Narmada GuruswamyWhat happened next for Narmada Guruswamy?

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a TechWomen100 Award.

Now in their fifth year, the TechWomen100 Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in tech – the emerging tech talent and role models for the future.

We spoke with Narmada Guruswamy, who won a TechWomen100 Award in 2018.

My career in tech started in India many moons ago and has spanned geographies as well as sectors.

This has given me the opportunity to observe and experience the role women have in the world of technology. As a woman returner, for instance, I experienced first-hand the huge challenges faced by anyone trying to re-enter the workforce after a long break. This journey has highlighted several issues that I believe need to be addressed in the tech sector to help women deliver their best to society.

In my current position as a senior leader in a big-4 consultancy, I work to shed light on technology skills and diversity issues by working with both EY Women in Technology and the Diversity and Inclusion team.  I particularly enjoy helping and mentoring early entrants to the company, some of whom come from non-technology backgrounds but are deeply interested in the area. I am also a board member on the techUK Skills and Diversity council and work with peer groups to further this agenda.

Diversity in technology is not just desirable – it is a necessity. As illustrated by health apps that were released without a period tracker, not having a seat at the table means not being part of the solution.  That is simply not an option for fully half of the human race. Women need to be involved technology to shape the story.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a TechWomen100 award?

I felt a rush of joy that my work was being noticed. I was grateful that so many of my friends and colleagues had voted for me. I felt humbled that so many before me had paved the way.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the TechWomen100 award?

Since the award was announced, I have been featured prominently on the intranet, in the daily news, at gatherings and even at the annual seminar within EY. Winning this award gave me a confidence boost, so I stepped up to head the BAME workstream within the techUK Skills and Diversity council. My social media engagement has increased: I post often on Twitter and LinkedIn with a particular emphasis on positive female stories. About a month ago, I also started mentoring a female entrepreneur in Nigeria through the Cherie Blair Foundation.

The increased visibility as an awardee has meant that women who are interested in technology can reach out to me.  Whether it is recognising a young employee’s interest in coding and giving her a chance to try it out in my project or advising someone in the food industry on the best way to work their way back to a career in tech, I have found it hugely rewarding helping others. Baby steps, each one, but so crucial if we are to get more women into technology roles.

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Embrace the opportunity. Reach out to your colleagues, friends and family for their support. Enjoy the support and camaraderie of your fellow awardees.

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Shush that voice that says you are not ready. Don’t let anyone else define who you are. Seize the day.