WOMEN ROCK

WOMEN ROCK.

Thanks for being here and welcome to Women Rock – a voice for diversity in tech! Here you will find some of the most inspirational stories about ED&I in the tech industry. Women Rock was created by SR2 co-founder and all-round positive vibe advocate Alicia and exists to help transform the industry and create a positive movement!

 “Culture is not a building” Interview with Eva Spexard | Passion.io
WOMEN ROCK2022-08-16

“Culture is not a building” Interview with Eva Spexard | Passion.io

What do you get when cross a huge “Passion” for people and a genuine curiosity in the Tech and Engineering sector? You get Eva Spexard, Head of HR at Passion.io.Women Rock Ambassador Cameron had the pleasure of meeting Eva via their LinkedIn communities to talk all things culture and diversity within the workplace, specifically how we can makes things easier for women to succeed without sacrificing – a topic very close to our hearts!HEY EVA! THANKS SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE YOUR STORY. CAN YOU BEGIN WITH A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE PLEASE?Sure! I’m Eva, currently Head of HR at Passion.io and I’m more or less born into a People and Culture position in Tech/Engineering. My mom is an HR Manager and my dad is an Electrical Engineer that moved into development (he has always been very eager to teach me how to do anything from changing light bulbs up to developing code for the big cutting machines his company sells).Now as you can see today, my passion for people and work environments was a little stronger and I decided to start my first role after my studies in recruitment. I was responsible for the E-mobility sector in the company I worked for at that time and learned how fulfilling it is to help people find a job they can thrive in and see them succeed.In the following years I worked in HR consulting and as an international HR professional, all mainly in Tech and Engineering companies until I joined Passion at the beginning of this year and I can say that I’ve really “found my home” here, as one of my amazing team members always says.AND HOW HAVE YOU SEEN REMOTE WORKING AND FLEXIBILITY FUEL ED&I, MAKING IT EASIER FOR WOMEN SPECIFICALLY TO SUCCEED WITHOUT SACRIFICING?Remote working and flexibility are great tools to enable ED&I. It can give companies access to the talent they usually would not have access to (in different countries and locations and from diverse backgrounds, not just the people that are within a commuting distance from your offices). It can also increase women’s ability to advance in their careers by offering more flexibility to work from anywhere and anytime. It can make them less dependent on a certain location and its availability of child care and nursing services – women are still the primary caregivers in our society.All that while saving them time and cost to commute to an office and not having to make that work with pick-up times at schools and day care. The accessibility of remote work can also open new opportunities for those who aren’t able to afford transportation costs or for people that are neurodivergent or people with disabilities. This goes hand in hand with a culture that encourages flexibility, of course, async work, autonomy, parental/caregiver leave, mental health support, and so on and so forth.It absolutely doesn’t mean that remote work is the solution to everything and for everyone and there are certainly many things we as a society need to improve on to make it easier for women to access certain industries and roles but it can be one tool to attract and also support women with whatever their career aspirations might be without them having to sacrifice other aspects of their life.FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE HOW IMPORTANT IS DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE?It’s not even a question of importance for me – it is absolutely vital for any company from my point of view. Companies that don’t make it a top priority will not survive the next 5 years, if you always do what you did because you hire the same people you always hired and promote the people you always promoted your workplace and company will not be able to adapt to the always changing reality. Diversity is THE number one advantage when it comes to building a culture that fuels the success of an organization from my experience. It drives innovation and enables challenging conversations that more often than not lead to positive changes, learnings, and improvements.WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON/PERSONS IN YOUR EARLY CAREER?I did my LL.M. in Labour Law and my M.Sc. in Business Psychology both at the same time while I was working full time between 2016 and 2019. Looking back, it was one of the toughest times for me and also one of the most stupid decisions I made in my life (would not recommend it, like seriously :D). Anyways, during this time I had a professor at university that was an absolute role model for me. She was different from other profs, more relatable and not afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I’m sorry I’m late, it’s because…”. She told us about her mistakes and learnings, how she struggled and then found her way. How difficult it can be for a woman in a male-dominated environment. That did not make her look weak or less professional, it only made her students open up to her more, build trust and do the best work they can. That was when I realized I want to be that kind of leader and contribute to making the world of work a little bit better.IT’S PRETTY CLEAR YOU’VE DONE SOME PRETTY COOL THINGS IN OUR CAREER SO FAR! WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?Personally, I am super proud I managed to walk the Bright Angels trail into the Grand Canyon and back up (where back up is the actual achievement here haha). It was a pretty cool experience for me because it showed me once again how much we can achieve if we really really want it. But also that it only works if we have the right support and environment. It’s a little bit like a career you really want and you’re willing to work hard for it but if no one shows you it’s possible, gives you a chance, a map and some good shoes, you’re set up for failure.Professionally my proudest achievement is probably my current role at Passion. I always wanted to be in a People & Culture role that allows me to create a culture and environment that is diverse and inclusive and where people can bring their whole authentic selves to work. No bs, no work-face. An environment that is willing to learn and improve. One of our values at Passion is #levelup and I think that’s exactly what every organization, CEO and people leader can do when it comes to ED&I and for instance women in tech: aim to get better and find ways to improve. Some amazing takeaways there – thanks Eva you rock! 

