woman with a megaphone shouting to get her voice heard, female leader

Why I believe women are leading the way in technology marketing

woman with a megaphone shouting to get her voice heard, female leader

Article provided by Julie Cumberland, Head of Global Marketing, SmartLabs

One particular incident, many years ago, has coloured my career.

I was just getting started, working at a large data services business, which was part owned by one of the biggest names in IT, when the sales director marched in and called for his ‘fluffy bunny marketeers’. I hadn’t long left university, but even then, I inherently knew that was wrong.

Of course, things have changed, and although there is still some way to go, women are no longer merely ‘accepted’ as we once were. We are taking the lead and expecting to be able to, in both marketing and technology, and I’m seeing a lot of youngsters grasping the opportunities technology presents. There is no ‘fluff’ about the current generation of technology marketeers unless it's evident in their choice of apparel!

This change isn’t unique to tech, marketing, or even the two combined. There is a broader understanding that treating people based on gender rather than their skills and aptitude simply isn’t acceptable. But at the same time, women have realised how many opportunities are open to them – if they only choose to reach out and take them.

It helps to have allies, of course, and sadly, not all women are as helpful as they could be. One of the earliest blocks to my progress wasn’t the sales chief looking for his bunnies, but a female director. All testosterone and shoulder pads, she had co-opted masculinity’s most unattractive attributes, believing that was the only way she could get ahead. Looking back, I have some sympathy for her: it was the 1980s, after all, so maybe she felt she had no choice in order to compete in a male dominated field.

But then I compare her to my first ever manager in comms and PR. He was a man who encouraged every member of his team, male and female, to take risks, challenge assumptions – challenge him, even – and push at any boundary or limit that presented itself. He introduced me to a management style which today is known as ‘Servant Leadership’. Not to be confused with being a servant, the approach is to enable your team on the path to success with the guidance and support they need, rather than berating them for taking a wrong turn and waiting for them to fail. It is a philosophy I have adhered to ever since and one that has paid dividends in terms of my management style, optimising individual and team performance in the different organisations in which I have worked.

Perhaps that female director would have seen his approach as too feminine. What a lot of women didn’t realise back then was that feminine traits can be just as powerful as masculine ones. Women have strengths that men don’t – and should play to them while collaborating wholeheartedly with other team members. It is a more honest way of being, more comfortable and energising, and good for business, too. That is particularly true in marketing.

Women’s instinct is to nurture, to care for others and to build relationships. What could be more important than that? Relationships sit at the heart of the human experience – and should sit at the heart of business, too, as its only true purpose is to support our existence as humans. Work pays for the food we eat, the houses we live in and the families we raise. So, male or female, we are all in business to nurture and sustain the human race. If that is the aspect of daily life at which women traditionally excel, it is only logical that they do the same in its business equivalent: marketing. Business communication is all about developing relationships, some of which might last for a few days or weeks, while others span whole careers.  Ignoring the human need to connect is something technology and business do at their peril. Many customers are lost due to lack of attention and a poor engagement experience. Driving home that the myriad of software tools available to us today are simply that…. tools of the trade and not a replacement for a desired experience by the customer, is key to placing your business at the top of the league.

This is as true in marketing technology as it is in any other field – and, although technology still has some way to go, the tech companies for which I have worked, have at least been on the right path and championed change across the board and in the boardroom.

SmartLabs is particularly strong on promoting women in engineering roles, with a high number of female employees fulfilling senior technical roles. They are educated, experienced experts in their field and we actively want to see this continue as the norm, not simply a trend. How we encourage the broader business community to follow our lead is open to question. I don’t necessarily believe in positive discrimination in recruitment, as you risk bypassing some excellent candidates, but I do think we need to be asking how we can lift everyone up, together. And, if we have got a gap in the female sector, that is something to be worked on project-by-project, by consulting the women who are on the team, and acting on what they say.

I’ve had a lot of opportunities in technology marketing, but I have also been true to myself, known what I have wanted and worked out how to get it. I have never felt held back, but I credit that as much to my personality and style as I do to planning and strategy. If you keep head-butting a brick wall, you won’t necessarily break through – but search for an open door and you can walk straight through. That is the way I have always approached it, and that would be my advice to the next generation of female technology marketing executives.

