Deazy's All Woman Product Team (800 × 600 px)

Talking careers, challenges & advice for women in STEM with Deazy's All-Woman Product Team

Deazy's All Woman Product Team

Developer marketplace Deazy connects enterprises, VC backed scale-ups and Europe’s biggest agencies with high-quality development teams, handpicked to provide broad technical expertise and greater capacity and flexibility.

In this article, we take a look into Deazy‘s all-woman product team and get their views on getting women and girls into STEM, how they support each other; and their advice to their younger selves.

Let’s meet some of Deazy’s all-woman product team!

Meet Hayley Ransom, Head of Client Services

Hayley is Head of Client Services at Deazy, and has extensive tech and client services experience in her career. She joined Deazy from award-winning digital consultancy and app developer Mubaloo, where she came across Deazy when looking to outsource some of Mubaloo’s development work.

Hayley Ransome

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I didn’t and it still amazes me that I have ended up where I am. I love tech, but I’m not glued to my phone or social media and I love to step back from tech at the weekends. But I do like seeing technology make people’s lives better, which is what drew me in, and it is hard to get bored when there is always so much to learn.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Under-representation of women in tech is a challenge for those already in it. It impacts us in many ways, from unconscious biases in culture, working models and benefits of businesses, to the confidence women feel in their roles. I personally found navigating the bias around ‘female’ characteristics challenging. Being assertive was labelled as aggressive, taking the lead seen as bossy. It took experience, and exposure to some great people, to build the confidence to not let these biases hold me back from expressing my ideas and taking the lead.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I am really proud to work in a tech business with strong female representation – in my career it hasn’t been the case. I’m excited about the opportunity we have at Deazy to support women succeeding in tech and provide role models for women within this industry. Seeing is believing!

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

There needs to be more women in positions of leadership in STEM. With more women leading, not only would the pace of change to support women progressing in tech increase, but the number of women entering the industry would naturally rise, in line with the increase in visibility of women leading.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be someone people can count on to always take ownership and get the job done. Don’t let confidence hold you back, say yes to new challenges before your brain kicks in and tells you it’s not possible, then be humble with what you don’t know and ask smart questions.

Meet Andrea Savidge, Senior Product Manager

Andrea is a Senior Product Manager at Deazy, ensuring ensure products provide as much user and business value as possible. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner with 7 years’ experience in product roles across a wide range of consumer web and mobile apps.

Andrea Savidge, Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes, all the time! But the plan has changed so many times – I think it’s really important to be flexible and adaptable as the industry evolves so quickly. There are so many roles now that didn’t exist when I first got into product. Earlier on in my career I would jump at any opportunity to learn something new and broaden my skill set, which I think has been really valuable in working out where I actually want to focus and what I’m really good at. No knowledge is ever a waste!

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

I’ve seen a lot of women be much more critical of their own skills, myself included. Although this is by no means exclusive to the tech industry, there’s always the fear that starting a family will set you back years compared to male colleagues, who still take much less parental leave than women. I don’t think I’m often aware of barriers being gender specific and I’m very lucky that at Deazy I work with a lot of men who are my biggest cheerleaders, but I’m always super conscious of proving myself in any new group of people, especially when I’m the only woman in the room.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I feel so lucky to be working in a team where everyone is so talented and passionate about what they do. Everyone is so encouraging. Our shared experiences and challenges definitely help us empathise and support each other.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

The range of tech roles and the types of skills needed are not very well understood. I fell into this career path by chance and even though both my parents have Computer Science backgrounds, while I was in education, I had no idea that a product-type role even existed, never mind that it was so well suited to my personality and skillset. I think a lot more can be done to promote tech career paths to women – it’s a fascinating industry with so much scope to make an impact.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never underestimate the importance of building relationships and never be afraid to ask for help.

Meet Sharon Parkes, Product Manager

Sharon is Product Manager at Deazy, having previously worked as a Product Owner at Barclays Partner Finance. She is a Certified Scrum Product Owner and is experienced in refining and prioritising the product backlog and working with the development team and stakeholders to shape the roadmap.

