Digital Female Leader Awards, DFLA

Become the face of the digital future! Apply for The Digital Female Leader Award

Digital Female Leader Awards, DFLA

Become the face of the digital future and apply for The Digital Female Leader Award!

The DFLA, an initiative from Global Digital Women, are looking for female founders and designers from companies, politics and society, who are driving digitisation forward and have a lasting impact.

Applications are open until 29 July 2020 and can be submitted in 18 categories including Digital Transformation, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Career or Diversity. Applications can be submitted online here. In addition to your own application there is also the possibility to nominate friends, colleagues and / or role models.

There will be three finalists in each category and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on 28th November 2020.

In addition, the winner of the Audience Award will be chosen by a vote among our community. The voting will take place in August.


Further information can be found at:

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Cloud computing featured

Data and computers don’t care about gender – and neither does the cloud!

Cloud computing

Article provided by Lori MacVittie, Principal Threat Evangelist, F5 Networks

Although 2019 was a landmark year for women in tech, with government data revealing over one million women in the UK now work in STEM-related sectors, there is no room for complacency.

As a proportion of the tech workforce, women make up a meagre 16 per cent – a stat that hasn’t moved in the last decade. In fact, in 2019 it dropped 1,500 places from the previous year.

While the wheels are in motion to facilitate greater tech diversity across the world (with varying levels of success), there are still misconceptions about the industry’s ability to support female talent and produce role models in leadership positions. Everyone needs to do more to change that, particularly as we face worldwide shortages in disciplines like security and cloud computing.

Beating the bias

I’m lucky that I come from the Midwest of the US. The area is full of insurance companies and programming jobs with strong female representation. This includes my own mother, who worked as a programmer in the 70s. It just seemed to be part of our culture to have women in these kinds of positions. Fortunately, I haven’t come across many substantial career roadblocks based on my gender.

That being said, like so many other women, I’ve experienced gender-driven bias throughout my career. I’ve dealt with long-standing, ubiquitous issues. This includes male colleagues who won’t take direction from a woman, and dealing with people being taken aback when they realise – lo and behold – that I, and other women in the industry, actually know what we’re talking about! It’s not unusual after speaking at an event to be approached by people who are shocked at my ability to deliver an educational and insightful talk.

We can’t let bias bring us down or stop us from working to achieve our goals. It’s something we must overcome together as an industry, and as a society.

Welcome to the cloud!

It’s important to remember that tech is the fastest-growing industry and there are so many areas within the sector where women can flourish – some more easily than others.

For example, cloud computing has boomed in the last decade. Coincidental or not, its rise was accompanied by a significant drive to support women ‘in cloud’. In fact, cloud as a technology is often credited for democratising the resources needed for women to become entrepreneurs. Anecdotally, I think that the cloud industry has definitely been less challenging to establish credibility in than other technological industries.

That being said, I don’t see the range of opportunities being any different, except within the start-up space. Here, for example, cloud can make it easier to drive an idea to fruition, thanks to the wide range of options it offers. In fact, we’ve seen a recent explosion of women-led start-ups based in (and on) the cloud because of this.

The adoption of cloud-based solutions in the workplace has also meant that it’s easier to balance work and life. The tools you need to work with are accessible from anywhere, even at home. This alone can alleviate stress on women who struggle with work-life balance.

Wherever you go in tech, in the current climate, it’s likely that you’ll end up in a male-dominated environment. If that makes you uncomfortable, then that’s OK. Help and support is there. Make sure you find a mentor early on, or friend who you can share experiences with and lean on. In addition, it is useful to find a business or educational body that will provide the right support to help you lead a successful career.

As an industry, it’s also important that we address a widespread tendency to dismiss women in technology that aren’t in a hands-on role. We need to support and promote all women – irrespective of job title or function.

Whoever you are, whatever you wear, or whatever personality you have, is irrelevant. There’s a role for you in tech. Be bold, be yourself and don’t be put off. If we want change, we need to be the forerunners!

Lori MacVittieAbout the author

Lori MacVittie has been working at F5 for just under 14 years. Having started out as a marketing manager, she has worked her way up to becoming Principal Technical Evangelist in the Office of the CTO.

During her career, Lori has been an application developer, system engineer, consultant, writer, author, strategist, and evangelist. Her specialities include: application development, application integration, application infrastructure, application delivery, application security, cloud, SDN, and DevOps.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.

Marie Angselius-Schönbeck

Inspirational Woman: Marie Angselius-Schönbeck | Head of Corporate Communications, IPsoft & Founder, IPsoft's Women in AI Initiative

Marie Angselius-Schönbeck

Marie Angselius-Schönbeck is Director of Corporate Communications at IPsoft - the world leader in Enterprise AI.

Headquartered in New York City, IPsoft has offices in 15 countries across the world and serves more than 550 of the world’s leading brands directly, as well as more than half of the world’s largest IT services providers. Marie is part of the wider executive team and spends her time between New York, London and Stockholm.

Marie is a big advocate of Women in Tech and is the founder of IPsoft´s Women in AI-initiative – which is currently operating in 16+ countries to encourage more females to join STEM Women in AI.

