Melissa Hendry featured

Inspirational Woman: Melissa Hendry | Co-Founder & Managing Director, ddroidd

Melissa HendryMelissa Hendry is Co-founder and Managing Director of digital transformation specialists, ddroidd.

With more than 15 years’ experience in senior leadership roles within the IT, telecommunications and digital sectors, Melissa has played a significant role in driving key strategic growth, operational direction as well as the implementation and monitoring of core processes, policies and partner relationships with some of the UK’s biggest names.

Passionate about the quality, security and scalability of business operations and service delivery through the adoption of best practice frameworks, Melissa has held NPPV and Government SC clearances, and is a BSI certified ISO 27001 Internal Auditor, ITIL v3 Practitioner and appointed Chief Information Officer.

After graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in Business & Event Management, Melissa joined aql, a UK telecommunications operator and enabler of smart cities, as Operations Manager, later Operations Director. During her 10 years at aql, Melissa built, managed and ran high-security IL5-rated data centres, wholesale SMS aggregator services, MVNE infrastructure for M2M services and Ofcom-regulated telecoms services. Live services were in operation for over 30,000 active customers and 300 channel partners, for clients including Virgin, Akamai, Fujitsu, BT, EMIS-Healthcare, Serco and government clients, including the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office. Melissa was a key member of the team who helped to grow aql from a headcount of two to 55 and increase turnover from £650k to £10.6m in seven years.

Melissa then spent several years working in start-up digital SaaS companies, helping them to create a solid operational structure on which to scale. In 2019, Melissa joined Delete Agency, as Head of Managed Services & Security and later as Operations Director.

ddroidd was formed in November 2020 following the acquisition of a two-year joint venture partnership with Delete agency. With Offices in Leeds, UK and Cluj-Napoca, Romania, ddroidd employs almost 80 staff, delivering projects for clients and agency partners.

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

I’m co-founder and managing director of ddroidd, a technical and digital transformation agency, specialising in the build, enhancement, and technical support of enterprise level web applications.

We were formed in November 2020 and now have 79 team members across our offices in Leeds, UK and Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

I started my career studying Events & Business Management at Leeds Metropolitan University and accidentally stumbled into the world of tech after being offered my first role in a telecommunications company called aql. I spent five years there as operations manager and a further five years as operations director where I oversaw the formation and growth of the internal teams, processes, security accreditations and compliance and operational structure, whilst expanding the service offerings and our physical network and infrastructure. I was exposed to, responsible for, and learned a great deal whilst in these roles.

I later spent three years in operations director roles in SaaS businesses, looking at the operational processes and technical platforms required to scale, before moving agency side as operations director for Delete Agency. It is here where I met and worked alongside Catalin, Nicu and Oana who I later went on to set-up ddroidd with.

In my current role at ddroidd, I work alongside the leadership team and ddroidd co-founders (Catalin, Nicu and Oana) to drive our sales and marketing initiatives, legal and regulatory compliance as well as supporting our strategic partnerships and relationships.

We’re currently working on our A+++ framework, which recently won the Prolific North Environmental Champion Award, and focuses on ensuring large scale web applications are more energy efficient by cutting needless reprocessing by up to 90%. As a company we are passionate about sustainability and have been able to save clients up to £12k a month on hosting bills with our A+++ efficiency approach. We’re hoping this framework will eventually become industry standard as businesses realise the cost and environment benefits of effective application management.  https://www.ddroidd.com/a-plus-plus-plus

We’re now approaching our first year-end and are on-track to exceed our £3m turnover target. We have ambitious targets for year two that will see us double in size and a £5m turnover target.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never. I studied business and event management and happily fell into the world of tech. As I have a holistic understanding of how business divisions interlink and support each other, operations management was a natural starting point. I also love a good process – not to be rigid, but to provide a common understanding of what to follow and what to expect, where to pivot and what to report on.

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

Knowing when to move on, as spending 10 years in one role had its benefits and challenges. You become so familiar with one company, the team, and the processes you’ve implemented that it’s hard to know when the right time to leave is. I got to a stage where I knew I was ready for a new challenge. I wanted to apply my skills and experiences in new environments and to grow from new experiences and teams, and in turn it was time for others to implement new ways of working and bring fresh ideas. It was a difficult decision, but I’ve learned to be open to situations and to follow what you know is right for you.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Without a doubt co-founding and helping to build ddroidd with the team. It’s true what they say about the people you surround yourself with, and they inspire me in some way every day. We have a great shared vision and I feel extremely fortunate to call these guys my teammates and my friends.

Melissa Hendry

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

Asking questions. It sounds strange but asking ‘why’ or ‘how’ (at the right time) enables you to better your understanding and learn something new, but it can also create an opportunity to become involved in projects, conversations or meetings that you might not otherwise have been involved in. By showing an interest in the context and the application of something, you’ll at the very least learn something new that you can apply at a later date, and at best create an opportunity to be involved in something new and meet new people.

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

Build your personal network and attend events if you can. The tech sector is such an open and collaborative community, which is what I love about it. There are so many events where people share their experiences and knowledge that there’s always something new to learn and someone new to meet. And you never know where those connections or that knowledge will lead you.

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

Yes. I think it’s improving but barriers still exist. The awareness raised on this topic over the last 10 years has played a huge part in inspiring women to undertake STEM related courses and to start or move into roles within tech companies. There’s also an incredible number of tech start-ups, with increasing demand for talent and many that are advocates and champions of diversity in their teams, which is fantastic to see.

However, barriers and lack of representation still exists for women in senior leadership and board positions within the tech sector. Studies show that those companies with women in senior positions perform better financially and have higher levels of overall innovation; so the business case for wider representation is there.

We need to normalise it by celebrating and showcasing the successes and achievements of those women working within IT. Offer a platform and a voice, and insist that you have a mixed representation of speakers.

Encourage those within our networks, businesses, and circles to aim as high as they want. Start the business. Apply for the role, the funding, the training budget. Seek a mentor and where time permits, become a mentor, and share your experiences.

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

Don’t make diversity a check-box exercise – really understand the importance and the benefits that having a diverse team brings to the business and the people working within it. The saying ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ is very valid in this case. Having women in management and leadership positions, in all areas of business, is key to inspiring others to join and to elevate within their roles.

Invest in their growth and future in their role-based skills, soft skills, and their wellness. Offer women the opportunities to be internal and external speakers – hear their journeys, their challenges, their suggestions, and ideas. And pay them equally.

Flexible working is also a huge consideration for people with dependents or different productivity patterns. Businesses should utilise the multitude of tools and apps created to facilitate remote, hybrid and flexible working. The studies show the benefits in time, cost, productivity, and work/life balance that flexible working offers, and businesses will be left behind if they don’t start to embrace it.

