Join the Confidence Collective programme today to begin your journey into tech leadership

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It was predicted that by 2022, 1 in 4 tech leadership roles would be held by women. A small team of passionate people and some powerful contributors are sharing their expertise, resources and lessons in order to encourage and inspire #MoreThan1in4 women into leadership.

The campaign, #MoreThan1in4 focuses on four pillars: Journey, Confidence, Profile and Leadership.

Each pillar is drawn from The Confidence Collective. A powerful and inclusive programme that has changed the lives of more than 100 women. Led by the award-winning leader, CEO and Mum, Beckie Taylor, this programme has resulted in huge confidence and leadership growth both personally and professionally for so many participants.

If you’re interested in taking part in the Confidence Collective programme as part of your professional development, there are two programmes kicking off on October 27th (Manchester) and November 10th (London).

Enquire here: [email protected] or find out more information here: www.confidencecommunity.co.uk/programmes


She Talks Tech - How Returners Programmes benefit the Tech Industry' with Beckie Taylor, Tech Returners, 800x600

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'How Returners Programmes benefit the Tech Industry' with Beckie Taylor, Tech Returners

She Talks Tech - How Returners Programmes benefit the Tech Industry' with Beckie Taylor, Tech Returners

Today we hear from Beckie Taylor, CEO of Tech Returners.

Beckie explains why it’s a gap in thinking that’s causing businesses not to employ enough women in tech – and how they can change this by investing in the untapped potential of the returner market.

If you want to find out more about Beckie, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

LISTEN HERE

‘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

Beckie Taylor

Inspirational Woman: Beckie Taylor | Co-founder of Women in Technology Northern Chapter

Beckie TaylorBeckie is an Ambassador for Tech and Women in Leadership, and the Co-founder of Women in Technology Northern Chapter.

In 2017, she launched Tech Returners to empower returners and enable their opportunities in tech, by providing development and creating accessible routes into businesses through continual training and technology, resulting in more diverse and inclusive workforces. 2018 also saw the launch of ’Tech Future Female Leaders, a programme designed for female technology leaders to develop themselves to succeed and inspire others.

Tech Returners was shortlisted in the Northern Power Women awards for Innovation 2018 and for e-skills Initiative of the year at the Women in IT award 2019 for its practical guidance, and personal development coaching.Additionally Beckie has been shortlisted in the Women in IT Awards 2017 Advocate of the year and voted one of the Top 30 Women in Technology for Greater Manchester 2018.

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

With 17 years experience in People /  Talent / HR, 11 of which has been in the tech sector, I have been actively involved in scaling tech businesses through the importance of the value of people.

I am an Ambassador for Tech and Women in Leadership and am Co Founder of Women In Technology Northern Chapter which has grown to 1500 members in just 3 years.

In 2017 I launched Tech Returners to empower returners and enable their opportunities in tech by providing development and creating accessible routes into business through continual training and technology, resulting in more diverse and inclusive workforces. Tech Returners was shortlisted in the Northern Power Women Awards for Innovation 2018, E-skills Initiative of the year at the Women in IT awards 2019  and I was shortlisted for Advocate of The Year 2017 at the Women in IT Awards 2017 alongside featuring in the Top 30 Women in Tech in Greater Manchester in early 2018.

Since its inception the ‘returner’ programme has enabled 23 careers in technology, 22 of those were women and we’ve worked with businesses including AutoTrader, the BBC, Manchester Airports Group, Lloyds Banking Group and ANS Group. 2018 saw the launch of ‘ Tech Future Female Leaders, a programme designed for female technology leaders to develop themselves to succeed and inspire other. Only 5% of tech leaders in the UK are female and we’re committed to working with businesses to change that, our pilot cohort saw 12 individuals complete the course, we’re on Cohort 2 currently bringing 8 individuals through the programme and we’re also working exclusively with the Co Op to deliver our programme in-house for 24 of their tech leaders.

2019 for Tech Returners has seen the roll out of more cohorts of our programmes, the growth of our team and a partnership with University of Manchester Business School to produce first of its kind research into women returners in the tech industry. It’s also seen an addition to my family, a daughter Emmie May (12 days old at the time of writing) and sister to Ethan (5).