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 “Diversity brings rich skillsets, better communication and problem solving” An interview with Kate Ratcliffe
WOMEN ROCK2022-08-09

“Diversity brings rich skillsets, better communication and problem solving” An interview with Kate Ratcliffe

Kate Ratcliffe is here to prove you can be a woman, have a family, be a great leader and support other women at the start of their careers in the tech industry – read that again! Kate has been working in Product Management for the past 10 years and is Head of Product Management at Eagle Eye – a marketing tech company that works with retail and hospitality companies, helping them develop their loyalty and promotions programmes. Women Rock Ambassador Doug spoke to Kate about her love for the tech industry and the incredible Purple Women community – a platform to develop women’s careers in tech and allow them to reach their full potential.HEY KATE! COULD YOU START WITH GIVING US A LITTLE INTRODUCTION ABOUT YOU AND EAGLE EYE?I grew up in a small village in Lancashire and was always pretty academic, so I knew I wanted to go to a great university to get my degree but honestly, I didn’t have a clue what I would do once I graduated. Once I finished university I decided to look into graduate schemes for inspiration and stumbled upon one focused on Product. I quickly fell in love with working in Product Management and 10 years later, I still feel the same. Now I am Head of Product Management at Eagle Eye.Eagle Eye is a marketing tech company that works with fantastic retail and hospitality companies around the world, helping them develop their loyalty and promotions programmes. It’s our tech that powers initiatives such as Pret A Manger’s coffee subscription scheme and Asda’s loyalty program. It’s my role to help Eagle Eye define and develop products and solutions that deliver true value to our clients.WHAT IS IT LIKE AS A WOMAN IN TECH WORKING FOR EAGLE EYE?I LOVE being a woman in tech at Eagle Eye. We have a 50/50 gender split in the product team which is amazing. I truly believe the best, high performing teams are diverse; diversity brings rich skillsets, better communication and problem solving. Our senior leadership team is also filled with incredible women who, on a daily basis show you can be a woman, have a family, be a great leader and support other women at the start of their careers.WHAT ARE EAGLE EYE DOING TO HELP WITH D+I?We have an ERG group which has provided education and awareness on our diverse group of employees. We’ve learned about different religious festivals, veganism, had some emotional speeches on the Black Lives Matter movement and have now set up a successful women’s ERG group called the Purple Women.Our Purple Women have implemented a new Family Friendly Policy covering topics such as enhanced maternity and paternity pay, the menopause, flexible working and work experience. They have also been looking at ways to attract more women into the tech sector to try to boost the number of applications we receive from female candidates.We’ve taken small steps such as adding a slide in our job description deck with a statement around being able to offer flexibility and consider applications from candidates who don’t feel they necessarily meet all the suitability criteria for the role, plus advertising the Purple Women’s Family Friendly Policy and all its benefits.Lastly, whilst not yet required by law to report on the Gender Pay Gap, we have started looking at this internally and using the data to inform our own salary reviews annually.WHAT IS YOUR PURPLE WOMEN ERG GROUP AND HOW WILL IT IMPACT LIFE AT EAGLE EYE?Our Purple Women group was established to represent the incredible ladies in our business and make Eagle Eye a great place for our Purple Women to work. It’s a community that is everything from a friendship group and support network, to a platform for us to develop our women and allow them to reach their full potential.WHAT HAVE YOU AND YOUR TEAM DONE NOW THAT COVID RESTRICTIONS HAVE ENDED?I actually had my first baby during lockdown so whilst remote working has been incredible in terms of easing back into work after maternity leave, I couldn’t wait to get back to the office to see everyone. In the last couple of months we have got the whole team together for a delayed Christmas party at Flight Club, and Google hosted us for a storytelling workshop and team builder activity which was great.We are also having our first in-person Company Day in 3 years in July where we fly all of our international team over to the UK and get together for 4 days of teambuilding. I am so looking forward to finally meeting all of our new team members in the flesh.FINALLY, CAN YOU LEAVE US WITH YOUR FAVOURITE SAYING / QUOTE THAT REALLY SUMS UP YOUR OUTLOOK ON LIFE AS A WOMAN IN TECH?If you think something nice about someone, tell them. Small acts of genuine kindness are exactly what the world needs right now. Thanks Kate! Keep rocking!