And to women looking to advance – apply for the role! Don’t wait until you tick every box on the ‘requirements’ list – few do, so throw your hat in the ring. Companies – stop creating unnecessary lists of long role requirements. Hire for competency but also for passion, aptitude, diversity, drive and hunger – these are the people that will grow your business.

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?

Start earlier with education and expand people’s understanding of what the tech sector is and all it encompasses – both the businesses within it and the roles required to support it. If we look at schools and those students starting to think about their careers. How many young kids understand how to use mobile apps? Many. But how many understand how those apps are built – the roles required to build and support it and the careers they offer? Many perhaps wont. And if you don’t know what a project manager, software engineer, business analyst, automation engineer, or user experience designer does, let alone if those roles exist, how can you aspire to be one?

There is a definite skills shortage in the UK tech industry, so wider access to training and skills development and awareness of the associated career paths, is key to inspiring people to join. And It’s such a fantastic, collaborative, and inspiring community – there are so many amazing businesses pushing the boundaries of innovation and utilising the application of technology for the greater good. Who wouldn’t want to join!

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Websites / online networking

https://www.northernpowerwomen.com

https://www.forwardladies.com/

Books:

Dare to Lead – Brene Brown

The Chimp Paradox – Steve Peters

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F* – Mark Manson

Never Split the Difference – Chris Voss


Emma Bates featured

Inspirational Woman: Emma Bates | Co-Founder, Diem

Emma BatesEmma Bates is co-founder of new disruptive social media platform Diem, designed for women and non-binary people.

Diem is a new social universe, launching this Autumn (with a waiting list of over 20,000+ already) aiming to tackle the inequality that exists for women and non-binary folks IRL and on social media. Social media is hugely influential to how we live, work and interact with each other, and yet the vast majority of leading platforms are designed by and for men.

Diem is providing a safe, alternative space for women & non-binary folks to share knowledge about the things we don’t talk about openly, marking a move away from performative content and towards a more equitable, personal experience.

Emma is a lifelong advocate for gender equity and equality, and is dedicated to making a positive social impact on the lives of women and non-binary people by building alternative communities.

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

I’m British but living in New York, I moved over about 6 years ago now and since then having been working in the start-up ecosystem stateside. By trade, I’m a marketer, partnerships manager and community builder. My entry into marketing was somewhat untraditional — I started out by growing a blog to 100k+ readers at age 19 and then transitioned into marketing roles at some of the fastest-growing consumer brands in NYC and the UK. Most recently before co-founding my current company, I led Global Marketing & Partnerships initiatives at the DTC travel brand, Away.

Currently I’m building Diem, we’re building a new social universe, designed for women and non-binary folks. We are creating virtual worlds centered on spaces for knowledge sharing. Anything from skincare to 401ks, you’ll find experts & peers to converse with via synchronous & asynchronous mediums. We believe that every persons unique experience is knowledge another can learn from.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I always knew I didn’t want a traditional career path (aka working in a big company). I was lucky to have parents that supported by slightly unconventional ways of getting where I wanted to go and remaining patient while I only applied to start-ups in my final months of university. I’ve always loved being in smaller environments where I can learn from everyone around me and there are no barriers to knowledge.

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

Definitely! Depends on the challenge at hand but I’m a big proponent of asking for help vs trying to figure it out by myself (community is everything!) So typically when something isn’t going quite right I reach out to those who might be able to help me navigate.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Founding Diem was a pretty big achievement and raising our pre-seed round was no easy feat – i’m very proud of all we’re creating and can’t wait for others to experience it.

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

I made a choice to view my career as stepping stones to my larger mission of having a positive social impact on pushing gender equality in the right direction. I think being able to disassociate the day to day with that goal has helped me navigate choices from a more strategic perspective.

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

Ask questions! There are always going to be people who know more than you and typically, they’re happy to share their knowledge. Be curious in meetings and when interfacing with other team members outside your immediate team, that’s how I met my co-founder, I was interested in learning more about digital product and we both worked together at Away so I sought out her knowledge to better understand how you build technology.

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

100% – I don’t think there’s one answer or solution here but I will say that employers should actively seek to hire women into tech not to be a token diversity hire but because they’re really talented (they’re out there! try a bit harder to find them!) From the entrepreneurship side, give more women in tech money – you never know, there’s a big chance we’ll build great, profitable businesses and bring other women along with us.

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

Listen to them and create working environments where they feel confident to contribute.

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?

I’ve thought about this quite a lot in the past, and I really don’t know in all honestly. But one thing I have always come back to is education – if I think about my own school experience, I was never actively encouraged to take subjects that would have prepared me for a career in tech. Access to education & more transparency into all the areas of the tech industry as a starting point would be huge. Much like careers in finance, we know from our research at Diem that the tech world is a black hole to many women still.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I love Femstreet & Accelerated Newsletters for generalized insight into happenings in the tech world! Also recommended finding entrepreneurs & VCs to follow on Twitter, tech Twitter has a lot of (often annoying lol) noise but lots of insights, resources & knowledge is shared.


Jane Brand featured

Inspirational Woman: Jane Brand | Co-Founder, OnSkil

Jane BrandJane Brand is co-founder of OnSkil, a digital platform redefining the way IT candidates are hired, by promoting diversity and removing bias and prejudice from the selection process.

They believe everyone should have the opportunity to shine and achieve their true potential. She has a daughter and son that still keep her very busy, but in my spare time I enjoy playing netball, loves watching football and walking her 3 gorgeous Labrador dogs.

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

I am the Co-founder of a family run recruitment business TWRG Holdings Ltd, we specialise in IT and Digital Design, search and selection.  Being a family business, my role is hands-on, every day carries its own challenges, fortunately I’m super organised and process driven which definitely helps!

Working within a Technology driven market has allowed me to explore my passion for technology further.  I have a desire to make a positive change and appreciate that technology used in the right way can make an impact to improve and leave a legacy that will add value people’s lives.

I am fortunate that TWRG has enabled me to gain industry experience and explore the pitfalls of current processes that have surrounded the industry for decades and proud that we are implementing change by introducing OnSkil to the market, that positively promotes responsible hiring, and actively addresses the issues of EDI via the removal of conscious and unconscious bias.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Growing up in the 80’s there really wasn’t any clear direction or support available to us leaving school.  University was always seen as something for the brightest of students wanting to become Doctors.  I was always a bit of a doer and since I already had a Saturday job in a Travel Agency, I opted to embark on a career in Travel via a youth training scheme (YTS) –as I always wanted to travel the world and believed this would provide the platform.

It wasn’t until my second job working for a large American organisation, that I really opened my eyes to career choices.  I was fortunate to work in a number of different roles during my employment within HR, Purchasing and Marketing functions that really did give me the grounding for a technology based career.

