Encounters of the Tech Kind: Women in Tech Speak Up
It’s been a while, but we are back with an Encounters of the Tech Kind, and one very dear to our hearts - Women in Tech Speak Up.
At Advice Cloud we have quite a few women in tech (well, tech procurement, to be specific), and at one point the women in the office were outnumbering Chris 4 to 1! We are all passionate about encouraging women to consider careers in technology and didn’t think twice about getting involved and showing our support for Charlotte’s endeavours. We even funded the drinkies!
As we arrived at MOO’s stylish offices, we had two first impressions. Firstly, although granted we were attending an event specifically aimed at women in technology, it was still a pretty special feeling (and unique experience for us to date) to walk into the room and be one of MANY women! Secondly, we couldn’t help but have major shelf envy – the impressive floor-to-ceiling shelves were even complete with Wilson the volleyball from Castaway.
Once the bubbles were flowing, we were ushered through MOO’s inspiring offices and treated to a panel discussion with Anne Boden, CEO Starling Bank; Sarah Calveley, AWS Sales Leader; Eoin Cosgrave; AWS Enterprise Leader and Shafreen Sayyed; AWS Solutions Architect. Charlotte kicked off the conversation with some pointed questions about women and diversity in technology and we heard from each of the panel about their own experiences and opinions.
Several of the points raised really resonated with me:
- As women we are subject to unconscious biases when it comes to pursuing apparently ‘gendered’ professions. But as the panel pointed out, we need to be proactive in how we tackle this. Talk about it, recognise it and then we will be on our way to overcoming it.
- Persistence is key – it’s about knowing what your passions are and loving what you do. No matter your gender, just being keen and curious to learn will get you where you want to go.
- You don’t need to be a ‘techie’ to work in technology. This observation is particularly relevant to someone like myself with an Arts degree. Just because you don’t have a background in technology doesn’t mean that the industry should be closed to you. It’s a cross-cutting sector that requires a wide range of skillsets.
The panel also gave their advice to women who want to speak at technology events, namely pick a topic you are passionate about and try and get out there. As I know, and Charlotte by setting up Jeneo has proved, there are women in tech out there primed and ready to speak at your events (here’s a handy list of 343 of them). There is now no excuse not to have a representative and diverse panel of speakers at technology events…
After the talks we headed back to bask in the glory of the shelves for some networking and nibbles. It was, put simply, very cool to hear from some impressive and influential women who are doing some remarkable things with, in, or around technology. Check out Anne Boden’s interview from last year and Lisa Riemers blog reflecting on International Women’s Day in a tech company.
There you have it, the take-aways from an inspirational evening.
But, in the interest of giving a balanced review of the evening I will say one thing, the notable absence of beer on offer (Ella and I are very much beer people). But on the other hand, who doesn’t like a glass of fizz at Christmas?! Here’s a pic of fellow ninja Ella to prove it….