Judging panel announced for the inaugural Midlands Women in Tech Awards

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