Leading business and technology figures gathered in London last night to celebrate the winners in the 2015 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards.
This leading initiative, supported by techUK and leading global technology businesses champions the advancement of women in technology and STEM careers. The winning role models unveiled today demonstrate both the diversity of talents needed by the technology industry and the breadth of career opportunities IT can offer women. Winners include corporate leaders from large PLCs, entrepreneurs exploiting tech for accelerated business growth and young go-getters forecast to be the technology champions of tomorrow.
The industry has acknowledged the gender diversity gap in the technology sector and these awards seek to address the issue. Whilst girls consistently achieve higher grades than boys in IT-related subjects they fill just 16% of IT & Telecoms professional occupations and while much is being done at education-level to address this, these awards are playing a vital role in uncovering role models whose stories and achievements demonstrate to those young women and girls that they can achieve great success if they opt to forge a career in IT.
The 2015 Woman of the Year is Lt Cdr Roxane Heaton RN, Synthetics Training Policy Staff Officer, Royal Navy, from Portsmouth, who joined the Armed Forces following a successful banking career and has been heralded for her ability to embed innovative processes and mechanisms to spread digital change across the Naval Service and Defence.
The 2015 category winners are:
Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by ARM: Patricia O’Hagan MBE, CEO, Core Systems, from Belfast, whose company specialises in technology solutions for high security facilities and offenders.
Inspiration of the Year – sponsored by VMware: Ayman Assaf, Head of Strategy & Planning, BP, from London who has been recognised for his achievements in promoting the role of women in IT in the company, including adapting job descriptions to attract more female applicants and championing initiatives to ensure gender balance in candidate pools.
Leader of the Year – sponsored by BP: Helen Lamb, VP-Head of Managed Infrastructure Services, Fujitsu UK & Ireland, from London, credited with improving revenue, profit and customer satisfaction at the company and bringing in new clients including RBS, Boots and Balfour Beatty.
Rising Star of the Year – sponsored by American Express: Sadia Chuhan, Apprentice IT Project Manager, Thomson Reuters, from London who aged just 20 has been recognised for her ‘positive attitude’ which has led to the expansion of the apprentice scheme at the company.
Start-up Founder of the Year – sponsored by Salesforce: Alexandra Depledge, CEO, Hassle.com, from London, who set up the online marketplace matching professionals with trusted domestic cleaners in 2012, which now operates in six countries and has received $6 million in funding from a VC firm.
Innovator of the Year – sponsored by Equiniti: Sinéad Brophy, Founder & CEO, MySupportBroker CIC, from London, which brings together people with expertise in support and care for those with long-term illnesses, disability and mental health.
Team Leader of the Year – sponsored by T Systems: Marit Thowsen, Director Technical Delivery, American Express, from Brighton, who introduced a reporting solution that is credited for saving thousands of pounds in cost efficiencies, and has founded the Technology School Program for girls.
The One to Watch – sponsored by EMC: Zea Tongeman, from London, who aged just 15 has already presented a TED talk, having created the idea for the Jazzy Recyclers app, promoting recycling to young people, as part of the Apps for Good programme.
International Leader of the Year – sponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions: Karen Egan, Senior Director Technical Support EMEA, VMware International Ltd, from Cork, Ireland, who is the main sponsor of the Work Placement Program which supports unemployed people into IT, and a champion of all-girl CoderDojo community group for primary school girls.
Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills in supporting the Awards says, “Congratulations to all of the winners. As role models and ambassadors you are instrumental in inspiring women to follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in technology. It is vital that we challenge the perception of the technology industry as being for men only, and make sure that all sectors in our economy attract the best talent, regardless of gender.”
Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments, “The UK’s technology sector is booming, but there is still an imbalance in terms of the gender make-up of its workforce. These incredible winners today are demonstrative of the huge opportunity there is for future generations to make their mark and achieve success. We hope that by raising awareness of their achievements, in future years, there will be greater gender equality and appreciation of the diversity within the tech sector.”
Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer of title sponsor FDM Group adds, “FDM is delighted to be the headline sponsor of the everywoman in technology awards for the third consecutive year. Congratulations to all the fantastic winners for 2015. Showcasing the incredible level of tech talent and celebrating these achievements is vital to achieving gender equality in IT. At FDM, we aim to practice what we preach and are proud to say that 25% of our global workforce is female. We not only advocate the merits of a career in technology but support the growth and development of all female employees. As ever, there is more to be done but inspirational women continue to pave the way and will encourage more women to not only consider IT but forge a career in it.”
The 2015 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards took place on the evening of 17 March 2015 at the London Hilton on Park Lane, attended by 500 global business leaders.