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

Heading Corporate Communications at IPsoft, the largest privately held AI software company, I’m responsible for cultivating our worldwide presence. Last year, I  founded IPsoft’s Women in AI  initiative to promote women in STEM careers.

Within this project, we are featuring a series of comprehensive profiles of women who are adopting and promoting AI technologies in their companies and organisations. These executives are at the forefront of the AI-enabled revolution, propelling their businesses forward and creating massive change across industries.

As the World Economic Forum urged female role models to come forward, I wanted to recognise the contributions of women in technology to inspire and support the next generation of female leaders. To date, me and my  team have succeeded in expanding the reach of the group into 16 countries, with the objective that these stories will open the door for more women to pursue careers in STEM and shrink the industry’s gender gap.

How will automation impact gender inequalities?

As a woman in Tech, and in AI, I am helping to shape the future world and the future of work, which is truly fascinating. In the last few years there have been many reports on how the future of work will unfold, and dystopian visions of robots replacing the human workforce. However, rather than talking about job replacement we really should focus on what tasks will be automated and prepare for that. I strongly believe that this fourth industrial revolution will augment us in our working life, but it is important that enterprises upskill the workforce and that we as individuals prepare for lifelong learning.

It is also suggested that females might fare better from automation, than men, as data suggests they have lower risks of their work being automated than men, given the kind of job profiles where women make up the majority of the workforce, e.g. in teaching, social and care professions. But technical skills will be very important, as will mobility. As a mindset, I hope that parents help their children understand that engineering and its innovations are just as creative as studying social sciences, and maths is a language to master, as is Spanish or Mandarin.

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

Utilise the extensive number of free courses in AI, like the Elements of AI course. I would also recommend joining groups of relevance for insights and working with career coaches.

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

We need to understand why women tend to be underrepresented in technology. The current gender gap is stark – only 22 per cent of the STEM workforce is female. That needs to change in the future if a business wants to be competitive. One consistent finding is that we need to promote more females in STEM alongside other efforts – from enterprises and educational institutions – to accelerate the inclusion of women in the workforce. According to a recent EY survey on the future of talent in Europe, 41 per cent of respondents highlighted that promoting female participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a top policy initiative likely to have the biggest impact on the labour market.

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

Young girls and women starting out need more role models. We need to elevate these successful women to help them tell their stories and the broad range of roles available. Enterprises need to support women to go for more senior positions through mentorship and scholarship programs, and potentially re-consider their internal career development programs with a focus on the promotion of diversity, which of course is not limited to gender. AI will transform society – so closing the gender and general diversity gap should be a top priority.

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

Learn from history, and follow Carl Benedikt Frey, who directs the programme on the Future of Work at the Oxford Martin School.

SwissCognitive, a global AI hub, arranges a number of seminars and webinars. I follow Dalith Steiger and Kay Firth Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning and Member of the Executive Committee at World Economic Forum.

I also recommend IPsoft´s webinars on cognitive AI.

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




Anahita Mahmoudi

TechWomen100: What happened next for Anahita Mahmoudi

Anahita MahmoudiIn this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a TechWomen100 Award.

Now in their fourth year, the TechWomen100 Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in tech – the emerging tech talent and role models for the future.

We spoke with Anahita Mahmoudi, who won a TechWomen100 Award in 2019.

Born and raised in Iran, Anahita called England home in 2009. She came to London in her early 20s and embraced her diverse spirit. By her early 30s she was one of the top 100 women in the technology sector, a public speaker, a coach, a peace activist and a yoga instructor with a passion for dancing.

Anahita is an experienced business consultant, professional and life coach, where she dedicates her time to helping individuals and organisations to become educated, ethical, and aware of their full potential to embrace change in the workplace and life. Her focus now lies in leadership and transformational coaching. Her ethos considers connecting to true values of life as they lead us in the transition from the present time to a new future world.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a TechWomen100 award?

It was a huge honour to receive an award in recognition of my work. Looking back, I feel this award was not for me, it was for all women; the activists, the doctors and nurses, the mothers and daughters, the teachers and students, who are not only excelling in their roles, but who are  recognising their power and giving something back to our industry and the wider community.

The more we learn about who we are and what we have to bring to our societies and communities, the more we achieve and change. In our present time, there is no job that women have not done and more women are becoming change makers. This for me is the beauty, the magic of our time!

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the TechWomen100 award?

Press coverage: I was interviewed by ‘Where Women Work” who aim to inspire and support women career in STEM. Read the full article here

Promotion: I was appointed as a leader of ‘emerging talents’ community in my company to engage, equip and lead classified junior employees to acquire and develop the skills they need to grow within the organisation

Community: I became a Personal Development coach at Code Your Future and currently working with them to empower their students to start their career in the industry

Supported the Future Global Leaders programme (sponsored by Queen Mary University) that aims to build the skills, mindset and cultural agility needed in a future global leader.

Delivered a lightening talk to the students of the school that where I studied, 23 years ago. I am currently working with the headmaster to introduce a series of inspiration talks for their pupils.