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

The most challenging time in my life was not having a career to focus on.  Being a mum is massively rewarding, I am extremely fortunate to be blessed with two children (adults now), that I can honestly say have challenged me in more ways than any job ever has.  It’s hard work balancing kids and life in general.  I take my hat off to all the full times mums and dads out there!

However, for me, not working through this period, really effected my confidence and self-worth.   It was surprising how much I missed being part of a team and being able to have some independence and ability to contribute financially to family life.

Finding a job around childcare issues was difficult but I am so glad I did return to work!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Creating OnSkil to help promote ‘Responsible’ Hiring – something that has been long overdue.

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

Developing a higher level of Self Confidence.  For years I assumed just because I did not go to university and also prioritised being a mum to two children over a career, I was only able to progress to a certain level in my work.  It was only after a few years of juggling multiple home as well as work issues and effectively working twice as hard as my colleagues, did I finally realise I was not only keeping up with others, but actually out performing them.  This gave me much needed confidence and I realised I was capable of achieving anything I put my mind to.

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

To always remember that Technology should be designed to help people.  Therefore, if you keep this key principle at the heart of every decision you make, great things can happen.

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

Unfortunately, I do believe there are still barriers that exist, particularly when it comes to raising a family.  However, on the plus side, I think these barriers are not sufficient enough to prevent a truly motivated and enthused woman to succeed.  I think we can do both family/career and actually this gives us strength.

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

Remote working, flexi working and most importantly outcome-based working.  Fact is, when things need to be done, very often women can go into ‘overdrive’ and either multi task like super heroes or simply pick up the pace.

There is currently only 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?

Promote more tech related A-Level courses and follow this up with discounted University fees for woman taking IT related degrees.  This could also extend into discounted professional courses so employers are incentivised to develop their female employees on to these courses.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

The biggest resource I would recommend for any woman in tech is to sign up to the OnSkil.com platform.  We want all IT professionals being viewed on a level playing field – OnSkil helps achieve this and by working with companies to help instil a responsible hiring culture, we hope to create a fairer hiring process which can only help woman achieve their chosen goals


Emma Mahy featured

Inspirational Woman: Emma Mahy | CEO & Co-Founder, IoT Solutions Group

Emma MahyMy career started in nursing and, while I have shifted fields more than once, that desire to make a positive difference to society and individuals has always driven what I’ve done.

After I decided to leave my nursing career behind me as a result of injury, I worked in technology for a period of time, managing operational roll-outs. It was a great basis for the future but, after seven years, I felt I needed a fresh outlet for my passion and energy.

It was then that I moved into the charity sector, fundraising and event planning. A period of my life that exposed me to many interesting people and projects. It was truly inspirational to work with others who were making such a positive impact.

After 14 years I decided that I wanted to reignite my career in the world of technology so moved to the network provider, WND. It was there that I met my current business partner, Neal Forse.

Our combined frustration with the IoT market led us to join forces and develop a service that would make the Internet of Things accessible for the masses – helping to realise the potential that it offers to change society and the lives of individuals.

I am now the CEO of IoT Solutions Group and am thoroughly enjoying growing a hungry and talented team and proposition, as we gain more traction and demonstrate the effectiveness of our solutions.

The last three years have been exciting and inspiring. I’ve met and worked with many amazing people who have taught me so much and been a constant source of inspiration. We have developed some genuinely life-saving solutions in the field of adult social care. We have also deployed transformational solutions in fields such as social housing, waste management, smart parking and compliance – all with the intention of improving public services and saving organisations money.

With my background in nursing and charities, the tech world may seem a strange step but, as we’re demonstrating, tech can be for good and I am delighted that all the work I have put in is making a positive impact on the lives of individuals and society as a whole.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

At the beginning yes. I planned to be a nurse but then, after a period of time I decided I needed a change and, to some extent, my subsequent career has ‘happened’! By that I mean I didn’t have a specific plan, other than wanting to be involved in work that makes a positive difference.

The roles I have undertaken have arisen as a result of my relationships. Getting to know people, helping others out, exploring opportunities and so on. The more I explored, the more doors opened.

The career choices I have made, whilst not planned from the beginning, are a result of hard work and strong relationships nurtured over time.

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

The biggest challenge I faced was when I sustained an injury that meant I had to halt my career in nursing. I was 18 and all the studying I’d done and the work experience I’d gained to that point had been focused on that career path. It was devastating to me at the time.

I had to stop, reassess my life and decided what I was going to do next. I took the opportunity to travel around Australia and Asia and think about what I wanted to do. I made a point of opening my mind to new opportunities, built my networks and explored all options.

My future turned out to be hugely positive but, as a young woman whose chosen career had come to a sudden dead end, it was a significant mental challenge to overcome and required calmness, friends, family and a great deal of patience to make the next step.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Without doubt it is being bold enough to set up IoT Solutions Group. Evolving the company from a micro business with embryonic ideas to an organisation that is scaling and employing people fills me with enormous pride.

We produce our own UK manufactured devices, have developed our own data analytics and reporting platform, work with a fantastic team of employed and contracted champions in engineering, sales, marketing and administration and, most importantly, we have solutions in the field with a range of clients making a huge difference…saving lives, improving environments and more.

If you’d told me five years ago that I’d be sat here now telling you this story, I’d have laughed at you. It’s been stressful, challenging, exciting, tiring and rewarding – often all at the same time!

The journey has been exciting but also hugely educational. Every day I learn something new, be it about PCB components, the world of adult social care or PR…it’s refreshing and inspiring to work across so many areas of the business.

I’ve made a difference in many places but to establish and grow the business as I have with my business partner, Neal, is truly exhilarating.

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

Relationships. Without doubt, connecting with people, listening to their challenges and needs, being an open door and establishing trust is the number one factor.

I have a wide and varied network and love talking to people. Asking questions and understanding other people’s goals has created so many opportunities. One conversation leads to an introduction or a follow-up meeting, out of which a long-lasting relationship is built. Other conversations lead to invitations to speak at events, from which new sales leads appear or expert advice is uncovered.

No successful person achieves success alone – even the biggest names out there have mentors, coaches and critical friends to call upon.

I’m truly grateful to those that have helped me on my journey.

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

There three elements I’d emphasise.

1 – As per the previous question – relationships and networks. Put yourself out there, meet people, be brave, ask questions and be curious.

2 – Tenacity – simply put, don’t give up. If you have a passion and a meaningful problem to which you have a solution, go for it! If you have a good idea, it may need refining, but there are people out there who can, and want to, help you. Persist and connect - you’ll find the support you need.

3 – Look after yourself. Any career path can be challenging and, in the fast-moving world of technology it is easy to feel overwhelmed or out of your depth. In truth, most people are in the same boat; they have a good idea or a particular passion but need to learn. No-one has all the answers so don’t be hard on yourself.

Cut yourself some slack, keep a trusted group of friends close to help you and also take time out to give your mind a rest. Burnout doesn’t help anyone.

