Virtual Women In Tech Week 2020

As part of our WomenInTech initiative, last week Third Republic hosted its first global WomenInTechWeek, featuring virtual meetups and industry insights from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and the US. The aim of the initiative and these events, is to try and make the tech industry a more exclusive and diverse environment.

The whole week was a huge success with over 500 people registering to attend our events during the week. Not only were the presentations, given by inspirational women in the industry, informative and engaging, but the networking sessions allowed for people to share and collaborate on ideas.

Ladies in Leadership

Kicking off the week was our UK event, ‘Ladies in Leadership’. Shabana Khanam, Senior Quality Engineering Manager at Lloyds Banking Group, began the event by speaking about the gender disparity in leadership. Shabana shared her experience in the industry and how women should uplift each other, in order to improve the representation of women in tech.

This idea was emphasised by a quote she shared: ‘When women support each other incredible things can happen.’ Opening the conversation to the floor, Shabana expressed how changing the perception of women in the industry; that they are competent and can do the job just as well as their male colleagues, will help to decrease the gender bias in tech.

The next speaker was Yasmin Taylor, Platform Data Engineer at MUBI. Yasmin spoke about the blog she had written on becoming a DevOps Goddess. She shared her background and motivation into beginning her career, and the challenges she has faced in the industry, not only as a person of colour, but also as an individual from a working class background as well as being a woman.

Speaking on salaries in tech, Yasmin notes that in some occasions women can be ‘blindsided’ when it comes to how much they can earn, because their employers are under the mindset that they might not be able to fill the role. In the Q&A session after her talk, Yasmin went on to illustrate how you can pursue your tech career whilst still studying, or working in another industry.

The final speaker of the event was Agata Zborowska, COO at Conception X, who spoke about inclusion in tech and how it all starts with you. Agata provided an in-depth understanding of Conception X and the tech start-up projects that women in the industry completing their PhD, undertake with help from her organisation.

She also spoke about the community of female mentors in tech at Conception X. During the Q&A session, Agata mentioned different resources that are available for people who wish to establish their own tech start-up.

In the networking session women shared how their experiences in the industry related to what they had heard in the presentations.

The Glass Ceiling Effect

The second event of the week was our Netherlands based event ‘The Glass Ceiling Effect’. Our two amazing speakers were Vanessa Engelhart, Managing Director at EQIP CONSULTING and Eltina Ouwehand, CTO at Atos.

Vanessa began the evening by talking about her university thesis “CEO on Heels.” She explained that her thesis examined the reasons and critical factors that both help and hinder women taking up executive roles. Based on her interviews with women in these positions, and her own experiences, Vanessa provided recommendations that women in the industry, and organisations in tech can do to increase the number of females in executive roles.

Women in tech:

       •  Read about Vanessa’s “CEO on Heels” profile
       •  Find mentors
       •  Start developing your skill set early

Organisations in tech:

       •  Help implement changes that prevent the barriers to women
       •  Provide coaches for females aiming for executive positions
       •  Adjust HR policies

During the Q&A session after her presentation, Vanessa spoke about the idea that because women tend to be risk averse, this can translate into a lack of confidence.

Eltina Ouwehand, CTO at Asos, was the second speaker, and she discussed how to shine a light on female role models in tech. As well as providing a background into her impressive career in the industry, including a particular career highlight of speaking at an event preceding Michelle Obama, Eltina gave advice on how women should be bold, speak out and make conscious choices. She also stressed the importance of having role models.

Opening up the discussion to the floor, Eltina spoke about the strategies she has in place, as a female executive, to address the lack of female leadership in the industry.

A Positive Future Post Pandemic 

In the third event of our Women In Tech Week, Dr. Katharina von Knop, Founder and CEO of Digital Trust Analytics began the event by talking about how we can build digital trust in AI. Katharina talked about the pyramid of digital trust earning which is based on the Maslowian pyramid of needs.

She also gave some real-world examples of organisations that have been successful in gaining digital trust, and during the Q&A session after her presentation, she spoke about the key difference between building trust in the working and digital environment.

The second speaker of the evening Nahia Orduña, Senior Manager in Analytics and Digital Integration at Vodafone, discussed the positive side of the new future of work and how to reinvent yourself. She spoke about the different stages that reinvention involves: inspiration, direction, learning time, networking and sharing, and gave suggestions on each stage.

Nahia held a particularly interactive session with the audience engaging and answering questions through a mobile app. Nahia also mentioned the book that she is currently writing on the topic, as well as the workbook she has created to aid people in the process of reinvention.

Navigating Your Career in Tech

The final event of our Women In Tech Week, our US event featured Tara Jones, Global Leader – Private Equity Partnerships at Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Maria Phipps, MAFM, Pre-Sales Solutions Architect.

Tara began the evening presenting some top tips on how to handle events and experiences that could happen in your career, in fact she linked a lot of the advice given to actual examples that occurred in her own career. Allowing for the instruction to really resonant with the audience. Her opening comment of “It’s a marathon not a sprint” was emphasised by her own career; of 12 jobs in thirty years. Listen below are just a few examples of the advice that Tara developed on during her presentation:

       •  Mindset is everything
       •  Assume positive intent
       •  Your Best Yes

Maria expanded on the presentation by Tara and gave her own advice, in the form of a set of stages, for beginning your career in tech. She started her talk by presenting some hard hitting facts about women in the tech industry, for example: women earn only 87% of what men earn in IT computing jobs.

Maria went on to explain that by following her 10 stages – create your plan of action, Level Up! And Network being three – you can generate your own opportunities and continue to bring value ‘to the table’. During the networking session after her presentation, Maria was asked which stage was the most important for her, she chose confidence.

This event was a perfect way to round-off our Women In Tech Week.

If you’re interested in speaking at our next event or even attending one, please don’t hesitate to contact Third Republic.