TechUP industry mentors

The importance of mentors for women in tech

TechUP industry mentors

In any walk of life, in any career in any sector, mentors can play a huge role in helping people navigate life inside and outside the workplace. I cannot state enough how valuable mentors have been to me during my career in technology.

They have helped me frame challenging discussions about salary and progression, manage biases and expectations, improve self-promotion and much more. They have also played a crucial role in improving my confidence beyond the workplace.

Yet not every woman in tech has the chance to benefit from having a mentor. Although finding a mentor can have as much to do with serendipity as anything else, there are steps that women can take to find a mentor. Similarly, for more senior women in tech, there is much they can do to act as a mentor to others.

Why mentors?

Most people in a job will have a line manager. Others might also have a designated mentor to offer advice and guidance in a more unofficial capacity. There is nothing wrong with this per se, but having a mentor appointed to you from within the organisation you work in can make it harder to communicate openly.

In one of my first roles – not actually in tech – it was a sales-orientated and male-dominated company with a particular way of behaving. Receiving feedback, proper communication or any expression was taken as a weakness or that someone was overly emotional. Despite this, I managed to do well in the organisation, but it was clear there was no one there to guide me, officially or otherwise.

Even in my current role at Wazoku, my boss is great and supportive but different to me. I relish the opportunity to speak to someone outside the organisation. People aren’t lone wolves, and there is much to be said for community and support systems, having people to talk with and challenge you.

I met my first mentor in an exercise class. I was having a bad time in a role and didn’t know how to navigate that. She was a CEO, and I felt able to open up to her about it in a way that I didn’t with my boss at the time. She guided me and advised me on how to communicate so I come across well. This included how to initiate and have that more difficult conversation.

What makes a good mentor?

Good communication is essential, especially in how to do this without letting emotions overrule you. Being emotional is not to be discouraged, but equally when you are having a more challenging discussion, it’s good to be able to do so without being overly geared by your emotions.

Mentors themselves, therefore, need to be good communicators. They must be able to challenge you and say things you might not like, but for that to be taken in the right way. That’s why I think mentors generally work better outside the organisation. They have a very different perspective from your colleagues, and it’s a safe space with them – you can say things about the workplace that you might not feel comfortable doing with a boss or internal mentor.

Good listening is also an essential part of any mentor’s toolkit. The ability to actively listen is hugely underrated, and many ‘good listeners’ I have encountered often seem to speak more than listen. This is a barrier to building the trust and empathy that is so important.

Finally, I’d suggest that experience is highly prized. Most of my mentors have tended to be slightly older than me. And when I act as a mentor myself, it has tended to be with people who are somewhat younger. Speaking to someone who has already faced the challenges that you are facing is reassuring. These women had it harder than we do and have paved the way for what women can do today.

Finding your mentor

Of course, some workplace mentors can be helpful, but a successful mentor needs to have a genuine connection with whoever they are mentoring. Otherwise, it’s a non-starter. And a connection isn’t something that can be forced, so I think there is a role for groups connecting women, such as The Mentoring Foundation.

There are other groups for women to have mentors across the UK, some based on geography and others around a sector. I’m confident there would be a space for a group to connect junior women in tech with mentors. It’s all about passing it on and building a community to help change the world. I think most more established women in tech would help if they could.

There’s also a role for a paid-for service, such as a business coach or therapist. I have used these, and they are things to which an employer could contribute. In the absence of a mentor, paying someone to coach you – to be better, to negotiate your salary and all the things that don’t actually get taught – is money well spent.

I wouldn’t have progressed in my career how I have without having several mentors to lean on along the way. They can be invaluable, and I would encourage any woman to try and find one and any woman that has used a mentor to do all they can to mentor others.

About the author

Sarah CountsSarah Counts is Chief Operating Officer at Wazoku, the innovation scale-up that works with organisations such as NASA, Shell and AstraZeneca to crowdsource and manage ideas and innovation. Sarah has spent most of her career working for technology companies in the UK and the US.


woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

The importance of mentoring: Lifting up junior developers

woman coding on laptop, Code First Girls

Article by Pauliina Paynter, Software Developer at Reaktor

It’s no secret software development is fast becoming one of the most attractive and lucrative career paths in modern industry right now.

Having the chance to be creative and make a valuable impact to a business is a huge draw – but in recent times there’s a paradox surfacing which needs to be addressed.

