Network Spotlight: Black Women in Science

BWiS

Tell us a bit about your network

We are the Black Women in Science (BWiS) Network, a network that strives to be a community of women of African and Caribbean heritage in various stages of their scientific careers.  BWiS was founded by Tomi Akingbade in 2018 as a platform to connect black women in science industry, she feels is important to increase our visibility and the existence of a strong network of black women in the scientific industry will normalise the presence of successful black women in the scientific industry. Since its launch in April 2018, BWiS has grown to be a community of 60+ individuals with over 500 followers on social media. The BWiS team (made up of Teteh Champion, Lela Pea, Gabrielle Stapleton, Esther Adebisi and Dr Maria Agusta Aruda) is committed to further growth of the network.

What is your network’s prime objective?

It is no secret that black women face pressures both within and outside the workplace. The BWiS Network believes that everyone should be encouraged to not only pursue careers of their choice but excel in their industry. It is our objective that black women are encouraged to excel in their chosen careers and celebrated for their achievements. BWiS is here to equip black women in science with he tools they need to build successful careers for themselves.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

BWiS Network is helping black women by increasing the visibility of black women in science, celebrating their successes and giving a platform for their stories. We’re reminding black women that they have as much right to exist in the scientific industry as anyone else.

Tell us about your events?

BWiS is yet to hold any physical events but has plans to hold some in the future. If you want to the first to know about our events be sure to become a member if you’re a black woman in science, otherwise subscribe to our mailing list.

What should we expect if we join?

Currently, the BWiS website hosts a blog section and a private members forum. The blog section of our website keeps our members up-to-date with the latest scientific news, and the members’ forum provides a safe and private place for black women to connect and empower each other.

As a network, our aim is to be what our members’ need us to be, so we are open to taking suggestions from subscribers/members.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Joining BWiS is 100% free! Both subscriptions and memberships are free. For members, all we ask is that they fill out the membership form after signing up to the website. Our team is made up of inspirational black women of science who volunteer their time of energy. The network relies on the generous donations to keep running.

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Jump in and realise that ant network is what you make it. In a sense, what you put in is what you get out. We speak more about this in a post on our blog, The Power of a Network (https://www.bwisnetwork.co.uk/blog/thepowerofanetwork). The most important thing is that you remain yourself and remember that you’re not alone in whatever you are going through.

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

We believe your network contributes massively to you as an individual. Having a team and community that support you can do wonders for your confidence.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We believe that the future of the network is bright. Next for BWiS is physical events, more subscribers and more members. Also, in the future, the BWiS Network is keen to be a unified voice, impacting legislation and influencing change so that black women feel comfortable and supported in their careers. As an inclusive network, BWiS is also keen to consult with companies and organisations that wish to better understand the realities of what it is to be an African and/or Caribbean woman in the

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Hire STEM Women featured

Network Spotlight: Hire STEM Women

Hire STEM Women logo

Tell us a bit about your network

Hire STEM Women (HSW) was founded by Tehreem Sheikh in November 2015 after realising a gap in the market for more female tech talent.  I especially found that firms did not have the time to give comprehensive feedback to students on where they were going wrong in the recruitment process, which is a crucial if you want to develop further in your career.

The challenges of a busy schedule coupled with lack of awareness & no network available for women in STEM at university level it was difficult for young women who wanted to progress in a technology career.

When you’re young you do not know what you want to do with your career and need direction. We have a network of 60,000+ STEM females (growing rapidly).  The team has a strong STEM background who partners with corporates such as Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and several other large corporates.

What is your network’s prime objective?

Our prime objective is to help the STEM industry obtain a gender diversity balance but also retain the balance to ensure we are challenging mindsets, breaking barriers and building a diverse workforce globally.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

We provide 1-1 bespoke coaching to females in the STEM industry. We have specialist skilled teams who work with corporate partners and start-ups to identify diversity needs. We provide undergraduate, graduate & professionals with STEM opportunities and support them on securing internships, placements, graduate schemes and roles with various leading industry partner firms.

Thousands of HIRE STEM Women job seekers have attended events or have been given the confidence to pursue a career within STEM with Hire STEM Women since January 2016, across the UK. We also have a strong training platform where we train individuals in specialist STEM areas.

Tell us about your events?

We host a number of events throughout the year these range from providing women with specialist STEM skills such as coding skills equipping and preparing the future female tech leader, we also coach women to become future leaders which is equally important.

Pre-Covid we were doing over 60+ events throughout the year but with the digital era we have shifted our focus virtually.

What should we expect if we join?

