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Women in Technology and Digital Meetup London

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On 23rd March 2017, we gathered together technology/digital professionals from in and around London, to share their experiences and help to define measurable action towards a more balanced industry. The purpose of this meetup is to connect the technology and digital industry to the outside world!
 

Chapter 1 - 'Debugging the Industry'

We were delighted to be joined by four fantastic speakers:

Sarah Lynch - CIO @ Keefinty - who talked about cross-training, mentoring and coaching

Ruthie Penfold - Director of Talent Acquisition @ Shazam - who discussed promoting the industry and dispelling misconceptions

Daryn Edgar - Director @ PWC - On what we can do to bring about change right now

Alfonso Ferrandez - Group Technical Director @ OVO - Talked about his experiences and the impact that a lack of diversity has on the industry

The evening commenced with four quick fire speeches, followed by a panel discussion with the audience. Below are some key highlights from the evening.

Lose the traditional 9-5/corporate model 
It's important to adapt to the evolving workplace and as Ruth said, lose the traditional 9-5/corporate model in favour of greater employee empowerment.

People buy people and who you hire says a lot about your business and where it's headed 
Having a diverse workforce is linked to many factors; improved problem solving through different perspectives, greater representation of your customer base, increased engagement and performance, which was highlighted by the success of Alfonso's Amazon team. (Tip to remember: https://textio.com/talent/ the site Alfonso suggested to see how 'masculine' your job adverts are and tips on how to change them)

Getting to know your team and discovering their motivations is very important 
Spend time with them and find out what they want out of their careers' and where they want to go. It's key to think about what the people you work with are capable of and as Sarah said, there should only ever be one answer to this - whatever they put their mind to.

It can be very simple to implement an initiative or model to encourage diversity within your business 
Daryn's advice on the power of networking and the initiatives she is involved in, Ester (Chelsea Apps Factory) sharing their new competency model and the power of cross training.

You have the power to empower the next generation 
Sarah's example of approaching her old school to give a presentation on women working in technology is an excellent example of how you can inspire the next generation of Women in Tech early through your own personal connections.

Some of our key takeaways:

There are lots of opportunities to get vocal and get yourself out there to promote Women in Tech and Diversity. 
There is a mountain of groups and initiatives out there working towards the same goal. Get up and get out there! Inspire and encourage the future generation in tech. Our podcast and future events being a great place to start!

Education is key 
We need to start educating people from an early age of the opportunities in a tech career, and change the unconscious bias as young as primary school age. That's students, parents and the teachers.

Being given a platform is very important 
People working in the industry feel like they need to be heard and given an open, non-judgemental place to air their views and ideas.

It's not all about the 'Hard Skills' 
We need a wider focus on the opportunities that cross training and mentoring can bring to the industry. Companies and employees need advice on how to implement this within organisations.

Finally, everyone is responsible and has the capability of creating a diverse industry.

For information on our upcoming meet ups please visit our meet up group.

Haleigh Sands

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