Here’s his take on why these awards are vital in helping steer the aspiration of greater diversity in Tech.
Last night the inaugural Midlands Women in Technology Awards showcased some of the region’s brightest stars in Tech.
Keynote speaker Jacqueline de Rojas expressed her joy in seeing an awards event celebrating the contribution of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outside of London.
This was an important event to host, showcase and talk about. The lack of gender diversity in technology exposes vulnerability in this sector for our region.
Technology is shaping our lives in ways we could not envisage in the past. It is vital, in order to be at the cutting edge, to attract, retrain and foster the greatest talent available.
It’s vital women in technology are recognised and their achievements showcased in order to inspire those who want to succeed in the industry. If young girls read about and see other females achieving success in technology, it can only be beneficial in helping achieve their aspirations.
I envisage these awards growing year on year. Technology is moving at the speed of light, its bewildering for those of us entrenched in analogue lifestyles. In Manchester this week, I struggled to hail a cab, every one that passed operated under the umbrella of a tech start up operation bookable via an app.
Earlier this week, I tweeted about the Laundromat at my daughter’s University Halls where the washing machine has an app built in which notifies her when the washing cycle is complete.
This was read by 14,000 people and attracted 95 likes. Technology and the Internet of Things will increasingly design our lifestyles and life choices. It’s something we either embrace, in the way Women in Tech Awards do or we risk being left behind, on the side of the road hailing a cab that no longer exists.
Congratulations to all finalists at Midlands Women in Tech Awards 2019. Here’s a list of the night’s winners:
Start Up Founder Award – Sonu Bubna (Shopper.com)
Apprentice Award – Shannon Lynch (JLR)
Rising Star Award – Emily Lawton (REPL Group)
Academic Award – Paula Mendes (University of Birmingham)
Tech for Good Award – Cate Rae (Widgit Software)
Innovator Award – Melissa Snover (Nourish3d)
Best Digital Lead Award – Pat Crossley-Smith (Methods)
Shining Star Award – Amandip Jheeta (TATA Consultancy)
Midlands Women in Tech, and the woman who pioneered change in the industry.
The first ever Midlands Women in Tech Awards (MWITA) was held at I_Centrum at Innovation Birmingham last night. The aim of the awards is to raise the visibility of women in technology in the region and enable the next generation ‘to see it and therefore aspire to it’. Currently, just 17% of those working in technology in the UK are female and according to a recent survey by PWC only 3% of young women have technology as their first career choice.
The award ceremony was a hugely inspiring event and a highlight of it was the lifetime achievement award which went to Mary Lee Berners-Lee, who was born and educated in Birmingham. Berners-Lee was a pioneering computer scientist and in 1951 helped programme the first commercial computer: the Ferranti Mark 1, following guidelines written by Alan Turing. Not only was her work revered but she was also an active campaigner for equality in the workplace, leading a successful equal pay campaign at Ferranti before setting up independently, working from her home to enable her to raise her children, and as a result becoming one of the world’s first freelance programmers. Her family followed in her footsteps and her son Tim Berners-Lee is credited as the inventor of the internet. What a family legacy.
As part of her lifetime achievement award a newly-commissioned portrait of Mary Lee Berners-Lee was unveiled, created by Birmingham-based embroidery artists, Imogen Morris. The artwork will be on display in the Hall of Fame at Innovation Birmingham. The artwork, created to celebrate a life’s work of innovation in technology, is by embroidery artist Imogen Morris. The image is made up of a series of triangles connected to one another built up over three layers, and beneath the portrait, as a homage to Berners-Lee’s scientific and mathematical background, algebraic and mathematical symbols have been embedded. Morris often uses triangles in her work as a symbol of strength,she says of the artwork: “Mary Lee was a woman based in a very male-dominated industry, to hold her own in that time she needed self-belief and tenacity. The triangle symbolises that inner strength that Mary Lee and other women hold when fighting for equality.”
