Chloe Stockwell-ClarkMy name is Chloe Stockwell-Clark and I am the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) for NuroKor Bioelectronics.

I have a cell biology background and have worked exclusively within the medtech and health tech industries. I support the technical direction across all areas of NuroKor, while focussing on development of our future products.

I am also the lead for NuroKor’s FemTech division which is very exciting. We are developing world-first, wearable therapeutics, that are formulated to target specific conditions affecting women, such as period pain, endometriosis, menopause and pelvic pain. In addition, we are incorporating aspects of AI and machine learning to enable the treatments to be personalised and meet each woman’s individual needs. Tailoring our bioelectrical technology will enable women around the world to take back control of their physical health needs and close the gaps that gender health inequality can impose on women and young girls.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes and No. As a college student I was ambitious and determined to succeed, but with a lack of academic support, there were times where I doubted whether a career within STEM (science, technology, engineering or maths) would be possible or realistic. My college Careers Advisor once asked me whether I’d considered becoming a ‘Golf Course Greenkeeper’, which only made me further doubt my prospects within STEM! As a first generation university student from an artistic family, embarking on a life science degree was also very daunting, but I was determined to stay true to the subjects that interested me the most. Now, I couldn’t be happier that I had the courage to ‘go for it’ even when the odds of success didn’t seem in my favour.

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

After returning from my first maternity leave, I briefly joined a company that was my first role in the field of bioelectronics. I was instantly fascinated by the science and potential applications of microcurrent technology, but couldn’t have found myself in a more toxic or suppressive environment. Despite having valuable knowledge and experience to offer the company, there was a systematic approach by the all-male management team to disempower and break down the confidence of any employee that could potentially surpass their own contributions to the company. I refused to accept their culture values and held tight to the belief that I had in my value and own self-worth. Once free from the situation, I joined NuroKor which has become my second ‘home’ and extended family. It was the best decision I have ever made and I am glad I was able to move on before they were able to potentially change the way I thought about myself.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

As an area of healthcare that I am incredibly passionate about, I am most proud of my contributions as the lead for NuroKor’s Femtech division. Following the development of our brand and technology proposition, our product Minha was recently selected as a Top 10 UK finalist in the ‘She Loves Tech’ 2021 competition. This gave me the opportunity to pitch and to publicly showcase the development and progress of our femtech division for the first time, achieving 2nd place in the UK round. Femtech is a huge area with significant commercial and social impact.As an area of personal interest, I remain committed to driving the business forward to realise the vision of this technology for women and young girls.

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

The people that have given me an opportunity to show how capable I am.

Shortly after graduating I was interviewed by a manager of a FTSE 100 medtech company for a role I had very little experience in. He told me that he hired me on the basis that he saw I had a lot of ‘raw talent’ and needed the opportunity to use and develop it. In the following three years I hit all my objectives and targets, received two promotions and thrived in my role . This formed the ideal foundation for my career in medtech, followed by healthtech.

The 2nd person to do this is our current CEO, Rick Rowan. Since the very first day, he has trusted and believed in me and my capabilities. Even when the stakes have been high, he has given me the support to try, even if it hasn’t been perfect the first time. He has created a space where my voice is heard, where I can take on new responsibilities, open new opportunities and grow with the company without limitation. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to show how capable I am everyday and this has been a big key to personal success.

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

1) Stay true to your interests and passions to find a career in technology that most suits you.

2) You can never be too ambitious.

3) Be your own brand and represent it boldly.

4) Never settle with a role where you feel restricted or limited by your team or company.

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

It’s no secret that the tech industry remains male dominated and this needs to be addressed from the ground up. The encouragement and inclusion of young girls in STEM subjects from an early age and throughout their education, is critical for fostering passions, interests and skills within these areas. This is the grassroots of the technology industry and a reason why I recently became a STEM ambassador. However, despite an increasing number of young women graduating with tech related degrees, they remain disproportionately underrepresented across all levels and sectors of the tech industry. According to the latest Gartner research, only 9% of enterprises have a female CTO! There are many issues that contribute towards workplace inequality, but stamping out both conscious and unconscious bias towards women and their abilities within tech will go a long way to reducing unnecessary barriers for women. This is why all employees should actively seek companies and organisations that align with their culture values and continue to put pressure on senior leaders for genuine inclusion and diversity within their workplace.

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

Companies can support the career interests of women at all stages of employment, starting with the elimination of selection bias within the recruitment process. From there they can adopt and improve the metrics they use to review and monitor gender parity across all areas and levels. As ongoing initiatives, companies can also promote workplace cultures that reduce unwarranted pressures on women, for example the fear of issues that may arise from being a working mother. As a healthtech company, we have also seen that organisations need to do more to normalise the health needs of women that can quickly become barriers to employment, such as menopause, period pain, and maternity.

Finally, companies can make a huge difference in supporting the progress of women working in tech, by better recognising and championing their talent, skills and achievements on the basis of merit. Tokenism must be avoided as it does not do us women or the organisations any favours.

There are currently only 17 percent 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?

If I had a magic wand I would remove the barriers and enable every woman with an interest and skill set in tech to have the opportunity to show how capable they are. This would provide access and opportunity to women across all levels and areas of tech, not only to experience and realise their own potential within tech, but also to show and demonstrate the value of women across tech organisations. This would highlight on a large scale just how valuable their contributions are, which I hope in turn would motivate key holders and policymakers to better level the playing field.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are some online groups, platforms and social media communities that support women in business and in particular tech – such as FemPeak for example. Joining and engaging with these can be a great place to start. Don’t be afraid to join them if you don’t yet feel like an ‘established’ woman in tech, because that’s the point – they are there to help support and elevate women at all stages of their tech careers.