Pamella Barotti

Pamella Barotti | Microsoft

Pamella Barotti

Pamella is a strategic global marketing, communications and advocacy professional with experience across local and global markets. She has worked for start-ups, medium-sized and global organizations throughout her career, including Microsoft, AWS, Oracle, and Mastercard.

She has a strong background in developing and implementing successful marketing and communications strategies and multi-channel programs, which increased brand awareness, improved customer and partner experience and supported multi-million-dollar revenue goals.

Pamella has a unique combination of corporate experience across developed and emerging markets, strong academic background, coaching qualifications and a passion for empowering people and organizations to grow and thrive. She has been involved in several Mentoring and Coaching projects for the last seven years.

She designed and launched Learning Development Programs in partnership with The Chartered Institute of Marketing and Museum of Brands in London on a pro bono basis, reaching over 2K marketers and brand professionals in the last few years. Pamella has also created and delivered engaging talks and workshops on Marketing, Innovation and Soft Skills topics to charities and well-known organisations, including Accenture, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Hays and The Museum of Brands.

She is a speaker and mentor at TechHer, and she often delivers talks and workshops to women groups on topics such as Confidence and Wellbeing on a probono basis. She is also a guest lecturer at the University of London and a board member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Greater London, the world's leading professional marketing body.

Pamella holds a degree in Marketing and Publicity from Mackenzie University and a postgraduate diploma in Strategic Marketing through The Chartered Institute of Marketing. She also attended in-person professional development courses at Harvard University and the University of London.

Being Brazilian, she loves dancing Samba in her spare time and having her ‘Mindfulness Moments’ where she practices yoga and meditation.

Priyanka Gangishetty

Priyanka Gangishetty | Microsoft

Priyanka Gangishetty

Growing up in a small town in rural India, I never dared to imagine the possibility of 'Me' that exists today.

Its often people that come from the smallest of places that have the biggest of dreams. I have always loved Technology. As a young girl, Internet was magic to me and I wanted to be the magician. I have had a career in Networking and Infrastructure spanning a decade across three continents and countries- India, US and the UK. After I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Information Science in India, I worked for the Networking Giant Cisco as a Network Engineer troubleshooting issues within the Data centres. I will always remember the first time I walked into a data centre, a maze and mesh of devices that make the internet happen. This is where my foundation in Networks and Server Infrastructure was laid.

Due to personal struggles and financial debt in the family, at 22, with 800$ that I loaned from a cousin, I took a giant leap of faith and moved to the US in pursuit of the American dream. Along with acquiring a Master's degree in Networked Systems from University of California, Irvine, I have worked for multiple organizations of varying sizes and shapes to deliver the best Infrastructure for their IT services. Organically, I ventured into the Cloud Industry with the goal of delivering the best Cloud architecture and Customer experience. At Microsoft, I manage the customer experience on Azure for top Azure Customers.

I have had a fantastic decade and a career in this industry has given me the freedom to live life on my own terms.

Akua Apeagyei

Akua Apeagyei | Microsoft

Akua Apeagyei

Akua currently works as a Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft as part of their Digital and Technology Solutions (Software Engineering Pathway) Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship Programme.

In the past, she worked with Lyst and co-led two of their very first external coding workshops to support underrepresented communities. She also went on to be recognised as a rising star in the annual Women In Software List, backed by Computer Weekly and was made a finalist for the Everywomen apprentice award. Akua is an advocate for Women in STEM and in the past, she has launched a fundraising campaign to raise £10k for Stemettes and Coding Black Female to get more women into STEM. More recently on her platform Anomaly's Foundation, she provides direct insight into a range of STEM careers through her IG Live series -'Industry Insights' where she interviews women in STEM who are thriving in their career in hopes to inspire the early in career community and to bring visibility to the opportunities that are out there within the industry.

Sarah Armstrong-Smith

Inspirational Woman: Sarah Armstrong-Smith | Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft

Sarah Armstrong-Smith

Sarah Armstrong Smith, part of The Female Motivational Speakers Agency has decades of experience in the technology industry.