At the same time, I would urge them to look out for and support their community. Be a champion of change, find other people within your organisation who can help you make that change happen, keep an open mind, question everything and, if there is an opportunity you want, push for it.

JFK spoke of asking “not what our country could do for us but what we could do for our country.” He was right, but only if you believe – as I do – that your country is more than just the lump of land you live on. It is the people you work with and your gender, too, your global village!

Julie CumberlandAbout the author

Julie has worked in the technology marketing sector for most of her career, beginning with IBM and Amdahl mainframe services and disaster recovery in the City, followed by high-performance computing working with customers in the academic sector, such as Stephen Hawking’s group at the University of Cambridge, and with University of Leicester, leading the way in the discovery of mobile payments, enabling the unbanked to make money work for them to improve living standards.

She is a huge fan of mentoring and has always coached teams to achieve more than they expected. On a personal level, she has worked with hundreds of individuals as a counsellor to empower them to deal with loss, addiction and to lead better lives.

Julie is also passionate about film making so the connection with SmartLabs means every day is a fresh challenge for delivering great content to viewers.

SmartLabs provides multi-screen, multi-networks video streaming solutions to more than 40 leading interactive TV solutions vendors and suppliers including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and LG. It is also a strategic partner with Google on its Widevine CAS/DRM solution enabling it to certify other 3rd party devices. In a market that is set to grow exponentially (the Video on Demand Market size was around USD 55 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at 15% CAGR from 2020 to 2026), SmartLabs is growing, breaking into new markets and new geo territories.

Apply for the Women in Craft Diversity Program & win a chance to attend Craft Conference 2021 Online

Women in Craft Diversity Program

Apply for the Women in Craft Diversity Program, sponsored by Morgan Stanley and be in with a chance to attend Craft Conference 2021 Online for free.

Craft Conference passionately believes in encouraging outstanding female software engineers and promoting gender diversity that brings a powerful fresh dynamic to any company.

They are inviting you to take the next step of your own tech journey with them. Apply for the Women in Craft Diversity Program sponsored by Morgan Stanley, where ten lucky winners will have the chance to attend Craft Conference 2021 Online for free between June 2-4.

Deadline for application is 18 April 2021. Selected winners will be notified after the deadline.

Craft is an inclusive and professional conference about software craft, presenting which tools, methods and practices should be part of the toolbox of a modern developer and company. The event is serving as a compass on new technologies and trends where you can learn from top-notch international practitioners in our community.

To apply, complete the application form here to be one of the ten lucky women who get selected by Morgan Stanley and will have the chance to participate at Craft Conference 2021 for FREE!

Even better news that no matter what the result will be, all who decide to participate in the program will get a 40 per cent discount from the Regular Ticket price.

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.

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Tech role models featured

Why championing 'everyday' role models will help boost female STEM uptake

tech role models

A key part of my role at STEM Ambassadors is to champion the diversity of our everyday role models.

These are normal people, living a normal life doing a STEM job. If we want to ensure we boost the take up of STEM roles among girls we need make sure they see these jobs as achievable. We certainly need to move the narrative on from saying there aren’t any or enough girls doing STEM roles. In highlighting the problem - we can inadvertently have the opposite effect by making them think they need to be exceptional and discourage them from pursuing this path.

One of the beauties of STEM is that there isn’t one way to get there. STEM offers university routes, apprenticeship routes, on the job routes and these routes are open to people of all ages, at any time in their life. But it is a lot to get your head round. I’ve had nine jobs since leaving university, none of which I knew existed when I was at university, let alone when I was in school. So how can we expect a teacher who hasn’t worked or even applied for jobs in STEM to be able to fully convey to young people all the opportunities that STEM affords?

The great thing about highlighting everyday role models is that they show young people the realities of working in STEM. This includes the different pathways they can take and that just because you study physics or computer science, it does not necessarily mean you will only work as a physicist or a computer scientist. Look at my career. I’m an engineering graduate who has worked in education since I graduated. I have not worked directly in engineering but I can say with absolute certainty that I have used an engineering way of thinking in every role I have ever held. It taught me more than just the subject, it taught me problem solving, enquiry and creativity.