Sharon Parkes_Deazy

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never. Before my first role in product I would usually move roles every six months whilst I struggled to find a career that engaged me. I returned from a career break travelling around South America and took the first job I could find within a call centre for a large bank thinking I would be there for six months as usual and ended up working my way up and staying there for nine years, the last three of which were in Product Management. If you asked me when I left University if this was what I would end up loving as my job, it wouldn’t have even been on my radar.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Within the industry and particularly in a previous role, I have often found myself being the only woman in the room. I had to prove myself and do it fast to ensure I was listened to and could keep my autonomy and decision-making influence within a project. Now I’m more experienced I can go into any room and feel comfortable leading and putting my views on the table from the start. However, it has taken me a long time and a lot of learning to get to a place where I feel like that.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

I’m extremely proud of the team I work in and what we’ve achieved since we’ve been together at Deazy. Whenever someone has a problem, we will come together and skill share. There are no egos or dramas, and everyone is ready to make sure that we all do a good job. I’m especially proud when I see products we’ve helped shape together out in the marketplace or the continually celebrated success of our ever-growing Deazy Platform and the knowledge that these have all been created by an all-female team.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

I think we need to get away from this perception that working in tech is for people who are introverted and sit in dark rooms alone. There are a wide variety of careers and it’s the most collaborative industry that I’ve ever worked in. Ensuring job adverts have the right unbiased language within them and creating better shared parental leave policies would be a good start.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Think before you speak, but always be confident in your skills and decisions. Take the opportunities that come to you without hesitation.

Meet Ella-Jo Brewis Gange, Product Manager

Ella-Jo is Product Manager at Deazy, joining in October 2021 from Nuffield Health where she held the role of Digital Product Owner. She has worked extensively in the health and wellness industry, where she developed the change and stakeholder management skills that are so important to her role at Deazy.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Never! I had high hopes that I’d just ‘get famous’ and that I wouldn’t have to worry about any of the planning. I was in an operational role and found myself filling a gap in technical understanding for internal products. I was then asked if I would consider joining their new product team, I didn’t even know it was an option.

Any opportunities/challenges you’ve faced?

Tech is massive, ever-growing, ever improving and always impressive. You don’t really sit down and think about how websites and apps are built or the work that goes into them until it’s part of your job. I have to remind myself that it’s ok not to know everything, and that the best tech teams have multiple people all leading their part of the puzzle.

You’re part of an all-woman product team – how do you support each other?

Working with our team is brilliant, we have such a strong group of people who have all come from different roles and have different experiences. When there’s a problem it’s discussed together, and solutions are worked through. I trust my team to always be there to build me up as I would do for them. There are no egos to worry about, we all have the same goal and work towards that as one.

How can we encourage more women and girls into the STEM industry?

Make it clear that women and girls can be part of something really big. Just imagine saying you were part of the team that built your favourite app! That can happen and it’s actually pretty fun too… most of the time.

Don’t be afraid of any pre-conceptions that tech is for men – it’s most definitely not. The phrase ‘women in tech’ doesn’t need to exist, I am not a good female product manager, I am a good product manager.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust yourself. Quite often I’ve found myself thinking ‘what about this?’ or ‘how should that work?’ but not having the confidence to say it out loud in a room of colleagues. I would always be worried about being judged as being stupid or difficult to work with.

Ask the questions, as often other people are thinking them too.

Inspirational Woman: Hayley Ransome | Head of Client Services, Deazy

Hayley RansomeI started my career in 2010, having graduated in Psychology. I did some casual work to get the money to travel and, on my return, joined a software company and began my technology journey.

I was initially in a customer care-type role, but it was a business with problems to solve, and if you were the kind of person to jump in, then there were lots of opportunities. I quickly moved to an assistant project manager role and progressed through a number of delivery roles. My  years here were very varied and allowed me to be hands-on with the tech, as well as manage people, interact with clients and figure out the fundamentals of business.

I then began work at a digital agency, which was more commercially focused, and it was there that I first met Andy Peddar, who is the CEO of my current company Deazy. I was looking for ways to deliver more efficiently for our clients and business and looked to outsource some of our development work via Deazy. Because I’d seen first-hand how the model works and the impact that it can have on a business in terms of trying to manage your cost base versus your client demands, joining was a no-brainer for me, when the opportunity arose.