As a purpose-led business we commend both the work and values of such an extraordinary woman, and hope to support many more generations of women in technology.
The inaugural Midlands Women in Technology awards showcased some of the regions brightest stars in Tech at the tech hub of the region, Innovation Birmingham.
At a time when we need more diverse leadership, awards like this help to steer the aspiration of diversity in tech.
It was an amazing evening of celebration, not only because of the sheer quality of the incredible women in the room, but also by the buzz and excitement from all the finalists, sponsors & supporters appreciating the moment of a collective celebration of Women in Tech.
Without the support of the incredible sponsors this event would not have been possible, we’d like to say a massive thank you to our headline sponsor Methods, our diamond Sponsor Innovation Birmingham, category sponsors Wesleyan, NTT Data, Millennium Point, Birmingham City University, Aston University, SCC and ICAEW Birmingham & West Midlands.
We’d also like to thank our digital media partner CMAvideo for amazing visuals on the night and capturing the evening, Marketing & PR Partner It Is PR and Bottega Prosecco Bar for providing drinks for the finalists on the night.
With over 100 nominations and over 5000 votes across all categories it is safe to say, that there is an appetite to showcase and profile women in Tech, hopefully this will lead to an increased uptake within the tech sector by more women. It is truly a case of ‘you have to see it, to aspire to it’.
Hosted by the magnanimous Emma Jones MBE a business expert and best-selling author of many business books with Keynote speaker Jacqueline de Rojas, expressing her joy in seeing an awards event celebrating the contribution of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outside of London and stating that “the rise of women does not mean the demise of men”.
Technology is shaping our lives in ways we could not envisage in the past. It is vital, in order to be at the cutting edge, to attract, retrain and foster the greatest talent available.
The evening also saw pioneer Mary Lee Berners-Lee posthumously honoured, with a lifetime achievement award and a piece of artwork especially commissioned to mark the occasion.
The judging panel for the much-anticipated inaugural Midlands Women in Tech Awards has been revealed.
The awards will be judged by a stellar panel of individuals, which include the following:
• Tracy Westall (Head Judge)
A Board Executive in the Digital and Technology sector for 30 years.
Tracy was a Board Director at midlands tech firm, SCC plc running a £350 million public sector business. Latterly Director of Corporate Services, Tracy ran a range of operational functions overseeing in excess of 250 staff. In addition to her corporate career, Tracy was the Director of GBSLEP responsible for Stimulating Innovation in the West Midlands, sat on the Smart City Commission, Birmingham Science City Board and championed the Digital Leaders West Midlands programme. A Governor at Birmingham City University, a Board Advisor at Innovation Birmingham and the West Midlands Digital Advisory Board.
She is a Non-Executive Director at the Department for Transport, sits on the Future of Mobility Advisory Board. She is Executive Chair at Curium Solutions and advises scale up businesses.
Tracy spent several years on the Main Board of Tech UK, the trade association for the UK tech sector and is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in the sector. Recognised as the Digital Leaders West Midlands Champion in 2018, Tracy is delighted to be involved in the inaugural Women in IT Awards.
• Deborah Leary
As well as being CEO of Forensic Pathways, which provides advanced data analytics, forensic intelligence, forensic products, training and consultancy, Deborah is also chair of the Midlands World Trade Forum, vice president of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs and deputy chair of the United Nations UK Global Compact.
She was also involved in the Annual Innovation Report, the world’s first progress report on innovation. The report draws together information and data against which the UK’s future progress on innovation will be judged and underlines the vital role innovation has to play in securing the country’s long-term prosperity.
• Pam Waddell
Dr Pam Waddell is the founding Director of the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, a regional partnership working to stimulate science and technology-based innovation to improve prosperity and quality of life across the West Midlands. The principle objectives are to build a vibrant innovation ecosystem for the West Midlands and to catalyse collaborative activity focussed in demand-led innovation. The Innovation Alliance built on the legacy of Birmingham Science City, which Pam directed from 2009-2017.
