Suze Shardlow

Suze Shardlow | Coding Instructor, Technical Author and Writer

Suze Shardlow

Suze Shardlow wrote her first line of code in 1982 and started making websites in 1996.

She was a hobby coder all the way through primary school and university. The UK education system didn't know what to do with girls who were interested in tech, so she was never shown that you could program for a living. Without a post-university plan, she enrolled on the most versatile degree she could think of - BA Business - and took all the marketing modules on offer while building websites for her friends on the side.

Suze's degree and subsequent Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing kicked off a 20-year career in management, communications and strategy with organisations including the Canadian Government and the Metropolitan Police. Suze spent four years winning the hearts and minds of 30000 police officers and 20000 support staff to support them in adopting new tech. Later, Suze retrained to become an expert advisor on covert policing, managing pan-London undercover surveillance.

A move into community policing and managing buildings, vehicles and criminal exhibits around London put Suze at the sharp end of Government cuts. With the promise of redundancy in 2018, Suze took a long hard look at what she wanted to do for the next 20 years and grabbed the opportunity to retrain in modern software engineering. She graduated from coding bootcamp with three full-stack applications in her portfolio. Suze has been an active volunteer since becoming a Scout leader in 2014. She began donating her time and expertise as a chapter lead at Ladies of Code London, and later a Director at Women Who Code London, leading a combined total of more than 10000 members today.

Suze now works for herself. She creates and delivers her own coding courses, teaching Python and JavaScript as well as how to create your own personal branding website. She has worked with academics at the University of Sussex to bring their research interviews from 30 years ago to life via a chatbot. The interviews are with women about their views on love, sex and relationships at the height of the AIDS pandemic. Suze is also a technical writer and conference speaker, having given talks in the UK and overseas. She's an experienced and engaging event host who instinctively gets the best out of her guests and speakers, even when live and unedited.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Suze took all her tech meetups online, delivering more than 120 hours of live online tech content across 50+ events. These included over 90 hours of facilitated tech co-working sessions which helped more than 60 people through lockdown. She designed and delivered more than 15 hours of public speaking coaching and mentoring workshops, then organised and hosted a live online showcase event for the women (all software engineers) who "graduated" from these workshops. Suze's tech community event ideas and methodologies, borne of two decades of knowing her various audiences and documented in her blog, have been replicated by other groups including those based in Silicon Valley, California.

Clairine Chan

Clairine Chan | J.P. Morgan

Clairine Chan

Clairine began her career as a software engineer at Bloomberg L.P. in New York City, after graduating with a double degree in Actuarial Mathematics and Economics from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

She moved to London to further her career and ambitions to explore the world. She has worked for several years in financial software development, then as a solutions architect, before moving into product management.

She was recruited into J.P. Morgan Chase into a senior leadership role to work on the modernisation strategy for the Athena Platform as a product manager. Athena is the main platform used by thousands of developers and is the primary trade and risk management system across all Investment Banking businesses globally. Athena is at the forefront of JPMC’s strategy to modernising applications and infrastructure through automation, toolchain and cloud technology adoption. In her role as a product manager, Clairine is driving the modernisation of Athena through the development of new trading applications, through analysis of the runtime platform for the migration to the cloud, and through engaging a community of developers to learn about the platform.

In addition, Clairine has co-led Girls in Tech London as Managing Director of the chapter for three years. The organisation aims to educate, encourage, and empower girls and women in pursuing STEM degrees and longer term careers in Technology.  Deeply passionate about making an impact in the world, Clairine has devoted years to leading, mentoring and supporting the growth of a community of girls and women, through organising free events, conferences and panels that feature female leaders in Technology. She cares deeply about social causes and has played a leadership role in growing the Girls in Tech London community and continues to strive to make an impact in the local community, as well as globally.

Vivian Galinari

Vivian Galinari | BBC

Vivian Galinari

I’m Viv, I majored in Business in Brazil and left the country shortly after graduating to pursued a career in Europe.

For years I had worked on all sorts of zero hour contract jobs such as in airports, cafes to even handing newspapers out on the streets until I secured an office job in London where I gradually grew from assistant to manager. Two years ago I decided to change my career and committed to teaching myself coding from scratch with the aim to becoming a software engineer. Despite loving technology, I didn't feel like I fitted into the male coder stereotype and thought that working on business roles within the Tech industry would fulfil my professional needs, but it didn’t. It was only after graduating from a 2 years MSc degree in Innovation Management that I took in the evenings while working in my office job that I realise to innovate I must code myself.