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

Sadly, yes. There are barriers for women across all industries, relating to age old cultures and societal norms, such as women traditionally being the ones to take parental leave and promotions being hard to come by as a result.

Whilst improving, unconscious bias still exists and women are not treated as equals. Most women will be able to relate to situations of men talking to their male colleagues, even if the colleague is the more junior or less experienced member of staff.

I am hopeful that cultures are improving, but there is still a way to go.

To overcome these barriers though we have to be ruthless in demonstrating our competence. Take the podium when opportunities arise, open doors through strong relationships, get your name out there in the media and on social networks. Don’t take no for an answer and maintain your self-belief.

Only by raising your head above the parapet can you prove to the world that you have something to contribute. As I said before, if you have a good idea and energy, you will make it. It may be harder to make the cut through as a woman, but it can be done.

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

The starting point has to be cultural. Leadership teams need to genuinely embrace inclusive ways of working. It’s not just about saying the right things, but genuinely valuing the input and views of the whole workforce.

By opening conversation and welcoming challenge from across the organisation, ways of working are improved and opportunities are available to all. This culture has to be lived throughout all levels of management and be genuinely adopted by the whole team – lip service is not sufficient.

Alongside a true culture of inclusivity and openness, organisations then need to look at more practical methods of helping women in tech progress. Parental leave policies need to give women the chance to return to their careers after having a baby, without penalty. Support in training and development needs to be made available to those that want to embrace it and networks developed that allow women to access the expertise and support that will help them progress.

If entrenched barriers are removed and support provided then we can progress. To my mind though, it’s a case of ensuring the institutional barriers at corporate and societal level are dismantled.

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?

Making science and technology be seen as gender neutral in schools. If we can move away from STEM subjects being seen as the domain of boys and embed initiatives that open them to all, the change will come.

The nature of children is that they want to do things that are fun and don’t separate them from their peers, so if we can make STEM subjects ‘cool’ for all, we’re on to something.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I don’t have one or two particular go-to places. I have progressed by having a broad range of inputs so networking groups and accelerators such as Barclay’s Eagle Labs are valuable, organisations such as Digital Catapult also offer opportunities to meet inspirational people you can learn from.

I also find that local networking groups offer great opportunities to build strong relationships, as it’s easier to connect with them more frequently on a personal level. Hailing from Dorset, I’m extremely lucky, as it is a hotbed of technological innovation, but there are more and more innovation centres popping up around the UK, so seek them out and jump in with two feet.


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Inspirational Woman: Tess Cosad | CEO & Co-Founder, Béa Fertility

Tess CosadTess Cosad is a femtech expert and CEO and co-founder of Béa Fertility: a fertility tech startup focussed on democratising access to safe, affordable fertility treatment.

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

I’ve always enjoyed building businesses and supporting founders, starting in 2014 when I founded Emberson Ventures, a B2B marketing agency specialising in launching new products and producing creative campaigns in technology-led sectors. In 2018, I created Hers By Design, a female-led, female focussed FemTech brand, and later that year was the first woman to lead a digital marketing-focussed accelerator program in Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Growth Velocity Academy.

Today, I am a co-founder and the CEO of Béa Fertility. Béa Fertility was born of a shared vision for a world in which everyone is able to access the care they need to start their families. We are building the first at-home fertility treatment of its kind in the UK, which will empower anyone who cannot conceive naturally to carry out ICI (Intracervical Insemination) at home, on their terms. Our treatment kit will deliver everything users need to carry out one cycle of ICI straight to their doors: including insemination devices, ovulation tests and pregnancy tests. The ICI treatment method is proven to increase chances of conception by 60% if used over six months. Our treatment will launch in early 2022 and you can sign up to our waiting list to be the first to hear when it’s available.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

Having worked with lots of inspiring women in tech throughout my career, I’d always hoped that one day I’d have the opportunity to build something myself that would change women’s lives. I’ve always been really interested in femtech; and have long championed women’s health solutions designed by women, with women’s needs in mind. I was never set on entering the fertility sector specifically, but as soon as I started to recognise the gaps in our fertility provision in the UK, I knew this was a sector I wanted to transform.

Today, I’m actually quite structured about goal setting, but this didn’t start until I was 26, when I was at an interesting juncture in my life. I met an entrepreneur who taught me how to look ahead and dream of the career I wanted in 5 years, then walk it back to what would need to happen each year to make that dream come to life. Now, each year between Christmas and New Year’s, I take time to plan out the year ahead, always referring to the (now very crumpled, scrappy) piece of paper with that 5 year plan on it. I believe there is so much to be gained from knowing where you want to end up in life, and I credit where I am today to that goal setting system.

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

I think the most significant challenge I faced earlier in my career was getting on a flight to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) as the first woman to teach a startup bootcamp out there. I’ve always forced myself to ‘say yes’, and accept challenges I’m not sure I can tackle. This was definitely the most significant challenge I’ve said yes to, and taught me that when I set my mind to something, I can do it. It helped me immeasurably when fundraising for Béa Fertility, a process that also was pretty challenging, and took determination and grit. I heard a mentor once say that he has more respect for the founders who get told ‘no’ 200 times rather than the founders who get told ‘no’ only 20 times. To his mind, getting through a tough round without giving up is a sign of true determination. I couldn’t agree with him more, and think that the challenge of raising our pre-seed shaped how I operate as a CEO today.

Building a medical device is also not without its challenges. It took nearly two years of prototyping and ideating before the Béa device as we know it today came to life, and even longer before we could begin fundraising. We went through nearly 90 iterations of the early prototype to get to the device we have today, and we’re still iterating.

Particularly in fertility, there is also a huge responsibility to build safe, clinically validated, effective treatments, and the regulatory hurdles that come with this can present challenges. We’ve had to practice patience, acute attention to detail and perseverance. But we’re almost at the stage where our product is ready to launch - and it has definitely been worth the wait.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m incredibly proud of securing Béa £800k in pre-seed funding, through both an equity round and an Innovate UK Smart Grant, which has enabled us to finish building our product and prepare to launch. It was also incredibly important to me that we had female investors on board, so it means a huge amount to me that the angel investors on our cap table are a 50/50 female-male split.

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

I truly believe the 5-year/1-year goal setting system I talked about above has played a role in my success – not the system itself, but the act of writing down on paper what I want to achieve in life. Just by writing it down it becomes something tangible, something that you can reach for, even if just a little.

As women in the workplace, we’re often told we need to get better at saying ‘no’, setting boundaries, protecting our time or our inboxes more. Whilst I believe this is true, somewhat paradoxically, I think my success today comes from taking the opposite approach: saying yes. When asked to do something I am not sure I can deliver, I’ll say ‘yes’ to the opportunity and then figure it out later. This forcing myself into accepting these challenges has actually allowed me to prove to myself, time and time again, that I can achieve brilliant things if I set my mind to it. This is the other key driver I credit my success to.

