Michelle Baeten

Michelle Baeten | PwC

Michelle Baeten

I am currently working in PwC as a Salesforce (Software) Consultant.

I finished my Masters in Computer Engineering in 2007 and started working in a High tech electronics company in the Netherlands, providing high level troubleshooting for lithography machines used in the semiconductor industry to produce computer chips. I did this for 5 years, spending 1 year in Taiwan to set up and lead a new Development & Engineering team. In 2012 I moved to the UK to live with my (British) Partner. Because there were no jobs related to my work experience I had to restart my career and took an entry level Technical Services Engineer / DBA (Database Administrator) role in London. From there I grew my career in Software support and development and 2 years later I started my first Software Consultant role. I am now still working as a Software consultant but get involved in various capacities for example Software Developer, Architect, Pre-Sales Engineer and Tech Lead. I also volunteer for Supermums, an organisation that trains mothers (and fathers) and prepares and helps them finding flexible roles working with Salesforce. I am involved as a curriculum developer, trainer and mentor. Recently I have taken some time off for maternity leave and getting diagnosed with cancer (unfortunately both at the same time), but I'm back to work now and even more passionate about working in tech as for me it provides the flexibility and a great work life balance that I know so many women would like in their job.

Merici Vinton

Merici Vinton | Ada's List

Merici Vinton

Merici Vinton is a co-founder of Ada's List, a forum for women in technology in London and globally.

She got her start in tech on the Obama New Media team during the 2008 election. After the campaign, she wanted to help bridge the gap between government and people -- and figured websites and citizen-centric technology was a great place to start (nothing like picking an easy battle, eh?). Merici built the web team for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and led the successful and praised launch of consumerfinance.gov. Her work is featured in a cover story of Businessweek, as well as the New York Times, CNN, and more.

Merici now runs Ada's List and previously she was at Fjord, Accenture's Innovation and Design agency, IDEO's OI Engine and was a freelance strategist in London. Her projects included prototyping a new BBC online experience, launching Gordon and Sarah Brown's global education campaign + leading digital for Malala Day.

Merici lives in east London with her husband and kids.

Melanie Calver

Melanie Calver | BPDTS

Melanie Calver

The gift of Melanie is not that when she enters the room everyone stops talking, it’s that when she enters the room, everyone starts listening to each other.

She combines first class technical skills and knowledge with top-notch business aptitude and people skills to bridge the divide that can persist between IT departments and their businesses. Emphasising collaboration and mutual success, she ensures Us and Them becomes just Us.

Melanie began her career in IT at the tender age of 8 when her father bought her a BBC Micro and taught her how to code games. This led to a passion for technology which led her to Leeds University when she was told in her first lecture to put her hand flat above her head. The lecturer then explained this was the glass ceiling and she (and the other 5 women on a 900 strong course) should get used to it. The intention may have been fulfilled as Melanie determined not only to smash this ceiling but to help other young girls and women to have an easier path into technology as a result.

Throughout her career Melanie has specialised in Project Management, beginning with a small A-Level project to develop and implement a multi-dimensional data warehouse through to managing global programmes and project teams throughout EMEA covering both infrastructure and software development. She has spanned automotive, banking and the public sector. One thing has remained constant through all this - she believes that it is not enough to simply deliver a high performing project or department. She thinks beyond the immediate task or requirement, finding ways to overcome ostensibly fatal problems or blend seemingly competing requirements to deliver business benefit.

Parallel to this Melanie has a wide range of activities outside her job role. She has spoken at public events including about mental health issues – especially emotional and mental abuse which she suffered for 7 years in a private relationship before managing to escape. In her current role she has co-hosted an internal conference of circa 250 people as well as leading on recruiting and building a strong delivery management function for BPDTS Ltd which saw her recruit circa 70 people within 6 months. She has been at the core of establishing the Community of Practice for Delivery Management within BPDTS as well as for the Blackpool hub she works at and across the national team of Digital Service Practice Managers which she is part of.

