some angles but I plan to share some food for thought on what it really means for leadership culture.

What are your top three tips for success?

  • Grasp the opportunities in front of you. Often unexpected opportunities arise – with hindsight I know that the roles I was least sure about are the ones which have provided the biggest leaps forward in my career development.
  • Build transferable skills. The skills that we need to develop ourselves aren’t just the obvious technical ones. I did a stint as a project manager and soon realised that it wasn’t for me. However, my time in that role was really elevated by people management and stakeholder engagement skills – both of which hare really key to my current role.
  • Never stop learning. Continuous learning doesn’t have to be daunting nor does it always require attendance of intense training courses. There are so many different ways to learn and online resources break things up into manageable bite-size chunks.

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

To keep focussed on what really motivates me. It’s easy to slip into being terribly busy and to lose that focus on what’s most interesting, plays to your strengths and is your niche contribution to the business. As I said earlier, I have taken to regularly reviewing what I am doing and checking how it aligns to avoid falling into the trap of just being busy all the time.

And actually, stepping up to do this talk is actually an outcome of my most recent career review as developing and sharing expertise is one of the things I enjoy most at work.

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

Of course there are the many women of history who shaped Computer Science. Their names need to be as synonymous with the field of technology as the many male tech entrepreneurs who are so greatly admired. Special mentions need to go to:

  • Ada Lovelace – needs no introduction!
  • Joan Clarke – who worked alongside Turing but, unlike her male peers, none of her methods or algorithms are named after her
  • Hedy Lamarr
  • The ENIAC 6 : Meltzer, Holberton, Antoneli, Teitelbam, Batik, Spenc
  • And, of course, Grace Hopper

Today we still need to do more to elevate the visibility of women in tech. In the UK alone we have Dame Stephanie Shirley, Dr Jan Peters and Professor Dame Wendy Hall to celebrate.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

The potential of women is greatly underestimated, particularly when it comes to leadership.

There’s a strange reluctance to put women in leadership roles despite men being just as capable of messing up as they are of succeeding! This leadership-readiness perception really needs to be challenged. If there was a single way of overcoming it that would already have been resolved. There is no silver-bullet to fixing chauvinism.

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

To stop asking the women to pay an additional gender tax by making us solely responsible for the problem. Women don’t need fixing – I abhor initiatives aimed at fixing the alleged confidence gap. Instead, look at the root causes as to why women may be less confident when it comes to speaking up or progressing their careers and fix that.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t let other people take credit for your ideas and hard work. Self-promote more.


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WeAreTechWomen Conference Speaker Spotlight: Deborah O'Neill, Oliver Wyman

Deborah O'Neill

WeAreTechWomen speaks to Deborah O'Neill, Head of UK Digital, Partner, Oliver Wyman, about her career.

Deborah is also one of our speakers at our upcoming WeAreTechWomen: The Future World of Work conference on 22 November. Deborah will be discussing how to prevent big data anarchy in the UK.

Deborah O’Neill is UK Head of Digital and a partner at Oliver Wyman, where she leads complex digital transformations at the world’s largest companies. She helps her clients build out their engineering and delivery capability, making them self-sufficient and able to make changes more rapidly.

An expert in untethering businesses from technology systems and approaches no longer fit for purpose, Deborah has recently worked on the build and launch of several Greenfield businesses.

She is widely published on issues relating to how financial services companies can free themselves from legacy IT infrastructure, use data to strengthen connections to customers and better use analytics to prepare for AI.

Deborah’s work as a female leader has been recognised with numerous accolades. She is a committed advocate for gender equality who seeks to create mentoring and sponsorship opportunities for future female technologists both within Oliver Wyman and the industries she operates.

WeAreTechWomen, the Technology arm of WeAreTheCity, is hosting its fourth full-day conference in London, aimed at over 400 women who are wanting to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their tech networks.

Our unique conference will include the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a variety of technical topics and get involved in Q&A’s, hands-on activities and interactive workshops. Our aim is to provide an environment where our delegates can upskill and grow their skills/networks for the future.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

At the beginning of 2019 I was appointed the first Head of Digital for the UK and Ireland at Oliver Wyman, a global management consultancy.

I lead complex digital transformations at some of the world’s largest companies. This means designing and assembling future-proof technology capabilities that make their business processes faster, smarter, and more agile at adapting to change.
Being a practical, no-nonsense northerner helps me tremendously in my role. I cut through jargon, translate complex technology processes into plain English, and bring together diverse teams to solve complicated problems.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

When I think about career progression, mine has been like a level of Chuckie Egg – there are long ladders, but also places to hop off and sidestep onto another route. In my case, this was moving from working exclusively with financial services companies for six years into helping businesses across all industries deliver technology transformations.

What inspired you to get involved with in motivational speaking?