Pam is a recognised authority, locally and beyond, in the role of innovation as a driver for economic growth and improved public services, with extensive experience of leading, building and supporting strong innovation networks across diverse sectors and types of institution. She has had demonstrable success in partnership and project development, including winning of major project funds and collaborations between public, private and research sectors, and has an excellent track record of developing strategy and operation plans for delivery, both in her current role and from her 16 years in the Research Support team at the University of Birmingham. Pam has considerable and respected leadership and management experience and has a reputation for integrity and tenacity.
• Professor Hanifa Shah
Prof Hanifa Shah is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment at Birmingham City University (BCU). She studied Computer Science as an undergraduate, has a PhD from Aston and a Masters from Cambridge. She has held lectureship, readership, professorship and executive leadership positions in Computing and Engineering departments at Aston, Staffordshire and BCU, and a Visiting Professorship at Manchester University. She also has several years’ experience in industry including BT, Cadbury Schweppes and Britvic. Her wide-ranging experience of higher education spans teaching, research, enterprise and industry engagement combined with leading academic strategy development and organisational change. She has launched and driven a number of innovative initiatives over her career. Her work has helped to shape national and international thinking on work-based learning and university qualifications for IT Professionals through her work on transformational development programmes for large corporations and public sector organisations. Her commitment to the success of students and staff has led to her developing a cohesive approach to research, industry partnership, and teaching increasingly underpinned by a digital strategy. This provides a strong basis for an exciting student experience and employability alongside opportunities for staff to remain at the ‘cutting-edge’ of developments in fast-changing technical subjects.
• Jo Mcdonald
After completing a Degree in Chemistry, joined the graduate scheme in Barclays. A 20 year career specialising in technology and business transformation programmes ranging from programmes which involved replacing all kit in the branch network and implementation of front end sales systems to leading the programme to operationalise a 400 seat capacity call centre to handle all admin and servicing queries for UK Business Banking customers. Currently the Head of Enterprise Planning in Wesleyan Assurance Society, a role which involves planning and providing assurance for a multimillion £ change portfolio each year spanning technology and business end users. I’m a member of the British Computer Society and volunteer as a Director on the Board of a Birmingham based Credit Union. Live in Worcestershire with my 2 teenage children and an aging cat.
• Faye Pressly
Faye is a people-focused business leader who is on a mission to transform how we think about organisational productivity, purpose, profit and people’s happiness, so we can move beyond insular focus on shareholder value. As COO for Vanti, one of the UK’s only Master System Integrators with a Smart Building reference site, Faye is currently working with the best and brightest minds to collaboratively imagine and engineer technology solutions that positively change the way people live, learn and work.
She is Chair of the Silicon Canal ‘Women in Tech’ working group and part of the WMCA Digital Board and CompTIA Exec Council, where she is a key advocate for encouraging women and girls to enter careers in technology and helping to develop Birmingham to be the UK’s Smartest City.
In Jan 2019 year, she founded DIDFest – a month long, city wide festival in Birmingham, made up of incredible events that aim to inspire behaviour change and close the gender diversity gap in digital.
• David Hardman
Dr David J Hardman MBE – Managing Director – Innovation Birmingham Ltd.
David’s career over the last twenty years has been in knowledge transfer; working at the interface between applied research and commercial application and exploitation. His expertise and interests are directed at creating appropriate partnerships and infrastructures to promote the development and success of cross sectorial knowledge-based businesses.
He started out as a PhD microbiologist, with research interests in the application of microbes in what is now described as ‘clean technology’. In 1992 co-founded and led a start-up biotech venture and this experience developed into a wider interest in the translation of science into good and applicable technologies.
In 1998 David moved to the Babraham Institute, Cambridge to establish and lead a wholly owned trading subsidiary, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd. where his focus became the development of the commercial aspects of the Babraham Research Campus.