Alongside her work leading a national team of around 30 delivery managers, she is an Enterprise Advisor with Inspira to a local school, regularly going in to work with the school and pupils to ensure they are offering the widest possible span for careers available. This has included interview prep days, question and answer panels and teaching interview etiquette which she delivers across the Fylde coast for a number of schools. She is a behaviour champion within BPDTS to provide a safe space for people to come and talk if they are having challenges or issues and heads up the BPDTS Women in Digital which has delivered a number of initiatives including; partnering with Next Tech Girls to provide placements for school girls in London to come and work for a tech company, advertising and securing funding for conference attendance for women across BPDTS to help them develop, everyWoman membership for 5 women per year within BPDTS and partnering with DWP Women in Digital. Melanie is also working with colleagues to setup and establish Agile Blackpool which are a series of MeetUps for Agile Practitioners on the Fylde Coast and is looking to setup a Women in Leadership MeetUp for the Fylde Coast as well. Melanie also provides mentoring services for the British Computer Society and external to BPDTS.

At the core of Melanie’s passion for; technology, making a difference and giving back, is the belief that it is incumbent upon IT managers to lead business and IT together to deliver not just business objectives but also benefits for wider society through innovative products or services.

Within that, she knows that IT must engage with the wider world to dispel myth and misunderstanding, and reveal potential and possibilities. By increasing awareness, she drives both demand for and development of better IT, while cementing the bonds within organisations that facilitate that. By opening the lid on the apparent mystery of IT she helps the business truly appreciate and value their IT department. Similarly, by exposing the business challenges being faced, she helps IT departments empathise with the pressures faced by their business counterparts.
Melanie can deliver the network that underpins business systems, but she will also deliver the network of personal relationships that underpins business success.

Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart | Invigorate

Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is the founder of Invigorate, an online platform helping accelerate ambitious tech businesses' growth by providing high quality, experienced individuals on a flexible basis.

Invigorate's expert network supports businesses across a variety of industries, including FinTech, InsurTech, MedTech, PropTech, AdTech, AI, Machine Learning and Online Marketplaces. Invigorate opens up access to high quality talent and opportunities to help business save months of wasted time, effort and cost with the unparalleled guidance from experienced founders, serial entrepreneurs, corporate professionals and unicorn employees.

Before founding Invigorate, Lauren worked as a strategy consultant at Oliver Wyman & a digital strategy consultant at Gartner, the world's largest technology research firm. Lauren's career to date has enabled her to combine her interest for tech & disruptive business models with commercial acumen and strategic thinking. Her 50+ consulting engagements to FTSE100 clients, spanned topics such as digital strategy, FinTech, data and analytics go to market propositions, startup partnership origination and disruptive business model development. Not only does Lauren believe in supporting & uplifting tech businesses, she is also backs some, notably Monzo & Nutmeg.

Lauren currently volunteers at TERN, The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network and The Passage, a homeless service. She is also on the youth advisory board of the Big Youth Group, a company aimed at improving the odds for young people. She was an active member of the women networks at Gartner and Oliver Wyman, organising events and spearheading various initiatives. She has always placed a strong emphasis on supporting women with a STEM background, similar to her own engineering roots. Lauren holds a Masters in Management Engineering from Cambridge and a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from Stellenbosch University.

Maria Luciana Axente

Maria Luciana Axente | PwC

Maria Luciana Axente

Growing up in a small village in Transylvania,Romania, Star Trek and Star Wars was my window into the future and a world where technology has helped enhance humanity.

It was what drove my passion for technology as a driving force in human flourishing. And my Mum was my day to day inspiration, she still is, with her passion for maths, physics and science too ( she was also my math teacher and one naming Alan Turing the first white hacker in history). So no wonder I ended up specialising in Computer science during high school ! But then I go detoured to business studies in my undergrad and later for my MBA. I wasn't running away from tech, I was curious to explore it from a different perspective, in the wider context and how can we use it to deliver tangible value. In every job I had after graduation, technology played an important role - I was involved building new systems and platforms from scratch, optimising adoption of current ones or launching of new digital tools, websites, artist recruiting platforms. Even setting us my own luxury fashion retail store meant I needed tech to make it shine!