Lastly, I am working on introducing an award system for the Women Network Group within the Business Unit where I work.

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Look outside of your day job and think about the values that you are bringing to your team and community.

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers? 

  • All of us dedicating our lives to get money. Do not let that to strain your ambition in reaching what you truly want.
  • A lot of us lose a lot of time, a lot of resources, working on the old stories of our society.
  • Tap into your potentials, explore new opportunities, work on creating new stories.
  • Lastly, learn more and teach more.

The 2020 TechWomen100 Awards are open for nominations on 03 August 2020. Our awards focus solely on women working in tech below director level. We hope that by highlighting the accolades of up-and-coming inspirational female tech talent, we can help to create a new generation of female role models for the industry, and a pipeline of future leaders.

Inspirational Woman: Dominnique Karetsos | CEO & Founder, The Healthy Pleasure Group

Dominnique KaretsosWith a preference for working in disruptive industries and challenging environments, Dominnique Karetsos specialises in growth for sexual health technology start-ups.

Dominnique Karetsos is instrumental in shaping the next generation of sexual health tech brands entering the market and has a true entrepreneurial calling for being part of the sex tech revolution. An established business & brand architect, entrepreneur and innovator, BBC radio broadcaster, Dominnique has nearly two decades of experience delivering results in multi-sector business transformation.
Previously Head of EMEA Intimina for the world’s leading intimate lifestyle company, LELO Group, she is focused purely on sexual health, wellness and technology.

Dominnique now invests and/or sits on several advisory boards. She also co-founded Forbes featured agency, Healthy Pleasure Group, the only integrated agency dedicated to Sexual Health Technology start-ups and Intimology Institute - the school for sexual wellness, with business partner Dr Maria Peraza Godoy.

Healthy Pleasure Collective work with award winning innovations and brands, pairing the latest technology, branding, communications, investment and distribution to generate powerful and lasting innovations that are the motors for economic and social change and to bring more value to our to sexual health.

Dominnique can be seen spreading the word of Healthy Pleasure as Sex expert & Industry speaker on the likes of Forbes, Giant Health, Oprah, Women’s Health, Shape, Bustle, Elite Daily, BBC, TNW, Well & Good, Voice America Radio, Pure Edit.

Dominnique is a key contributor to trend immersion report for consumer insight behaviour including Canva8 and Fashion Snoops.
Healthy Pleasure recently featured in Forbes.

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

Personally, I have been a successful and failed entrepreneur since I was 13 and selling alcohol-free perfume balms in South Africa. I come with a masters in Maritime  and international trade (the Greek blood in me). My love of people and how we move through the world, how we behave and engage with sexualities transcends beyond fascination but drills into how our self-efficacy and sexual identities are our most impacting social and economic life motors. I went from commercial zoning of the oceans to be a business / brand architect & entrepreneur/ investor for 15+ years, but it was my curiosity eight years ago being a co-host on BBC Radio London, coinciding with being a new mum of a daughter and a financially crippling divorce that led me on a  personal journey spotlighted the intrinsic value pleasure and my healthy sexuality contributed to living a fulfilling life.  So I left my successful career for significance and joined a leading adult brand as head of their EMEA and learned the lay of the recently coined SexTech landscape. This space is grossly but not surprisingly polarised - we have family planning or porn and as far as women's sexual health goes we have been historically ignored and underserved. So I realised then we had a lot to do to democratise sexual health for women, dismantle the entrenched social constructs we abide by as women, reposition sex as something ot be explored, empowered and healthy and build the foundations for the internet of smart sexual wellness, health and tech. Tech is the solar plexus of this movement. tech is the facilitator to close the trifecta between sex and health. Be it a smart vibrator that helps us communicate to our partners what we desire in the bedroom (  an STI testing and sharing platform ( to verify our safe sexual status, to reengineering pleasure products for trans women (, tracking our hormones (, biotech printing of skin for FGM victims (HP Group Lab)  to a The School of sexual wellness,

Today I am immensely proud to say I am surrounded by business partners, teams, my soul sister co-founder Dr Maria Goddoy, all of whom are trailblazing changemakers. As Ceo and Founder of Healthy Pleasure Group , we are powered by fiercely curious and proven experts committed to democratising sexual health and bringing all their worldly entrepreneurial and unique skills to define and reshape this challenging landscape, every. day.

Healthy Pleasure Group is an ecosystem in essence. We have The Agency - an end to end incubator type offering where we take you to market from concept to shelf. By taking brands to the market we lead the way for a new sexual wellness landscape and consumer behaviour.  The Lab - this is were medicine, science and research meet to create innovative solutions to our problems that historically have been ignored and finally, The School of Sexual Wellness. this is an online platform for sexual enlightenment where education is authentic and delivered by credbile experts.

