Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith is the Regional Educational Manager at Sync, a leading technology reseller that specialises in supporting schools, businesses and consumers in the adoption and integration of technology.

Working in the education space since 2019, Natalie is passionate about education technology and the impact it can have on future generations. Natalie has been previously nominated for various awards in the sector, including the ‘Women in Channel’ at the CRN awards

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role:

Like most, I left university unsure of my exact future career path and then I landed a job at a well-known car rental company.

Knowing this wasn’t going to be my ‘forever’ job, I took the leap and started a new role at the UK’s largest independent technology retailer, Ebuyer, as a New Business Sales Executive.

Here, I quickly progressed, as the team spotted my spark and enthusiasm in the public sector. After just three years at Ebuyer, I was offered my own team and became the Education Lead. Soon, I was headhunted by Tech specialist Sync, and I have since been employed as a Regional Education Manager, quickly becoming an asset to Sync’s ever-expanding education team and helping schools and teachers integrate the very best technology, such as iPad, into classroom learning.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

Admittedly, I did not seriously sit down and plan my career in education technology. But I quickly developed a strong interest in the sector after seeing the incredible benefits it can bring to schools, helping students get ahead after the pandemic, and supporting teachers with everyday lessons. It’s that passion that has helped me progress quickly in this role.

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

I briefly suffered from imposter syndrome when I first joined Sync. Like any new role, I was questioning my ability. However, I found myself in a very supportive team who were determined to give me the tools necessary to succeed. Both this, the team’s ongoing support and my dedication to the role, it quickly allowed me to overcome any fears I had about whether I was good enough which allowed me to succeed in the role.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My most significant career milestone is the nomination I received ‘Women in Channel’ at the CRN awards. This achievement holds great importance in my professional journey, particularly because I do not have any formal educational qualifications in this field.

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

My drive, allows me to quickly pick up knowledge and experience in an ever-evolving field of technological knowledge. Without my determination and passion for the industry, I wouldn’t be where I am today. This industry is all about learning the latest innovations and staying ahead of the curve, that’s why dedication and motivation is key.

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

Don’t be afraid to take the leap. You don’t have to know everything about the subject initially if you are driven and you demonstrate an ability to adapt and stay as up-to-date as possible with the ever-evolving tech landscape.

What barriers for women working in tech, are still to be overcome?

It begins at a young age. Many of us were not raised playing computer games but were given a doll to play dress up with. A lot of doubt and stereotypes begin to form after experiencing this, so it needs to change if we want to achieve greater gender equality in the tech space. We need schools to encourage women into STEM subjects at as young an age as possible to help foster this interest and open barriers to an otherwise male-dominated industry. We also need to demonstrate the benefits of tech from as early an age as possible, by introducing it into the classroom and showcasing its full potential, we can hope to ignite passion early too!

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

It starts with education. Supporting primary schools by not only providing improved technology for students to access but also giving the classroom supportive training and advice to ensure the next generation of women are just as ‘tech-savvy’ and from this, we will see more and more women’s careers progress in the field of IT.

In the home, parents can play their part too by not only providing them with tech (when budgets allow) but also steering young girls towards a technology-based career if they are already demonstrating that interest from a young age. It’s a rewarding industry, so I would certainly recommend it.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

To stay informed about the latest developments in educational technology, I highly recommend staying current with Bett, the worldwide hub for this field, which organises various annual events both internationally and in the UK. If you have the opportunity to attend these events locally, I encourage you to do so. Each Bett event gives you a chance to connect with industry pioneers and gain valuable insights into the future of educational technology.

About Sync

Sync supports schools across the UK, aiding in the adoption, deployment, and ongoing use of technology. This includes the provision of hardware and software solutions as well as training, technical support, and more.

Their approach covers everything from helping schools introduce the latest devices into the classroom, to guiding CPD and curriculum strategies. Their work with Apple Financial Services and the recycling scheme ensures older devices never go to waste.

Whilst the technology and deployment practices have been updated through the years, their mission statement has continued to stay the same; delivering customer-centric solutions via a consultancy-led approach.

Sync is proud to be Apple, Microsoft, and Google accredited, as well as holding accreditations with a range of other vendors and providers.

They offer training and consultancy across a range of applications, including Apple technical certification training and Adobe training.

Read more about our inspirational women here.