And so my self-teaching coding journey began. I have made changes in my lifestyle that supported 15 hours day of intensive learning that included quitting my job and moving to a remote and more affordable location in SE Asia to focus exclusively on skilling up. I taught myself blockchain and web development from the internet and got offered a position as Junior Developer at the BBC as my first official job as soon as I got back to London. But my study routine haven’t stoped there, to this date, I show up everyday to continue improving myself as a developer and I am grateful to have been promoted in the company so soon and to Midlevel Software Engineer this year.
Out of business hours, I dedicate my time to explore Creative Coding and to learn 3D and Augmented Reality (AR). I have been recognised as one of the top creators for AR experiences and have been invited by Facebook and Google to talk and to their Global Hackathon. Making Instagram filters started as a passion and is now a career path as I start to run workshops and teach others about it.

Supporting link where I share my career journey in an article for Lecture in Progress:

Karen Thomson

Karen Thomson | Fujitsu

Karen Thomson

I started my career in tech 5 years ago after graduating from University of Manchester with a BA Hons in Russian Studies.

The biggest thing that my degree taught me was that you are much more capable than you give yourself credit for. At the start of my course I could not speak a word of Russian, at the end of it I was fluent in Russia and had lived in Russia for a year. I took that approach to working in tech - I started in the technical talent team concentrating on getting more senior women in senior technical positions, from this I did various roles, and I’m now the diversity and inclusion lead for the UK in a tech organisation. I have been in this role for 3 years.

Heather Black

Heather Black | Supermums

Heather Black

Heather Black is a wife, mum of two girls, MD and Founder of Supermums which helps to upskill mums (and dads) back into flexible work in the Salesforce ecosystem.

She is also the founder and CEO of Economic Change, a CIC that provides consultancy services for charities. Heather has grown her business into an award winning Silver Consulting Partner and a Impact Partner with 76% of new business coming through referral.

When her youngest daughter was born in 2016, Heather knew she had to think differently about work now that she had two children to juggle and a full time job. She realised that Salesforce enabled her to stay working, from anywhere, at anytime. This was the lightbulb moment and Supermums was born. Heather’s background in training and employability alongside Salesforce enabled her to design the perfect programme.

Since 2016, Supermums has helped over 280 mums and dads across EMEA, USA and this year we launched in ANZ. Our mission is to empower more to have a rewarding career that’s flexible within the Salesforce Sector.

Heather launched her very own podcast, Mums on Cloud Nine ( in June 2020 which aims to empower women to explore their potential, create a clear vision for change, find out how to create a life they love and give them the tools to create their own success.

Melodie Hoke

Melodie Hoke | Publicis Sapient

Melodie Hoke

I'm a digital product design lead with expertise in design systems, interaction design and creative problem solving.

My passion lies in merging tech and creativity to craft experiences that help people, and hopefully bring a smile to their faces too.

My career began in branding and advertising design which, when coupled with my love for technology, has equipped me to bring a certain visual flair to the experiences that I create. Over the last decade, I’ve been lucky enough to partner with clients across categories including NatWest, Vodafone, Bacardi, Disney, New Balance and Mercedes-Benz. I’ve worked at digital agencies in my native Chicago and London, including Proximity, The BIO Agency and currently Publicis Sapient, where I lead the mobile app team for the NatWest Group account.

Suzanne Lord

Suzanne Lord | BBC News

Suzanne Lord

I currently lead the largest technical on-air team in UK news. My department - UK Output Operations - is a team of 450 working across television, radio and digital ensuring the news is broadcast in up to 30 languages 24/7.

In the last year we successfully outputted one of the most watched overnight General Elections programmes for the first time from our BBC HQ, using the latest technology to create a results programme which had huge impact as well as being a visual feast for our audience.

I joined as Head of Output Operations at BBC News just over twelve months ago. This was a step change in a media career which I started almost 20 years ago. Previously I worked as a journalist in television and radio news for the BBC and in the commercial sector. During this time I have seen the technology change substantially. As a journalist there is a need now to not only be editorially astute but also be technologically savvy.

In my first jobs in BBC local radio we used our mobile phone- which we had to share amongst the team- to tell the editor we were returning to base. In my last jobs as a newsgathering producer for the BBC, I was using it to gather and broadcast pictures to be used in pieces on our flagship news bulletins. Our technology got smaller and smarter and helped us be a nimble newsgathering crew.
My job as an assistant producer on CBBC Newsround gave me the opportunity to film to series of reports on the drought in north-eastern Kenya. The ability to work as a solo crew meant I got interviews with nomadic communities who were often very wary of people from other places. In a newly created role with the BBC's user-generated content team I was able to build strong connections with our audiences for the BBC's One, Six and Ten o'clock news, harnessing the increased use of cameras on phones to get to the stories that really mattered. One notable success was during the flooding of 2007 where in one week we got more than 20000 pictures and videos of how people where affected by the weather and it allowed us to get to the heart of the story.