Shifting the narrative

I finished my degree in 2000 and having been offered a project job at the university I was also offered the chance to complete a PhD (part-time). I wanted to do a PhD about female engineers because there weren’t as many females as males and I wanted to understand why. However, after three years doing the degree I was already frustrated by the narrative which, in simplest form, was that there were no women in engineering and that wasn’t true. We may not have been abundant in numbers but there was a good group of us. Thus I aimed my PhD at those women that do study engineering at university and what we can learn from them, rather than focusing, again, on why they don’t.

This viewpoint has fuelled my entire career. If I am working with young people or teachers on engineering or STEM activities I don’t discuss the gender issue unless they specifically ask. I, and it’s a personal choice, prefer not to do girls only events because I feel it says that girls need extra support, or girls can’t do STEM with boys around. Plus, I think boys need to know it’s normal for girls to do these subjects too.

Motivations of girls

I get asked a lot about what steps you can take to motivate girls to be more interested in STEM. What can we do to make it more interesting for them. My personal view is that the focus should be how can we showcase the phenomenal variety of STEM to appeal to all young people. Focusing on gender means that you’re likely to rely on stereotypes and generalisations, which is what we’re trying to avoid in doing these STEM engagements. All girls want to help people, all boys like fast cars, these are far too generalised statements and are often not true. Instead, we should show young people the many different job roles in STEM, the many different applications of their school learning and the many different people that do these jobs. This approach will mean there is much more chance of finding the right hook for every young person.

It’s also not about one interaction and the jobs done. It’s about repeated interactions throughout the duration of a young person’s school years from a range of people. Showing them again and again how STEM is used helps to strengthen the idea of the purpose of STEM and the opportunities within it. It may not be needed for those young people that already love STEM or have a clear idea of what they want to do for a job. Instead we should think about the huge middle ground of those that aren’t sure, haven’t grown up surrounded by STEM people and for whom it is more of an unknown and therefore a risk. Not to mention those that find these subjects more difficult and will have to really work hard to do well in the subjects at school. They need regular motivation and regular encouragement and that can come from frequent STEM engagements throughout their school years.

Practical and exciting opportunities in STEM

STEM fits in to so many jobs and so many industries it’s really hard for even someone like me, to be able to list everything you can do with STEM knowledge and skills. But I can say for sure that STEM’s main purpose is to help us. To help humans, and animals and the Earth, to live better lives, in many, many ways. What new opportunities will there be in twenty or even ten years’ time as more and more STEM advancements are made? I think these are the unifying messages we should bring to the table to boost interest in STEM. By not fixating on gender we are more likely to achieve the outcome we want. Namely increasing the numbers of all young people, including girls, in studying STEM and becoming the next everyday heroes.

Dr Kerry BakerAbout the author

Dr. Kerry Baker is a leading authority on science communication and getting more girls studying STEM. As the Strategic Initiatives Lead at STEM Learning Kerry Baker supports cohesive working, collaborations, new initiatives and dissemination of good practice and success stories. She is an engineer by education and completed a PhD on why women study engineering. Her focus has been STEM education, outreach and promotion.

She is a passionate supporter of promoting STEM knowledge and skills because knowledge, understanding and manipulation of these subjects and skills will empower the next generation of scientists and engineers to solve the big issues the world is currently facing.

You can follow Kerry on Linkedin @drkerrybaker

One Tech World featured

WeAreTechWomen are proud to announce the most exciting virtual women in tech conference for 2021

ONE TECH WORLD | 11- 13 MAY 2021

WeAreTechWomen invite you to attend the most exciting virtual women in tech conference in 2021!

We have been hosting our women in tech conference for over five years. In fact, we have welcomed over 5,000 women through our doors since 2015.

We are not a large media company, we are an organisation that has been championing women in tech for the past 13 years. To us, its personal. 17 per cent of women in the industry is not just not enough, it needs to change.

Each year, we work with our community at WeAreTechWomen to identify what tech innovations and topics you would like us to cover as part of our annual conference. We build our agenda around that feedback – giving you what you want to not just accelerate your careers, but to understand about the wider world of tech, and how this will affect the future world of work.