I’m now Head of Client Services at Deazy, and there’s four of us in the client services team. Deazy is a curated marketplace of development talent, a platform to intelligently connect enterprises and agencies with development teams. We’re growing fast, the work is great, and I love it.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not much! It sometimes amazes me that I have ended up where I am. I do love technology, but in my personal life I’m not someone that’s glued to their phone, and I like to step away from it on the weekends. But I like seeing technology make people’s lives better, which is what drew me in and it is hard to get bored when there is always so much to learn. I did make a conscious plan to move into a more commercial role a few years ago. I always was the person from the delivery team that would put my hand up to support new business, and I’m definitely enjoying the challenges and rewards that a commercial role brings.

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

At the start of my career, without a doubt. I was often the only woman in the room. I was in my early 20s working with people, who were not used to having a young female in charge of a project and I felt I had to prove myself fast! That could be challenging and isolating at times. But when you are younger, you tend to be a bit more fearless, so at the time it didn’t seem as daunting as it does looking back.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do at Deazy, although I should stress that it is very much a team effort. When I started at Deazy in September 2020, there wasn’t a Client Services team. I’ve built that to a team of four, alongside a great portfolio of clients. We are constantly growing and delivering on all our targets, as a team and as a business. I think Deazy is the perfect business for me at this point in my career, providing me the chance to pull everything that I’ve learned in my career into one place. I’ve been given the autonomy to do that, and that’s something for which I’m very grateful.

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

Can I say two!? First of all, I’m tenacious and don’t give up easily, learning fast and taking feedback to improve and keep going.  Then there’s the people element. I’d consider myself empathetic, which has really helped me build relationships. Whether it’s your boss, colleagues or clients, knowing how to communicate effectively is vital.

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

Seek out opportunities for yourself. There is never a shortage of problems that need solving and stepping up is a great way to demonstrate your skills and also to learn and collaborate across a business.

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

There are definitely still barriers, but I believe there is a drive for change. When I started 10 years ago, I was often the only woman in the room. Whereas now that’s not the case at all, and sometimes can even be closer to 50/50. But I still think women have to work that bit harder to be recognised and progress in their careers. I’m uncomfortable pushing for promotions and feel like I have to have every single box ticked before I even think about it, which can create a barrier to progression. I’m lucky to have worked for some great people who have recognized this and helped propel me forward and to now have a boss like Andy, who understands and ensures that it’s fair and equal.

The shift towards better paternity options is important too. Maternity leave is good, but tech is so fast-paced that having a year away can leave new mums feeling left behind by their peers and the latest developments. I look forward to seeing more and more companies adopting policies that help provide everyone the space for a family and a successful career.

I do not think tech businesses are actively trying not to hire women, I believe it is actually the opposite, but there is still a much smaller volume of female applicants for roles in tech. One thing that might help is reducing the detail on a job advert. With a detailed job spec, you risk getting less female applicants as they won’t apply if they don’t believe they meet all the criteria. Instead focus on core behaviours that will drive success and assess capabilities throughout the process.

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

Recognising the bias and actively reducing those barriers that help get more women into tech roles is hugely positive. Then it is down to the company to provide a culture that allows people to shine and rewards on merit. We are fortunate at Deazy as Andy is a big advocate of that, and there’s a lot of female representation in the business.

It’s a challenging thing to navigate, though. I’m also a very firm believer in wanting the best person for the job. I don’t ever want not to hire someone because they are white and male if they are the best fit. It’s a complex situation and one we all need to be mindful of.

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?

A magic wand would be used to accelerate the progress of women to leadership positions in tech and the wider business world. The number of women in CEO roles is still pitiful. Is that because women are fundamentally unsuited to such roles? Of course not, it’s about them having to overcome years of systemic prejudice.  With more women leading, not only would the pace of change to support women progressing in tech increase, but the number of women entering the industry would naturally rise, in line with the increase in visibility of women leading.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’ve never been a fan of networking events – they just don’t work for me. I prefer connections to be made more organically, and networking events seem so forced and unnatural.  But I love podcasts and have recently been enjoying Dare to Lead – Brene Brown and the Natwest Business Podcasts

I also love business strategy books. A lot of the content can seem obvious, but they can give you useful strategies, tools and processes that help give you confidence to try new things when you’re feeling out of your comfort zone.