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

Persevere. You will be told ‘no’ many times, but there will be people in the world whose lives will be changed by the tech you envisage. You have to persevere to find those people and bring your idea to life.

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

There are definitely prohibitive barriers to success for women in tech. The biggest barrier is access: access to education, to capital, to mentors and leaders providing representation. Even today, the statistics on the venture funding that goes to female-led teams vs. male-led teams is depressing. But every new woman-led product that secures investment and comes to market helps pave the way for other female entrepreneurs.

The first thing we need to do to overcome some of these barriers is to offer women a seat at the table in tech-led sectors. Currently, there aren’t enough women on boards, in C-Suites or in VC firms. Women need to be included in conversations about tech from the very beginning, to ensure new products being brought to market include women’s perspectives. When we are involved in tech from conception through to launch (and beyond), we can set an example, lead from the front and build products that work for everyone. We can also start to normalise the presence of women in tech-led sectors - whether it’s femtech, fintech, hardware or software - setting a precedent and creating role models to inspire other women to enter the sector. When women are not at the table, Pinky Gloves happen. When women are at the table, intelligent solutions to problems that affect all humans are far more likely.

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

I would say that support is needed at every level, starting right at the very beginning - as a company, sponsor opportunities and education programs that encourage girls to get into STEM. Provide mentorship to young women seeking STEM careers, and support those students through their education if you can. Companies can also provide internships to female scientists and graduates – the critical idea here is promoting and supporting opportunities that empower young women to go into technical education programs.

It’s not just about getting women into technical careers – it’s about supporting those same women throughout the course of their career. Too many women leave the workforce when it’s time to start a family, and this is seen across all industries. Champion better shared parental leave policies, welcome breastfeeding in the office, support women as they come back to work, and make the workplace something that complements and supports their family time, rather than something that competes with their family time.

At Béa, our company handbook expressly welcomes breastfeeding in the office – in meetings, in a private room, at your desk. Wherever you feel comfortable. Small changes like this make an enormous difference to the women reading your HR policies, and show a commitment to supporting women throughout their entire career.

On a more tactical level, it all starts with hiring. As a tech startup, you have a responsibility to ensure your hiring processes are free from bias and are attracting a range of candidates. You should review the language you use in your job descriptions to ensure you’re not alienating women by using typically ‘masculine’ language. You could also put processes in place to root out gender bias in the way you shortlist CVs and assess candidates at interview.

When women take their seat in the C-suite, it adds to the blueprint for every other woman seeking to reach the top in their career. It’s tough to reach for what you can’t see, and for this reason, representation is critical.

There are currently only 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? 

For everyone who says these changes take time, I say: look at how the world of work responded to COVID-19. Look at how quickly we all went online, working virtually, even taking board meetings online. When there is a clear need, change can happen quickly. I think there is a clear need to better support women as they enter and remain in technical careers.

Transparency is key: I would urge companies to publish their percentages: the % of their engineering team who are female, the % of their board who are female, etc. If it’s low, publish a plan to improve it. If it’s high, champion it so others can see that it is possible.

With a magic wand, I would want to undo the many years of damaging narrative so many girls heard back in school: ‘girls can’t do math’ and ‘engineering is for boys’ are two I heard too often. When we unpick these narratives and instead tell girls that they can do anything, they often do, going on to achieve the most amazing accomplishments. It’s our responsibility to re-write the stories girls hear. Things are beginning to change, and I truly cannot wait to see what the next generation of women achieve, reclaim, redefine and conquer.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech? 

I am obsessed with reading and learning, and believe that the best way to accelerate your career is to constantly seek to improve yourself and your mind. To this end, there are some classics that are on my shelf and that feature in every Béa new starter’s induction:

  • Radical Candour, by Kim Scott
  • The Great Unlearn, an education platform built and led by Rachel Cargle
  • Leadership and Self Deception, by the Arbinger Institute
  • The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz
  • Everything Below the Waist, by Jennifer Block
  • Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup
  • Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • Burnout, by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski
  • Difficult Conversations, by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone
  • Brené Brown – her podcast, TED Talk, basically, anything she does.

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


Inspirational Woman: Enass Abo-Hamed | Co-Founder, H2GO

Enass Abo-Hamed
Photo: Harry Parvin

Enass is an activist, businesswoman and entrepreneur. She co-founded H2GO, an engineering company developing new ways to store clean energy when she was 28.

Although Enass has always been an activist at heart, it was only during a trip to Africa when studying for her PhD that she realised how much of a luxury electricity was, with some hospitals only receiving power for 12 hours of the day. For Enass, engineering is simply about wanting to solve a problem and having the passion and the imagination to create a solution.

Enass is a part of This is Engineering Day, a day created by the Royal Academy of Engineering to celebrate the world-shaping engineering that exists all around us but often go unnoticed, as well as the engineers who make this possible. As part of This is Engineering Day, the Royal Academy of Engineering has announced plans to create a new virtual museum named The Museum of Engineering Innovation, which can be accessed through QR Codes dotted around the country as well as by visiting Google Arts and Culture. To view the first collection of exhibits, which include Jonnie Peacock’s running blade, visit https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/museum-of-engineering-innovation. #BeTheDifference

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

Enass Abo-Hamed, a scientist turned entrepreneur to run an engineering business. I co-founded H2GO Power during my PhD at Cambridge University 6 years ago and been running it since. H2GO Power is developing and deploying safe and low-cost hydrogen storage technologies. Their mission is to bring affordable reliable clean energy to millions across the globe in a green way for large social and environmental impact.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I do that every week, whilst the highlights of my career so far were never in my plans, but I always think about the next step and the step after next.

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

There has always challenges; and there has always been a solution to every challenge I faced, from fundraising to being accepted and recognised in a male-dominated industry to technical challenges of scaling a complex technology. The best way to overcome every single one was through thinking about the root-cause, put my head down and try and focus on the changes I needed to make to address the challenge. Usually it works!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Starting H2GO Power without a question, it is also the proudest achievement of my life so far. We build technology solutions that change people’s lives: provide reliable clean power round the clock and eliminate carbon-emissions.

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

Determination and always looking forwards never backwards

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

Find a cause that excites you or a problem you want to solve. If you put all the effort in to making continuous progress towards the cause you’ve chosen and surround yourself with the people that will support and inspire you, you’ll get far.

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

I do. Women are misrepresented in tech across the entire spectrum from the talent pool at entry level to executive level. When it comes to founding and running tech companies, the investors who have central role to funding tech businesses that grow successfully are less than 5%. That underrepresentation can be a result of barriers like funders fund founders that are like them. It is not a secret that women have a really hard time raising big funding rounds and growing large tech companies.

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

Pay more attention to the behavioural differences and embrace policies that correct biases.