I started late in technology, but this has not hampered my move into such an exciting and growing sector. I’m now keen to show others – women, non-binary, BAME, LGBTQ+, or any combination of minorities - how they can develop into technology leadership positions.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

In 2018 my team helped start a new digital bank from scratch for RBS. During that year I served as interim Chief Technology Officer responsible for overseeing the design and build of the new technology platform, as well as recruiting a new team of experts to run the platform after the Oliver Wyman team finished.

What I really enjoyed about this temporary role was the opportunity to fully immerse myself in a ground-breaking project and lead a large, diverse team towards a single goal.

What do you think WeAreTechWomen guests will gain from your talk?

My talk will remind people about the positive impact big data has made in both business and society, and I’ll help the audience appreciate why tackling unethical use of personal data is so difficult, both nationally and globally. As a practical take away, attendees will be shown an ethical baseline for how they process personal data, and I’ll discuss with them what else governments and companies could be doing. In addition, I’ll show how actions by governments and companies will not enough to prevent further unethical data use unless each of us takes a greater responsibility for what we share digitally, from credit cards to birthdays to advertising preferences.

What are your top three tips for success?

  1. When you come to manage others, stay focused on leadership and empathy, not developing your individual skills to an expert level in all areas. Think of your team as a car with many moving parts and you are the driver behind the wheel. In this analogy, you don’t have to be a mechanic to set the direction and speed. It’s useful if you can learn how to change a tyre, but you must trust the experts on your team to corner balance the suspension or change the transmission fluid.
  2. Do everything you can to keep talented people on your team. To keep women in our teams, I make it my business to find out if our policies on issues such as parental leave and flexible working meet the industry standards and there is no stigma attached to taking advantage of them.
  3. Set up mentoring relationships for others – and be available as a mentor yourself – and showcase role models who those in minority groups can identify with. Don’t underestimate the power you have as a leader to act as a sponsor. Use your connections to advance the careers of those on your team through their endorsement and guidance.

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

Balancing the development of my technical and content skills with getting more exposure to experiences such as presentation and client management skills. I was always very fearful of being “found out” for not knowing everything so I would try to learn everything before putting myself out there but I have found over the years that actually the ability to connect dots and structure the problem were almost more important. My tip would be to try and find safe spaces to practice presenting your ideas – either within internal team meetings or even just to take one segment within a larger presentation.

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

I studied physics at university, a field that has many female innovators hidden from mainstream history. While many will know that Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, fewer can name the other two women who subsequently won it: Maria Goeppert Mayer in 1963 and Donna Strickland in 2018.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

Oliver Wyman research shows that while women begin their careers with ambitions equal to those of men, between the ages of 30–50 they become less willing than men to make sacrifices in their personal lives, and between 40 and 50 the proportion of women with ambitions to reach senior management drops below that for men.

To overcome this, businesses need to set an Executive Committee talent pipeline strategy. They need to develop bolder structural solutions by providing more flexible working options at all levels and finding ways to remove the stigma associated with using them. All genders should be encouraged to take parental leave and companies should have robust return-to-work programmes to support them back into the business. Address the promotion and pay gap, understanding that this is likely to be driven by invisible cultural factors.

Cultural change is also required: offices should endeavour to build an inclusive culture that a) recognises and promotes the value of diversity along all dimensions and b) is free from unconscious bias and therefore supports gender balance. This means putting practice ahead of theory, supporting men to support women and seeking enlightened leadership.

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

We’ve all heard about the statistic showing how competent women are getting bypassed by overconfident men. Men apply for a job when they meet only 60 per cent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 per cent of them. Clearly, this means we need to empower women to apply for more roles. Part of this is establishing and communicating a new approach to recruitment. For example, hiring managers should make it clearer that a job specification is more of a ‘wish list’ than a ‘check list’ and that the individual they want to hire can have a mix of these qualifications plus other valued skills and experiences.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I would remind myself to say ‘no’ more. So much of the work we deliver for clients has a technology component, and I am frequently being asked to join project calls and steering groups. I now empower people to hold these meetings without me and ask for help when they need a fresh perspective or a second opinion on the way forwards.


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WeAreTechWomen Conference Speaker Spotlight: Rob McCargow, PwC

Rob McCargow

WeAreTechWomen speaks to Rob McCargow, Director of AI, PwC, about his career.

Rob is also one of our speakers at our upcoming WeAreTechWomen: The Future World of Work conference on 22 November. Rob will be discussing the evolution of artificial intelligence.

At PwC, Rob works with partners across academia, government, technology vendors, start-ups, and other key stakeholders, in order to drive innovation within the Firm and develop new services for clients. He is an evangelist for responsible technology and promote awareness of the growing ethical agenda relating to AI.

Rob is also an advisory board member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AI, an adviser to The IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in AI and Autonomous Systems, and a TEDx speaker. He is particularly focused upon the issues and policies relating to the impact of automation on the workforce, the future skills agenda, and ensuring that the benefits to be delivered by AI are equitably spread across society.

WeAreTechWomen, the Technology arm of WeAreTheCity, is hosting its fourth full-day conference in London, aimed at over 400 women who are wanting to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their tech networks.