This year, we are going to be bringing you the very best global virtual learning experience. Our conference will provide ample opportunities to learn about emerging technologies and what is innovating and disrupting the industry. We are blessed to be given time from some of the world’s finest speakers who will be joining us to share their wisdom and knowledge. We will deliver innovative sessions on over 50 different areas of tech, with a side order of career development and ample networking opportunities.

Aside from networking opportunities on the conference platform, we're inviting the first 1,000 delegates who register and buy a ticket to join us every morning from 7 am - 8 am (BST) evening from 7pm - 8:30 pm (BST) in our unique, virtual networking world. This bespoke space will enable you to create connections in our virtual Alpine bar, library, rooftop lounge, cyber world lounge, AI world lounge and our jobseekers' lounges. Before you network, you can even join us in our meditation lounge to decompress the day before going out and making those all-important connections for the future.Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity – secure your ticket below


Tech Conference - Speakers Montage

Hear from some of the greatest names in tech

On our stages are some of the greatest names in tech such as Georgie Barrat, Technology Journalist & TV Broadcaster, The Gadget Show; June Sarpong OBE, Director of Creative Diversity, BBC; Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Founder, STEMettes; Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President, techUK; Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chairman, Mastercard; Margaret Heffernan, Entrepreneur, TED Speaker, Business Author & Former CEO; Dr Kate Devlin, Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence, King’s College London; Debbie Forster MBE, CEO, Tech Talent Charter; Harriet Minter, Journalist, Speaker & Director, The HVM Group; Caroline Drucker, Director of Strategic Partnerships, EMEA, Instagram; Avye Couloute, Maker, Coder, Tech Advocate, Social Entrepreneur & Founder, Girls Into Coding, to name a few.

One Tech World collage

Everything tech

We will be sharing insights and covering everything from Future World of Work, Technology Trends, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cyber Security, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, The Future of Data, The Wonder of Wearables, Data Science, The Future of Drones, FinTech, Internet of Senses/ Touch, The Future of Robotics, Cloud Technologies, Quantum Computing, Coding, Innovation in Health Tech, Prop Tech, Legal Tech, Transformation & Change, Food Tech, Property Tech, Home Tech, Education Tech, Ethics in Tech, The Challenges for Tech Business, Post-Pandemic, Green Tech, Cloud Native, DevOps, Agile, Blockchain, CryptoAssets, Tokenisation, De-Si, Collaboration Tools.

Career based sessions

We have heaps of sessions and panels with inspirational tech leaders to help advance your careers, including How To Get Into AI, Challenging Your Inner Imposter, Fireside Chats With Leading CEOs, CTOs & Founders, Harnessing Your Resilience, How to Make Yourself Heard, The Art of Public Speaking, Leading With Empathy, How can we Remove the Barriers for Women in Tech, How to Ace Your Career, Working from Home, How to Accelerate Your Career, Has Anyone Seen My Confidence, How To Transition In To The Tech Industry, The Importance of Mentors and Sponsor, The Legal Journey for Female Founders, Start-Up Stories.

Inclusion & Diversity

Promoting and encouraging inclusion and diversity is at the heart of everything we do – and our conference is no different. We’re covering everything from The Tech Talent Charter, Unleashing the Power of Disability In Tech, How Do We Encourage More Girls into The Industry, Black Tech, LGBTQ+ Tech, Tech Returnships, Mental Health, Wellbeing, Mindfulness, Ethnicity and Social Inclusion, How We Accelerated D&I Initiatives During the Pandemic, Understanding Your Bias, How Do We Foster More Diversity in Tech, The Rise of Women in Tech in India, How can Companies be Inclusive to Attract Diverse Talent, Putting your Insights to Work.

You can see our full list of speakers here and here for the agenda

Thanks to the financial support of our amazing sponsors, we are able to offer you three fantastic days of learning for our early bird price of just £70.00 plus VAT. The early bird offer is valid until 31st March, when tickets will increase to just £90.00 plus VAT.

Given our extensive agenda, we know that some of you won’t be able to attend every session available on the day. Not to worry, as your ticket also includes a 30 DAY platform content licence which will enable you to watch all of the sessions up until 12 June.