There is currently only 17% 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?

Women in tech representation is a leaky pipeline. We need to understand where the pipe starts to leak and fix it right there. There is a significantly higher % of women at University education in STEM, but they don’t make it to the workforce or they never progress to their fullest potential in the tech industry. That is a real problem that we need to solve by introducing measures that help women stay and progress in their tech carrier. I personally would look at attracting more women to tech early on, and help women run balanced careers when they are at the stage of having children.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

CES, CogX, International centre for AI, Energy and Climate, Exponential View.


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


Inspirational Woman: Christin Günther | Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, BIOMES

Christin Günther

Christin Günther, 35, is the co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at BIOMES.

In 2012, she successfully completed her studies in Media & Communication Sciences and Psychology at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. She lived in London for more than six months and has worked in various major German cities for well-known companies during her professional career. This includes several years of agency and management experience at executive level, including as Head of Media with a budget responsibility of over 13,000,000€. In 2017, she co-founded BIOMES NGS GmbH, a biotechnology company which now has over 60 employees. BIOMES uses the Next Generation Sequencing method to analyse the DNA of microbes that live in and on the human body. The results are personal microbiota profiles, on the basis of which clients receive individual recommendations for improving their quality of life. Outside of work, Christin has a passion for travelling to foreign countries, as she has an affinity for languages and other cultures.

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

My background is pretty far away from what I am currently doing. I have gone from working in marketing to co-founding BIOMES, a DNA biotech start-up. This is actually a good thing, because I have a good understanding of consumers and markets from my background in communications, psychology and advertising and therefore was able to help our scientists to make a simple product out of very complex high-tech laboratory processes.

I am a co-founder of BIOMES and started off as CPO, Chief Product Officer. I was responsible for our product and communication of this product. One of the most important tasks in my field was to create a brand that feels good and is associated with health, but at the same time conveys 100% science. Or in other words - building a ‘sexy’ brand around a scientific stool test (the INTEST.pro uses revolutionary DNA sequencing to analyse your gut intestinal flora to provide personalised diet and lifestyle changes for improved quality of life, all from a pin-sized stool sample). Currently, the INTEST.pro is our only test, alongside our priobiotic range and product bundles. However, our DNA technology can do much more and our goal is ambitious. We want to become the go-to provider for genomics and are already setting the gold standard in DNA-based microbiome analysis.

I am currently switching roles from CPO to CMO – Chief Marketing Officer. With this, I am letting go of product, but I am integrating the sales team into my responsibility.

As a founder in tech, it is super important to not only focus on your own responsibilities, but to check what’s going on in the rest of the company. So, I make sure to do a lot more than product, marketing or customer satisfaction.  I “watch” that everything we do is in line with our values and that we maintain our amazing company culture that is authentic from when we were just 7 founders to now, a growing company that wants to become one of the very rare German ‘tech unicorns.’

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

To be honest – no. I was always very ambitious in what I did, but I did not have a specific plan. I wanted to do well at uni which I did, and I wanted my first job to be in a renowned advertising agency which it was. I got to the point where I did not want to do advertising anymore, but something with more “sense”, something that does good for people. Then I met our now-CEO Dr. Paul Hammer and took a chance co-founding BIOMES, which was the best decision ever because it’s way more than a career-step, it’s a nonstop roller coaster ride.

Coming from a social and behavioural sciences background and working in marketing for many years before founding our biotech start-up meant that I was from a completely different field and it was a wonderful experience for me to immerse myself in our technology, to understand what it can do and to turn it into a product that customers can easily use at home.

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

Before co-founding BIOMES, just like everyone, I experienced good and “bad” bosses, but even from the “bad” ones I learnt a lot. There is so much to learn in terms of how NOT to do something when you become boss.

The biggest challenge within BIOMES was and is the constant confrontation with German scepticism. In our experience, it is much more common in Germany to demonise new technologies and to immediately label new things as ‘useless’, for fear of having to deal with them. We experience this again and again in our discussions with doctors, experts or the media. In the US and UK, there is a culture of supporting new start-ups and technologies. The INTEST.pro has helped more than 20,000 customers feel better - yet there are still self-proclaimed experts whose knowledge is not ours who continue to call it useless.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My biggest career achievement so far has been to take a leap and co-found a company whose valuation we have now increased more than tenfold, which has already made over 20,000 customers happy and employs over 60 people who really enjoy working for us. Our 60 employees are of eleven different nationalities, and we have a female quota of 45%, which is really great for a company with a focus on IT, laboratory and bioinformatics. I have always been committed to gender balance, but I am also very proud of my male co-founders who have never questioned it.

Furthermore, the possibilities for BIOMES are almost endless. With our core technology, we can theoretically analyse any DNA that exists on the planet. For example, our bacteria also influence soil fertility, the health of livestock and the purity of our waters. So, in the future, our analysis could help make soil more fertile and livestock healthier. I am proud to be part of something with so much potential.

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

From my first and best (female) boss I observed that she was asking more questions than anyone else – and her outcomes were way better than those of anyone else. From this, I learned to really OWN what I was doing and to ask even the silliest of questions to make sure I really understand everything.
Furthermore, I am a true optimist and can get enthused about not just my area of the company, but BIOMES as a whole. This is extremely important if you want to convince people to work for your start-up.

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

Don't be shy and don't be put off by the fear of not being able to do something because you think tech always equals rocket science. And: In salary negotiations, know your worth and put forward your thoughts with confidence.

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

Fortunately, I do not see any barriers for women in our company specifically; we do have women in operational positions, but the quota gets lower and lower the higher up the position. So, it seems in tech, just like in most other industries, women still have a harder time working in leadership positions. However, there are sufficient studies that show that women at the top make companies more successful in the long term.

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

I think a good start would be to treat women and men completely equally, to give them the same opportunities, to pay them the same salary and to give their opinions equal weight. I still find that women, especially at a certain age, are perceived more as soon-to-be-bearers of children rather than as employees to be taken seriously, or that women are given less responsibilities at work after parental leave. This makes me very angry, and I am passionate about working to change this.

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?

I were to spend a day at the helm, I would collect the surplus profits of tech giants and donate them to projects dedicated to female empowerment. There is still a lot to do in this area, especially to get more women into positions of responsibility, as women still make up a lower proportion of start-ups, especially in tech. I was also the only woman in our founding team.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

My key advice would be to go to networking events and approach people with confidence and enthusiasm. Don’t be shy, and talk to interesting people to cultivate your contacts. In terms of podcasts, I love ‘Women Tech Charge’ hosted by Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO of ‘STEMettes’, an initiative aimed at encouraging the next generation of girls into STEM careers. In each episode, a female inventor, entrepreneur or senior leader have candid conversations with the hosts to reveal the funny and inspiring side of tech. I find it really engaging and aspirational to listen to.