The tech industry’s biggest catch 22 is that all companies are in desperate need of skilled and experienced developers to help them bring their products and vision to life, but they aren’t willing to train people from scratch. With the mighty corporate giants able to tempt engineers away with big rewards and salaries, the brain drain and subsequent skills gap is large. That being said – those firms in need of skills will still shy away from raw talent in the form of juniors in their recruitment search. This isn’t a wise move; we can’t forget that every developer has to start somewhere, and training them from the ground up through mentoring can bridge the skills gap over time. The key is to look for someone possessing core skills and character attributes which can signal someone has the right personality to potentially succeed at the job.

I started my career as a software developer five years ago, following a successful stint as a communications consultant. It was working with a tech company that piqued my interest in this field, and led me to attend the Australian bootcamp, General Assembly, to kickstart my new career.

Whichever way you choose to start your journey in software engineering, there are many different routes to train up. What’s key, however, is the need for mentoring so that all team members – juniors and seniors alike – can grow and thrive in the industry.

Why mentoring shouldn’t be overlooked

Mentoring is an incredibly important part of anyone’s professional career, yet it can be so easily overlooked. Having only been in this industry for 5 years, I can distinctly remember the panic at the beginning of my first job and working with senior developers helped quash my imposter syndrome. Of course, many people experience this and for me it’s important to remember how hard it is in the beginning and reach out to offer that support to those who are starting out too.

Having mentors gives junior employees a confidence boost. It creates environments that allow for free conversations and open communication – and ultimately, psychological safety so that everyone can voice their opinions freely, without fear of being judged. Starting a career in coding is a huge wake-up call, in terms of your confidence and resilience. You are constantly being knocked down and pushed back to the starting square. You’re not going to get the code right every single time, there will be bugs, and it will break. But having someone there to help you pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and continue on helps tremendously. You need to be resilient as a coder, and mentoring provides that support.

How senior developers can lift up juniors

Having mentors-mentees benefits both parties greatly, especially when it comes to boosting less experienced members of the team and providing that extra layer of counsel. For junior employees, working with a more senior developer opens up many new doors. They instantly have an expert in the field showing them what they can improve upon, new ways of problem solving and different ways of thinking. It’s a wealth of knowledge right at their side, able to give fresh insights and advice whenever it’s needed.

By stretching junior developers with more difficult projects, paired with expert guidance from their senior peers, they will learn as much as possible in the shortest space of time and continue to grow. And the benefits are twofold – not only are the less experienced developers growing, but the mentor team learn how to explain complex topics in a simple, easy to digest way as well as having an extra pair of eyes to check work and create smoother processes.

I’m incredibly lucky to have had amazing mentors throughout my career so far and I wouldn’t be here without them. Companies need to continue to invest in providing mentorship programmes across teams so that developers continue to be inspired, challenged and nurtured. It’s important to invest in potential and put in place the right structures to allow our junior team mates to thrive in this exciting, fast-paced world of software development.

Pauliina PaynterAbout the author

Pauliina Paynter is a software developer at Reaktor and also a former communications professional. Her mission is to share her enthusiasm about coding and to encourage everyone to dive in to the world of programming despite their background or field.


Can mentoring help to improve gender diversity in tech?

Front view of diverse business people looking at camera while working together at conference room in a modern office

Ed Johnson, CEO and Founder of mentoring and career development platform PushFar, discusses how mentoring can help to level the playing field for women in tech.

When we look to the future, whilst much may be uncertain, one thing that we can be sure of is a world where individuals and businesses continue to be ever more reliant on technology. The technology industry is growing almost three times faster than the economy as a whole.  With that in mind, it seems increasingly important that tech companies should be represented by a gender diverse workforce.  More diverse teams will result in more diverse thought processes, meaning more inclusive innovation, better products and improved customer experiences that inspire brand loyalty, and generate stronger sales. Half of the users of technology are women, so it is pretty obvious that their input to the development of future technology is crucial.

Yet gender equality and a lack of inclusiveness remains an issue in the world of tech, with women still significantly underrepresented.

It is my belief that companies which wish to have a stronger emphasis on tangible gender diversity, equity and inclusion efforts need to be prepared to make more active and structural changes to ensure that more women not only look to join at the start of their career, but that employees also feel able to progress their career all the way to the boardroom. Retaining women throughout the business is vital for a truly diverse workplace, and it will mean that younger team members have role models to look up to and emulate.