She worked directly on The Millenium Bug, which threatened to dismantle cyber software and systems. This trial by fire taught Sarah the importance of defensive cybersecurity strategies, particularly in business

What led you to cybersecurity, data protection and digital transformation?

I’ve been working in the technology environment for over 20 years now, and I chase this back to sort of 1999 – all those many years ago! I was actually working for a water utility company on the Millennium Bug or Year 2000 programme, and many companies were on really large transformation programmes to recode a lot of their computers and servers.

The theory was, at the stroke of midnight, a number of computers and servers would melt down, because of the way that the year ‘2000’ was actually coded into a number of different systems.

And really, for me, from a young age I’ve always been driven to keep asking ‘why’ and ask abundant questions: ‘what if the systems go down?’, ‘what if we can’t get people to work?’, ‘what if what if’ – all of these types of things. And I didn’t really understand at the time that what I was looking at was business continuity.

For me, it just felt like common sense to keep asking these ‘what if’ questions. I always look at that as the point, as where I started my career. From business continuity, that then pivoted over the next 20 years or so, into disaster recovery, cyber security, fraud, crisis management – all of that comes under the banner of resilience. And that is how my career has evolved.

How has gender inclusion in the workplace evolved since the start of your professional journey?

When I was at Fujitsu – I worked at Fujitsu for 12 years prior to Microsoft – I was actually coaching with the Women’s Business Network for three years. We set ourselves a mission to have more women in tech and senior roles, as opposed to just more women in general.

So to put that into perspective, Fujitsu is the biggest Japanese employer in the UK. They have 12,000 people, of which about 3,000 are women. And then one of the objectives we set was to be a Times Top 50 Employer for Women.

The entry criteria for that is really tough, really hard. And we said, ‘we’re going to be bold, ambitious, and we want to do all of these things – we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing’. What was interesting to us, as well, was that when you compare men to women in these types of environments, the statistics on women and ratio to men is always going to be a lot lower.

As I said, Fujitsu has always been around 25-26 per cent women, but they had the objective to get that to 30 per cent and then over X number of years to bring that up to 50 per cent. That sounds very, very positive if you’re a woman, not so great if you’re a man. If I was to increase the number of women to 50 per cent, I’d have to potentially remove 3,000 men from the organisation. And that’s not really what we’re saying, but that is how some of these messages are perceived.

So we really have to be careful when we’re talking about this so that what might sound good for one group, doesn’t then sound like a disadvantage for another, and that we don’t fall into the trap of positive discrimination, where we have any kind of quotas and people feel like they’re just a number as opposed to an individual.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to keep pushing yourself forward!

I had this nasty habit when I was younger to keep volunteering for things when I didn’t really know what I was volunteering for. I think people sometimes feel afraid that, if you’re going to apply for a role or it’s a voluntary position and you’ll have a list of things you need to be able to do. And I’d go, ‘oh, I don’t know, I can’t do that one, so I won’t apply.

And I now think – just do it anyway! Because actually, you’re going to learn on the role. You never know until you put yourself forward and you really never know where it’s going to lead to. But again, if I look back, I never really set out to be in tech. I never even thought about business continuity or cyber security. Actually, when I was much, much younger, I wanted to do something with art, I wanted to be graphic designer because I loved art.

So, my advice would be, don’t worry about not having a life plan or that you don’t have things all mapped out. Just take these opportunities, have these experiences, keep learning along the way. There may be things you like and things you don’t like but hopefully, over the course of your career, you’ll find something that you love and cling to it.

More than anything, I would say, just enjoy the journey.

She Talks Tech podcast - Opportunities on the path to a carbon negative cloud' with Dr Anand Narasimhan, Microsoft

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast on 'Opportunities on the path to a carbon negative cloud' with Dr Anand Narasimhan, Microsoft

She Talks Tech podcast - Opportunities on the path to a carbon negative cloud' with Dr Anand Narasimhan, Microsoft

Today we hear from Dr Anand Narasimhan - General Manager for Cloud Supply Chain Sustainability, at Microsoft.

