Listen to our latest She Talks Tech Podcast - Senior leaders share their top tips for career success

In this episode of SheTalksTech, we hear from a panel of inspiring senior leaders to discuss career advancement and leadership.

Dr Mary Haigh is Chief Information Security Officer at BAE Systems; Fay Cooper is Deputy Director and Head of Product at DWP Digital; Mark Ellis is Managing Director and Head of Group Operations Solutions at Credit Suisse; Helen Bierton is Chief Banking Officer at Starling Bank; and Maribel De La Vega is partner at EY.

The panel share their advice for driving your own career, seeking mentors, obtaining sponsorship and using your network to achieve career success.

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‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2022.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 21 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.


Jessica Regan | BAE Systems


After leaving the University of Southampton with a maths degree I went on to work for 2 years at a small PCB manufacturing company in the New Forest called Corintech.

As part of their graduate scheme I rotated round the business, looking at manufacturing engineering, sales and marketing. Month end was always a really exciting time, and the graduates were often called on to help with some last minute soldering - my special skill is solder dipping!

From there I moved to Amelco, a sportsbetting software house as a business analyst / project manager. It was at Amelco that I first got to experience managing technical teams, starting with a couple of developers for one of our smaller clients and eventually ending up looking after about 30 developers, spread over 3 different countries. It was here I learnt how to be resilient when things didn't go to plan, especially when we had major production issues.

After 3 years I was looking for a new challenge, which I certainly found at BAE Systems. I began looking after a couple of internal database to cloud migration projects, but soon found myself client facing in a whole new sector - Space. My first project in this area was a hardware design and I was lucky to have a great team around me to support me through a very steep learning curve. After the successful delivery of this project I then went on to help shape the BAE Systems Space Strategy, working with a small team to create an internal investment business case for an innovative piece of kit that one of my engineers had come up with.

A year and a half on that business case has grown tenfold, and we are well into delivering the solution. Throughout I've worked closely with the Group CTO on the vision from the project and I'm excited to see the result late in 2023.


Amy Walmsley featured

Inspirational Woman: Amy Walmsley | Craft Apprentice, BAE Systems

Amy WalmsleyAmy is a second-year Craft Apprentice at BAE Systems, working in the Air Business. Her role involves the fabrication of component parts and structures for a range of military aircraft.

Amy has always had a passion for design and hands-on work, undertaking a construction qualification while she was still at school. Amy is excited by the opportunity to kick-start a career in a large organisation that afforded a lot of opportunities, and the ability to learn from world class experts.

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

I am a second-year Craft Apprentice at BAE Systems, working in the Air sector. My current role is a fabricator which involves the construction of component parts and structures for a range of military aircraft. During my training I’ve covered many different trades in order to get an appreciation for them all and a better understanding. I’ve covered fitting, built in testing, computer assisted design and then specialised in fabrication at the end of my time in the training centre. I started my apprenticeship as soon as I left school at the age of 16, as I wanted to go straight into the working world and do a more hands-on job.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I  knew that I wanted a hands-on job from a young age. I was always in my garage experimenting and making various things and in school I enjoyed design technology and art. In my last two years at high school I started a college course in construction and achieved a level 2 vocational qualification. This really helped to spur on my passion and made me even more certain that this was something I wanted to do as a career.

When I was in my last year of high school I started to think more in depth about what path I wanted to go down and I started to look at apprenticeships. Once I applied for the open day at BAE Systems, I knew then that it was a fit for me. I knew if I applied and got in I would have a job for life and an amazing career with the company.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

I would say just to go for it! Don’t underestimate an apprenticeship as an alternative to higher education when thinking about your options. Particularly given the advantages of debt free on the job learning, a competitive salary and a guaranteed job.

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

Keep pushing yourself, and always look out for any change to further develop your skills. Another thing would be to always take opportunities that come your way or any extra training or qualifications. These will help you to learn and grow as well as figure out your areas of strength. There are so many possibilities for a career within Technology or STEM, there’s always something that you can excel at.

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

I feel like  women working in engineering is definitely something you see a lot more of, so progress has been made. Personally, I think one major barrier is that many women still see technology as a male dominated field and don’t understand it is a possibility for them . I think more needs to be done in terms of education and challenging stereotypes about women in technology, so more people feel inspired and welcomed into the sector.

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

I think organisations should focus more on young women while they are at school – to inspire an interest in a technology career at a young age. For example, partnering with  schools and running regular events for female students, or creating a scheme where women can do work experience  with a company to see what it’s actually like to work there. Getting more young women in the door at the early stages of their career will have a significant positive impact on the overall company culture further down the line.