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, when I was younger I wanted to be in the mounted police but due to losing hearing in my left ear meant I wasn’t able to pursue this dream. I then fell into recruitment and progressed into HR and once I realised I had a passion for developing people I then focused on my own career and progressed into senior leadership positions.  I always ensure that whatever I do has a core purpose and aligns with my personal values and beliefs and contributes to making a real difference.

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

As a senior woman in tech I have sat on all male leadership teams and faced challenges of not being listened to and faced inappropriate comments all of which only served to make me more driven to change the landscape for future women in technology and to educate and support businesses to make these changes. I’m very fortunate to have a strong support network which has been there during these challenging times and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for those people.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Having my children and also having a successful career – don’t get me wrong getting the balance right isn’t always easy however it is something that is important to me to have both, I am clear with my expectations and try and plan where I can but at the same time remembering to be kind to myself when things don’t always go to plan. Being shortlisted for a number of awards in the infancy of Tech Returners has also been such an honour along with hearing feedback from our returners that the opportunity has changed their life, it’s quite difficult to articulate how much that means to me in terms of achievement.

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

Having a strong support network, being surrounded by people I can talk to, trust and who can offer me constructive advice.

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

For all the programmes we run we use a tool called “your journey to success” which helps to map out current achievements and skills and then focuses on what success means to the individual, thinking about personal values and professional goals and then using these to focus on what the goals or stepping stones are to support that success, individuals can then identify where they need support or where they need to develop whilst keeping track of what’s important to them.

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

Yes, companies need to provide opportunities for women in tech whether development opportunities or opportunities to enter the sector and this begins with looking at their culture, do they have an environment and values which support this? And I mean actions and not just words, ensuring they practice what they preach is essential as there are women who want to progress in the sector, the desire is there but right now the support is not.

I am also on a campaign to re-frame the narrative around women in tech – it was pointed out to me no wonder we have a lack of women in tech as all the blogs, videos and content out there, focus on the negatives of being a women in tech and whilst it’s important to highlight challenges we also need to focus on the amazing achievements and role models we have in the sector which is why we’re going to be launching our own conference run by Tech Returners and Women In Tech North to highlight these role models and the positive reasons why more women should be in the industry.

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

The reason we set up Tech Future Female Leaders was two fold, the statistic of just 5% of tech leaders in the UK being female but more than that the shocking lack of resources and programmes to support their development, this needs to change with businesses taking a look at what they can offer internally through mentoring and coaching and if that’s not something the business can support then reaching out externally to networks like Women In Tech North who can offer the support, finances and resource to make this happen.

There is currently on 15% 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?

I think we need to look at it from a different angle we need to work with schools/colleges and university to build the talent pipeline but also focus on retaining the female talent we have in the industry and then create opportunities for women returning or entering tech after a career break, a multi pronged attack in which we all support one another.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

WIT North – our network group

Growth Mindset – Carol Dweck

Eat Sleep Work Repeat – podcast

Ted Talks Daily

Tech Tent

Invisible Women  - Book


Beckie Taylor

Beckie Taylor | Tech Returners

Beckie is a People professional with extensive experience of working with business leaders to scale up through people. Focusing on talent management, team effectiveness, continuous performance development, building a diverse workforce, and flexible working. She is also an Executive Coach (WABA and RCC accredited) providing real impact and ROI for people on a group and 1-2-1 level.

Previously, Beckie has acted as a Global HR Leader, spearheading global growth strategies for international tech companies. These roles focussed on defining culture / core values, building KPI frameworks, continuous development, employee engagement, designing SaaS based HR metrics, and creating people strategies to enhance growth.

As part of her work, Beckie is also an Ambassador for Tech and Women in Leadership, and the Co-founder of Women in Technology Northern Chapter. In 2017, she launched Tech Returners. These courses are designed to break down the barriers for people returning to, or starting out in tech. People are given an introduction to coding, leadership mentoring, and benefit from personal development guidance. The courses are themed around discovering and developing skills, building a new network and embarking on a successful career. Also, recently launching a Tech Future Female Leaders programme. This work has seen the project shortlisted in the Northern Power Women awards for Innovation for its practical guidance, and personal development coaching. She has also been shortlisted in the Women in IT Awards 2017 Advocate of the Year and Voted on of the Top 30 women in tech for Greater Manchester.


