A Royal Naval Officer, a pioneer of wearable technology, a cleaning company entrepreneur and three teenagers are among 30 high achievers named today as finalists in the UK’s leading initiative celebrating women in technology. Judged by a panel of senior technology leaders, the criteria assessed career success, potential for future achievements and support for women in the industry. The winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony on the evening of 17th March 2015 in London.

The British tech industry is thriving, predicted to be worth £221bn by 2016*. As a result it is estimated that by 2022 the UK will need at least 1.82 million new engineering, science and technology professionals. Advances in technology have created a huge variety of fascinating new careers from mobile technology to energy requirements. Yet despite this, only one in 20 IT job applicants is female according to half of tech employers. The reasons for this are varied, but unhelpful stereotypes and low take up of STEM subjects in schools are regularly cited as reasons why the industry lacks gender diversity.

The tech industry is crying out for fresh talent with nearly half of all technology firms seeking to hire more staff. Research shows that role models and opportunities to network are key to countering this talent deficit and the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards is the industry’s most influential programme that both celebrates and inspires.

The finalists for 2015 are:

Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by ARM Ltd
  • Fiona Bradley-Barlow, Director, AQ4B, from Leicestershire
  • Fiona Hudson-Kelly, CEO, Smart E-Assessor Limited, from Birmingham
  • Patricia O’Hagan MBE, CEO, Core Systems, from Belfast
  • Justine Perry, Managing Director Ltd, Cariad Marketing, from Hertford
Inspiration of the Year – Sponsored by VMware.
  • Ayman Assaf, Head of Strategy & Planning, BP, from London
  • Monique Morrow, CTO-Evangelist-New Frontiers, Cisco Systems, from Zurich
  • Bela Patel, Project Manager, Credit Suisse, from London
  • Jenny Taylor, UK Foundation Manager, IBM UK Ltd, from London
Leader of the Year – sponsored by BP
  • Christine Ashton, SVP Technology, Thomson Reuters, from London
  • Helen Lamb, VP-Head of Managed Infrastructure Services, Fujitsu UK & Ireland, from London
  • Anna Helberg-Hansen, Head of Business Analysis – Group IT Division, Lloyds Banking Group, from Bristol
  • Emer Timmons, President BT Global Services UK, BT Plc from London
Rising Star of the Year – sponsored by American Express
  • Sadia Chuhan, Apprentice IT Project Manager, Thomson Reuters, from London
  • Kerrie Martin, IS Process Change Manager, National Grid, from Warwick
  • Louise Moules, Technical Consultant, IBM UK Ltd, from London
Start-up Founder of the Year – sponsored by Salesforce
  • Lucy Burnford, Founder, Motoriety.co.uk, from London
  • Alexandra Depledge, CEO, Hassle.com, from London
  • Emily Forbes, Co-founder, Seenit, from London
  • Tina Mashaalahi, Co-founder and COO, KweekWeek, from London
Innovator of the Year – sponsored by Equiniti
  • Sinéad Brophy, Founder & CEO, MySupportBroker CIC, from London
  • Tanya Cordrey, Chief Digital Officer, Guardian News & Media, from London
  • Elena Corchero, Founder & Director, Lost Values, from London
  • Lt Cdr Roxane Heaton RN, Synthetics Training Policy Staff Officer, Royal Navy, from Portsmouth
Team Leader of the Year
  • Vicky Davenport, Director & General Manager Sales Operations, Xerox UK Ltd, from London
  • Samantha Smithson-Biggs, Programme Management Director, Aviva, from London
  • Marit Thowsen, Director Technical Delivery, American Express, from Brighton
  • Karianne Gaede, Risk Programme Director, Credit Suisse, from London
The One to Watch – sponsored by EMC
  • Heather Craig, Infrastructure Specialist, IBM UK Ltd aged 19, from Greenock
  • Amy Mather, STEM Ambassador, aged 15, from Manchester
  • Zea Tongeman, student, aged 15, from London
International Leader of the Year – sponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions
  • Cheryl Duke, Director, American Express, from Broward, Florida
  • Karen Egan, Sr, Director Technical Support EMEA, VMware International Ltd, from Cork, Ireland
  • Kirti Santene, Head of IT EMEA Branches, Credit Suisse AG, from Zurich
  • Cathrin Stöver, Chief International Relations & Communications Officer, GÉANT, from Alcala de Henares, Spain

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments: “Previous winners have shared with us the impact their award win has had on their business and careers, with many being promoted on the back of the recognition it has brought. Since launching five years ago, these awards have uncovered dozens of role models that will inspire future tech stars. This year’s finalists are all exceptional in their achievements, driving change across international organisations and creating innovative, disruptive companies with the potential to become global brands.”

Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer of title sponsor FDM Group states, “FDM is delighted to continue sponsoring the everywoman in Technology Awards, allowing us to recognise and reward outstanding women and their achievements in the industry. Gender balance in the workplace is vital to the UK’s economy; it improves communication, accelerates productivity and drives innovation. It is inspiring to see more women taking on high powered positions and becoming role models to females at the beginning of their IT careers. At FDM, we are committed to supporting our workforce regardless of gender and recognise the lack of women in the industry as a whole. This is why we launched our global Women in IT campaign, which is already encouraging and supporting more women to enjoy a long-lasting and rewarding career in IT.”

Julian David, CEO, techUK adds: “techUK is delighted to support the 2015 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards and celebrate the winners’ achievements. These women will act as role models for the next generation. The tech sector needs to attract more women to increase diversity and address the skills gap. Through our Women in Technology programme, we’re committed to raising awareness of the career opportunities offered by UK technology companies to attract smart, skilled women who may not have previously considered a career in this sector.”

The 2015 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards ceremony and dinner will take place on 17 March 2015 at the London Hilton on Park Lane preceded by the inaugural everywoman Technology Forum. For further information visit www.everywoman.com/techforum