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#YouEqualTech – The Power Of Community

YouEqualTech, Events

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Mark and I have been busy recently attending lots of events together. However, we attended one this week that really exceeded our expectations. YouEqualTech has been around since 2017 holding meetups, but until yesterday had never held a meetup up North.

#YouEqualTech and Mortimer Spinks

Powered by Mortimer Spinks, YouEqualTech aims to promote diversity in the tech world. Whether that be gender or race, it cannot be denied there is a current lack of diversity in the tech world. YouEqualtech aims to put an end to this. By promoting the stories of diverse role models who have entered the tech world, managed to make a difference and form a career.

YouEqualTech has created an event where tech professionals, leaders, students and anyone who is interested in getting involved in tech can work towards making the tech industry more inclusive and spread the word of the importance of diversity.

With Manchester being the tech hub of the north, and lots of businesses quickly emerging trying to solidify their place in the industry, You Equal Tech brought their regular meetups up north to try and form a community here.

Hosted at Barclays eagle labs, Mark and I headed over to the event after finishing up in the office and were greeted by Lara, who promptly welcomed us and told us to grab a drink and help ourselves to some food! It was great to see the variety of people who attended. Before the talks had even begun, we were chatting to lots of the Mortimer Spinks team and attendees from companies all over Manchester, so it already looked to be a great turn out.

Tina Howell – Cloud Practice Lead

The first talk was from Tina Howell. The cloud practice lead at AND Digital. Tina began by speaking about her conservative upbringing in Northern Ireland, in which the expectations of her as she grew up were traditional. To get married and have children. Tina explained how she felt like a minority when she first came to the North of England, not only because of her stand out accent, but also because she was one of the only women to be interested and skilled at development and coding. It was this realisation that made Tina value the support groups around her, and the importance of empowering others in a similar position.

Tina is now passionate about the power of community in the industry. Believing that building effective DevOps capabilities is due to having a good support network around them. She offers apprenticeships, mentoring and training/coaching for anyone interested in getting into development. Not only was Tina approachable and likeable, she managed to engage the audience with her amiable disposition yet undeniable contributions in the tech world.

David Turner – VP Engineering

David Turner was up next. He is currently the leader of the engineering team at Response Tap. But has been helping start-ups and growing businesses into fully functioning engineering teams since 2013. Having worked in every continent except Antarctica, (which he admitted to wanting to do one day!) David’s experience spans over 20 years. In that time, he has learned a lot about the power of community. Also the importance of approaching different people and businesses in different ways to determine which is best for the business and the team.

David spoke about the different experiences he has had building communities in different countries. He built a community in Cape town from an initial 5 attendees in the meetup. He also spoke about how he organised a last-minute conference in London during the 2010 Iceland volcano. David had a diverse range of stories to tell and has undeniably built some amazing communities in the tech world.

Mhairi Davidson – Development Team Manager

The last speaker was Mhairi Davidson. The development team leader at In Touch. Mhairi spoke about how she has always been a career driven woman, and how it has worked in her favour (most of the time)! Her talk focused on how she broke down stereotypes in the workplace as she progressed through her career. As a recruitment consultant straight out of university, she began in-depth learning about the oil industry to appear more knowledgeable about the industry of her clients. She also learned about construction practices to help out her dad’s business. Suggesting more modernised ways of doing business, she was faced with initial negativity from some of her colleagues.

As a young blonde female trying to build a career in male-dominated industries, Mhairi faced her fair share of difficulty trying to be taken seriously. However she never gave up and rarely failed, surprising a lot of important people. She spoke about how she secured her current position in the tech industry. How she is determined to learn more about tech as she progresses and how she is striving for diversity in the tech industry. Mhairi was thoroughly engaging, making the audience laugh, but most importantly, she made us genuinely interested in her journey.

The YouEqualTech Manchester kick off exceeded our expectations. It was great to be able to stay until the end. It allowed us to have a chat with some of the speakers. YouEqualTech is a meetup that is needed for the Manchester tech community. Diversity in our industry is slowly gaining momentum and hopefully, the pace will quicken with the introduction of more events like YouEqualTech.

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