Beckie Taylor featured

Inspirational Woman: Beckie Taylor | Co-Founder, Women in Tech North

 

Beckie Taylor

Beckie Taylor is co-founder of Women in Tech North and has recently founded Tech Returners, an initiative designed to support people harness their transferable skills by providing training and personal development to enter, or re-enter, the technology sector or set up their own business.

Beckie also began her own consultancy, CLOS, the success of which has allowed her to start the Tech Returners initiative.

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

I have worked in HR People and Talent for the past 15 years, with the last 10 years spent in tech. My most recent role was Global Head of HR for a high growth SaaS business in Manchester, my role focused on scaling the business through the importance of people.

Having had a career break myself when I had my son Ethan, I felt I lost my network and lost my skillset – both impacting my confidence – and I thought I couldn’t be the only one who was going through this.

I co-founded Women in Tech North in 2017, which is a community meet-up group where we now have over 750 members. I was being asked to regularly talk about my experiences that people felt they could relate to and this led to Tech Returners being born. It started off as a personal passion which has grown into a successful business and support network for those returning to work.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, not really. I left college and decided not to go to university, which was frowned upon at the time as I was the only one in my year who had decided not to go, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I then had an aspiration to join the mounted police, however I couldn’t pursue it further as I am partially deaf.

From there I sort of fell into recruitment and HR, and I found a natural skillset for people development and talent management. From starting out in the tech industry and becoming a coach and mentor, I do take my own advice and try to plan what success looks like to me and how I can create the best path to get there.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Yes, when I decided not to go to university, also redundancy, lack of confidence, conflict with male colleagues, and having to choose between my career and family in my last senior role.

However, I am a great believer that things happen for a reason and you need to acknowledge these challenges and make a plan to adapt. It’s not always the right plan but that’s OK – it’s how you learn and grow.

On a typical workday, how does you start your day and how does it end?

My day always starts with taking my little boy to school – it is really important to me to have the time to do this. I then always listen to a podcast or a Ted Talk on my hour’s commute to gear me up for the day ahead. When I get home I spend time with Ethan and try to leave my phone alone in the evenings – even though it’s hard sometimes! Then once he is in bed I might catch up on a few bits of work or watch some TV to unwind from the day.

How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

That’s part of what I currently do within my various roles. I demonstrate that there isn’t just one journey in tech, there are different roles and paths you can take and you can absolutely use skills from previous jobs to help support you on any new route you want to pursue.

I share my story and try to educate groups by word of mouth through meet-ups with Women in Tech North, the Tech Returners community and attending as many networking groups and events as I can. I think it helps to lead by example, so I try and be as active as I can in the tech community to show others what’s possible.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?

Yes, I have had a few mentors. I think the most important thing is finding one that’s right for you and to not be afraid to say if they aren’t. It’s not that you’re saying you don’t get on with the person, it’s just their style or approach isn’t right for you.

Yes, I do mentor people as well which I find very empowering, not only to support others but to learn from them as well.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Even though we have made enormous, encouraging steps forward in recent years, there is still a long way to go. Ultimately, I would like women to be seen as equals in every role, in every workplace.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Having my son is a personal one for me, and a professional one would be making it as a finalist in the Northern Power Women Awards for Tech Returners just six months after the project had started.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I want people to understand the power of the returner and how we need to support people who are about to embark on, as well as coming back from, career breaks.

A report released by PWC in 2016 found that returning women are generally underused in the workplace, paying a penalty for having a career break. This includes highly skilled professionals.  There is also research which highlights that there is a £1bn potential of women returners to the marketplace, yet businesses are not even close to making the most out of this.

Empowering returners is especially crucial in the tech sector – we don’t want to be filling the talent pipeline and then losing people. We need people to know there are opportunities once they’re ready to come back to work, and to help businesses facilitate returners more effectively.