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 “No one knows everything” An Interview with Alexandria Gilliott
WOMEN ROCK2022-08-03

“No one knows everything” An Interview with Alexandria Gilliott

Meet designer turned developer Alexandria Gilliott. 😊A very special human who Women Rock Ambassador Charlotte Baker has been super lucky to get to know and work with over the last couple of months 💙.Alex is a super hard-working and inspiring individual – she decided to take a leap of faith when she went from seven years as a designer to a software developer, without a related degree-level qualification 💥 .From being a designer to a developer, part-time science documentary lover, gamer, and a big foodie. Alex has a curious mind and loves to surround herself with like-minded people ✨.Alex proves it is all possible as she chats to Char about what diversity means to her, who inspires her daily and her manta 🧘‍♀️We highly recommend getting comfy, having something to sip on and giving this a read 📖.TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY YOU’RE HERE TODAY?I grew up on the beautiful south coast of England, with ever changing ideas of what I wanted to do from palaeontologist to astronaut to gardener and everything in between. Throughout my education, I could never settle on one ‘thing’ and therefore have a rather diverse set of skills such as film & game studies, photography, geography, and even floristry.As mentioned, I am a designer turned developer. I fell into digital design at a part time job I had while at university (studying something else) and I enjoyed being a designer for several years before eventually taking the leap to become a developer.I am here today with the hope that by sharing my experiences, I can offer that small nudge to take a chance or try something new.HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY BEEN (MOVING FROM DESIGN INTO DEVELOPMENT OR JUST IN GENERAL?) HAVE THERE BEEN ANY BUMPS IN THE ROAD ETC?At the beginning, I was acutely aware that I didn’t have any formal education around software engineering and the sheer breadth and depth of topics, languages and technologies that exist was so over-whelming. Knowing where to start seemed like an almost impossible task and every job seemed to want a related degree-level qualification.With some advice from peers in the industry and support from friends I chose to start with the front-end technologies mainly because my design background helped me here the most, and after a few months of self-learning using various courses and tutorials, I managed to get my first development job.There have been ups and down as with anything. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by so many fantastic peers and mentors who strive to uplift those around them, and I have grown the most from working with those people. But I have also experienced the negative side of being a woman without formal qualifications in a male-dominated academically biased industry. There is outdated views and gatekeeping behaviour still around, but they are fading and there is support there for you if you are affected by it.WHAT DOES THE WORD “DIVERSITY” MEAN TO YOU?Diversity is success – it makes us all the best we can be and achieve more than we ever could alone. When I collaborate or I am open to other points of view or listen to other people’s experiences, the outcomes from that far exceeds anything I could have achieved by myself or with only liked-minded people. Diversity gives us so much strength and the opportunity realise and improve many things that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE BIT OF ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO’S THINKING ABOUT MAKING A CAREER CHANGE INTO TECH – WHAT WOULD IT BE?A “full-stack” developer is a myth. While it is good to have a working knowledge of each aspect of development there is far too much you need to know now for one person to be deeply and equally skilled in all aspects. This expectation to know everything, especially if you are just starting out, is what makes it feel so over-whelming.No one knows everything! So, with that burden removed, I would recommend getting hands on and having a play around with a few different languages/frameworks by doing their tutorial projects to find out which flavour captivates you the most and progress from there. If you do what you enjoy, you can’t go wrong.WHAT COULD COMPANIES DO TO SUPPORT WOMEN WHO ARE JOINING A MALE-DOMINATED TEAM/COMPANY?Everyone is an individual so generic solutions are hard to identify so for me it is about ensuring equity, awareness and being flexible to the needs of any minority.On an individual level, they should avoid spreading women out just for the sake of looking more diverse. Saying “we have a woman in every team” sounds great, but realistically, it can be quite isolating and make you feel like ‘diversity points’ rather than a valued team member. Teams should be made based on skillsets, experience and personalities not gender.On a wider level, companies should be pro-actively addressing the gender pay gap. Women are both more likely to be underpaid and much less likely to negotiate their salary, and this is taken advantage of either deliberately or inadvertently. Having a regular and open process of evaluating compensation that also considers market rates and other economic factors would go a long way to addressing this problem.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE TECH INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?It’s accessibility for people from all backgrounds and places. There is a large barrier to entry to this industry, especially if you don’t follow the traditional educational routes and an even bigger one to work with some of the industry leading companies that drive global change. I can’t help but wonder what potential revelations we are missing out on by excluding so many undiscovered voices.HOW DO YOU UNWIND AFTER A LONG DAY?I log a lot of screen time per day so heading outside for a walk really helps. I am also a big foodie so making a fancy dinner with my partner and paired with some nice wine is my usual Friday treat.I also love gaming, all different sorts of games, because it is a great way to switch off work-mode and stop my brain from thinking about code! There is something I call the ‘code dream’, which most developers I know have experienced, where your brain is still mulling over a problem in the background, and you end up either dreaming about solving it or waking up with a potential solution! The brain is a funny thing, and this is an incredibly thought-intensive job and so having a good work-life balance is very important.WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN DAILY LIFE?I am constantly inspired by the people I work with; it was a big factor for my career change because I hadn’t met a developer who wasn’t inspiring in some way. And having worked in a tech-for-good company, it naturally attracts certain types of incredible people who are humbling and motivating at the same time.They say to surround yourself with people who have traits that you aspire to have, and I am lucky enough to say I have done that and hopeful enough to say that I have achieved some of them.WHO/WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? (PODCAST/MUSIC ETC)I do love a good science channel to learn about the weird and wonderful. It’s not a podcast but I am working my way through “Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell” videos. They answer fun questions in a short, animated videos such as “Can you upload your mind and live forever?” to “Why do beautiful things make us happy?”. If you fancy being fascinated, check them out.YOUR MANTRA?I have a few for different contexts but a particular mantra from a workplace with an amazing culture has stuck with me: ‘Kindness, Candour and Good Humour’. It sounds obvious at face value, but it helps adjust your thinking. For example, sometimes when you are stressed it helps you notice if your good humour slipping and you might be less open to feedback, or when trying to be kind you realise you are not being candid and that might be detrimental to progress. Similarly, if you are being honest about something, you make sure it is constructive and fair to uphold kindness. They all balance each other out and are all traits I want to have and encourage in those around me.Thanks Alexandria! Keep rocking!