Our unique conference will include the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a variety of technical topics and get involved in Q&A’s, hands-on activities and interactive workshops. Our aim is to provide an environment where our delegates can upskill and grow their skills/networks for the future.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

I've had a rather diverse career to date with stints in executive search, HR operations, and the humanitarian response sector before joining PwC four years ago. I ended up co-leading a major AI programme and have developed the role from there.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Nope! The first part of my career was mainly occupied with chasing bonuses quarter-after-quarter which eventually made me miserable. I now try to keep in mind some key principles that I want to adhere to but also ensure that I can change course quickly as opportunities arise.

What inspired you to get involved in motivational speaking?

I only started with public speaking two years ago when I got the opportunity to do a TEDx Talk and it's grown from there. I love having a regular platform to share ideas but I equally love the opportunities it presents to travel to far-flung places, meet amazing people and learn from them.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

I've had some pretty wild experiences in the last few years but bumping into Robert de Niro in a Dubai hotel and chatting about climate change was quite a highlight!

What do you think WeAreTechWomen guests will gain from your talk?

I hope to dispel a few myths about AI, put some of the hype and fear in context, and inspire people to move into the field.

What are your top three tips for success?

1) In that split second when you wake up in the morning, are you leaping out of bed looking to grab the day by the scruff of the neck... or are you dreading it? If it's continually the latter then do something about it.
2) Prioritise identifying a mission and purpose that lights your passion over money and job titles.
3) In order to grow, agree to do something every week that scares you.

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

Having plumbed the depths of depression several years ago, I needed a radical new direction and ended up joining an NGO and going to West Africa to fight the Ebola outbreak. That experience certainly put a lot of my own challenges into context but it also gave me the confidence to keep pushing the boundaries in my career.

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

My late mother - Cathy - was, and still is, my main role model. As a midwife and single mother, she attained an MBA and reached the upper echelons of management in the NHS... as well as becoming a fearless skydiver! She sadly died from Motor Neurone Disease several years ago but she remained a beacon of inspiration and positivity to everyone she knew right up to her final days.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

In the technology sector, the proportion of female representation in the workforce is woefully low. Our Tech She Can Charter is attempting to address this by working with schools and other stakeholders, creating role models for young girls to be inspired by, and partnering with over 100 organisations to share best practice.

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

While mentoring is powerful, I think senior male leaders should be much more proactive about sponsoring the careers of women in the workplace.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Find a way of being more relaxed in your own skin at work, be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, and don't just accept your failures but speak openly about them and learn to love them.


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Nominations are now closed for WeAreTechWomen's 2019 TechWomen100 Awards

TechWomen100 2019

Nominations are now closed for WeAreTechWomen's 2019 TechWomen100 Awards.

A shortlist of 200 women will now be chosen by an esteemed panel of judges and will be published in November.

The shortlist will then be open to a public vote. Judging for the final 100 winners will take place with independent judges across November. The TechWomen100 Award winners will be announced on 10 December and all winners, sponsors and supporters will be invited to attend a prestigious evening reception to celebrate and collect their awards in January 2020.

For the TechWomen100 awards, we are leveraging the extensive experience and industry knowledge of 17 amazing judges. Each judge has been carefully selected for their expertise in a particular field or their breadth of knowledge across the tech landscape.

On behalf of WeAreTechWomen, our sponsors and nominees, we would like to sincerely thank all of our judges for their dedication to the female pipeline and for donating their valuable time to judge the TechWomen100 awards in 2019.

Meet our judges here

The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way.

The 2019 awards are kindly powered by J.P. Morgan, and supported by Accenture, BAE Systems, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Lloyds Banking Group, Oliver Wyman and Worldpay.

Remaining timeline

  • Shortlist announced & public vote opens* – 18 November 2019
  • Voting closes – 29 November 2019
  • Winners announced – 10 December 2019
  • Winner’s celebration event – 23 January 2020

*There is no public vote of support for the Champion, Network and Company categories

If you have any additional questions about the awards, please contact info@wearethecity.com. For further details about the awards, please click here.


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Caroline Criado Perez featured

WeAreTechWomen Conference Speaker Spotlight: Caroline Criado Perez OBE

Caroline Criado Perez

WeAreTechWomen speaks to Caroline Criado Perez OBE, Writer, Broadcaster and award winning feminist campaigner, Author of Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, about her career.

Caroline is also one of the keynote speakers at our upcoming WeAreTechWomen: The Future World of Work conference on 22 November. Caroline will be discussing how, in a world largely built for and by men, women are systematically ignored.

Caroline is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning feminist campaigner. She is published across the major national media, and appears in both print and broadcast as a commentator on a wide range of topics.

Her first book, Do it Like a Woman, was published by Portobello in 2015. It was described as “a must-read” by the Sunday Independent and “rousing and immensely readable” by Good Housekeeping who selected it as their “best non-fiction”.Eleanor Marx hailed it in the New Statesman as “an extended and immersive piece of investigative journalism.” Her second book, INVISIBLE WOMEN: exposing data bias in a world designed for men, is published in March 2019 by Chatto in the UK & Abrams in the US.