Anand will focus on the urgency of businesses becoming sustainable and the leading steps that Microsoft is taking to become carbon negative by 2030. Anand will discuss the importance of how diverse talent is essential for enabling the creation of strong foundations to ensure that we can and embed sustainability into everything we do.

You can find out more about and connect with Anand on LinkedIn.


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

From robotics and drones, to fintech, neurodiversity and coronavirus apps; these incredible speakers are opening up to give us the latest information on tech in 2020.

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

WeAreTechWomen are delighted to bring this very inspiring first series to wherever you normally listen to podcasts – and the first three episodes are now live!

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

Produced by Pineapple Audio Production.

Tansy Hill

Tansy Hill | Microsoft

Tansy Hill

I started my career as an Intern at Microsoft in 2015, having accepted an Enterprise Sales Role, nervous about if it was something I could really do.

I was so fortunate to be surrounded by a Team who encouraged me, gave me every opportunity and highlighted the importance of understanding the problems that technology can address, not just the technology itself.

Having been awarded Microsoft's Intern of the Year and completing my final year of University, I re-joined Microsoft on the graduate scheme as a Healthcare Account Executive and have been inspired ever since as to how Health-Tech can make a genuine difference to the NHS and healthcare organisations.

Day to day I'm supporting NHS trusts with their Digital Transformations, from helping them build collaboration strategies to supporting them in building digital research environments which will contribute to future patient care. In the face of COVID, technology has never been more important to the NHS and helping our hospitals to keen running has been one of the proudest moments of my career. We've worked on everything from remote working strategies to creating new hospitals to prepare for the pandemic, so supporting our hero healthcare workers has been an honour. For my performance this year, alongside some of my COVID response work I was awarded the Microsoft Circle of Excellence Gold Award.

Sarah Croxford

Sarah Croxford | Microsoft

Sarah Croxford

I have been in the IT industry for the last 25 years within both telco, networking and software industry.

A graduate of Logistic Systems and an placement in British Steel in the steelworks always saw Sarah breaking the boundaries in a male dominated industry. It was only a matter of time before Sarah entered into IT, with a career spanning roles in Siemens Communications, Tech Data, Ingram Micro through to becoming a Marketing Director for a Taiwanese router manufacturer. I joined Microsoft 12 years ago within their Marketing Development Partner team. Latter roles included the launch of Windows 7 and Windows 10 as a Product Manager and in the last seven years a movement into IT sales within the partner channel team and the last 12 months focused on selling cloud software solutions into the healthcare markets within the NHS and private sector. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management and judge for the Business Development category for the British Excellence in Sales Management Awards (2018 and 2020)

A mum of two primary school aged boys with special needs has led me to become a Schools Digital Ambassador, Microsoft Accessibility & Digital Champion and a Board Trustee for Parenting Special Children - supporting parents and carers of children with special needs.

Lynda Hazoume

Lynda Hazoume | JeffreyM Consulting

Lynda Hazoume

Lynda Hazoume is a leading technology professional with experience spanning over 15 years and across multiple industry sectors with a focus on accelerating growth in enterprise.

She had held positions in software sales and software licensing , project management, financial operations , marketing strategy , management etc.

She is currently a consultant at JeffreyM and partner project manager in innovation and entrepreneurship responsible for coaching Startups accelerating their success by going-to-market with Microsoft through the Microsoft’s Co-Sell program which is a unique opportunity to get access to sales and marketing tools, discover new growth opportunities, and accelerate revenue through a global marketplace.

Having had first-hand exposure to the transformative power of technology in our daily lives through working with leading entrepreneurs in various roles to help them devise an effective go to market strategy and successfully launch and grow their solution., she developed a burning desire to champion digital transformation in Africa.

Therefore, she has recently founded Makeda Foundation. Being originally from the Republic of Benin in West Africa, she understands the key role technology can play in empowering local communities, rural women, and hence contribute to the economic advancement of frontier countries.