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 “You can’t be what you can’t see” An Interview with Fadumo Aideed
WOMEN ROCK2022-07-22

“You can’t be what you can’t see” An Interview with Fadumo Aideed

Have you ever felt like you haven’t had enough support and advice at school when it comes to you career choices? We find it incredibly shocking that some schools are still so behind the times when it comes to girls wanting to get into tech! Here, Women Rock Ambassador Jacob speaks with Fadumo Aideed  about her journey into this male dominated space. As a woman who is black and Muslim, Fadumo came up against many challenges but if anything this made her even more determined to create a safe space for Women in Engineering, Science & Technology (WEST).Prepared to be inspired…TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR STORY SO FAR (HOW YOU GOT INTO TECH, YOUR TIME AT SCHOOL, TIME AT UNI, TRANSITION INTO CODING ETC.My journey into tech was more of a discovery than a final career goal. During my time at school, I was always interested in STEM subjects but felt like I didn’t get enough support or advice from the school for continuing it without advocating for myself. My earliest experience of this was when I wasn’t allowed to sit GCSE science exams but teachers felt it was better if I opted for more vocational BTEC courses. Disheartened by my teachers for not seeing my potential, I was driven to prove them wrong. With the help of my parents and home tutors, I was finally able to sit them.To my dismay, this would not be the only experience. Another similar situation occurred during A levels when I received “advice” from teachers on picking more practical subjects as I was interested in physics, particularly a career in astronomy. Again, I didn’t listen and went with my gut and decided I wanted to pursue Applied Physics at university. This turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. With no career goal in mind, I really enjoyed studying physics at university, particularly research in photonics which led me to my internship within the university’s photonics institute and gave me insight into academia and what studying a Ph.D. might be like but I was still unsure about my career goals.After I graduated in 2020, I took a few months to think about what I wanted to pursue and during the summer I started to learn web development for fun as a hobby while I looked for graduate physics jobs. I had some experience programming during university but I did not enjoy it at all then. I was very lucky to stumble across the School of Code boot camp which was a lightbulb moment that completely changed my perspective and my career. I never considered tech as a career option as I always thought I would need further master’s qualifications to apply. School of Code didn’t only teach me how to code, it was a personal transformation that gave me important life skills which I am forever grateful for.WHAT IS WEST AND WHY DID YOU FOUND WEST (WOMEN IN ENGINEERING, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY)?Studying a male-dominated subject had its challenges. As a woman who is black and Muslim, sometimes you are not taken seriously, you get many slight remarks, mansplaining, comments and microaggressions, especially when voicing your opinion and getting yourself heard. I met some amazing and inspirational women who had similar experiences and our stories brought us together. What we thought were isolated individual experiences were deep-rooted unconscious/intentional gender bias.We decided we wanted to create a safe space for Women in Engineering, Science & Technology (WEST) to come together, feel empowered and provide them the tools and opportunities to overcome the same issues we faced. Our vision then became to “engineer an inclusive culture for all”. Our success only accelerated as we all shared the same passion for increasing representation in STEM and was met with heavy support from the university, student union, and company sponsors.As we grew we came across an opportunity to make an impact internationally. We decided then to branch off from the society and become a community interest company (C.I.C.) which