Caroline has a degree in English language and literature from the University of Oxford, and studied behavioural and feminist economics at the LSE. She was the 2013 recipient of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year award, and was named OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015.

At the conference, Caroline will expose data bias in a world designed for men. She will be discussing how, in a world largely built for and by men, women are systematically ignored.

WeAreTechWomen, the Technology arm of WeAreTheCity, is hosting its fourth full-day conference in London, aimed at over 400 women who are wanting to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their tech networks.

Our unique conference will include the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a variety of technical topics and get involved in Q&A’s, hands-on activities and interactive workshops. Our aim is to provide an environment where our delegates can upskill and grow their skills/networks for the future.

Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’ve come from, where you’ve worked, how you got to where you are today?

I took my time figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do. I didn’t go to university till I was 25. It was there, in my second year, that I read a book called Feminism and Linguistic Theory – and everything changed. I had always dismissed feminism and feminists, preferring to see myself as “one of the guys.” But this book made me realise that one of the things I had always dismissed (that so-called generic male words like “he” to mean “he or she” or “man” to mean “humankind” were in fact not generic at all) was absolutely correct. Because it made me realise that I was in fact picturing a man whenever I heard those words. And that completely transformed my world view, in no small part because I was just so shocked that I had been picturing men for 26 years and had never noticed. It made me evangelical about making everyone else see this bias too. And that is what pretty much everything I’ve done since has been about.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not! I meandered to where I am today.

What inspired you to get involved with in motivational speaking?

I’m not sure I particularly see myself as a motivational speaker! I am passionate about changing people’s minds about feminism and speaking is one of the ways I try to do that.

Do you have a favourite experience from your career?

When the Scottish government announced that they were setting up a working group on collecting sex and gender disaggregated data in large part because of my book. That was incredible.

What do you think WeAreTechWomen guests will gain from your talk?

They will understand why it’s so important to collect sex-disaggregated data!

What are your top three tips for success?

Do what you’re passionate about.

Don’t worry about people thinking you’re not “nice”: if you’re a woman trying to change things, a lot of people won’t like you.

Get a dog.

What has been your biggest challenge during your career?

All the hate that accompanies any woman with a public profile

Which female role models are you most inspired by?

All the women who fought for our right to vote. They were so gutsy and fierce, and more radical than we can ever imagine being. The sheer effrontery of demanding the vote in the 1800s! I don’t think we can understand how outrageous a demand that was. But they fought all their lives for it against seemingly insurmountable odds – and they won. That gives me hope when I feel hopeless.

In your opinion, what is the biggest obstacle for women at work and how can it be overcome?

Women do 75 per cent of the world’s unpaid carework and it has a massively negative impact on their health and their careers. It can be be overcome by governments collecting data on this work (without which everything would fall apart) and creating policy to support it, including policy that encourages men to do their fair share.

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

Free universal childcare.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

If boys think you’re too loud they are the problem, not you.


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WeAreTechWomen logo featured


WeAreTechWomen & Jobbio featured

WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen launch new job board platform in partnership with Jobbio

WeAreTechWomen & Jobbio

WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen have partnered with Jobbio, to create a digital careers marketplace targeting their four million monthly visitors.

Dating back to 2014, the WeAreTheCity Jobs Board promotes career opportunities to their large and growing female demographic of 120,000 members. As more businesses focus on talent diversity and inclusion to drive innovation and create competitive advantage, this partnership will serve to further support businesses and boost their female pipeline in the technology, financial services, professional services and legal sectors.

vanessa-high-res-watc_1715-tech-site

Vanessa Vallely OBE, Managing Director of WeAreTheCity said “I am extremely excited to begin our partnership with Jobbio."

"The new jobs board platform will enable us to connect our WeAreTechWomen members to companies who are serious about building their pipeline of female tech talent."

"Partnering with Jobbio on the new platform has improved the overall functionality and look of our previous platform."

"We now have the ability to feature more content and create dedicated pages for clients in order to promote their roles and tell their stories!"

"I am looking forward to WeAreTheCityJobs being the conduit between women in tech seeking a career change and firms who will not just recruit them, but who will actively support their career progression."

The job board platform launches today with a focus on jobs in the technology sector. This is to coincide with the launch of WeAreTheCity’s latest resource platform for women working in technology, WeAreTechWomen.com. Additional jobs across a multitude of sectors will be added over the coming weeks.

Screen grab for new job board

WeAreTheCity jobs launched with partners such as IBM, Oliver Wyman, Deloitte, C&C Search and DataArt. Clients joining the new job board platform over the coming weeks include Barclays, PwC, Net-A-Porter, Worldpay, Refinitiv, SAP and BNY Mellon, amongst others.

Stephen Quinn, CEO, Jobbio said “This partnership comes at a time when both companies have already established strong company branding platforms."