There are currently only 17 per cent 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 could wave a magic wand, I would make sure that more women know this is a possibility for them. One of the main challenges is changing misconceptions and making it clear that careers in engineering, and tech more generally, vary greatly and there are roles that suit all sorts of people and skill sets. While I was at school, I would have loved it if female engineers had come in to share their experience and get more girls excited about a career in engineering of technology.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are many resources found online to support women working in different technology jobs. There’s a great website called WES (Women’s Engineering Society) which is there to help raise the profile of women in engineering. Also another site called prospects which shows where the opportunities for women in engineering are. If you are at school and a bit unsure where to start, you can also find great resources at a careers fair.


Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee | BAE Systems

Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee

My name is Krystina and I am a Chartered Engineer in Liverpool working as a Senior Flight Systems Engineer. I studied Aerospace Systems Engineering at university, after being inspired by an airshow when I was in school, and became the first engineer in my family.

As a Senior Flight Systems Engineer, I am involved in the whole life of equipment within a system; from development, to going on aircraft, to support once in service. My role is a collaborative, multidisciplinary role and I enjoy all the different aspects I get to be involved in. Since returning from maternity leave in 2019, I have been working in the Future Combat Air System team on a next generation fast jet, the Tempest project, researching technologies for the future.

I volunteer as a STEM Ambassador and mentor and also set up my own business, AviateHer, selling accessories to promote diversity in STEM. As there was a lack of visible females when I was studying and early on in my career, I am passionate about encouraging and inspiring more young girls to consider STEM careers and push past those gender stereotypes!


SheTalksTech Podcast - Cyber Power – The Shades of Grey with Dr Mary Haigh, BAE Systems

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'Cyber Power – The Shades of Grey' with Dr Mary Haigh, BAE Systems

SheTalksTech Podcast - Cyber Power – The Shades of Grey with Dr Mary Haigh, BAE Systems

Today we hear from Dr Mary Haigh, the CISO for BAE plc.

In this episode of She Talks Tech, Mary shares her expertise of cyber security as she delves into the topic of Cyber Power.

Our trust in our digital infrastructure is vital, to our economy, to our way of life, to our core values as a society. Mary explains how Cyber Power has the ability to both strengthen our digital infrastructures and weaken it.

If you want to find out more about Mary – you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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‘She Talks Tech’ brings you stories, lessons and tips from some of the most inspirational women (and men!) in tech.

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2021.

Vanessa Valleley OBE, founder of WeAreTheCity and WeAreTechWomen brings you this latest resource to help you rise to the top of the tech industry. Women in tech make up just 17 per cent of the industry in the UK and we want to inspire that to change.

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts!

So subscribe, rate the podcast and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Wednesday morning for a new episode of ‘She Talks Tech’.

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

Discover more from our
She Talks Tech podcast

LISTEN HERE

Your Return to Tech with Tech Returners and BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

Looking to return to work after a career break? Your Return to Tech programme is open for applications

Your Return to Tech with Tech Returners and BAE Systems Applied Intelligence

Tech Returners is on a mission to close the diversity gap in tech and making returning to a career in software development accessible and free for everyone.

Do you or your network know anyone who has had a career break that would like to refresh their coding skills and secure a role with a forward-thinking company?

This September Tech Returners is running its ‘new and improved’ Your Return to Tech programme in partnership with BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and applications are now open.

Returners will receive 8 weeks of expert technical training covering Software Development Fundamentals and Back End Technologies, as well as career coaching and development to enable them to return to the industry and interview for a role with BAE Systems at the end of the programme.

Thanks to the sponsorship and support of BAE Systems, it’s free to take part.

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Watch the introduction to Your Return to Tech below


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Discover more about BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, their values and their open roles

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Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee featured

Inspirational Woman: Krystina Pearson-Rampeearee | Senior Flight Systems Engineer, BAE Systems

Krystina Pearson-RampeeareeI am a Senior Flight Systems Engineer at BAE Systems, based in Warton as part of the Air business.

In my seven years at BAE Systems, I have worked across a wide variety of aircraft projects and have been involved in the design and development of a range of flight-critical systems.

Currently, I’m working on Tempest, the project aiming to develop the UK’s Future Combat Air System. To be involved in the planning of the various flight possibilities of the future is incredibly exciting and something I’m very proud of.

I am also a mother and I had my first child in 2019, which inspired me even further to show young girls that they can be both great mothers and great engineers.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve definitely had an idea of what I wanted to do for a long time and have been lucky enough to have built a career in the field that interests me.

I always really enjoyed maths and physics at school, but it was an air show I went to with my family when I was younger that really sparked my interest in what I do now. The speed and sounds of those jets amazed me and I knew that I wanted to be involved in that somehow, so started to look into a career in aerospace when I went back to school the following term.

