The Women in Technology event, held in Edinburgh on the 3rd September, proved to be a fantastic day out! Held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, it was packed out and provided a great platform for all to share knowledge and network with others who face similar challenges to ourselves!
Whilst enjoying some of the many diverse and vibrant sessions, we also took a few notes and some sneaky pictures from a few, in order to share with you some of our highlights and also as a reminder to ourselves of some of the great key learnings of the day!
There were of course many, many more sessions running than we could attend and I am sure all of equally high standard and value, if you didn't make it along this year, I would have it on your bucket list for 2020!
Chairperson's opening remarks and facilitation - Vicky Brock
Vicky Brock CEO and co-founder of vistalworks was the Chair for the day, kicking us off at the start of the day in the main hall with a great introduction to the day and an insight into her world. Many great takeaway statements on how to succeed including:
- Create Visible Footprints!
- Do less, tell more!
- Do your best, but do NOT try and be perfect!
- Key Benefit: Prevent others taking credit for your work and ensure you get your well deserved credit!
Vicky continued to provide great insights throughout the day whilst facilitating the main stage sessions and I am sure will have provided invaluable guidance and inspiration too many, as she did to me! Thank you!
Planning, Energy & Perspective - Melinda Matthews-Clarkson
Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, CEO of Codeclan, left the audience in no doubt as to why she is a successful leader. Melinda as a self confessed extrovert easily took command of the stage and her audience! She enthusiastically took us all on a holiday planning journey, helping us understand how to plan better, keep things in perspective, and of course how to keep our essential energy levels up and remain positive! Such an engaging speaker you could not help but become engrossed in her storytelling.
Amongst the many great tips she provided, the one that sticks in my mind as something that will definitely help me is:
- Walk away if it doesn't feel right for you!
Thank you Melinda for sharing your wisdom and of course setting the tone for the day, you certainly made me feel invigorated for the day ahead!
The Future of Work - Eimear Martin
Mind-blowing statistics from Eimear Martin, Global Head of Platform Services and Regional Head of Platform Operations at BlackRock. Lots of data to back up her key points which was very much appreciated by the large technically motivated audience. Some great historical learnings:
- It took 68 years for the aeronautics industry to achieve 50million passengers
- It took 50 years to gain 50million landline phone users
- It took 12 years to gain 50million mobile phone users
- And only 19 days to get 50million people signed-up to Pokemon Go.....Incredible!
In addition, there were many other fabulously memorable takeaway statement and facts:
- 50% of our workforce need to learn new skills within the next 4 years!
- There will be 130million new roles created from automation and although some roles will become displaced this is a much smaller estimate at 75million!
- Change is part of the modern world - we need to all become comfortable with being uncomfortable!
Great session and for those that love data (I am one of them) a thoroughly enjoyable one! Thank you Eimear!
Are they on-board? Creating the right relationships with your Top-Level Stakeholders - Bridget Kenyon
Bridget Kenyon, Global CISO at Thales gave us an in-depth run through on how to engage with our top-level stakeholders. Bridget provided lots of really practical advice on what to do to have successful engagement at the top-level and of course what to avoid, I particularly love this slide as I am sure at least one of these will resonate with us all!
My key takeaway, always consider cultural readiness for the change you are proposing, use ADKAR, Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement to assess the challenge ahead!
Thank you Bridget for a very practical, step by step guide on how we should all approach this challenge!
Changing how we see the next generation of Women in Tech - Leah Hutcheon
Really shocking statistics from Leah Hutcheon, CEO and Founder of Appointedd, Leah herself has a fabulous story to tell of her own successful development of a tech start-up and is proud to talk about the help and support she has had along the way, however revealing some very depressing statistics at the same time:
- <0.5% of venture capitalist investment in the UK is provided to Women Founders!
- Yet women are more likely to deliver a healthy return on their investment!
- Still only 11% of Software Engineers in the UK are women!
The depressing stats aside, Leah''s talk was far from downhearted, instead she was an inspiration, I hope for many of us, to actively drive even harder to ensure we change those figures for the better! Lots of great tips, the memorable ones for me:
- Hire slowly, fire fast!
- Fail forward, own your failures and learn from them!
- Don't obsess over your competitors, be aware, but remain free of fear!
Thoroughly enjoyed this session and came out feeling inspired to succeed! Thank You Leah!
Bridging: Increasing Communication and Knowledge Sharing between Tech and Business Teams - Ivona Vickovic
A fantastic presentation from Ivona Vickovic, Principal Design Engineer at Cirrus Logic, talking us through the communication and collaboration challenges that multi-site companies face, in Cirrus's case, UK and US!
Great slides providing clear visualization of the challenges faced and then great practical solutions to help keep teams engaged and collaborating as best they can!
Probably my 2nd favourite graphic of the day, sorry Ivona, but Jo Watts daughter's hand drawn Peppa Pig characters were fairly special! 🙂
Joking aside, really impactful presentation with great graphics and this one in particular demonstrates the scale of the challenge without any explanation!
Congratulations and Thank You!
Promoting Team Resilience and Professional Growth - Federica Cinosi
Fabulous storytelling from Federica Cinosa, Wellbeing Consultant at EidynWell, who shared a very personal story of her own situation with mental health to take us on a journey that has led her to EidynWell.
The current figures for workplace related mental health issues is staggering at 84% of people suffering at some point from symptoms. Federica provides signature programmes and workshops covering resilience, stress control and healthy eating to support mental health in the workplace.
Thank You for raising awareness and helping businesses in the critical area!
Data Skills for the Future - Jo Watts
I have to give kudos to Jo Watts, founder of Effini, for her innovative presentation approach to guide through the world of future data skills. Using the fantastic artistic creations from her daughter we enjoyed a Peppa Pig themed journey that took us all on the skills evolution trail in a clear and simple manner! Definitely my favourite slides of the day!
Jo shared with us her journey and highlighted Effini's latest inventions to us, in the creation of the first school level data science qualification and Codeclan's new data science programme. Both of which of course are great achievements and worthy of celebration!
My favourite line from Jo's session though was definitely that:
- We should teach Cyber Security like we teach Road Safety!
I couldn't agree more! Fantastic presentation! Thank You!
Scaling Up: How a Fintech Maintains Quality Code in the Face of Fast Growth - Gemma Irving, Iris Winter & Jenna Grierson
A great panel set-up with Jenna Grierson, Scrum Master at Modulr, leading a panel discussion around the challenges the team face in managing the quality of their code within as a rapid growth Fintech company.
The company has already grown its Edinburgh presence from 4 - 60 in the last year with a further expansion planned for another 52 new starts. The team provided insight into how they collaborate and their use of SCRUM methods to help them structure their workload.
Great to hear how well integrated the women are within Modulr and their higher than average gender mix is a really positive step to maximising their team's potential!
Great group of young women who coped with the attention fabulously well!
Well Done Ladies and Thank You for a great discussion!
Article by Audrey Boyers, Founder of MaxCap