Through an incubation program, the foundation enables rising and aspiring entrepreneurs to build or develop online solutions that can enable disadvantaged African women have a wider global reach to sell local products and also help improve their livelihood & wellbeing.
The foundation provides global mentors & coaches to improve entrepreneurs’ success leading to better and sustainable business growth for Africa and connect entrepreneurs with network with global VCs, partners, corporations, and local social-economic leaders for a wider impact in Africa.

Through Makeda , her aim is to leverage her expertise, passion, and network to effectively unleash the power of technology to help women and girls strive and rise in Africa in this digital age.

Artificial intelligence. Human head outline with circuit board inside, AI

AI Skills in the UK | Microsoft

Artificial intelligence. Human head outline with circuit board inside, AI

How UK businesses can address the skills gap, and capitalise on the AI opportunity

While digital transformation has been a defining feature of global business over the past decade, 2020 has ushered in seismic changes, most notably due to COVID-19 and the urgent shift to remote working. As Satya Nadella put it - the world experienced two years of digital transformation in the first two months of the global lockdown.

Uncertainty naturally breeds caution, but it also offers new opportunities for organisations to adapt faster, leaner, and smarter. Yet as UK organisations strengthen their digital foundations, how can they capitalise on these foundations and equip their workforce with the skills they need to succeed?

These are questions we consider in new research looking into the UK’s AI skills, which reveals that compared to the rest of the world, the UK suffers from lower AI maturity, adoption levels, and skills within the workforce.


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.

Artificial intelligence. Human head outline with circuit board inside, AI

UK faces AI skills gap according to new research

Artificial intelligence. Human head outline with circuit board inside, AI

The UK faces an AI skills gap according to new research conducted by Microsoft.

The research, entitled AI Skills in the UK, could leave companies struggling to compete with rivals from across the world. The report also found that businesses in this country use less AI than firms overseas, and when they do it tends to be less advanced.

AI Skills in the UK looked at the UK-specific data from a global AI skills study led by Microsoft EMEA. The survey included the views of more than 12,000 people in 20 countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the United States and Canada. It focused on AI capabilities and adoption levels around the world to understand the progress organisations are making, and the challenges they are facing in preparing their workforce for an AI-driven world.

Thirty-five per cent of UK business leaders believe there will be an AI skills gap in the next two years, while 28 per cent believe we’re already experiencing one (above the global average of 24 per cent).

The research also uncovered a concerning lack of AI re-skilling of the UK workforce to address this skills gap. Only 17 per cent of UK employees say they have been part of re-skilling efforts (far less than the global figure of 38 per cent). Additionally, only 32 per cent of UK employees feel their workplace is doing enough to prepare them for an AI-enabled future, compared to 68 per cent who do not.

Just over half of UK employees are using AI to work faster and smarter, compared to 69 per cent of employees globally.

Speaking about the findings, Simon Lambert, Chief Learning Officer for Microsoft UK, said, “The most successful organisations will be the ones that transform both technically and culturally, equipping their people with the skills and knowledge to become the best competitive asset they have."

"Human ingenuity is what will make the difference – AI technology alone will not be enough."

"At Microsoft, we’re on this journey just like everyone else, not least because the best learners make the best teachers."

"The larger point though, is not to be intimidated by the technology."

"Instead, get excited, develop your curiosity and let’s keep learning from one another.”

Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft adds, "UK employers will have to address the growing digital skills gap within the workforce to ensure their business is able to fully leverage every digital transformation investment that’s made."

"With technologies like AI and cloud becoming as commonplace as word processing or email in the workplace, firms will need to ensure employees can use such tools and aren’t apprehensive about using them."

“The challenge for employers is to make sure that everyone, regardless of gender, age or location, shares in the spoils of new technology."
"Instituting lifelong learning for employees that ensures, reskilling will prove the answer to tectonic shifts in the job market."
"Giving workers the opportunity to learn new skills that will increase their ability to shift into new roles."

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.