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


Dr Mona Kab Omir featured

Inspirational Woman: Dr Mona Kab Omir | Co-Founder & CTO, Vatic

Dr Mona Kab Omir

I grew up in Denmark and I was always very ambitious and wanted to make a difference in the world.

My learning about philosophy at a very young age opened up a creative way of thinking about science. My background is multidisciplinary and includes 12 years of academic and industrial experience across disciplines such as pharmaceutical sciences, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and nanomedicine. I did a PhD in University of Liverpool in the department of chemistry. I always wanted to experience entrepreneurship and thought I wanted to do something different and new, which led me to discover an accelerator called Entrepreneur First in London. It’s here where I met my cofounder Alex Sheppard I knew immediately that we complemented each other and with him I could deploy my skillsets in the space of diagnostics. We were both very aligned in our mission about democratising healthcare and make it more proactive. I remember that thoughout the ideation stage of the programme we kept making each other excited with new and novel ideas.

I’m delighted to announce that following this, I became the co-founder and CTO of Vatic, which has produced an innovative rapid antigen test for COVID-19 called KnowNow. Unlike others on the market, our technology requires only a saliva swab which is a lot more comfortable than a nasal swab.

My main responsibilities are to manage the scientific team both in the process of science, development and tech transfer alongside the design to execute research programme and generating intellectual property. What this essentially means is making inventions that drive the company’s technology forward, our commercial products and the technical support in regulations, supply chain and feasibility assessments of our products. I also have other responsibilities such as being a decision maker in the company operations, finances and company board.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I had a few moments of self-reflection based on my life experiences and I knew that I wanted to build something that can have a huge impact on the world. The choices I’ve made were based on the journey I went through in academia, industry and an earlier start-up experience. I felt that building something innovative in an institution was hard and I always found myself fighting against reluctant people. It was moments like these where I realised that I need to find an environment that allows me to grow and do something more impactful.

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

Throughout my career I was always told and felt that I wasn’t good enough. Despite this I always had a dream and ambition to do something different that can make a great and positive impact in the world using my philosophical thinking and skillsets.  This ambition led me to work much harder in the face of career challenges and blocks to achieve these goals.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

My biggest career achievement was the establishment of Vatic with my cofounder Alex – our company shares my vision and ambition. In the pre-seed stage of our company, when we were very small I made an invention of a mutation-proof covid antigen infectiousness test called KnowNow. This invention was patented, and with new team members, we worked on CE marking the product - all in 11 months. It has been an exciting journey to bring a new invention from benchtop to CE marking in such a short space of time. It’s also enormously satisfying to reach this milestone, having solved the many technical challenges along the way myself when bringing this innovation to life.

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

I think that e major factor of me achieving success has been working outside of academia which enabled me to be more independent and radical in scientific approach outside of structural institutional strictures. In the past I have found academic environments to sometimes restrict or stifle the freedom of innovation that scientists really need to bring inventions to life. I was determined to prove that success can be achieved in science outside of a university environment.

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

Find a workplace where there is an environment that empowers you to excel and makes you a visible part of its success, with supportive colleagues and values that are truly aligned with your own. Build into all of your working relationships open, honest and direct communication where feedback is continually and actively encouraged from all members of the team.

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

It is very discouraging to be told that you are not good enough and that you can’t do well without help from a person in a position of authority in academia. Discouragement can have a negative impact on career progression for everyone not just women. My experience is that many people react negatively towards a woman that is self-assured and strong. These barriers can be overcome by creating a friendly environment that offers two-way feedback with the aim to proactively discuss all issues and concerns. I also recommend other women to be more upfront when they feel discouraged and uncomfortable about a situation as this will improve any team dynamic and strengthen your position.

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

Always have at least one woman on the list when hiring and include women in informal bonding activities!

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?

My advice is simple -  encourage, credit and acknowledge women to get into tech.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Quite a few books! Becoming by Michelle Obama, Marie Curie: A Life From Beginning to End: 4 (Biographies of Women in History), Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA and also A Crack in Creation Jennifer A. Doudna (author), Samuel H. Sternberg (author)


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


Jordan Brampton featured

Inspirational Woman: Jordan Brompton | Co-Founder & CMO, myenergi

Jordan Brampton, myenergiAward-winning business leader, author, eco warrior, radio presenter and mumpreneur, Jordan Brompton is the co-founder of myenergi – pioneer of the world’s first EV charger that uses 100% renewable energy as opposed to mains electricity.

Passionate about sustainability, Jordan’s mission is to create a kinder, more sustainable future for our planet.

Since its inception, Jordan’s leadership has seen myenergi grow from a small team of six, to a 140-strong business shipping tens of thousands of units worldwide every month, driving a measurable reduction in mains energy reliance and supporting the global transition to electrification. During the pandemic, the business has seen a 2,250% increase in profitability.

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

I co-founded myenergi in 2016, alongside my business partner Lee Sutton. Day-to-day, I’m the CMO – a role that includes directing the sales and marketing departments, leading business development and driving corporate partnerships. In short, I’m responsible for myenergi becoming a globally-acclaimed brand, renowned for a range of first-to-market products that challenge convention and pave the way to a more sustainable future.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

To be honest, my career has been a whirlwind. To say I sat down and meticulously planned where I wanted to be in three, five or ten years would be stretching the truth. However, I did know from the outset that I wanted to work in the renewable energy industry – making a difference, doing my bit to preserve the planet and ensuring that my children have a bright future. Running a business has given me the opportunity and autonomy to make this dream a reality.

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

Building the myenergi brand from the ground up has taught me so much about myself. I’ve learnt to have confidence in my own ability, to take risks (fear is a good thing!) and not let being scared of the unknown prevent me from making decisions. The common misconception is that all business leaders must be ruthless. That simply isn’t me. I’m empathetic, compassionate, collaborative and inclusive. I don’t stand on people to get to where I want to be, I employ the very best people and help them climb the ladder alongside me.

On a more practical level, running your own business throws up new challenges every day. From parts shortages and navigating the pandemic, to being a full-time working mum, hurdles are to be expected. I’ve managed to overcome these by having the grit, determination and passion to take every day as it comes and fight for success.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

At myenergi, our inspiration has always been to create a positive impact, push the boundaries of possibility and change the world through pioneering green technologies. We love what we do and we’re truly passionate about what we can achieve. With most jobs, it’s difficult to see the impact you’re making. At myenergi, every minute you spend at the office helps to make the world a better place.

My biggest career achievement to date has been launching zappi – our first-to-market eco-smart EV charger, which makes it possible to power your electric vehicle with 100% renewable energy. Alongside being our flagship product, putting myenergi on the global map, it’s a fantastic product that helps people make a real difference. As a passionate environmentalist, I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved.