Upon graduating the MBA programme, I have joined Cognizant, and sealed my relationship with tech as a consultant. I was lucky to have played multiple roles there from business analyst, to programme lead, scrum master and digital transformation and strategy expert (launched the firms global offering to DT and mobile strategy).And then in PwC, I go to experiment event more diverse technologies, from crisis management tech to AI. And here is where now, I get to bring the best of my experience and expertise in business and tech in supporting our clients design and deliver truly responsible AI, from governance to strategic ethics to fairness, transparency and security considerations. In the background, I act as AI for Good Lead, with a mission to support and empower those owning problems around United Nations Sustainable Development Goals solve those using AI technology, standards and framework to achieve scale and impact.

Mansata Kurang

Mansata Kurang | VR Revival

Mansata Kurang

Mansata Kurang is a Mathematician and Creative Technologist who created a virtual reality application for dementia patients.

VR Revival is a multi-award winning virtual reality application that uses 360 videos and audio of peaceful and calm scenes to help patients remember good memories and bring a bit of joy in their lives. She spent two years in the tech scene through running a Charity Technology Foundation and her more recent technology start-up. Her goal is to help raise awareness of the growing problem with dementia, which is estimated to increase to 204% by 2050. She is passionate about using creative technologies to make a positive difference in the world and help our society's most vulnerable individuals.

Lisa Ventura

Lisa Ventura | UK Cyber Security Association

Lisa Ventura

Lisa Ventura is an award-winning cyber security consultant and professional career spans over 23 years in cyber security, technology, data/analytics, software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, IT and more.

She entered the cyber security industry in 2009 when she became the Chief Operations Officer/PR & Marketing Director at Titania Ltd from 2009 to 2012, a leading cyber security software development company in the UK. Under her guidance the company was taken from a two-person start-up to a successful SME with over 20 members of staff, offices and a network of distributors and resellers globally. Since her time at Titania Ltd Lisa has used her expertise in cyber security in many other organisations including BT when she worked on their Assure Cyber product.

Lisa is a published author and has recently contributed articles to Counter Terror Business Magazine, Europa Business Magazine and the BPMA Magazine amongst others. She is currently working on a book entitled “The Rise of the Cyber Woman”, which is a collection of interviews and accounts from some of the most inspiring women in the cyber security industry today. She also has other books in the pipeline including one called “Picking Apart the Threads: How One Docu-Film About Nuclear War Influenced a Cold-War Generation. “

As the Founder and CEO of the UK Cyber Security Association, Lisa is in high demand for her expertise in cyber security. The UK Cyber Security Association is a dedicated membership association solely for individuals and organisations who actively work in the cyber security industry. In addition, the association works to raise awareness of the importance of cyber security in all businesses of all shapes and sizes and exists to educate the general public about the importance of cyber security and staying safe online. The Association will launch in 2019 and Lisa is already gaining bookings and interest as a keynote speaker at various conferences and events.

Neurodivergent and proud, Lisa is a strong advocate of all things related to neurodiversity since she was diagnosed as being #ActuallyAutistic in June 2018. She is also a strong supporter of promoting cyber security as a career path to those who are autistic and neurodivergent and is a mentor to those who are considering entering the cyber security and marketing industries. In addition, Lisa is a strong business mentor for Women in Business, Women in Cyber Security, Women in Tech and more.
Lisa has been nominated for and won numerous awards for her work over the years, and recently she was named winner of the Cyber Security Awards “Cyber Security. She was also recently included on “We Are Tech Women’s” Tech Women 100 List. This list aims to celebrate emerging talent amongst women in the tech and cyber security industries.

Lisa loves nothing more than mentoring others, being a keynote speaker at events and sharing her industry insights in the main passions that she has in cyber security, neurodiversity, business and marketing. Recently she has been a moderator at the Cloud & Cyber Expo in London and will be a moderator at this year’s Global Cyber & Cloud Expo. She is a born campaigner and campaigns tirelessly for issues that are close to her heart such as neurodiversity, early pregnancy loss/stillbirth, dementia/alzheimers, epilepsy and road safety. She has a strong and unrivalled ability to take complex security technologies and text and turn this into straightforward, jargon free language that is easy to understand. As an autistic woman in the cyber security industry, Lisa is often called upon to share her experiences of being neurodiverse and how neurodiversity can be a force for good in all areas of life through her work as a contributor to “MeDecoded“.