Immense amount of support and training equipping you to progress the corporate ladder in STEM fields. Our platform allows you to speak to a “STEM hero” who are our professional work coaches confidentially allowing you to openly discuss your career concerns and allowing to exchange ideas and obtain support. We are your friends as oppose to recruiters.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Members join our network by registering as a candidate on www.hirestemwomen.co.uk, there is no fee associated for a candidate, if an employer wishes to be a corporate partner they can get in touch with us at [email protected]

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Be pro-active and keep in touch with your “STEM hero” keep them updated about your situation and follow the guidance the team give you as this will help you in your career in STEM. The network is a safe place to be open and honest about your concerns. The below is to give you a brief insight on how we have supported people

“My name is Samantha Smith and I have secured a job at Capgemini as an SAP Functional Specialist. I have to thank HireStem Women for their efforts for helping me through the process of securing this job – especially my coach Mary. I first received a call-in which Mary clarified the role I applied to and wanted to understand my business background and why I had a passion for a STEM career.

The first stage Mary coached me on how to write the perfect responses to the questions asked by Capgemini; we went back and forth on a few drafts until we were both happy with it and submitted. From this I got invited to a Digital Interview; in which Mary then provided me with a few questions I should practice on – and if I wanted – I could send her a video of myself answering so she could assess my body language and eye contact. This was extremely useful as I was unaware how important body language can be during interviews and the prompted questions really helped me understand what to expect. From this I passed to the next phase which was psychometrics – and this was a stage I was extremely nervous about. Mary helped reassured me and provided me with the right tools to prepare such as mock psychometrics.

I succeeded at attended the Virtual Assessment Centre and before this Mary assured me and provided me with a briefing on what would happen and what to expect. She also gave me a choice whether I would want to send her a video of me presenting to help me get comfortable with some of the tasks within the VAC.

Mary was extremely effective and efficient. During the waiting process of getting the final answer, she was reassuring and comforting, and she truly became a mentor and a friend. She was honest with her feedback and assured me that she wanted to see me progress whilst also keeping me motivated. HireStem Women have really helped me throughout this process – especially when my morale was quite low because of the difficulties that came with Covid-19 and the job market. But nonetheless they were positive, reassuring, inspiring and amazing at empowering woman to go get their careers. “

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

Networking is crucial it allows you to share ideas and concerns with a group of like-minded people. According to Forbes it makes you more noticeable, provides you with an avenue of newer opportunities which will open new possibilities, it gives you a chance to re-assess your qualifications and improve creative intellect. Having a support network from high profile individuals can help you challenge effectively and provide the right financial support if needed, you will grow in self-confidence and most importantly develop long-lasting relationships to help you build your career.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We continue to expand and will be expanding in the European & APAC market.


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


Barclays logo, North West Women network featured

Network Spotlight: North West Women, Barclays

Barclays logo, North West Women network

The network was founded in 2019 as part of a wider bank agenda to focus on Women in Technology. The network was founded out of our Technology Centre outside Knutsford.

The Network was founded to provide women working at this site with easy access to likeminded women, to help expand their networks and to fundamentally support and drive through the Gender Diversity Agenda at the site.  Nothing like this had previously existed.  The network created on site events to help women (and of course our male colleagues) in networking, meeting and collaborating in a face to face environment.

Now, in light of the Pandemic and the move of all our teams to working from home we have shifted our focus away from just the Technology Centre site to all of our sites in the North West. This also means that we have expanded our reach to our non technology colleagues. Barclays in the North West has a heavy Operational presence and so we felt that it was important to include them in our Network, not least because most of the content is valuable whether you are technology or not, but also because we are keen that we support the internal mobility of our colleagues from Operations to Technology careers.

What is your network’s prime objective?

The purpose of the Network is to bring together like minded people to collaborate and share ideas and initiatives with the intention to encourage women to pursue, develop, continue or initiate careers in technology.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

Our Network helps women progress in a number of ways:

  1. We share openly and honestly our success stories of women across the bank who have had varied careers in technology from the most senior MD’s to our junior Apprentices to demonstrate the wealth of different experiences and journeys. We hope this encourages other women to see their Career in different ways.
  2. Creating and supporting technology careers events by showcasing different areas of technology and the roles that exist there and what it means to work in those areas from people that already do.
  3. Running various events to support career progression for example the network supported a week long set of events across the spectrum of career development in October and we also created a set of events to support Ada Lovelace week in November.
  4. Delving into specific areas of concerns for women in technology. For example, running sessions on imposter syndrome or looking into why women may not be applying for senior roles within the organisation.
  5. We run monthly sessions to simply talk and share and collaborate on the key issues at the time, a fluid session that changes monthly.