Lead. Launch. Learn is what powers our mission to facilitate the connection between sexual pleasure and our overall health and wellbeing. Our well-engineered experience in Sex, Health and Tech is proven because we understand that  Human-centric technology is critical to not only help brands but their customers to value this part of their health but drive the cultural conversation that sexuality is something to be embraced, researched, and experienced – not hidden.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No. I only knew it had to involve travel, people, stories, risk, and reward and it was always powered by passion and led by curiosity. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and only my grandfathers were educated. My greek grandfather a diplomat and politician while my south African grandfather an esteemed criminal attorney dedicated to defending African communities during the apartheid era. I planned my need to learn and be educated, academically and worldly education and I knew I had an immense desire to blow shit up and change taboos.

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

Yes. From day one. Being one of few women in the world as a maritime logistician, this was ( and maybe still is) exclusively a man’s world. I encountered sexual harassment, discrimination, minimizing of my thoughts, ideas. Sometimes it was because of age, sex, maybe my attitude. I can communicate this now because I have the language to name it. At 24 I only knew it was not right and something felt wrong but never had the language to name the problem, no one to tell it to and no social media to share it  and call it out. I worked in fortune 500 global companies and even there, I was instructed to stay in my lane - not stay in your lane and make it your own type, more like a don’t colour outside of the lines. When I got brave enough, I dealt with each challenge differently but a running theme for me has been something my father taught me. He used to say that what other people thought of me was none of my business. The only control we have is to listen and how we then react is ruled by the attitude with which we listen with.  I apply this to all my challenges from sexual harassment to conscious uncoupling through a crippling divorce so that my daughter maintains a loving relationship with her father, to overcoming loss, everything really.

Challenges are not unique to me alone. We all go through them, but these ones specifically  I truly believe were all in preparation for my turn to play my part in revolutionising sexual health for human beings. I know this is where I am meant to be and I am forever grateful. I have been walked out of meetings, laughed at, hissed at, all in the name of a menstrual cup. 4 years later and that very same retail outlet has a sexual wellness category in 200 stores with that very menstrual cup. The very same investment houses that asked me to pitch without saying the word sex or vulva are investing in sexual health brands and smart vibrators. As an industry category, Sextech is categorically excluded still. ED can be advertised on Facebook but not vibrators for women. We still encounter double standards. In VR tech women are few and far between in this space. VR equipment is still designed and built for men’s faces. The same can be said for PPE equipment. It was not long ago that you could ask apple suri where to buy adult entertainment or book a sex worker but ask it where to go after you have been raped and the answer was, “sorry I am not able to help you.”

Is it changing? Yes. Thanks to #MeToo movements, mainstream media and more women and men demanding change, innovation and solutions that relate to their problems. So we are headed in the right direction. We are not close to home though.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Today. right now. I have the privilege to dream big and believe bold. I get to blow up shit, disrupt and build. I get the chance to work human-centric first and do it with brands and people that want the same. To travel the world and be given the opportunity to listen to others stories and share mine. My career for the first time is led by my curiosity and not by necessity.

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

Kindness. From others to me and from myself to myself. It is the currency of our future.

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

I think this applies to any industry but learning the value of NO. Understanding that saying no means you understand your value and by saying no you are saying yes to the right or better opportunity which is true to your calling. Tech is still dominated by men and as women we are often raised to believe that saying no is being rude or we are not a team player. No means only one thing. No.Nothing more nothing less.

Don’t be afraid to ask for an expert opinion or support from others. People really do want to help. I challenge the idea that women are each other's worst enemy. EGO is the enemy. There were many who lifted me up and took me with them. But only when I asked for help and I knew exactly  what I wanted help for did I start to see my career move in the right direction. If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. Cliched but true.

There are so many opportunities to get involved in Tech today. As Peter Thiel explains “There is no reason why technology should be limited to computers. Properly understood, any new and better way of doing things is technology.” decide what you want to do in tech, where you want to learn or innovate the change and then go for it. Take the chance. Believe in yourself.

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

Yes, there is but like most industries, I believe the way to overcome it could be to concentrate our effort in three areas: Innovation ( for women, by women), Investment and Education.

All three have their own barriers but when we work to break all three together we will see this industry fast track. As consumers, women must demand innovation that resonates with  our issues and wants - we hold the purse strings and roam 50 per cent of the planet. We need more investment houses dedicated to female founders and entrepreneurs, companies like HerCapital or the Case for Her and the biggest catapult is Education - we need to encourage women to believe in themselves and go after a future in engineering, STEM, medical etc but one the ways to do this is to raise girls seeing what we asking them to imagine and that is  she can change the world.  She needs to be  raised with the positive beliefs and self-efficacy that she too is worthy to her voice, her choice and her opinion.

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

 Invest in women. Innovate for women by women. Make education accessible for women. We need to take other women with us. Not this, ”I'll send the elevator down for them” speech. Instead do the work and take women with you on your journey to the top.

There are currently 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Hahah I think you know my answer by now. I would make funds available for investing in female founders, education accessible and put even more magic over what we are doing to democratise sexual health for women.