A lifelong learner, Lisa continually develops and enhances her skills through exhibitions, trade shows, networking events and attending conferences, courses and seminars. In her spare time she loves reading, blogging/writing, walking her beloved dog Poppy, sci-fi, films/cinema and self-development/positive thinking. She also has a strong interest in all things related to nuclear war and collects books, documentaries and films on this subject.

Leena Kalani

Leena Kalani | Cognizant

Leena Kalani

I am a Digital Business Consultant at Cognizant and engage with Banking and Financial Services clients to support them through their digital transformation journey.

I leverage latest technology enablers like Open APIs, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence to solve business problems in the most cost effective way.

Growing up in a family of doctors, I always aspired to tread the same career path. But India’s emergence as one of the technology hubs, fascinated me to pursue a degree in Computer Science. However, my real interest in technology developed while building an interactive accounting software for a client as part of my coursework. The joy of a useful product and customer delight pushed me onto my tech journey.

To apply technology to real business and consumer problems, I did MBA in Finance.

At Cognizant, I lead the 'Design Thinking' programme in Open Banking. This programme is intended to explore data monetisation opportunities for banks and FinTechs ultimately benefitting the end consumers with hyper-personalisation.
I collaborate with like-minded technologists at hackathons and industry workshops. At one of the RBS Hackathons, it resulted in solving a complex mortgage process with API technology.

As a firm believer of ‘’I am more than my gender’’, I promote Diversity and Inclusion at workplace. I work as one of the co-ordinators of [email protected] programme and mentor graduate analysts within the organisation.
Outside of work, I enjoy music, reading and cooking. I love to visit my home country and spend quality time with my family.

Laura Flannery

Laura Flannery | Government Digital Service (GDS)

Laura Flannery

I am a senior product manager at the Government Digital Service (GDS) with eight years of international experience working across several industries in the public and private sectors.

I’m at my best when leading multi-disciplinary teams using insights gained from user research and data analysis and making informed decisions that solve complex problems. I believe that user-centred design has the power to transform industries.

My career in technology began when I worked on the SEO team for Twenga, a price comparison website in Paris. After that I worked for a public affairs company in London before moving to Dubai where I worked on the user experience team at Emirates. From there I moved back to London and started working at GDS.

I am also a chair of the GDS Women’s Network and as such I am an advocate for gender equality and endeavour to influence change at the most senior levels of the organisation. I lead and work with a network of colleagues who strive to create a community of people committed to tackling inequality, where women can thrive in their working environment, reach their career potential by having access to the right training and support, and are paid fairly for the contribution they make.

Julie Orton

Julie Orton | BNY Mellon

Julie Orton

Julie is Head of the EMEA Technology Services Management office at BNY Mellon.

The team provides regional management and oversight of technology risk, strategy, process and control. It works with colleagues locally and globally.

Prior to this, Julie also managed the technology procurement team, responsible for the internal technology request process, from request to fulfilment. Her team enhanced the services, improving the request interface, and automating workflows to improve the time taken to fulfil requests. In addition, she has led the cost planning on many large technology projects, including data centre migrations, as well as standardising internal chargeback methodologies globally.

Julie’s career before BNY Mellon was varied. She initially worked in hospitality before joining a Mac peripheral reseller, where she was given the opportunity to get involved in the rollout of accounting software (AccPac) and realised she had an affinity to both finance and technology. ACCA home study, part-time finance roles, and a family later, she joined Getty Images, and was part of the team that successfully transitioned the manual photographer royalty payments to a computerised system.

She then joined the BNY Mellon technology infrastructure team, working part time in the procurement and network billing team before returning to work full time.  For the last seven years she has been Head of the EMEA Technology Services Management office.

She has been co-chair of BNY Mellon’s internal network, EMEA Women In Technology (WIT), for three years. Julie champions gender diversity: driving the WIT agenda, raising awareness of the importance of diversity in technology and enabling open conversation and discussion. She was involved in the creation of WIT groups in Poland and Ireland.  As well as being involved in internal events and programmes, such as CV workshops, coding workshop and panel events, she has volunteered her time for external events, such as the Apps for Good Innovation awards and the Girls in Tech Catalyst, as well as mentoring local school children with the Girls Network. She is now beginning to explore ways to support those that have had a career break to return to technology careers.