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

The obvious answer here is having the drive, determination, passion and enthusiasm to never give up and push the boundaries. But while all of this is true, it doesn’t tell the whole story. I think that having a strong and supportive team around me has not only been pivotal in my career success, but also the success of myenergi.

My business partner Lee is obviously an inspiration – I’ve worked with him for a number of years and watched his incredible journey first-hand. But the wider team at myenergi, which we effectively handpicked, has proven pivotal to the products we’ve created, the impact we’re having and the mountains we’re moving.

Jordan Brampton, myenergiWhat top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

My advice for anyone looking to progress in the tech industry is to work in a company that motivates you. You need to arrive in the office every day and love what you’re doing. You need to be proud of who you work for, proud of your role and proud of what you’re able to achieve.

If you’re motivated, enthusiastic and committed, you’ll be able to deliver your best work and really thrive. Don’t be ashamed to show your passion, work on your personal profile or celebrate your successes. Be the person that others look up to – I promise it’s the best thing you can do for your career.

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

When people mention technology, many automatically think of complicated, boring and challenging work. It’s an unappealing word and, unfortunately, that dissuades a huge percentage of women from working in the sector. For those who do persevere, tech firms are still dominated by a predominantly male workforce.

While I don’t tend to like quotas in industry, preferring to promote people based on their skills and attitude, there may be an exception where women in tech are concerned. It’s obvious that the UK suffers from an issue of culture where women in tech are concerned. Short-term quotas could be used to kick start a new approach.

Technology is a thriving industry; it’s a hugely rewarding career and one that is driving the future. Women not only deserve to be a part of that, but it will also be their contributions, their passion and intelligence, which will help to us get there.

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

Companies can do so much to help drive the careers of their female employees. A key reason why only a small percentage of tech roles are filled by women is that many businesses fail to effectively support the balance of their team members juggling a high flying career and having a family.

Flexibility, agility and understanding is key. From my own experiences, businesses that mould themselves around their staff are hugely successful. We need to harness talent and support the growth of our female staff force, rather than chastising them for having a life, children and other responsibilities away from the office.

If you show your employees that trust and commitment, it will be given back to you two-fold.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are so many podcasts, events, books, websites and conferences that have helped me as a woman working in tech – whether leadership, management, mindset or sector-specific. So many, in fact, that I could spend days picking the best.

One channel that I think we all overlook sometimes is social media. For any professional looking to invest in themselves, there’s a wealth of knowledge, insight, guidance and best practice buzzing around digital channels.

Take the time to read, learn, listen and digest. But also, get involved in the conversations – follow hashtags, build your network, put forward your viewpoints, ask questions and offer your own advice. It’s the only symmetric resource you can freely tap into, so use it as much as you can!


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


Joy Nazzari featured

Inspirational Woman: Joy Nazzari | Founding Director, dn&co. & Co-Founder, Showhere

Joy NazzariTell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was born in Brazil to Argentinian parents and later moved to the US where I was educated and received a degree in economics. My first job was in equity research at a boutique tech investment bank before I started working in Silicon Valley. I began my career during the dotcom boom, helping to bring technology companies to the stock market.

I then moved to London and started working with architectural visualisation pioneers Hayes Davidson to help them launch a company making software for large-scale property developments. The firm’s founder, Alan Davidson, put me in charge of the software firm as well as his emerging branding agency.

Eventually I decided to strike out on my own with a colleague to found a branding and design consultancy, dn&co. We specialise in place and culture branding and have been behind the reinvention of some of the UK’s largest neighbourhoods and developments including Broadgate, St James’s and the Royal Docks.

Mid-pandemic I co-founded a new proptech business, called Showhere, on the back of years of digital transformation projects for real estate clients. It’s a presentation platform that enables property businesses to manage and deliver compelling presentations to help them sell and lease space. Our current clients include Knight Frank, British Land and Royal London.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No. Throughout my career I have spotted interesting business opportunities and let them take me in new directions. It’s been really fantastic that the pieces of the puzzle have come together to create something coherent. Along the way it didn’t feel like it ever would.

I do plan now. I’m very interested in how the businesses that I work in can grow and adapt into new markets, and how I can continue to grow within them. I’m also very involved in other people’s career development, so much of my role now is helping to develop other people.

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

Plenty, and they have all ultimately added to my overall career experience — I’m obsessive about nurturing challenges and mistakes into learnings, chewing them over sometimes for years before I think, “Oh! That’s what happened, and now I know that, I’m better”. Perhaps my biggest challenge was channelling passion - passion has an ugly alter ego, and it’s important to bring people along with you, not beat them over the head with what you think is best.

I remember in the early days I would ask clients questions and they would turn and direct their answers to my (male) colleague. This drove him more crazy than me, but eventually that stopped. Any other barriers were mostly my own perceived limitations — when I let go of those success was easier.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m most proud of having advised central and local government and some of the UK's biggest landlords and developers – including British Land, Stanhope, The Crown Estate and Argent Related – on positioning narratives for places, firstly with dn&co and now with Showhere. It has meant I've been a part of some of London’s most significant regeneration projects.

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

I’d say it’s down to two things: optimism and creativity. Together these can get you out of most challenges and bring others along with you.

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

I’m a fan of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In, which talks directly about women in technology but really is relevant for people everywhere. One of my favourite ideas is about “sitting at the table”. Women have a tendency to sit on the fringe and be less likely to get involved in discussion or offer an opinion – we need to move away from that.

If you know what you want to become, I recommend finding people like that and surrounding yourself with them. Mentors are invaluable, and I have been lucky to have a handful through my career. Ultimately though, a mentor will not make you successful: they can advise you, but you have to put the work in to be successful. Discipline is important.

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

Some progress has been made encouraging women to study STEM subjects but the drop-out rate of women in tech jobs needs careful analysis. There is definitely more work that to be done to promote gender diversity and tackle pay gaps in the sector.

Racial diversity is even more alarming – looking at the past 20 years I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people I’ve worked with on the client side who were not white. We need to question why this happens and educate ourselves against bias. It’s vital we change our built-in behaviours that lead to this.

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

I’m not convinced by quotas, but I do think managers should have bias training. It’s incredible how much we don’t realise we’re affected by unconscious bias. I also think it’s the moral duty of business leaders to address pay inequality. I was at an all-male industry dinner with senior leaders once when the table bemoaned how difficult it was to interact with female colleagues now for fear of criticism of their behaviour. Asked for my opinion on what they should do, I said they should all focus on equal pay. The table went completely silent.

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?

I’d love to see a really solid study that shows us at what point we are failing to convert girls from school into tech jobs, and I would direct a ton of private and public funding at that exact moment in a career path.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Linkedin is an incredible resource, and an easy way to self-publish and build your profile — I wish I had taken it more seriously earlier in my career. I also like listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast or his audiobook Tools of Titans which introduces you to the habits and routines of some amazing entrepreneurs.


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