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In the final installments of looking back at 2022, we delve into our favourite and fascinating Inspirational Women & HeForShe interviews of the year.

Our Inspirational Women series of interviews aims to highlight amazing women across the globe, showcase their achievements and raise their profiles. Over the years, we have interviewed so many amazing women such as Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more.

Our HeForShe interviews celebrate men who promote and support women in the workplace, whether it is through campaigning, mentoring or giving opportunities to women.

Sophia Aluko | Head of CIO Office, Group Technology, Barclays

Sophia Aluko is Head of CIO Office, Group Technology and COO D&I Ethnicity Co-Lead.

As Head of CIO Office, she provides support to the Group CIO to develop, communicate and deliver the Group Technology priorities and agenda. Alongside this, she is passionate about diversity and inclusion (D&I), and is currently the COO D&I Co-Lead for Ethnicity Inclusion.

Outside of work, Sophia supports gender equality initiatives and she is a Trustee at Global Fund for Women UK.

Read Sophia's interview

Jana Dowling | Founder & CEO, Arkeo

Jana is the CEO of Arkeo, a fitness brand that’s developed a mental fitness tracking app.

Jana’s mission is to change the way people think about what it means to be “fit” to include tracking mental fitness in the exact same way we do our physical fitness. Arkeo was founded in September 2018 and has been through its first seed round of funding and is now moving into it’s next raise.

As an inspirational thought-leader, she has been interviewed on the BBC, London Live, featured in The Huffington Post and Grazia Magazine and delivered training for the likes of Sky and BDO.

Read Jana's interview

Charlie Rosier | Early Years Educator & Tech Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur, innovator, mother. Wanting to change the world and democratize access to Early Years Education for ALL children.

Executive MBA scholar at WBS; specialising in Strategic Marketing, Big Data and Digital Innovation.  Proven founder; over the last decade I’ve built multiple businesses from start-ups to globally recognised, award-winning brands. As a passionate and driven leader, I have built teams across numerous markets including; London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur.  More recently, with Cuckooz Nest, I have driven innovation in the child care sector and have been featured in multiple publications from Forbes magazine to BBC News. Babbu is my latest venture.

Read Charlie's interview

Dr Nike Folayan MBE | Chartered Electronics Engineer and Co-Founder & Chairperson, AFBE-UK

Nike chairs AFBE-UK, a not for profit organisation which was established in 2007 to address the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in the engineering workforce.

AFBE seeks to showcase and support the technical talent available within the black and minority ethnic (BAME) community through professional development, career placement services, mentorship opportunities, community engagement and by influencing governmental policies. She is also a Trustee at the Stemettes Futures and EngineeringUK, on the Advisory panel of Tomorrow’s Engineers Code. Nike was on the board of commissioners of the Hamilton report chaired by Sir Lewis Hamilton MBE and Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE. Nike is also a champion for increasing gender diversity in industry.

Read Nike's interview

Dayo Akinrade | Founder & CEO, Wisdom

I am the founder and CEO of Wisdom, Wisdom is a social audio app with the mission to democratise access to mentorship and create an open and diverse community centred on knowledge-sharing.

My journey in tech started as an IT Management Consultant at the ‘Big 4’. Then, driven by the lack of diversity in London’s tech ecosystem, I joined the founding team of OneTech, London’s largest diversity in startups programme, backed by the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. My first venture into startup was Africlick, a cultural dating app targeting 1 billion Africans globally.

Read Dayo's interview

Dr Francesca Chadha-Day | Theoretical Particle Physicist, The Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, Durham University

Dr Francesca Chadha-Day is a theoretical particle physicist at the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University, and a recipient of the Hawking Fellowship. Her research focuses on discovering new fundamental physics through astrophysical observations.

Fran is also a science comedian. Her stand-up takes an irreverent and occasionally surreal look at what theoretical physicists do all day.

Read Francesca's interview

Fey Ijaware | Senior Developer, DWP Digital and Founder of CodePossible and CodeandStuff

I’m Fey Ijaware, a Senior Front-End Developer on a Universal Credit team at DWP Digital and I’m also a proud mum.

My journey into tech was a happy accident. I went to university, at the time I wanted to work with Children, so after I got my BSc degree in Children Practices, I decided to do a Postgraduate in Early Years teaching. But after completing my one-year postgraduate I realised teaching wasn’t for me. I then joined the corporate world, discovered coding, left my job to self-learn, worked in some private sector companies and worked my way up to Senior Front-End Developer and made the transition to DWP Digital and I’ve been with the organisation for over 3 years.

Read Fey's interview

Sophia Parvizi-Wayne | Founder & CEO, Kanjo

Meet Sophia Parvizi-Wayne, Founder and CEO of Kanjo, an app that helps families predict better mental health outcomes. Sophia’s own story is incredible. She battled Anorexia Nervosa at the age of 16, being an elite athlete where low body weight was considered to be the norm. At the age where mental health was a taboo topic, Sophia launched a nationwide campaign working with the government and the Mental Health Foundation to introduce a peer-to-peer education scheme currently piloted in majority of schools.

Read Sophia's interview

Dr. Lisa Anderson | Founder & CEO, Paragonix Technologies

My name is Lisa Anderson, and I am the founder and CEO of Paragonix Technologies, a Boston-based company transforming organ transplantation.

We develop and market advanced organ preservation devices that protect, monitor, and track precious donor organs during transit to their intended transplant recipient.

