Russ Shaw CBE

HeForShe: Russ Shaw CBE | Founder, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates

Russ Shaw CBE

Russ Shaw CBE is the founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates.

He originally founded Tech London Advocates in 2013 to ensure an independent voice of the technology community was heard, but with a focus on the private sector. Since then he has been championing London as a global tech hub and campaigning to address some of the biggest challenges facing tech companies in the UK. Global Tech Advocates, founded in 2015, is now present in 17 hubs around the globe, with over 12,000 members. In 2019 Russ launched the inaugural GTA Festival, taking place in China and bringing the international network together for the first time. Russ was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2021 for services to technology and to business in London. He is a founding partner of London Tech Week, a London Tech Ambassador for the Mayor of London and Advisory Board member for Founders4Schools and the Government’s Digital Skills Partnership. In 2019, Russ was recognised as a ‘Tech Titan’ in the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 list of London’s most influential people.

Russ is part of the visionary line-up speaking at Globalization Partners’ PANGEO Conference which is taking place October 20-22 and is designed to equip companies with new ideas, skills, and best practices to thrive in the new world of global remote work. Learn more about the event here.

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

I’m the founder of Tech London Advocates (TLA) and Global Tech Advocates (GTA). TLA was founded in 2013 and is now a network of 50+ working groups, with the goal of championing London as a global tech hub and campaigning to address some of the biggest challenges facing tech in the UK and GTA was established two years later and has grown to now comprise 22 hubs made up of more than 20,000 members and spanning five continents. The tech sector and London has been good to me – my previous roles include VP & General Manager at Skype and Global Innovation Director at Telefonica – and so I want to give something back.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

In the early stages, I absolutely planned my career. I thought carefully about what I wanted to study and where I wanted to get certain experiences. I always had the goal of running a business as CEO or Managing Director. That was in my 20s and 30s. Then in my 40s, I focused less on gaining experience with brands and companies and instead thought more about the people I wanted to work with. I had the experience – what I needed then was to be surrounded by people who I could learn from and who inspired me.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I faced challenges on a daily basis in my professional career – particularly early on. I was asked to do certain things, or sometimes treated in ways that I didn’t agree with, or that made me feel comfortable. Later on, the main challenge became balancing work experience with family life. My wife was diagnosed with leukemia, and caring for her along with my other commitments certainly took its toll. But life isn’t about staying in your comfort zone – if I had never been challenged, I certainly wouldn’t have built the resilience needed to be successful.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

The achievement I’m most proud of is founding TLA and GTA. I’ve had to amalgamate all the various skills I’ve used throughout my career – campaigning, using my marketing background to position London as a global hub, expanding an organisation (which I experienced while working for Skype in its early days). Most importantly, I’m proud of the ethos behind the networks – people helping each other for the greater good. TLA in particular has fostered a real spirit of collaboration, ensuring that London’s tech ecosystem remains open for business.

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

I wouldn’t say there has been one single factor, but I think the combination of determination, self-belief and collaboration are essential characteristics to achieve a vision. I’ve always been determined to make a difference and had conviction in whatever I was doing. Those convictions have certainly been tested along the way – but I couldn’t have overcome the obstacles I’ve faced without collaborating with others to achieve something bigger.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I think it’s crucial that everyone has access to a mentor and that people should be encouraged to take on mentoring roles. I have mentored many people over the years and although I’m no longer anyone’s mentee, I still work with several advisors who are always there to help and support me in my decisions.

What can businesses/government/allies do to help diversity and inclusion?

Both businesses and governments need to have diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything they do. CEOs, leaders and boards need to walk the talk and make this a top priority – ultimately it starts at the top with a belief that these issues are fundamentally important to the collective success. Crucially, those at the top need to be willing to acknowledge when they get things wrong – all of us are constantly learning how we can best help.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

Men have a vital role to play in enabling women to achieve their goals and ambitions – alas, we are still primarily a male-dominated society. For this reason, men are key to enabling change to happen. Many positions of authority – CEOs, government leaders, investors – are held by men and it is therefore up to men to own this issue. If we don’t play our part, then we cannot say to women around the world that we are serious about gender equality in the workplace.

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

Have more confidence in your own beliefs! Don’t be afraid to get things wrong or take risks. I’m very proud of my three sons, who work in three very different industries in careers they are passionate about. When I was younger, I went straight into the corporate world after studying, but I now know that to be successful you have to really love what you’re doing. If my younger self had been aware of that, some of the decisions I made might have been a little different.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Worldwide growth and domination with Global Tech Advocates (said with a smile)! I want to expand the global network and help the broader population understand that the digital and tech sectors can be their friend. Tech is an important place for anyone’s career and has the potential to be a real force for good – but it is in desperate need of brilliant talent to support the growth and expansion.

Broadly, I want to make tech more accessible to all however I can. I want to continue to lead this amazing Advocates community in driving the message around the world that tech can help with some of the world’s biggest challenges and that we must keep striving to innovate.

Discover more about the PANGEO Conference

PANGEO is Globalization Partners’ annual conference designed to equip companies with the ideas, skills, and best practices to thrive in the new world of global remote work.

PANGEO derives its name from the 300-million-year-old supercontinent, Pangea, when the earth’s landmasses were united as one. Today, the world has transformed itself — reunited once again in what we call PANGEO — a new world of opportunities without boundaries, as post-pandemic workforces move to remote and hybrid models putting the world’s workforce on one platform.

The conference will bring together visionaries from around the world, who will discuss key trends, strategies, and personal experiences — designed to help you build fast and agile remote teams. During this free, three-day virtual event, attendees will get a chance to hear from experts on how to build efficient, high-performing global remote teams, how to create integrated employee experiences, and why both compliance and speed are critical for long-term success in 2021 and beyond.

FIND OUT MORE

Listen to our latest She Talks Tech podcast - In the Lounge with Russ Shaw CBE, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates

She Talks Tech podcast with Russ Shaw CBE

Today, we hear from Russ Shaw CBE, founder of two impressive companies that aim to support start-ups in the tech eco-system.

We’re of course talking about Tech London Advocates and Global London Advocates.

With a keen eye for development and expertise in innovation, Russ shares his views on what work needs to be done in the tech industry to better serve experts and customers.

Russ also reflects on the pandemic, alluding to the positive shift in technology that lockdown has provided with new doors opening for businesses in the near future.

If you want to find out more about Russ, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.techlondonadvocates.org.uk

LISTEN HERE

‘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 2021.

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!

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.

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She Talks Tech podcast

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