I must confess that I would love to see women experiencing pleasure as part of their healthy daily habit, having the ability to express and request what we want sexually, as a standard indicator for empowerment. When we give ourselves permission to validate our erotism and sexuality without guilt and through pleasure, becoming responsible for it and generating a healthy speech towards ourselves, recognising our differences in sexualities. When we can do this only then we close not only the orgasmic gap, but any gap that we are able to close in bed will translate into our surroundings…we will ask for a salary increase, surely we will able to choose, study and exercise male-defined careers, we will raise our kids with a different sense of gender equality, we will become aware that our equality lies in our differences, not the other way around.

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




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

woman and man looking at a computer screen with coding, carving a career in tech

Carving a career in tech

woman and man looking at a computer screen with coding, carving a career in tech

Article provided by Becs Roycroft, Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent Operations at mthree

There’s no arguing that when it comes to reducing the gender gap in technology, we still have a long way to go.

Despite increased awareness of the problem, the fact remains women remain underrepresented at every level.

It is promising that businesses and governments around the world are taking action to attract more women into technology. But to really succeed in recruiting as many women as possible into these roles, we must also take a micro-level view.

As someone who works on recruiting the best emerging young talent, I believe we need to go back to basics by committing to spreading positive messages about the diverse and rewarding careers technology can offer women. So, here I’d like to cover just a few of the benefits:

Job stability

As long as technology is the driving force behind the world, technology candidates will always be in demand. Technology professionals benefit from higher salaries and better job prospects, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has put science and technology under the spotlight, demand is likely to skyrocket. And given the industry is a huge champion for learning and adaptability, working in technology can help you reach the proper balance between growth and security.

Flexible career paths

From web development to cybersecurity, software engineer to AI, the range of roles within technology is huge. And the soft skills, emotional intelligence and technical know-how acquired through these roles can help you go anywhere in your career. Furthermore, roles are in abundance across the globe from leading technology companies to smaller niche organisations.

Making a difference

Beyond making things simpler for people day-to-day, technology can have a meaningful impact by invoking systemic change. When working in tech you have the opportunity to really make a difference in the world by helping to solve critical global issues, such as access to education and climate change.

Equal opportunities

From personal experience I’ve learnt that you don’t have to work in a technical role to succeed in this industry. Technology needs more than just developers and software engineers, it also requires HR experts, communications professionals and great financial minds. So if you don’t see yourself pursuing a technical career, there are still a great number of opportunities to learn more and expand your career prospects.

Becs RoycroftAbout the author

Becs Roycroft is a Senior Director of Global Emerging Talent Operations at mthree - an emerging talent and training partner to global, blue-chip enterprises focusing on their technology and business operations. mthree is owned by John Wiley & Sons, the third largest research, publishing and education provider globally.  Becs is passionate about creating diverse and inclusive careers pathways in technology and has over 18 years experience working in recruitment and management across a variety of companies, sectors and industries. At mthree, Becs is responsible for Alumni and student engagement, client services operations and Re-Skill services globally.

WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here. 

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Caroline Noublanche - Apricity

Inspirational Woman: Caroline Noublanche | Founder & CEO, Apricity

Caroline Noublanche - ApricityCaroline Noublanche is the founder and CEO of the world’s first virtual fertility startup, called Apricity. 

Apricity’s digital solution provides access to world-class fertility advisors and assists patients with a fully customised journey, all easily navigated through a mobile app. It also uses AI to develop tools to maximise chances of conception for women.

Caroline Noublanche is an experienced entrepreneur. Before launching Apricity, she co-founded mobile app Prylos which, aged 27, she sold to Swedish giant Doro AB in 2011. Later she joined the AXA-backed incubator Kamet Ventures as an ‘entrepreneur in residence’. Caroline also promotes a truly diverse workforce, with women making up four out of five of Apricity’s C-Suite.

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

My journey as an entrepreneur started fairly young. I founded my first company, mobile app developer PRYLOS, when I was 27, and sold it to Swedish telecoms giant Doro AB in 2011, where I became vice president.

More recently, I joined AXA-backed incubator Kamet Ventures as an ‘entrepreneur in residence’ to help them build and launch disruptive startups in the health tech space. I recognised that IVF had experienced very little digital transformation in the past 40 years and was an area in need of disruption - this led me to found Apricity, the world’s first virtual fertility clinic, in 2018.

Traditional fertility treatment is one of the most stressful and emotionally draining journeys you can go through. Apricity manages a fully-customised treatment journey that’s easily navigated through a mobile app. It matches patients to world-class fertility experts, where they can enjoy virtual consultations, and to counsellors who are available for virtual sessions seven days a week. Our aim is to make sure our patients can do as much of the IVF treatment from their homes as possible, and are emotionally supported from beginning to end. This has proven particularly important in the context of COVID-19, where remote consultations and tests have been the only option for most patients.

Working alongside some of the leading fertility researchers and AI specialists, we’re also developing cutting-edge products that better understand the factors affecting fertility and maximise the chances of conception. As CEO, my main role is to lead the business’ growth and momentum, while continuing to provide an excellent service for our patients.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I wouldn’t say I sat down and strategically planned it, but it’s always been important for me to see a clear trajectory to my career. I’m someone who’s always looking to improve and develop, and the diversity of experiences and roles I’ve had throughout my career have given me the opportunity to build a strong professional skill set.