However, I wasn’t originally involved in the field of organ transplantation. The first time I saw a human organ donated for research, I discovered that the way these precious organs (for transplant into a recipient or for research) were placed in one of those conventional coolers that you could find at a local convenience store. It was shocking to realize that the organ itself was partially covered with ice, risking cellular injury to the organ tissue due to the unmonitored exposure to freezing temperatures.

This moment never left my mind. How could it? We live in the 21st century, an era of astounding technology and innovation, yet I had just stumbled upon an aspect of transplant which felt like a relic from the past. The standard of care in organ preservation hadn’t changed since the very inception of organ transplantation roughly 70 years ago. From this point on, I was determined to deliver a new standard in donor organ preservation.

Read Lisa's interview

Jeff Taylor | Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, Pega

As Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, Jeff Taylor is responsible for ensuring that Pega has a clear corporate and growth strategy, market validated solutions, the right industry expertise and content, an aligned and effective go-to-market strategy, world-class sales operations and enablement, and the capabilities to bring the message of Pega through pragmatic buyer enablement and client engagement out to individual organizations.

Jeff brings more than 20 years of experience in strategy, building businesses and innovating in go-to-market and sales approaches. He has deep experience in business planning and management, strategy development, and operational excellence, as well as a proven track record of achieving results in gaining market share and sustaining revenue growth.

Prior to Pega, Jeff worked at Bain & Company, where he helped define strategies and execute company-wide and go-to-market transformations for clients in the technology, media, and telecommunications industries. Prior to Bain & Company, Jeff held senior strategy and operational roles at leading technology companies, including VMware and EMC. In these roles, he led transitions to new business models that drove company growth.

Read Jeff's interview

Melissa Snover | Founder & CEO, Nourished

Melissa Snover has been an entrepreneur since the age of 23 and has built a reputation for being one of the leading visionaries in the world of food technology and 3D printing.

She is currently the founder and CEO of Rem3dy Group, which pioneers 3D-printed personalised health solutions across nutrition and medicine under the brands Nourished and Scripted.

Read Melissa's interview

Dr Aisha Naseer | Director of Research, Huawei R&D UK

Dr Aisha Naseer is the Director of Research at Huawei R&D UK, where she provides strategic direction on AI research and innovation as part of the company’s work around the development of responsible AI. She also leads several corporate discussion groups on strategic partnerships to help promote a thriving ecosystem. She is an innovative scientist and GDPR-certified professional, with several patents and research publications to her name.

Read Aisha's interview

Zeinab Ardeshir | Co-founder & CEO of PillSorted

Zeinab Ardeshir co-founded PillSorted, a personalised pharmacy service, nearly three years ago with the aim of disrupting the traditionally transactional pharma experience and instead delivering a compassionate, more relationship-focused experience.

The healthtech – which works with a number of NHS services to deliver medications – uses technology to get medication dispensed and delivered to patients in a timely manner, which in turn means that pharmacists are able to optimise their time consulting patients.

Read Zeinab's interview

Tessa Peters | Founder & CEO, Been There

Tessa Peters is the Founder & CEO of the charity Been There, and she’s incredibly inspiring.

Taking her own personal battle with bulimia, she’s transformed her experience to create a pioneering new support system that is helping people across the UK who are struggling with body image issues.

Having built an app that connects a community, Tessa has teamed tech with real and relatable Mentors who support, empower and listen to those in need. Tessa’s mission is to encourage self-acceptance and self-worth in everybody. Here, she explains how she came up with her vision for Been There and made it a reality.

Read Tessa's interview

Ayo Sokale | Deputy Mayor of Reading, Civil Engineer & Advocate for Women in STEM

I am a chartered civil engineer working in Flood and Coastal Risk Management.

I got here through the academic route of A levels and undertaking a master’s degree in civil and Coastal Engineering. I was keen after university to do something that mattered. So, I joined the Environment Agency on their Graduate training agreement where I also did secondments to get the experience I needed to sit my professional qualification, which I passed in three years.

Following heavy overnight rain on the 14th January 2020 which accompanied Storm Brendan the Tull Way flood defence reservoir, completed in 2018, impounded over two metres depth of flood water and was effective in protecting numerous properties in the Florence Gardens and Bowling Green Road area of Thatcham from flooding.

This is most rewarding part of my Job. Being an engineer is part of how I attempt to live a purpose-driven life. But my favourite part of my job is achieving outcomes for local communities – it’s such a great feeling when a project has, for example, protected families from flooding.

I am also the Deputy Mayor of Reading, a keynote speaker (on environment, sustainability, STEM and neurodiversity) and I am a science presenter on BBC Bitesize.

Read Ayo's interview

Camellia Chan | CEO & Founder, X-PHY

I’m Camellia Chan, the Founder and CEO of next-generation cybersecurity solutions and hardware storage solutions provider, Flexxon.

From an early age, I was always interested in business and entrepreneurship, searching for opportunities to connect people with what they needed. Even as a young girl back home in Malaysia, I looked for ways to make a little extra pocket money! It was years later when I was at university where I combined this passion for entrepreneurship with technology.

Lots of people think that if you’re a deep tech company founder, like myself, you must have years of formal education under your belt and a formal degree. I can safely say that isn’t always the case – it certainly wasn’t for me. In university, I studied business management and picked up a specialisation in IT. In my second year, I assembled my very first PC, and as they say, the rest was history – I was hooked.

Armed with this love for building tech, I started working in an electronics manufacturing company and picked up logic circuits. My colleagues in the engineering department taught me the ins and outs. I then spent a lot of my time studying a variety of technical topics that I am interested in.

Read Camellia's interview