"At Jobbio we are passionate about the progression of women in the workplace."

"We have worked with WeAreTheCity for a number of years on initiatives such as the Rising Star Awards and our careers fair, Higher."

"Building the new jobs board platform together is a fantastic evolution of our partnership."

"The new platform will bring greater opportunities, such as the ability to distribute relevant client content, such as recruitment videos, staff interviews and articles, all of which have been proven to boost company job applications and enable candidates get a better understanding of company culture."

"Now, using WeAreTheCity’s multiple distribution channels (which include newsletters, job alerts and social media) companies will be able to promote open roles alongside their content, which attracts both job seekers and the passive market."

New partners Jobbio, are headquartered in Dublin, but also have an office in London. A careers marketplace and inbound hiring platform, Jobbio connects the best talent with the most innovative companies. The brand reaches a talent base of over 100 million people and is trusted by 6,000 companies globally. Jobbio will enable companies working with WeAreTheCity to gather applications, and then build a talent pool for immediate or future use.

The job board forms part of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen, which is predominantly visited by women, however we do encourage job applications from all genders.

To find your next open role, visit here.

To promote your open roles on WeAreTheCity Jobs or to take advantage of our free three month job promotion trial, please contact Info@WeAreTheCity.com


WeAreTechWomen FEATURED

WeAreTechWomen announces its 2019 Conference - The Future World of Work | 22 November

Tech Women Conference

WeAreTechWomen, the technology arm of WeAreTheCity is hosting its fourth full day conference for female technologists on 22 November 2019 in central London.

This conference is aimed at women working in the tech sector who are looking to broaden their technology horizons, learn new skills and build their technology networks. The theme for this year’s conference is The Future World of Work and how innovation and disruption is driving change within the tech industry.

Our aim is to inspire attendees by delivering bitesize learning sessions for our audience. With the help of our amazing speakers and panellists, we will provide the opportunity for our delegates to learn about a broad range of technology topics as well as interact through panels, hands-on activities and workshops.

The conference will be attended by over 600+ women working in tech and is a 'must-attend' if you wish to drive your career, learn, network with your peers and be inspired.

BOOK HERE TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT

Topics on our conference agenda include AI, cyber, data, ethics, innovation, digital, health tech, regulation, innovation, payments, cloud, transformation, tech mental health, learn to code in Python, robotics, plus more topics to be added.

Panels include innovation and AI, cyber, data and ethics, next generation disruptors as well as a panel with C-suite leaders who will be sharing their tips for career success.

There will be opportunities for delegates to network with other attendees and connect via Blendology’s state of the art tap and connect technology. Delegates will have the opportunity to shape their learning by choosing from 12 different electives sessions with leading experts and speakers. These electives cover all bases from technical, generalist, career and engineering.

The Future World of Work is kindly sponsored and supported by Amazon, BAE Systems, Barclays, EY, J.P. Morgan, Lloyds, PwC, Oliver Wyman, Santander Technology, and Worldpay.

WeAreTechWomen conference sponsors logos


Speakers

Caroline Criado Perez
Image: Rachel Louise Brown

We are proud to be joined by Caroline Criado Perez OBE, Writer, Broadcaster and award winning feminist campaigner, Author of Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.

Caroline Criado Perez is a writer, broadcaster and award-winning feminist campaigner. She is published across the major national media, and appears in both print and broadcast as a commentator on a wide range of topics.

Her first book, Do it Like a Woman, was published by Portobello in 2015. It was described as “a must-read” by the Sunday Independent and “rousing and immensely readable” by Good Housekeeping who selected it as their “best non-fiction”. Eleanor Marx hailed it in the New Statesman as “an extended and immersive piece of investigative journalism,” while Bridget Christie chose it as one of her books of the year in the Guardian, declaring that “young girls and women everywhere should have a copy.” Her second book, INVISIBLE WOMEN: exposing data bias in a world designed for men, is published in March 2019 by Chatto in the UK & Abrams in the US.

Caroline lives in London with her small excitable dog, Poppy, has a degree in English language and literature from the University of Oxford, and studied behavioural and feminist economics at the LSE. She was the 2013 recipient of the Liberty Human Rights Campaigner of the Year award, and was named OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015.

Other inspirational speakers include:

  • Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President, techUK, Chair, Digital Leaders board, Non-exec director at Rightmove, Costain and AO
  • Deborah O’Neill, Partner and UK Head of Digital, Oliver Wyman
  • Rob McCargow, Director of AI, PwC
  • Pippa Malmgrem, Founder, H Robotics, Chief Economist and former special assistant to US President, George.W.Bush
  • Dr Ian Levy, Technical Director, NCSC
  • Phillipa Winter, Chief Informatics Officer, Bolton NHS
  • Rachel Dunscombe, CEO, NHS Digital Academy /Visiting Professor Imperial College
  • Dr Jess Wade, Physicist, Imperial College, London
  • Megan Caywood, Global Head of Digital Strategy, Barclays
  • Sheridan Ash, Partner, TechSheCan lead, PwC
  • Meri Williams, CTO, Monzo Bank

Look out for more inspirational speakers being announced over the coming weeks.