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

Something that comes from being very driven is that sometimes you have to understand that not everyone is going to care as much as you do. I always expect the best from the people I work with, but the reality is you can’t expect people to always be on their A game all the time. That said, if a colleague is consistently underperforming, it’s important to be very upfront and transparent with them. Those conversations can be challenging but they’re an inevitable part of running any business.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m not very good at reflecting on my achievements, as I’m constantly looking towards my next milestone. So as soon as I’ve achieved a goal, I’ll consider it done and put all my focus on the next goal - but I’m trying to take more time to reflect as I think it’s an important thing to do!

At Apricity, one of my biggest achievements is helping to scale and grow the team in such a short space of time. What started out as a team of three in 2018 is now a team of 35 across three offices, only two years on. But overall, I’m most proud of what we’re working towards on a day-to-day basis - we’re a company with a truly meaningful purpose, dedicated to helping people through one of the most pivotal things they’ll ever experience.

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

I’m very driven by nature and I like to channel that energy into the rest of my team. I’m always keen to share my visions with them, and to encourage and inspire motivation about what we’re working towards. That ability to look ahead has definitely helped me to date - as a startup, you always need to be aiming towards the next thing.

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

Never stop questioning yourself. Even if you’re doing a good job, you have to continue looking at how you can do things better. At Apricity, we have three core values for how we approach our work - excellence, care and empowerment. In technology, particularly in the healthcare domain, you should always be striving for excellence - that’s not the same as striving for perfection, which we all know doesn’t exist.

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

Barriers definitely persist for women in tech - the proof is in the statistics, as tech companies today are still predominantly male. It's also true that in specific job roles, developers being a prime example, it’s more difficult to find female talent - this comes back to the need for more inclusive STEM learning at the early stages as well as more role models for young girls to look up to.

There is also the very real factor of ‘imposter syndrome’, a recently coined term which disproportionately affects women. As a CEO, I’m acutely aware that women are less likely to proactively ask for a promotion or pay rise, as society doesn’t teach women to be confident and assertive in the same way it does men. Hopefully this is starting to change though.

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

Tech companies need to be more rigorous when it comes to onboarding women at all levels. At Apricity, more than 50 per cent of our workforce is women, which is something I’ve made a conscious effort to maintain.

I also see it as one of my responsibilities to mentor the women in my team, by helping them grow in confidence and develop their skills. When I hear someone doubting themselves, I notice it and try to help them question those thinking patterns. Female leaders are naturally in a much better position to help enact this change, and this is why it’s so important companies are hiring women at the top. Likewise, it’s important for women to see more female representation at a senior leadership level so it becomes normalised.

Last but definitely not least, companies need to make sure their working practices accommodate working mothers. Too often, women still feel they have to choose between having a great career and a family because their workplaces don’t sufficiently adapt to fit their needs - this should absolutely not be the case in 2020.

Currently only 17 per cent of tech positions are made up of women, 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? 

If I could wave a magic wand, I would magic up more female role models in the world, including perhaps a female president of the United States or in France (where I live). Germany and New Zealand are great examples of countries led successfully by women. I think having major global role models like this goes a long way in showing younger generations what women can achieve.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I recently read a great book called ‘Lead With Respect’ by Michael Balle, which I’d recommend. The story follows the dialogue between a female CEO and an IT customer and is centred around different use cases within the practice of lean management, a leadership style we follow at Apricity.

I’d add that networking opportunities are also an essential resource and something women don’t always consider high priority, but end up sacrificing for lack of time. I’d recommend always helping others and trying to do favours where you can, as you never know when you might want a favour from them in the future.

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



Medical technology concept. Med tech. Electronic medical record.

Succeeding in MedTech | Stephanie Monty

Medical technology concept. Medtech. Electronic medical record.

The UK’s MedTech industry is booming, and female-led start-ups are leading the way.

Starting my own business had never been part of the plan, and medical devices were certainly not on my radar.

I was studying Industrial Design and Technology at Brunel University with the intention of specialising in furniture design, when family circumstances dictated a completely different path.

My two younger brothers suffer from Crohn’s Disease, an incurable inflammatory bowel disease. Watching them battle this chronic disease, I became all too familiar with the significant challenges they, and many other people like them, face. The ever-present reality of invasive bowel surgery with the prospect of a stoma[1] can be scary to say the least.

Keen to understand what having a stoma would mean, I began researching ostomy[2] devices.  Despite the wealth of appliances available, it was clear to me that there was opportunity for improvement. State-of-the-art devices seem to focus on output collection and their clinical aesthetic merely compounds users' psychological struggles making daily activities like socialising and intimacy, challenges fraught with anxiety.

Many ostomates report feelings of disgust and embarrassment, and there is undoubtedly a social stigma that exacerbates this. There is no doubt that stoma surgery saves lives, yet for even the most body confident ostomates[3], current products are stigmatising and the lack of choice is frustrating. This was a lightbulb moment for me. It was at that moment that furniture design was abandoned and Ostique was born.