One path that has proven time and time again to have the ability to help nurture a more diverse and inclusive workplace is putting in place a mentoring scheme. Evidence shows that employees feel motivated and supported when they see senior leaders with whom they can relate. As a result, on average it has been found that mentoring programmes boost the representation of underrepresented groups by 9% to 24%.

Work that we have done at PushFar has backed this up. Limit Break, a mentorship programme in the UK games industry, recognised the value mentoring can bring to their industry in relation to addressing diversity and inclusion issues. Their founder, Anisa Sanusi, established Limit Break when she couldn’t find a female mentor in the gaming industry and was looking for guidance and a role model. We partnered with them to put in place a programme that now means people can find mentoring relationships based on specific backgrounds and profiles. By connecting a young workforce to those with experience, there can obviously be huge benefits both for the individual and the company in the skills and knowledge that they can pass on.

Mentorships can be particularly helpful to women in tech who are mid-way through their career – a point where many seem to change direction – as the extra support and advice can help them to develop skills, be heard in the workplace, and create opportunities for promotion.

We also need to continue to encourage women to want to step into technology roles, and support them in doing so, and mentorship has been found to help achieve this too. In my view, the recruitment process can, even if inadvertently, be one of the principal hurdles to creating a diverse workforce. Applicants from ‘different backgrounds’ to the organisation they are applying for are at a disadvantage. This is not just because the interviewers may have some unconscious bias, it is because the recruitment process itself favours the ‘majority’ at the organisation. Applicants that have easy access to the community or group represented at the company they are applying for can get a huge advantage by getting insights into the process, company, politics and even gain relevant experience. This then leads to a self-perpetuating cycle that veers an organisation towards one particular group. We have worked with organisations to set up mentoring programmes providing access for all candidates to relevant current employees that could support them during recruitment.

When it comes to the issue of gender diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, there is obviously no one silver bullet, and companies in the sector need to be prepared to take a proactive and progressive approach looking at all the options available to them. Mentoring can be a key part of that puzzle though, helping the industry to better represent the consumers it serves.


Nicky Dunderdale - Director of Digital Pyson featured

Why having great mentors made all the difference to me | Nicky Dunderdale

Nicky Dunderdale - Director of Digital Pyson

Article provided by Nicky Dunderdale, Director of Digital at Psyon

Earlier this year, the government-commissioned Rose Review examined the barriers women in business face and what can be done to overcome them. One of their recommendations was to expand existing mentoring and networking opportunities.

A report by Kaggage, last year also highlighted that a mentor can be crucial especially in the early days of business. They conducted research with small business owners and found that the majority (92 per cent) of respondents that had had a mentor found them vital to success, in spite of the fact only 22 per cent were mentored when they were a start-up.

I’m a firm believer in the value of mentors. I’ve had a mentor for the last eight years and I know how important this has been in my career. Would I be the person I am today, personally and professionally, without the guidance and support of the mentors I have had throughout my career? Probably not.

I am very much of the opinion that if you want something, you have to go and get it yourself. This is an approach that sits across the whole of my life, not just work. However, it is important to remember you need a balanced view and working in splendid isolation is never a good thing. To me, the ability to reflect and debate with another as you develop your career is vital to keeping that balance.

All mentor relationships must be built on a strong foundation of trust. This is common sense really; it’s the same for any relationship you have, both at work and at home. It takes time to build trust with another and so the initial focus must be about getting to know each other, including your reasons for entering into a mentor relationship in the first place.

By working to understand each other you will nurture a far deeper level of openness and respect. This, alongside the trust you have developed, will create a winning combination for your mentoring journey.

These characteristics have been the most important for my own mentor experiences over the years. I worked with each of my mentors for a long time prior to formally seeking out their guidance. This is why I have had such positive experiences working with them. We already had well developed professional relationships built on those key pillars of trust, openness and respect.

Whilst all my mentors have been great, I think it’s important to note that life is life and not all relationships work, no matter how hard you try. If it isn’t working, you just need to be honest and walk away – this goes for mentor and mentee.

I have always ensured that my mentors are aware of my professional ambitions. In doing so we have worked together to identify short and long-term goals that will enable me to progress along my career journey. I have owned this and have not expected my mentor to turn up with a pre-formed list of nicely outlined goals. What I have done though in sharing my ambitions is open a debate as to the steps I need to take.

This is where openness and respect has been so key for me. In order to progress I have needed to understand and work on my weaknesses, without taking any constructive criticisms personally. It took me years to be able to deal with that without getting defensive and I still have to have a stern chat with myself every now and again.