By attending you will also be helping others. For every ticket bought, we will gift a ticket to an individual out of work, a returner to the industry or a youngster studying for a tech career.

If you are an individual in this position, please email us here (tickets are not guaranteed and offered on a first come, first served basis). We are actively encouraging corporate organisations to fund groups of tickets to continue to develop their teams during this time. To encourage organisations, we have special offers for corporates who wish to book 10 or more tickets. If you are interested in bulk bookings, contact us on [email protected].

So what are you waiting for?

If you are keen to learn, be inspired and expand your knowledge of tech, then join us, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

This invitation is open to all.



One Tech World Sponsors 2021(9)

She Talks Tech Podcast on 'Diversity in Tech - How do we build a culture of inclusion?'

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech Podcast on 'Diversity in Tech - How do we build a culture of inclusion?'

She Talks Tech Podcast on 'Diversity in Tech - How do we build a culture of inclusion?'

Today, we hear from Sheree Atcheson (Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Peakon), Seyi Akiwowo (Founder and Executive Director of Glitch), Christina Scott (Chief Technology Officer at News UK), Shefali Gera (Head of Diversity & Inclusion and Wellness at Goldman Sachs).

The panel will be discussing the best practices lived in organisations to foster greater inclusion. They will focus on examples of how organisations have attracted and nurtured their diverse talent, and also talk about why inclusion and diversity in tech is key to the future success of the industry and to society as a whole.

You can find out more about and connect with our panel on LinkedIn.


‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2020.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts – and the first three episodes are now live!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

Could you help Birkbeck, University of London & Genius Within in their Autism at Work study?

Diverse group of stylish people standing together. Society or population, social diversity

Could you help Birkbeck, University of London & Genius Within understand the employment picture in the UK, USA and Australia, where Autism At Work programs are popular?

The aim of the study is to explore the experience of people who are part of Autism at Work specific programs and compare this to the experience of autistic people who are not part of these programs.

Taking part

Birkbeck, University of London & Genius Within are looking for autistic adults to take part. If you would like to be involved in the study, please complete the questionnaire here. This should take approximately 15 minutes.

Upon completion, you will be provided with a debrief. You may also decide to volunteer for follow up interviewing to share your experiences. If so, you can provide contact details at the end of the questionnaire. If you don't, your contact details will not be collected and you will remain anonymous.

Data collected in this study will be analysed and used for research, publication and policy guidance for employers.


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.

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Beyond HERizons

Are you a female founder? Apply for SVC2UK's Beyond HERizons investment programme

Beyond HERizons

Are you a female founder? Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) are looking for diverse female-led companies for their Beyond HERizons investment programme.

Beyond HERizons is a 12-month programme specifically designed to target the funding gap in the investment landscape and provide female founders with theskillset, network and confidence to scale their businesses.

The mission for Beyond HERizons is to support the female founder network on their scaling journeys; empower female founders to pursue and secure funding; and to build an inclusive and diverse network passionate about balancing gender inequalities in the investment ecosystem.

Beyond HERizons offers a balance of content, practical support and investor networking opportunities. The programme is curated to be impactful and practical, ensuring that our delegates receive tangible and sustainable support from experts, our partners and each other. We also bring the cohort together at wider ecosystem networking opportunities throughout the year, plugging them into investors, founders, programme alumni, the wider SVC2UK community, and other ecosystem programmes across London and Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK) was founded in 2006, by Reid Hoffman, Sherry Coutu CBE and Ellen Levy who felt compelled to fuel the global ecosystem for tech entrepreneurship.

SVC2UK, now run out of London & Partners, has since hosted six female founder trade missions and created strong tribes of alumni who continue to support each other as they scale.

Are you eligible?

Beyond HERizons supports female-led companies that are actively looking to secure their next round of investment to continue their journey to scale.