The Ostique journey began with the development of an ostomy prototype at Brunel. After exhibiting at New Designers, Made in Brunel and London Design Week and following considerable media and public interest, Ostique won an Innovate UK grant and we were off!

Setting up your own business can be a lonely task and, as the founder - who is somewhat of a control freak - it can be tempting to feel as though you must do everything yourself. However, I knew that if Ostique was going to work, I needed a team of passionate and skilled individuals who could help me drive the business forward. Running a start-up is a rollercoaster of highs, lows, long hours and a lot of hard work. Having the right team who can build each other up when things are challenging and to cheer with you when things go well, is what will get you through.

The first person to join the Ostique team was Toni Schneider. She is a qualified solicitor with a completely different skillset to me. We have known each other for 20 years and in spite of  warnings about mixing business with friendship, we are a formidable team. Having Toni to share the responsibility with has made a huge difference to the success of the business. We complement each other and having someone that you trust and believe in by your side really cannot be underestimated.

Once those foundations were laid, I needed to consider the complexities of navigating the medtech world; clinical trials and regulatory approval are not areas that you can improvise! I was conscious of my lack of experience in this respect, and if you get this part wrong, many months (not to mention thousands of pounds!) can be wasted. Even the best idea can fall flat if one is not respectful of the specific industry one is in and does not understand its regulatory requirements, and the medtech industry is understandably particularly unforgiving.

We have therefore worked hard to build relationships with experts in this area and court their opinion to ensure we are on track for success. One thing that has really surprised me is how many talented and successful people are keen to provide support and guidance to start-ups; there is an incredible amount of positivity and goodwill out there. I really would advise any new business to spend some time researching and reaching out to individuals that inspire them.

With the support of these advisors Ostique has come a long way. We now have an innovative solution and patented technology that has the potential to disrupt the ostomy market. As we enter a period of clinical trials and regulatory submissions, we feel we have reached a significant milestone and are excited about the opportunities this next stage of the journey will bring.

In addition to surrounding yourself with talented people, I would also recommend any start-up to regularly remind themselves of why they started the business in the first place. This is something that we have kept at the heart of Ostique’s development. Yes, this is a business; yes, we want it to be a success; but, most of all, we want to change the lives of people living with a stoma. It sounds so simple, but it is so easy to get caught up in your own vision that you forget that you might not have all the answers. By keeping the patient front and centre of everything you do and regularly asking for their opinion, you’re far more likely to end up with the right solution. This is where start-ups can gain the edge over larger corporates.

To us stoma products are not just consumables. They are game changers. Considering our holistic and inclusive design approach, our products have the potential to give people back their dignity, their self-belief and their confidence. Ostique is about more than just innovation and design. It is also about our community and the incredible differences we can make to people’s lives. This is what inspired Ostique in the first place and this is what keeps us going every single day.

[1] A stoma is an opening on the surface of the abdomen which has been surgically created to divert the flow of faeces or urine. People who have had stoma surgery are sometimes known as ‘ostomates’ or ‘ostomists’.

[2]  Ostomy: an artificial opening in an organ of the body, created during an operation such as a colostomy, ileostomy, or gastrostomy; a stoma

[3] people with a stoma

Stephanie MontyAbout the author

Stephanie Monty is the founder and CEO of Ostique Ltd. Both of her brothers suffer from Crohn's disease, and witnessing first-hand the devastating consequences of bowel disease is what inspired her to create Ostique’s innovative ostomy products. Ostique’s key innovation is to combine customisable aesthetics and innovative material technology to improve users’ quality of life, optimise patient outcomes, and promote positive body image.

Stephanie graduated from The University of Manchester with a 2:1 (Hons) in History followed by a First in Industrial Design and Technology at Brunel University. She has won The Brunel James Dyson Award for Innovation, and was a National Finalist in the Santander Entrepreneurs Awards. She has been featured in several printed publications including Dezeen, Possibility magazine and Dirty Furniture magazine, featured on the BBC in 2018, and most recently won an Innovate UK grant for her work with Ostique.

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Did you miss our conference on 26 June? You can now buy a digital pass which will enable you to watch all 72 sessions over a 14-day period!


Whether you are a technologist or not, tech is something that already is and will become a fundamental part of our work and lives. We built this year’s WeAreTechWomen conference for individuals who are not only working in tech, but for those who are interested in entering the industry.

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WeAreTechWomen Virtual Conference speakers

By joining the conference via your digital pass, you will also have access to a number of fireside chats including Jacqueline de Rojas in conversation with Baroness Lane Fox, Julia Streets in conversation with Dame Wendy Hall and Vanessa Vallely OBE in conversation with Professor Sue Black and Sharmadean Reid, Founder of Beautystack. Other speakers include, Baroness Joanna Shields, Edwina Dunn OBE, Anne-Marie Imafidon, as well as leading campaigners, academics and thought leaders in the world of tech.

Not only do we have an abundance of inspiring keynotes, we also have over 15 panels where experts in their fields will share their thoughts on what’s next for tech post pandemic, how can companies become carbon neutral, how we foster more diversity in tech, plus many more.