We are also delighted to welcome back Kate Russell, Journalist, Tech Reporter and Author, BBC Click, as our conference host and facilitator.

WeAreTechWomen are proud to welcome a number of not for profit tech organisations and campaigners as conference partners. A full list of our supporting partners will be announced shortly.

Early bird tickets to The Future World of Work are £275.00 + VAT

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW

Discover what happened at last year's WeAreTechWomen Conference below:

WeAreTechWomen Conference 2018 - Highlights from WeAreTheCity on Vimeo.

For corporate/education/charity ticket discounts, exhibition space or sponsorship opportunities, please email Info@WeAreTheCity.com.


WeAreTechWomen logo featured

WeAreTheCity launches their brand-new dedicated women in tech website, WeAreTechWomen.com

WeAreTechWomen with strapline

After many weeks of building and researching, we are proud to announce WeAreTheCity’s new Women in Tech website, WeAreTechWomen

WeAreTechWomen.com aims to provide visibility of resources for women working in technology who wish to progress their careers and achieve their true potential.

WeAreTechWomen provides:

Vanessa Vallely, Founder of WeAreTechWomen said “I have wanted to launch a website and platform for women in tech for number of years. The launch of WeAreTechWomen.com is a natural evolution for WeAreTheCity given our passion to progress women in industry, and the success of our WeAreTechWomen conference and TechWomen100 awards."

"My vision was to provide a one stop shop of available resources for women working in tech who want to progress their careers. I wanted our platform to link in to lots of different organisations, not for profits and individuals who were all doing amazing things to progress the careers of women in tech. No platform existed that provided visibility of all women in tech resources in one single place, so we created it! I hope that our new website and platform hits the spot and eliminates hours of googling for female technologist who are seeking both inspiration and sign posting to organisations who can help them grow their careers. I am very excited to watch the site grow and look forward to engaging with future partners and our growing WeAreTechWomen community."

The site contains over 50 links to other organisations, all of which are doing phenomenal things to help women in tech thrive. It is an exciting time to be a female technologist as so many organisations are focused on achieving gender parity within the industry. We are very honoured to be able to feature all of these initiatives on one platform and would like to sincerely thank all of our partners and contributors for helping us to make the WeAreTechWomen platform a reality.

If there are other resources you would like to see featured on WeAreTechWomen, please let us know here. This is your site, and we want it to add value! We are also big believers in collaboration, if you are running a network or an event that is currently not on the site, please let us know. We are also open to partnering on events, publishing your tech blogs and helping you with your own women in tech initiatives - Drop us a line, we’d be happy to support you.

If you would like to be kept informed of new content, opportunities, networks and events being promoted on WeAreTechWomen, you can sign up to be a member of WeAreTechWomen here.

Help us spread the word!

If you like what we have built and believe that WeAreTechWomen may help another woman in tech, please feel free to share via your networks, communities and social media channels. We’d love to hear your thoughts, please drop us a tweet @watc_WeAreTech #WeAreTechWomen– we are very grateful your support.

For all WeAreTechWomen enquiries, please contact us on info@wearethecity.com or via contact on the website.

OUR 2019 TECH CONFERENCE IS NOW LIVE! HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKETS?

Tech Women Conference

Check out the website and amazing line up of sponsors and speakers here.


Jacqueline de Rojas featured

Inspirational Woman: Jacqueline de Rojas CBE | President, techUK

Jacqueline de Rojas
Image Credit: Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

Jacqueline is the President of techUK and the President of the Digital Leaders board.

She sits as a Non-Executive Director on the board of UK technology business Rightmove plc; on the board of Costain plc, which is committed to solving the nation’s Infrastructure problems; and is also on the board of the online retailer AO World plc. An advisor to fast moving tech businesses and a business mentor at Merryck offering board and executive level coaching. She is the co-chair at the Institute of Coding, advises the board of Accelerate-Her and is especially delighted to lend her support to the Girlguiding Association for technology transformation. Passionate about diversity and inclusion which informs where she places her support.

In 2016 she entered the @Computerweekly Hall of Fame after being voted Computer Weekly's Most Influential Woman in IT 2015; she was listed on Debretts 2016 500 People of Influence – Digital & Social and named in Europe’s Inspiring Fifty most inspiring female role models for 2017. She was presented with the 2017 Catherine Variety award for Science and Technology and the 2018 Women in Tech Award for Advocate of the Year acknowledging her contribution to diversity. 2018 brought a nugget of acknowledgements including @womenoffuture Fifty #KindLeaders; 2018 @Inclusiveboards 100 BAME Leaders; 2018 Faces of Vibrant Digital Economy; 2018 @Computerweekly Most Influential People in UK IT.

Jacqueline was awarded CBE for Services to International Trade in Technology in the Queen's New Year Honours list 2018.

Happily married to Roger Andrews, they have three children and a new baby grandson.