My love of debate and problem solving has led to some very interesting discussions with my mentors, developing new exciting ideas and opportunities against the backdrop of my career aspirations. I have been able to not just develop myself in these debates, but have also influenced the direction of our business.

I would 100 per cent recommend seeking a mentor for anyone who is seriously looking to develop their career. For me it has made a significant difference and I very much doubt I would have been able to achieve what I have done so far without the guidance and support of my mentors.


Game On: Why we need to mentor female talent in gaming

Female Gamers

Robin Milton is the Pathway Manager for Games at Access Creative College, where she is responsible for nurturing the next generation of gaming talent. Here she discusses the critical role mentoring plays in attracting and retaining women in the industry.

If it hadn’t been for the support of my mentors, I wouldn’t be working in the gaming industry today.

Back in 2010, I attended an open day at Norwich University of the Arts. By pure chance I sat in on a seminar by Marie-Claire Isaaman, who talked about her course in Games Art and Design. She described games as being not only entertainment products but an opportunity to open people’s minds, a vehicle for education, mindfulness and vast worlds for storytelling. Up until that point I had never seriously considered games as a serious career option, but from that moment onwards,I was hooked and decided to apply.

Ask anyone to describe a typical person working in the gaming industry and they will most likely paint a picture of someone who is young, male, and started playing games before they could walk. When you think of a typical gamer, that description would fit the same bill. Yet 46% of all gamers are women and with more 40-year-old women playing games than 18-year-old men it's clear we need to ensure we are developing games for this important audience.

The industry can only thrive if it is made up of individuals who have different backgrounds and life experiences. Games creators need to be representative of the people who play them. An example of where a company has not considered their audience effectively would be the Apple Health app debacle, where the app claimed to be able to track ‘every one of your health needs’, but critically missed out a feature for tracking menstrual cycles. I feel this shows the dangers of not having a diverse production team – you can only make a strong product if the development team come from all walks of life.

The industry has a perception problem. Too many people believe in the caricature of a gamer or game developer, too many assume that only hard-core games fanatics work in the industry and are therefore put off. Issues like #Gamergate haven’t helped matters, but the industry has come a long way. Gaming has so much to offer – not just in terms of the design and development functions, but the back-office functions – lawyers, marketeers, HR representatives are all viable career options.

So how can we address this challenge? Mentoring plays a crucial role in helping to tackle the perception problem, and it’s most effective when it starts at the grass roots. We need to attract more people into the industry from a young age and reassure parents that their children can have a viable career in the gaming industry. That’s why I go to events, schools, hold talks and run workshops and after school clubs with young adults – to challenge perceptions of the industry and to show the huge potential that a career in the games industry has to offer – whatever your gender, nationality or background.

However an exclusively grass roots approach is not enough to make meaningful change. Awareness of the career-change opportunities for those currently working in other industries are not highlighted. People assume there is some bizarre form of an ‘entry exam’ for anyone looking to work in industry even if they have decades of relevant experience in another sector. We need to make sure we retain good people once they’ve joined the industry. A good mentor is someone who can show you not just what you can do now, but what you can achieve in five or ten years’ time. Someone who can give you that big picture perspective so that you can really understand where your career might go and what you can achieve. I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from the guidance of people like Marie Claire – as well as that of many other incredible mentors and tutors throughout my career. They have given me the confidence to pursue my goals and their support has been invaluable in helping me get to where I am today.

In the UK, the games industry is bigger than Hollywood at £4.5bn – it makes more money than the music and film industries combined. If we don’t encourage and support women into the industry, then I believe we are at risk of jeopardising its future. By mentoring women and encouraging them to pursue long term and meaningful careers in gaming, we can positively contribute to its ongoing success.

Robin MiltonAbout the author

Robin is an incredibly passionate advocate for the growth of the games industry. She has recently been shortlisted for MCV’s Mentor of the Year award as well as the Progression Advocate award by Gamedev Heroes for her work encouraging young people to consider careers in the industry. As well as her role at Access Creative College, Robin helps organise the regional community group, Norfolk Game Developers. She is also a UK Women in Games Ambassador, to support women and girls in understanding the games industry and the opportunities within it. In addition, Robin has previously worked with the Norwich Games Festival and travels the world as a regular speaker at leading events for both the NUA and UEA, talking about her experience in the industry. Above all, Robin is all about bringing aspirations, ideas and people together via the common denominator of a love of computer games.