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As well as having our on-demand stage with over five hours of extra content, you will also have access to our kids stage! All pass holders will also be able to visit the kid’s stage with their children, nieces or nephews to engage them in the world of tech. This stage features a variety of interactive sessions, such as lessons about AI and Cyber, as well as learning to code. These sessions were kindly provided by our partners, TechSheCan, Raspberry Pi, Girlguiding &

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5 ways to get ahead in the world of technology

For some, the tech industry may sound like a daunting or male-dominated profession. But Jellyfish Training’s Digital Marketing Trainer Niki Grant believes it’s a great place to be — regardless of your gender.

So whether you’re trying to get your first job in tech or you’re returning to the industry after a career break, read on for Niki’s expert advice on how to get ahead and maximise your potential.

Embrace what makes you different

Having different perspectives is vital in tech. “Don’t see anything about yourself as a weakness, as it’ll be a strength to someone who's looking to pitch to a particular audience, or to offset some of the personality types they already have on their team”, Niki explains.

“For example, if you're nervous returning to work following maternity leave, and a brand is designing an app for breastfeeding women, you’ve got the first-hand experience to get that product right. So whoever you are, you have a valuable voice because that’s what the consumer market is made up of.”

In fact, Niki believes the need for diversity in tech goes beyond whether you’re male or female. “The wider variety of people you can have in a team, the more skillsets you’re adding together. So it’s important to make sure you have a good mix of people from different genders, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.”

Build your brand

“I know people always say this, but tech has quite a celebrity culture, so building your brand is important.”

Luckily, Niki says this is easy to do on social media. “You want to create a persona for when you’re meeting and networking with people. Aim for consistent content curation and tone of voice — as if you were a publisher with your own brand identity.”

When researching interview candidates, Niki explains that she’s always impressed when she sees an applicant using their social platforms for thought leadership. “It’s great when someone goes out of their way to say ‘that’s interesting, I’m going to talk about that’. Plus consistency when it comes to posting, replying and getting involved in conversations are all good signs.”

Harness the power of social platforms

Speaking of social media, Niki notes there are plenty of other tactics you can use to help you get ahead in the world of technology. “Twitter is a great place for finding people in the tech community. Create lists of accounts that are relevant to the area you’re interested in, so you can get involved in the conversation. There’s nothing better than listening to real people who work in the industry talk about what’s important right now.”

Niki believes joining groups can also help you advance your career. “If you search LinkedIn for a topic you’re interested in, there will be groups for it. Try to find an active one with a few thousand members.”

But this is also an opportunity to stray from your go-to social platforms, as Niki explains. “Tech is all about finding your own way and using the tools at your disposal to solve a problem. So don’t rely on Facebook. Look at Reddit, Tumblr and lesser-known social media platforms. That’s where a lot of the interesting conversations are happening.”

Absorb as much knowledge as you can

Niki is a firm believer in reading as many relevant articles and posts as possible — not only to help you get into the industry but also because this is a useful skill for any tech career. As she explains, “because technology changes so often, it’s important to keep up to date with it. When you work within an organisation or agency, you’ll learn a lot through osmosis — subconsciously taking in ideas and knowledge. So give yourself a head start and read as much as you can. You don’t have to understand everything, but seeing what words and topics are coming up often is going to help, even if you don’t realise it. It’s all about reading little bits and knitting them together.”

Not sure you’ve got enough time? Niki’s advice is to make it part of your daily routine. ”Sign up to interesting newsletters and read them over your morning coffee”, she suggests.

This is also helpful if you’ve been out of the tech or work world for a bit and are trying to find your feet again. “Reading is a fantastic way of keeping up with what’s going on without any pressure — keeping your finger on the pulse until you’re back up and running.”

Don’t let not having a degree put you off

“Full disclosure; I’m slightly biased here because I’m not a graduate. But that also means I’m proof that you don’t need a degree to get into tech,” explains Niki. “Yes, if you want to be a data scientist or something similar, your employer might want you to have a maths degree. But broadly speaking, tech is a creative industry and you can’t really grade that.”

Based on her experience, Niki argues that being a non-graduate can actually stand you in good stead. “The school leavers I’ve hired or worked with have been enthusiastic, great at troubleshooting and work really well with others. I think this is because they’ve had to find their own way and their learning has been more self-directed, which shows motivation.”

Whatever your education, background or experience, Niki believes you should follow your ambitions. “If you’re interested in tech, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If you want to go for it, then go for it.”

Niki GrantAbout the author

Niki is a Digital Marketing trainer with over a decade's worth of experience in media agencies - both independent and network. A winner of Media Week's "30 Under 30" competition, Niki was the youngest Business Director to be hired in Mindshare's 20+ years of history at the age of 26, and went on to lead their UK Search team before pivoting towards training.

About Jellyfish Training

Founded in 2014, Jellyfish Training offers over 120 digital classroom and online training courses ranging from Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media and Analytics to Cloud Technology, Cyber Security and Web Development.

As a Google certified training provider, Jellyfish has helped over 50,000 people from global corporates to small businesses, as well as non-profits, charities and government organisations to upskill their workforces.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTechWomen has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here