My school was very supportive and from there I went to university, where I graduated from the University of the West of England in Bristol with a Masters degree in Aerospace Systems Engineering.

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

The biggest challenge has probably been the realisation that there are not many people like me in the field I love. At university, for example, I was one of only two women on my course. This was quite daunting initially, and although it turned out to be a great group of people once I got to know them, it can be an intimidating atmosphere for women to face.

I overcame the challenge because of the people on that course – I even went on to marry one of them – but the issue of a lack of diversity across the engineering industries is one that persists. My  personal experiences have galvanised me to push for change, particularly when in comes to encouraging young women into an engineering career.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m proud of so much that I’ve achieved already – I’ve worked on some fantastic projects, including Tempest, where we have the opportunity to collaborate with engineers from across the globe that are the best in their field. I’m also proud of the way I have balanced my life as a mother and an engineer.

Another achievement would be the launch of my own side business, AviateHer, during the first lockdown last year. The initial idea was to sell a range of pin badges I designed to celebrate and promote diversity in engineering, but this has since expanded to various careers in STEM. In just a few short months, I was shipping these pins worldwide.

Part of the proceeds from each sale is donated to charities working towards improving diversity in STEM. So far, the business has raised over £1,000 for these charities. As a personal achievement, I couldn’t be more proud, but more importantly it is spreading the message that STEM is changing and is open for everyone.

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

I think it’s important that I followed my passion. As someone who has been interested in maths and physics from a young age, as well as engineering and then specifically aerospace, I wasn’t going to let the barriers or negative stereotypes about my chosen career route affect my thinking.

I know you only asked for one thing, but alongside this, despite a lack of diversity in my sector, I’ve received plenty of support from those around me – from my family to my school, to those on my course at university and in my work at BAE Systems. After giving birth, I was able to keep ambitiously pursuing my career by returning part-time and working flexible hours to help balance work and home life. This level of support should be the norm – women should never have their careers suffer for just being a woman.

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

First and foremost, as the AviateHer badges try to express, anyone can be an engineer, a pilot, a scientist, a coder or anything else in STEM – don’t think you don’t belong just because you don’t fit into the stereotype of what someone in these industries looks like.

I also think it’s incredibly important for young people to evaluate all the options available to them. My school was very supportive of my career ambitions, but there wasn’t much guidance available on the different routes available in aerospace. So, do your reading and try and get as many different points of view as possible. Higher education worked out perfectly for me, but for others, apprenticeships might be a better option. Make sure not to pigeonhole yourself and explore which of the various options available are best suited to kickstart your career.

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

Absolutely, there are still barriers for women in tech. Things might be slowly improving, but there’s still a long way to go. There are plenty of misconceptions about what an engineer should look like and what we do and that probably scares off quite a lot of people right at the start

One of the main challenges is changing these misconceptions and making it clear that careers in engineering, and tech more generally, vary greatly and there are roles that suit all sorts of people and skill sets. If we highlight the diversity in STEM and champion the voices of successful female tech workers, we can hopefully change the narrative.

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

One of the ways companies can support women in technology is to provide mentoring programmes. I’m a big advocate of mentoring, having been a mentor and mentee myself. Support for women when they return from maternity leave would also be hugely beneficial, to help prevent women from having to choose between career or family.

There is currently only 17 per cent 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 could wave a magic wand I would make sure that women were involved in the decision-making. By bringing women to the table, giving them a voice and empowering them, we will create a more inclusive environment that will benefit everyone.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Podcasts I’d recommend are Women Tech Charge hosted by the inspirational Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon and How To Own The Room for some great tips on speaking!


WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here


WeAreTechWomen are proud to unveil their TechWomen100 winners for 2020

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WeAreTechWomen, powered by BAE Systems, are proud to announce the winners of the 2020 TechWomen100 Awards.

The winners of these awards showcase remarkable women within the technology and STEM sector including 12-year-old Avye Couloute, who, aware of female under-representation in STEM education and careers, founded Girls Into Coding to encourage more female involvement in tech; Susan Jason, a Principal Systems Engineer and Head of Outreach at In-Space Missions, who led the final test phases of the Faraday-1 commercial rideshare nanosatellite; and Heather Black, who founded Supermums, which helps upskill mums (and dads) back into flexible work in the Salesforce ecosystem.

The winners include individuals from leading firms such as the BBC, NatWest, Jaguar Land Rover, IBM, Trainline, Visa, Deloitte, Microsoft, Bank of England and Monzo Bank, amongst many more.

DISCOVER OUR WINNERS

The awards also recognise Champions, Networks and Companies, who are all actively supporting the progression of women in tech and STEM. New for this year, the TechWomen100 awards are also celebrating women in tech from outside the UK, in the Global Award for Achievement category.