All these events are aimed at empowering our Network to fulfil the career that they dream of having.

Tell us about your events?

Recently we ran a week of events to support Ada Lovelace week and this included:

  1. Interview style sessions with a group of women that we called “Our Ada Lovelace’s” where we shared career highs and lows with our audience.  We also showcased these women externally through linked in.
  2. A session focussed on the transition from AVP to VP level, a key career transition in Barclays. We heard from hiring managers, recent promotes and out internal talent team to help people considering this transition.
  3. A session on Salesforce ran by 3 women who had all transitioned back into technology after either periods of career break or who had never working in tech before! As well as sharing their journey they took the audience on an immersive journey on Salesforce and how to code it.

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

I would advise people to get involved, come to our sessions and be open. I think there is so much that this group can share and the strength we can achieve together in empowering and encouraging others should not be under-estimated.

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

Building a network is so crucial as you build out a career and like a career it is not something that happens overnight.  Your network grows as you grow and meet and work with more people.  However, in addition to this organic growth that happens over time I think people do need to be actively thinking about how they grow their networks more specifically to help them progress.  For too long women especially have been reticent to do this so we must encourage people to reach out and invite people to be part of their network and not be afraid to call out why, for example building a network with someone in an area that you ultimately would like to work in.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

So, through 2021 our focus is threefold:

  1. Widen our reach across the North West and outside of just Technology
  2. Focus more attention onto our junior members to ensure that we are growing our pipeline of budding technologists
  3. Continue to tap into the demand for our sessions and events by being creative and engaging.

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

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Black Women Talk Tech BWTT featured

Network Spotlight: Black Women Talk Tech

Black Women Talk Tech BWTT

Tell us a bit about your network

Black Women Talk Tech, Inc., co-founded in 2016, by Regina Gwynn, Esosa Ighodaro and Lauren Washington, is a collective of black women tech founders who have a unique understanding of the challenges black women-led startups face in the industry, but most importantly they understand the contribution of these innovators. The organization seeks to identify, support and encourage black women to build the next billion-dollar business. Black Women Talk Tech is the host of an annual conference “Roadmap to Billions” which was developed to provide an empowering experience for black women tech entrepreneurs to learn about business growth strategies and connect with investors and other tech founders.

The BWTT community is now over 3,000 founders, engineers, technologists and developers that engage with local chapters in Atlanta, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Today there are 6 chapters, three more (LA, Austin and Miami) planned for 2019. Each chapter is led by 2 chapter leaders who are tech founders.

To learn more about Black Women Talk Tech please visit www.blackwomentalktech.com and our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@blackwomentalktech).

What is your network’s prime objective?

Our mission:

We are a collective of black women tech founders who have a unique understanding of the challenges we face in the industry, but also of the advantages we can bring. We’re here to identify, support and encourage black women to build the next billion dollar business.

How is your network helping women to progress in the workplace?

We implement our mission and vision of assisting black female founders to create billion dollar enterprises by offering an interactive deep learning experience at our annual “Roadmap to Billions” conference and by offering members access to ongoing technical expertise and support through our chapters.

Tell us about your events?

Our annual conference “Roadmap to Billions” is the base event that started the inspiration, support and identification of the need for a continual support network.

The Chapter Events

Each chapter’s desire is to inspire, support and provide members with the tools and access to funding opportunities they need to scale their businesses.

Events include meet ups and expert speaker presentations with Q&A and networking. Speaker events highlight various experts who cover topics such as technical needs, access to funding, successful pitching and how to develop your tech team.

What should we expect if we join?

We embrace the power of collaborations. Collaborations provide opportunities for expanded programming and networking opportunities that can assist with growth of members and their tech startups.

How do our members join your network, is there a fee?

Currently, membership is free. We have an application process and follow up communication to make sure the members are a fit.

What advice would you give to anyone who is joining a network for the first time?

Our advice is to be open to learning, networking and bringing your expertise to the group. Each member offers an expertise that may assist another member or members.

Members are offered a discount to the annual conference and other BWTT events.

Any top tips for new networkers? Why is building your network important?

Learning to become a power networker is important to building capital and other tools your business may need for growth.

it’s important to perfect your pitch and remember building a network is about building relationships by providing value and assistance.

Relationships - It is also good to remember that people do business with people they like and know.

Finally, what’s next for your network?

We plan to continue the growth of our network of founders and create additional programming that will assist founders with the growth of their businesses.