In 2008 he took up his current post in Birmingham to develop and implement a new strategy that built on the legacy of Aston Science Park. The result is the Innovation Birmingham Campus; an urban focal point promoting digital innovation and adoption across all sectors. In 2018 the Campus became part of Bruntwood SciTech and is now planning a major expansion activity to create a focal point for a thriving innovation district in Birmingham. David is the Honorary Chairman of UKSPA and sits on the innovation boards for the GBSLEP, WMCA and Midlands Engine.
David was awarded an MBE for ‘contributions to science’ in 2009.
The seven judges will establish who the inevitable winner is from the shortlist of finalists for the inaugural awards. The winners will be revealed on the 3td October 2019 at I-Centrum Innovation Birmingham, who are also diamond sponsors of the event with Headline sponsor Methods Digital & supporting sponsors Wesleyan, NTT Data, Millennium Point, Birmingham City University, Aston University, SCC, ICAEW and Digital Media Partner CMA Video.
The judges will select a winner from the following 8 categories: • Start-up Founder Award • Apprentice Award • Rising Star Award • Academic Award • Tech for Good Award • Innovator Award • Best Digital • Shining Star Award
Nominations for the awards are open until 23rd August 2019.
To nominate and find out more about the awards please visit: www.womenintechawards.co.uk
If you can’t see it you won’t believe you can be it
3rd October 2019 at I-CENTRUM Innovation Birmingham The MIDLANDS WOMEN IN TECH AWARDS: Celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women in the tech sector.
With Information technology identified as the most in-demand skills set this year across multiple industries*, the time has never been better for women to get into technology. However, according to a study by PwC in 2017, women are 5 times less likely than men to have technology as their first career choice. Currently only 17% of those working in technology in the UK are female. And the future is not looking any brighter, with only 7% of students taking computer science A-level courses being female.
Interestingly, this sphere of technology was once dominated by women, with many of the first programmers being female; the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, the programmers working on the first Harvard computers and the space flights at NASA – all women!
“I am a great believer in ‘you have to see it to aspire to it’” so says Debbie Assinder, Event Director of the Awards and West Midlands Enterprise Champion for Enterprise Nation.
“It is time to recognise the significant contribution that women across the Midlands are making in the field of technology, to raise their visibility and inspire the next generation. This is where the Midlands Women in Tech awards come in. We aim to shine a spotlight on all the pioneering women in the world of tech. We believe that not only will this bolster opportunities for women but it will also inspire other young women to get involved and realise that they too can enjoy a dynamic, exciting and innovative career in technology.”
This year’s headline sponsor is Methods. Their Head of Marketing, Alison Palmer commented, “Women in Tech is a subject that we strongly believe in. Methods is proud of the diversity across our organisation and we are keen to take responsibility for creating an environment where women want to work and can thrive in tech. The Women in Tech Midlands event represents values that we share and we are proud to be this year’s headline sponsor.”
The Awards include a Hall of Fame, honouring the exceptional work that women from the Midlands have made in the field of computer science. The first recipient will be Birmingham-born Mary Lee Berners-Lee, known as the ‘grandmother of coders’, she was on the team behind the Ferranti Mark 1 – the world’s first commercial computer. Berners-Lee also campaigned successfully for female programmers to be paid the same as men, nearly 20 years before the Equal Pay Act came into force. She is also the mother of Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
We would also like to thank our supporting sponsors Wesleyan, NTT Data, Millennium Point, Birmingham City University, Aston University, ICAEW Birmingham & Midlands and Innovation Birmingham Campus.
Nominations are now open so let’s get nominating the amazing women in tech.
Closing date for nominations: Friday 23rd August 2019
Shortlist announcement: Wednesday 28th August 2019
Judging day: Tuesday 17th September 2019
Awards Evening / Winner announcements: 03rd October 2019
*According to a survey published last year by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, an industry trade body.
Women In Tech Awards #MWIT21
Our mission for these awards is to raise awareness and promote the importance of Women in Tech. We aim to celebrate the achievements of the Midlands women in tech - who are leading and paving their way in the tech sector.