WeAreTechWomen also announced their Editor’s Choice winner, June Angelides. Named the 6th Most Influential BAME tech leader by the FT in 2018 and 15th Most Influential Woman in Tech by Computer Weekly in 2018, Angelides is an early stage investor at Samos Investments. Prior to joining the world of venture capital, she founded a social enterprise, Mums in Technology, which was the first child-friendly coding school in the UK.

Those receiving the Editor’s Choice award are individuals who have been specifically selected by the leadership team at WeAreTechWomen and one independent judge. This award recognises their outstanding contribution and tireless efforts towards women in tech.

Since August 2020, WeAreTechWomen has been searching the UK for the best female tech talent in the country. The TechWomen100 awards are the first of their kind to focus solely on the female tech talent pipeline and to also recognise the impact of champions, companies and networks that are leading the way for future generations of tech talent. This year’s winners join an alumnus of 250 winners from 2017, 2018 and 2019. Highlighting the achievements of these women is part of the WeAreTechWomen’s campaign to shine a spotlight on 1,000 future female leaders in technology by 2025.

Speaking about the awards, Vanessa Vallely OBE, Founder of WeAreTechWomen, said, “At WeAreTechWomen we have made it our personal mission to shine a spotlight on women working in tech. Our strategic aim is to highlight 1,000 female future leaders in technology by 2025. The response to this year’s awards has been fantastic and the calibre of entries has been outstanding! I am so proud to see so many women in tech recognised for their achievements and look forward to celebrating our winners and their achievements.”

Theresa Palmer, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, added, Year after year we choose to partner with the WeAreTheCity organisation for one simple reason. They get it. The TechWomen100 awards offers on-going opportunities and membership to a wealth of information and networking to a community of women at the forefront of changing an industry globally. At BAE Systems Applied Intelligence we want to help drive that in any way that we can. Our industry depends on the best and brightest and supporting the growth and development of women in all roles across the technology industry. In a year when we can no longer see the diversity in our meeting rooms and client sites it seemed fitting to step up and headline such an important event. We see the value in celebrating what makes us unique and are very proud to be headline sponsor of the TechWomen100 awards.”

The awards were entered by over 700 nominations from across the UK and Ireland and the nominees received over 35,000 votes of support from across the globe. The calibre of entries for these awards was exceptional and all of the judges stated how difficult it was to arrive at a final list, due to the amazing achievements of our nominees.

The awards were entered by over 700 individuals and were judged by a panel of 14 independent judges. The 2020 awards are kindly powered by BAE Systems and sponsored by Accenture, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Oliver Wyman and OpenFin.


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Holly Armitage

Holly Armitage | BAE Systems

Holly Armitage

I love creating game plans and delivering impact. I take technology and data-related aspirations and turn them into reality, creating real difference for organisations.

On paper I’m referred to as a strategist but I’ve been referred to as a ‘professional opportunist’, which resonates with me. I spot opportunities, untangle the knottiest of problems, and then create a plan to take advantage, shepherding resources to make the biggest bang possible. I am recognised for my ability to establish and lead high performing multi-disciplinary teams that deliver plans that respond to need, and move organisations forwards. It’s my role to help organisations get excited by technology, and help them understand and explain to everyone – their people, their customers, and their shareholders – why technology truly matters for them.

I have been fortunate to work for a number of organisations, where I have gained extensive hands on experience of technology and data strategy development in both the private and public sectors. Before joining BAE Systems, I worked in the Civil Service where I learnt first hand the importance and power of being able to interpret strategic priorities into direction and delivery, whilst translating technical information into straightforward and easy to understand concepts.

When I was growing up I never saw myself working in technology. I studied economics at university, and whilst I knew I wanted to work in and around science and technology, I couldn't have imagined doing big thinking and making big choices about technology. It never even crossed my mind! As time went on, and technology advanced exponentially, I started to realise that data was changing the world. This was exciting... and scary at the same time. Channelling this transformative power and ensuring that it has a positive – not nefarious – impact was what first drew me to into this space, and it’s why I love what I do.

I am a regular speaker on data strategy, AI ethics, culture, and the challenges and opportunities facing a data-driven society. I have presented at events including The AI Summit, Smart London, EveryWoman Tech Forum, WeareTech, and the Athena Code Show, while I was a key note speaker at Tech London's flagship event.

I am honoured to have won the Management Consulting Associations Rising Star Award in 2020, and to be recognised by the Influential Businesswoman Awards as an ‘Influential Women in Aerospace and Defence’.

When I reflect on where I am now in my career, I am grateful to have had exceptional mentors who were gracious with their time and experience, and I am proud to be paying this forward, volunteering with the Stemettes as a sherpa mentor.