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

My background is as a trouble shooter to blue chip enterprise software companies.  I have had a thirty-year career as an executive in the software industry but these days I have a portfolio career wearing many different hats. Current plc roles include non-executive director positions at Rightmove, Costain and ao.com.

I am also fortunate enough to be able to donate my time to industry bodies such as techUK as its president, Digital Leaders also as its president and to the Institute of Coding as co-chair alongside Professor Bernie Morley.

I believe in mentoring as a way to unlock potential and am a mentor at the Merryck Group, which focuses on mentoring the leadership teams of global organisations.

To my mind, there is no doubt that diversity can help to safeguard the future of our technology industry by creating a world that works for everyone, I also believe that diversity and inclusion creates more profitable outcomes and am passionate about the importance of boardroom equality and empowering young women to enter, remain and lead from the front in the digital sector.

On a personal note I was born in Folkestone in 1962 to a Chinese father and British mother. Their relationship was not one of equals and we moved away to Swindon where my mother raised my brother and I alone until she remarried some years later. We didn’t have much of anything, family life was not picture perfect by any means but if it taught me anything, it taught me resilience, to become self-sufficient and extremely resourceful. I personally found great solace in the structure and rewards of school life; To this day education and opportunity remain important to me as I have raised and guided our own children.

My husband is incredibly talented and creative. He came from the tech industry but retrained as a yoga teacher and encourages me to be consistent with my practice of yoga and meditation - that is where I get my balance and strength. We have three kids, a grandson, two dogs and a very happy balance of family life and love.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My career aspiration was originally to be a newscaster for the BBC. However, as I returned from a degree in European Business from Germany in 1986, I needed to earn money reasonably quickly, so when I was offered a job by my brother-in-law to join his company as a recruitment consultant in a very young but burgeoning technology sector, I grasped it with both hands and very much enjoyed it. I stayed there for a couple of years and was invited to join my largest client, a technology company called Synon (AS/400 application development). They had an international operation that needed a German-speaking leader, so having graduated with a degree in European Business and lived in Germany for some time, the combination of my language and business skills made me invaluable to manage their partner channel internationally! Did I choose technology? I rather feel it chose me…

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

I do recall a tricky moment when being introduced to one of my clients as the new managing director by one of my team. He had his back to me, and as he turned around with great excitement and anticipation only to be entirely disappointed when he saw me. He couldn’t stop himself exclaiming: “Oh my God, you’re a woman!” to which I replied with a smile on my face: “Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise I needed a penis to make a decision! But let’s discuss that over lunch…” I have always found that humour has helped me to diffuse awkward scenarios and often use it to counter what could escalate into unnecessarily difficult outcomes.

I would say that the biggest challenge has been promoting the case for women to be viewed as equals in the workplace and being promoted based on performance. There is a toxic combination of unequal opportunity and unequal pay, which creates a downward spiral. Add to that the lack of affordable child care and inflexible working hours and the playing field is definitely stacked against women

Female representation on FTSE 100 boards has increased from 12.5% in 2011 to 23.5% in 2015 and is growing as a result of the data and recommendations emanating from the Hampton-Alexander Report. At the time of writing there are still companies in the FTSE 100 which do not yet have any women on their boards. So, whilst things are changing, you could argue that sexism is still holding back over 50% of the population from reaching the very top and that is not to mention all other minority groups that are severely under-represented in tech.

Given the slow increase in the diversity of the talent pool and the increasing use of algorithms that dictate whether you get that university place, that mortgage or even that job interview, we must strive to have minority voices in the design, testing and implementation teams when building our digital world. I believe we must ALWAYS take the opportunity to ask, “Where are the others?”

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

There have been so many things to celebrate throughout my career. I have so many people in my life that I am grateful for and so much support to be thankful for. I rather think that being nominated for a Queen’s honour in 2018 was my major highlight.

I recall an official letter arriving on the doormat and as I sat with my husband going through the post (Yes, we still receive post!), he showed me a very serious-looking envelope, which I waved away and told him to open. I honestly wasn’t paying much attention as he opened the letter because I was busy focusing on the rest of the mail. And then as he paused and gasped, he said that I should read the letter….

At this point I went to my default position of ‘something terrible must have happened’. Roger had tears in his eyes, and I couldn’t bring myself to read it, so he did it for me. It was such a mind-blowing and unexpected moment as well as an enormous honour to be recognised for my work in the technology industry in promoting international trade. To be honest it only became real when we went to Buckingham Palace to receive my CBE in March 2018.

We had great fun getting ready for the occasion; new outfits, practising my curtsey and wondering who would bestow the honour that day. All the children were there – it was incredibly formal but also beautifully executed by the team at the palace and needless to say Prince William was charming, as you would expect a prince to be…

Jacqueline de Rojas

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

One of my life lessons came when crossing the chasm from manager to leader – I wish I had known earlier in my career that I didn’t need to be an alphazilla to make it. There are probably people out there who wished they hadn’t worked for me back then and I take this opportunity to apologise to anyone who found my leadership style aggressive! I guess I was trying to ‘fit in’ with the very male dominated culture that existed then and convinced myself that I had to behave like a man to make it.