TechUP industry mentors

Want to support others start their career in tech? TechUp needs mentors for its Skills Bootcamps

TechUP industry mentors

Do you want to support others start their career in tech? TechUp are looking for tech mentors to support their Skills Bootcamp learners.

The TechUP project, based Durham University, are offering two national Skills Bootcamps, as part of the Department for Education’s Plan for Jobs.

TechUP will be offering two industry-focussed, cohort customised 14 week Skills Bootcamps – one in data and the other on software development, with priority places going to learners from underserved and underrepresented groups.

The Skills Bootcamps will be led by Professor Sue Black and Professor Alexandra Cristea and will include weekly online lectures and workshops, drop-in support sessions, networking events, guest speakers from industry and one-to-one mentoring.

TechUp are now looking for individuals that can offer an average of 30mins of their time per week between October 2021 and February 2022 to mentor one of our learners. Mentors are required to have experience working in the tech sector, ideally with specific experience in either data or software development.

Full training will be provided.

Mentor/mentee contact can be via phone, email, messenger, video call or face to face, time, frequency and method of contact will be agreed with your assigned mentee as part of your first meeting so that it works for you both.

Join TechUp to support the next generation of data engineers and software developers!

REGISTER NOW

For more information, email [email protected]

Durham University Master Logo_RGB

School of Code Mentor

Calling all developers, the School of Code needs YOU!

School of Code Mentor

Are you passionate about tech? Do you want to get involved in helping to shape, and inspire, your region’s next generation of coders? Yes! Then School of Code need you.

School of Code are launching their free software developer bootcamp across the country on 15 November 2021 and  are looking for 192 mentors, (yes that did say 192!),  to help them make a massive impact.

They will be taking a group of people from all walks of life through their free, life-changing, intensive course and turning them into something special…Job ready junior developers.

School of Code are looking for mentors, both veteran and brand new, to volunteer 30 minutes per week, to support them as they navigate their first steps into the world of tech!

As a SoC Mentor you’ll get to share your knowledge, get the buzz of making a positive difference and it doesn’t look too shabby on your CV either.  If this would be your first time volunteering as a mentor, fear not as you will be supported every step of the way.

The November bootcamps will cover the following areas – North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, London and South East.

To get involved,  register below and start your School of Code mentoring journey today!

REGISTER HERE

Interested in applying for the School of Code bootcamp instead?


There are no prerequisites to apply and no previous experience required – those applying for the course don’t even need to have seen a line of code before.

School of Code takes a learner from beginner to software developer in just 16 weeks before helping them find their first role in tech.

Already this year, during the pandemic lockdowns, they have successfully helped 62 people go from zero to programmer and started their professional tech careers.

APPLY HERE

Digilearning GirlRise mentoring programme

Help a young person by becoming a mentor with Digilearning's GirlRise

Digilearning GirlRise mentoring programme

Can you commit 1 hour to a young person to change their lives?

The Digilearning Foundation needs mentors for young people aged 16-24 from marginalised and underrepresented groups from all over the world.

Digilearning mentors will help and guide mentees through the course and support them if or when they begin looking for work. Mentors will ideally support them for the first few months in their new roles of if they are setting up their businesses.

Why get involved?

We all have a superpower and we want our young people to understand theirs, Digilearning's programmes do just that. The journey begins in helping our youth to believe in themselves and providing them with relevant career insight and skills over 12 weeks as well as matching them with a mentor for 6 months.

Head Of BBC Diversity, author and TV Presenter June Sarpong OBE; Business Entrepreneur and Author Shaa Wasmund MBE; BBC TV Presenter Brenda Emmanus OBE; Founder of MOBO Awards Kanya King CBE and many others are volunteering their time and expertise to support the campaign.

About Digilearning

For underserved and marginalised groups in particular, technology can be a great equalizer. Digital can help bridge the economic divide, diversify and connect people and communities to greater opportunities. At Digilearning, they want to do just that! They have reached thousands of young people with digital skills in the UK and Commonwealth.

SIGN UP NOW

Have a question? Email [email protected]


WeAreTechWomen covers the latest female centric news stories from around the world, focusing on women in technology, careers and current affairs. You can find all the latest gender news here.