To be eligible for the programme, Beyond HERizons require companies applying to meet the following criteria:

  • Have secured previous investment
  • Have between 5-100 employees
  • Have a turnover of less than £40m
  • Have a UK-registered company
  • Have a minimum viable product
  • To be actively seeking investment within the next 12-18 months

They also require delegates to meet certain additional criteria including:

  • Be or identify with being a woman
  • Be in an established leadership position within their businesses, including:
    • A founder/co-founder or in a c-suite position; and
    • In a position to determine fundraising strategy and approach such as an investment lead/co-lead position

Apply Now

Applications are open from 8 March 2021. To find out more, and apply, please visit the Beyond HERizons website where you will find the programme prospectus and the application portal.

Svc2uk logo

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

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

International Women and Girls in Science Day

The National Museum of Computing to host Young Women in STEM day

female students studing STEM

The National Museum of Computing to host Young Women in STEM day, inspiring young girls to explore careers in engineering and technology.

The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), an independent charity, announced it will host a virtual event for girls and young women interested in exploring a career in STEM. The event, on 24th March, will feature talks, quizzes and an interactive workshop on ML to help participants begin to start thinking about a career in this diverse and growing field.

Students will hear from a number of mentors and rising starts in STEM about the career options and opportunities available to them – not just within computing but also in engineering, science and mathematics. Speakers include:

  • Kahleelah Jones, owner and founder of Careful Feet digital agency that created Dime Digital - a SaaS tool that automates social media posting and brand creation.
  • Bukky Moyo Babjide, business transformation consultant who’s worked with BP, Nationwide and IPSL among others and who is director of software development company Crystal Options
  • Kim Diep, software engineer, volunteer and mentor who featured in the 2020 TechWomen100 List and who coaches young hopefuls trying to break in into technology.

Attendees can take part in individual sessions or join for the full day. The itinerary for Young Women in STEM can be found here.

The National Museum of Computing is working to close the gap, encouraging girls and women to consider careers in STEM by promoting the opportunities available. This latest event is part of a series of workshops for young women hosted by our museum and forms a part of our wider diversity programme.

Speaking about the event, TNMOC’s Director, Jacqui Garrad said, “We need to break down the gender stereotypes that perpetuate the longstanding imbalance that hangs over women in STEM."

"Fantastic, fun and rewarding career options are available to women of all ages in this field."

"Moreover, as a nation, we are missing out: we are allowing a large number of potentially skilled technologists and engineers to slip through our fingers, meaning innovation and progress are going unrealised."

“Our event is about alerting young girls to what’s possible and encouraging them to get thinking about careers in STEM."

"We are doing it in the setting of Bletchley Park, where women outnumbered men three to one during the centre’s famous World War II codebreaking operations."

"Women were integral to the success of Bletchley Park and our victory during the War."

"We hope to channel that early spirit and inspire the next generation of women coders, engineers and analysts.”The National Museum of Computing

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.

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

SheTalksTech India Gary Martin in Conversation with Vanessa Valley OBE

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast - India Gary-Martin in conversation with Vanessa Vallely OBE

SheTalksTech India Gary Martin in Conversation with Vanessa Valley OBE

Today we hear from India Gary-Martin and Vanessa Vallely OBE. 

India is a globally recognized leadership expert and coach with a clientele of Fortune 500 executives from around the world.

They will be discussing what it’s like to be a top woman in tech, India’s career and entrepreneurship more generally.

If you want to find out more about India – you can connect with her on LinkedIn or go to LeadershipForExecs.com


‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2020.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts – and the first three episodes are now live!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

woman with a megaphone shouting to get her voice heard, female leader

Getting your voice heard in the tech industry | Stories of women leaders

woman with a megaphone shouting to get her voice heard, female leader

Becoming a future female tech leader is something that more women and girls should consider as a serious career choice.

However, according to a recent survey by Kaspersky, 38 per cent of women working in the IT and tech sector were wary to enter the industry due to a lack of female representation, which is still very much prevalent in the present day.

The women in part two of this series discuss why they were compelled to join an industry, and discuss what future women of the tech industry can do to become a leader and be part of an ever evolving, and ever changing community.

