Gill Cooke

I discovered STEM by accident.

I studied Modern History at Uni and I began my career as a reporter and then in television production. When I was made redundant, I looked for a job locally and had some experience of websites and my production management skills were very transferrable to project management. Over the 10 years I’ve been at Three UK, I’ve progressed to Lead Project Manager, Programme Manager and then Head of Planning and Delivery. Eight of my ten years have been part-time and I now work full-time but flexi hours so I think I am a good success story for advancing my career while flexible working (outcome over hours in office).

Having discovered STEM I became a champion when I realised the lack of women and the social perception especially in the younger generation. I became involved in the internal group Women in Tech at Three and started to volunteer to attend school career fairs. In 2018, I took over the helm of the WiT network at Three – I wrote a vision document, asked the COO to be our sponsor and opened the group up company wide (rather than just Tech & Ops as it was previously). I also created a small committee this year and we hold monthly lunch & Learns to demonstrate internal role models, offer learning opportunities (eg LInkedin, cv writing, self confidence workships) and have held successful IWD and launch activities. We also collaborate with our internal Pride group. Outside of work I organise STEM networking events, evening panel events and more recently, breakfast workshop events and lead the STEMConnext FB and Linkedin groups. The #STEMConnext community offers a safe place for local people to network in a professional capacity, learning and educating along the way. Our members are our audience but are also members of our panel. We champion and support everyone’s careers by celebrating successes, offering opportunities to talk or hold a workshop aswell as offering business volunteers to local schools and career fairs. Members can share articles and experiences, ask for career advice or just a bit of help.

The community has grown to nearly 300 members in the last 6 months, as well as welcoming over 250 through its doors across only 5 events. Most recently, the Women in Business Expo approached STEMConnext to hold a panel event at their Expo in October 2019.

Someone else’s words are probably better than my own: Susie Ramroop, LifeCoach:” I’m inspired by the passion and commitment shown by Gill Cooke in educating and sharing why tech is a great place for females of all generations. In parallel to her day job at Three she is a brilliant mother and lead for the #stemconnext online and in person networking group. I’d love her to be recognised.”