Don’t forget, you can also follow us via our social media channels for the latest up-to-date gender news. Click to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


J.P. Morgan partners with Finding Ada to offer free mentoring and network subscriptions

young Asian woman looking at laptop, watchin a webinarThe Finding Ada Network has partnered with J.P. Morgan to offer free mentorship for 50 women in technology in the UK.

The scheme will pair mentees from across the UK with women in technical roles within J.P. Morgan. Mentors are available from various levels across the company, from junior software developers to senior tech leaders.

For women with a tech or STEM background, this provides an amazing opportunity to find a mentor who can help them progress in their careers over the next year. As part of the scheme, mentee's will be given 12 months free access to the Finding Ada Network online network, where they will be able to make use of their world class mentorship platform and exclusive content covering careers advice, personal and professional development, plus HR policy and advocacy advice.

Mentoring has many proven benefits, including helping mentees to improve their soft skills, confidence and communication skills, as well as making them, on average, five times more likely to receive a promotion compared to non-mentees.

As we continue to adjust to the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it is now more than ever that women need additional help and support. The Finding Ada Network, being online-based, is an ideal way to access the guidance you may need to further progress your career through these troubling times.

The scheme is open to any women in STEM who have a right to work in the UK.

Apply for the scheme here


WeareTechWomen 19 March(3)

19/03/2020: Power of Mentoring with Vanessa Vallely OBE | WeAreTechWomen

WeareTechWomen 19 March(3)

WeAreTechWomen would like to invite you to join them to learn about the Power of Mentoring with Vanessa Vallely OBE, MD, WeAreTheCity.

This event is the first in the series of quarterly learning events for WeAreTechWomen’s community.

About this event

Success in your career isn’t just about the ability to do your day job and do it well. Success is often achieved by pushing your boundaries and learning/benefiting from the advice and experience of others. Mentoring is becoming an increasingly popular way of leveraging skills, however if your mentoring relationships are not structured and there are no measurements for success, then these sessions are likely to reap reward in the long term. If you are interested in seeking mentors in the future and/or want to turn up the heat on an existing mentoring relationship, then this hands on learning session is for you.

Throughout this interactive and practical session Vanessa will share her top tips having mentored over 100 individuals during her 25 year career in Finance. She will also share her reflections of being a successful mentor for programmes such as Parligender, a House of Parliament Mentoring campaign and the hugely successful CRUK Women of Influence mentoring programme.

Attend this session to

  • Learn the basics of a successful mentoring relationship, who does what and why!
  • Learn how to drive success from your mentoring relationships to achieve optimum results
  • Map out a skills framework and relationship plan to identify your long term and short term outcomes
  • Identify and plan to approach potential mentors
  • Learn how to be the best mentee!
  • Practice your mentoring pitch
  • Gain access to templates to get your mentoring engagement off to a flying start
  • Find out who else you might need in your career, e.g. coaches and sponsors
  • Learn how to turn your mentors in to sponsors

 

THIS EVENT HAS NOW FINISHED


About the speaker

vanessa-high-res-watc_1715-tech-site

Vanessa is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on on a variety of career related topics for over 500 companies worldwide. Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance and consultancy to both government and corporate organisations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent. Vanessa was awarded her OBE in June 2018 for her services to women and the economy.

At the height of her successful 25 year career in the financial services, Vanessa launched the award winning WeAreTheCity.com in 2008 as a vehicle to help women progress in their careers. WeAreTheCity.com now has over 120,000 members and provides resources/conferences/awards/jobs to women across the UK. Vanessa is the also the -founder of UK wide diversity forum Gender Networks. Gender Networks (formerly The Network of Networks) brings together diversity leaders from 85 cross sector firms to share best practice on a quarterly basis. In 2017, Vanessa launched, WeAreTechWomen.com as a resource hub for women working in tech.  WeAreTechWomen now has over 15,000 members and hosts its own annual Women in Tech conference and TechWomen100 awards.  To date, through the awards and her events, Vanessa has shone a spotlight on over 750 future female leaders and provided learning opportunities to over 5,000 women.

Vanessa is also the author of the book “Heels of Steel: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World” which tracks her career and shares 13 chapters of tips to succeed in the workplace.

Over the past ten years, she has been named Women in Banking & Finance’s Champion for Women, Financial News Top 100 Rising Star, The International Alliance for Women Top 100 Women globally & Brummells Top 30 London Entrepreneurs. In 2015 Vanessa was in GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners. Vanessa is a regular guest on TV and radio and also sits on the Government Digital Services advisory board.