Prutha ParikhPrutha Parikh, Sr. Manager, Security Research, SpiderLabs at Trustwave

“From personal experience, I had minimal resources at my disposal when I first got a job in cybersecurity 15 years back. The number and type of resources available to anyone wanting to get started in cybersecurity, women in particular, has evolved in recent years. A lot of organisations have started highlighting women achievers in order to motivate and inspire more girls. The number of opportunities for the women workforce in security has also recently grown. There are definitely more options today than there were, say ten years back, and there is more awareness to attract and build a more diverse workforce. In terms of where it is heading, I am hopeful that the industry strives to achieve gender parity not just for entry-level roles but also for executive and leadership positions.

My best advice I would give young women looking to enter cybersecurity is to have passion towards security, or willingness to explore security and technology. However, networking events have helped me quite a bit over the past few years. For the past six years, I have been attending Girl Geek X talks when time permits. Girl Geek X is mainly technology-oriented, but there are great talks from companies that focus on product security and application security. Once every few months, there will be a security-focused talk which I have personally found useful. Girl Geek X events are free to attend for everyone, at least during COVID times, and even before that, the cost was nominal.

Finding local networking chapters in your area like Girl Geek, that focus on helping women would be a good place to start. Women in Cybersecurity is another great resource, particularly for students and even for women looking to start or advance their careers in cybersecurity. And finally, I would recommend following influential women leaders on social media platforms to get insights, stories of struggles and advice that they have shared to get to where they are.”

Joani Green

Joani Green, Senior Incident Response Consultant, F-Secure

“I started my career out in Johannesburg in the travel & tourism industry but, after some introspection, I realised I needed to make a career change to a field that made me feel more alive. I applied to the vacant “operations administrator position” at an information security company, then known as MWR InfoSecurity (later acquired by F-Secure where I currently work).

In the interview I was honest that my long-term goal was to ‘do something technical’. I enrolled in a part time Bachelor of Science degree in Informatics. After two years, I had learnt a lot as part of my degree studies and had gained some great mentors who guided me along the way. I internally applied to the company’s Security Consultant internship while working in the operations role and in that placement, I worked very hard, spending every possible moment trying to figure things out, suffering from insane imposter syndrome and dizzying anxiety. But I pushed through and it paid off; after the internship they offered me a role as an associate consultant in the security consultancy. I’ve since worked my way into leading F-Secure’s UK Incident Response team in London where I specialise in corporate incident response and digital forensics.

I am very blessed in that I work for an organisation that has never made me feel any differently for being a woman. I’ve been given the same opportunities and I’ve been held to the same high standards, and I have always appreciated that. I do however, appreciate that this isn’t necessarily true across the broader industry and urge any women to remember that what is important, is your hunger for knowledge and your drive to succeed in figuring things out and solving new problems in novel ways. Don’t ever give in to the inner voices of doubt.”

Kay Baines Kay Baines, Operations Security Manager at A&O IT Group

“I have always been interested in technology and found Red Teams and Ethical Hacking to be interesting/challenging and very logical. It has always been an industry that I wanted to be a part of, but I was unaware that there are other roles apart from penetration testing and code development. As I had no qualifications in the field and didn’t know anyone, I thought that it was something I would never be involved in. I was previously working in a support role for the sales/commercial department when a position opened up and I was able to fully transition into Operations Support Manager. I was surprised by how easy the move was!

I know many women have faced prejudices throughout their career however I, very positively, cannot say that I have faced any. In fact, I’ve had quite the opposite experience as all the people I have worked with have gone out of their way to help me understand the industry, all of the terminologies etc., and have also given me advice on how I can better my career.

For women looking to start a career in tech or cyber, the best advice I can give is, be confident and don’t let the lack of women put you off.  It’s likely there are more women in Cyber Security than you might realise. And in terms of the industry in general, there are certainly more women coming into Cyber Security and they are being welcomed. It is still a male dominant industry but if you have the skills to succeed then now is the time to put those skills to the test.”

Celebrating future women leaders

Looking ahead, we can only hope that the tech industry continues to make great leaps in creating careers where people do not have to ‘prove’ themselves against stereotypes, and can succeed due to the value, experience and skills they bring to a company. With more tech organisations hiring women and championing female tech leaders, we should expect future female leadership stories to show how they felt compelled to join the industry because they felt like they could and should be there- and we should envisage future diversity reports to show more equal figures and, hopefully, a rise in female leadership roles.

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.