Only when I realised that authentic leadership comes from knowing my values, sharing my vulnerabilities and creating space for others to be realise their potential could I transition into a leadership position where I felt the team could scale with infinite possibilities and where a culture existed of inclusion and tolerance.

That really set me free and I realise today that My job is simply to give them permission to be the best that they can be. And they rarely disappoint. Give people space to be amazing – they rarely disappoint.

It is something I often use when coaching others in leadership roles today. Values really matter and not all the great ideas come from the top!

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

My top tip would be to go through a period of self-reflection. Early in my career, I was so swamped with trying to keep up with everybody else. I won’t deny that I suffered from imposter syndrome and self-doubt, all compounded by being a mother to a small child, being half-Chinese and a woman in a management position in the very male-dominated software industry. I needed to find the shortest route to success, and I realised that it was not going to be found by doing it the same way as everybody else. So, I asked myself a simple question: ‘What am I good at?’ And when I stripped it down to the basics, I realised that my core skill is that I am good at solving problems and more than that I have the ability to ‘spot friction’ in the system. So, with that in mind, I branded myself as a trouble-shooter to large enterprise software companies.  Once I had done that I never looked back. In fact, once LinkedIn became ‘a thing’ (Because, of course, the internet and the mobile phone did not exist for businesses until late in my career), I never looked for a job again. They came looking for me….

Top tip then would be: Know what your core skill is and brand yourself that way.

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

Isn’t it bizarre that, as Chairman Mao once said, ‘women hold up half the sky’ in so many ways; economically, domestically and emotionally? We are often seen as a source of strength and backbone under pressure and yet barriers still exist when it comes to opportunities in tech and especially in leadership.

Jacqueline de Rojas

The question is ‘what can we do about it?’ and I am afraid to say that there is probably no silver bullet here; the cavalry is simply not coming. So, it falls to each and every one of us to play our part.

There are so many initiatives which campion not only the cause of women but all forms of diversity and inclusion for underrepresented minorities in tech.

The Tech Talent Charter run by Debbie Forster who advocates precisely how companies can make diversity a priority, ColorInTech which promotes BAME inclusion in tech via research and learning, Founders4Schools founded by Sherry Coutu CBE and which supplies schools across the country with business mentors and role models (Please sign up as a mentor!), the WISE Campaign headed by Helen Wollaston which runs the PeopleLikeMe programme supported by the diversity and skills council at techUK chaired by Sarah Atkinson.

We are so blessed to have incredible momentum created by individuals who just wake up every morning wanting to equal the playing field and I honour the work done by Vanessa Vallelly OBE here at WATC alongside others like the Stemmettes run by Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Code First Girls run by Amali de Alwis MBE,  techmums by Sue Black OBE, the returners programme sponsored by Sheila Flavell COO at FDM, TechPixies by Joy Foster and to Jack Parsons who leads the way to improve the odds for young people every day. This is a small snapshot of the incredible work of what we refer to as the #Sisterhood and our amazing #Manbassadors in UK Tech.

I was privileged to meet the Dalai Lama once and he reminded me that ‘if you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito’.

With that in mind, the question to ask is ‘are you a bystander or are you a participant?’

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

Join hundreds of other companies in the UK and sign the Tech Talent Charter! Supported by government and advocating simple steps for companies to make a difference to a diverse workforce. Find out more here

Jacqueline de Rojas, Tech Talent Charter launch

There is currently only 15 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?

I would ask us all to consider one simple question every time we are in a position of influence or challenge: ‘WHERE ARE THE OTHERS?’ If we ask this question at every meeting and every opportunity where it is clear that diversity and inclusion is missing, I am sure we can create momentum for change

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

Probably the single thing that separates the UK tech sector from any other tech community on the world is the fact that we have an extremely strong and nurturing network that is actively looking to inspire, recruit and retain diverse talent into the industry.

There is no doubt that we stand on the shoulders of each other and I am grateful for all of the effort and resources within this network to help and support others become successful in their journeys. We are all role models whether we choose to be or not and I believe we lead by example in our sector to create opportunity for all.

The great thing about tech is that there are no barriers to entry so check out your local network via WATC for example, as an individual join Digital Leaders for access to networking and online learning and sharing, join techUK if you are an SME or a large tech business to ensure that your voice is heard when forming government policy, check out TechNations amazing online learning resources for entrepreneurs and start ups and check out the Institute of Coding for courses that can increase your learning in new areas of technology.

As the author of Sapiens, Homo Deus and 21 Lessons for the 21st century, Yuval Noah Harari says: ‘It is not the robots you should worry about, it is how you are going to reskill yourself every ten years or less…’

Lifelong learning is a personal responsibility it seems. I make a personal commitment to learn something new every year!

Also I love a good podcast!