My time in newsgathering took me across the globe covering some of the biggest stories of the time. Using remote technology in the form of BGANs and M4 satellite dishes our team of three were able to broadcast from shadow of the erupting Eyjajaffajökull volcano which had brought the majority of world travel to a halt. On the hunt for Raoul Moat we were able to broadcast from anywhere because of the VSAT we travelled in. Most recently, covering numerous General and Scottish Elections, we again could broadcast from buses or the sides of roads if we got new lines using a backpack full of bonded sim cards-a WMT. As one of the team, we all needed to know how to work and make the most of this technology.

Leaving the BBC I worked as Deputy Head of News in commercial television. In this leadership role I was able to create and implement development programmes, focussing heavily on mentoring and leadership skills to build and empower the teams I worked with. This led to a strong problem-solving ability and a greater confidence as well as a hunger to beat the competition to the story, with more limited resources. Our hard work was rewarded with some good audience figures and recognition from the Royal Television Society.

Now back at the BBC I am building on everything I have learnt so far to make UK Output Operations the best place in the BBC to work. I love thinking creatively about developing strong teams and this has stood me in good stead as I have a team I could not be prouder of. Since the pandemic began and we have been dealing with coronavirus, my team has consistently shown their passion, their dedication and their motivation for getting the news on air every single day.

Helen Needham

Helen Needham | Capco

Helen Needham

Helen works as management consultant in the Data Practice at Capco, helping clients in financial services manage and govern their data in order to improve data quality, reduce costs, streamline processes and gain new insights.

Helen is also the founder of Me.Decoded, a website dedicated to the promotion of neurodiversity, and the founder of the Employee Neurodiversity Network at Capco.

As the lead of the Neurodiversity network, Helen is building an integrated culture that enables inclusion and support of ND individuals and carers of ND children/ adults. A change she hopes to bring to other organisations, in partnership with Capco and through Me.Decoded.  Her speeches include TEDx Square Mile, House of Commons, and Women’s Forum Global meeting.

Working in data management, Helen is interested in finding ways in which organisations can develop visual representations of their operating model and control frameworks, by bringing together disparate information that resides in siloed documents, databases and applications in order to derive new insights, improve operational efficiency / data quality and inform organisation decision making.

Faye Skinner

Faye Skinner | Adobe

Faye Skinner

Faye’s dedication to Diversity & Inclusion resonates across Adobe, being recognised for a multitude of internal awards.

Her efforts to champion inclusion spans across many roles - as a leader of the Women’s Network, an influential member of the site council and as an imperative support mechanism to the unique networks within Adobe; ranging across Ethnicity, Gender, Disability and more. Of these networks, she’s aided many of them to gain the status of award-winning externally.

During COVID-19, Faye pioneered contingencies to ensure all the voices, of any cause continued to be amplified – despite the adversities of a remote workforce.

Yasemin Sunbul

Yasemin Sunbul | Openreach

Yasemin Sunbul

A short bio of my 6 and 1/2 year career so far...

I started my career at 16, straight from High School. I joined Openreach as an Apprentice Planner and knew that I wanted to pursue my career as a Leader in Openreach; as cheesy as it sounds, my goal was and still is to become the CEO of Openreach one day.

I completed my apprenticeship early to enable me to pursue other opportunities and projects. Throughout all of this I started to build a strong network and have always had great mentors. From there I moved into an Analytical role but knew that I had a passion for the operations side of the business. I got my first management promotion at 19 where I managed a team in London (a long long way from home). Even though the role was hours away from home, I was really excited about the challenge and all of the skills/experience I would receive from it.

8 months later, I then moved into an Ethernet service assurance role which covered the North and Midlands Area at the time. Within this role, I really spent time learning the ins and outs of Ethernet so that I could excel on the service levels set by Ofcom.

About a year later, Openreach started a re-org which created lots of opportunities. I decided I wanted to continue with a similar role dedicated around service assurance so last year I became Service Assurance Manager for Lancs & Cumbria and drove the team to hit green across our service levels for 2019/2020.

More recently, in March, I was asked to step up and cover a bigger role - Area Manager for Lancs & Cumbria. I was made up and couldn't wait to get stuck in. I am now leading a team of 225 people including managers, engineers, surveyors, service professionals, co-ords and leads across multiple products (Ethernet, Newsites, In Life Capacity). I am also studying a Business Management Degree and have just become a mentor for somebody which really feels great to give back.