allowed us to work on projects funded by the government. A bioenergy start-up PyroGenesys approached us with a proposal to help bring clean cooking energy to rural parts of Nigeria. We partnered with them to create a gender equality and diversity strategy to ensure that the technology they were introducing to these communities was inclusive, commercially viable, and would not result in any unintended consequences. After the project, we had the opportunity to do a TEDx talk, present our findings to the royal academy of engineering, and present at the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists about how our projects are aiming to solve global humanitarian challenges.We realised how important our work is in thinking about inclusivity from the early stages of innovation. Sometimes this can be overlooked and can lead to solutions that exclude some groups in society leading to gendered innovations and our vision to work toward more inclusive innovationsWHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE AND DO WOMEN FACE IN TECHNOLOGY AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME AND DEAL WITH THOSE BARRIERS?I am very fortunate to not have experienced any challenges in my tech career so far however many women face many challenges especially when climbing up the career ladder. Breaking the glass ceiling is very difficult as there is no diversity in senior tech roles. I feel like it is a multitude of factors that prevent women in tech from progressing. The two main factors that come to mind are gender bias/discrimination and career progression into senior roles. Many women find it difficult to get their voices heard on their contributions and achievements which ultimately can drive them out of the industry.HOW DO YOU THINK WE BRING ABOUT REAL CHANGE IN THE REPRESENTATION OF FEMALES AND DIVERSE HIRES IN TECH? WHAT DO YOU THINK CAN BE DONE ON BOTH PERSONAL AND BUSINESS LEVELS TO ATTRACT MORE UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS INTO TECH?Real change comes from the bottom up. Teachers should not be reinforcing stereotypes about what students can achieve. It is very disheartening when teachers who are there to teach, inspire and uplift the next generation do the complete opposite and deter them from STEM altogether. The main drop-off point I feel is when they finish GCSEs. My passion is to do outreach to students and make them aware of the career opportunities that are out there. I myself didn’t even know what engineering was exactly until I was in sixth form so if a young kid is aware of the wide range of career options and knows it is possible to achieve it they will do well.As for business, most junior tech job descriptions have unrealistic expectations. They want you to already have years of experience after you have only just graduated. Job criteria like this deter women as there are loads of statistics that show that women only go for roles when they meet 100% of the criteria compared to men who just apply if they meet around 60%.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN THINKING ABOUT GETTING INTO TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT?Don’t be afraid to reach out to people already in the industry for mentorship or adviceLook into free online resources like freeCodeCamp or online tutorialsApply for boot camps! There are loads of free ones like the School of CodeJoin women in tech communities and find others on your journeyApply to jobs even if you feel like you don’t have enough knowledge, In most tech roles you learn a lot on the jobPractice by doing! Incorporate your current interests with programming and create something coolDon’t be a gatekeeper! If you find useful opportunities or resources, SHARE THEM!Finally, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!A FAVOURITE QUOTE AND WHY?The quote that stuck with me is “You can’t be what you can’t see – Marian Wright Edelman”As children, we rely on stories, images, role models, and leaders that help us form our worldview on who we are and who we could be. Without anyone who looks like us, anyone who has paved the way for us to follow, we are unaware of the opportunities that lie in front of us and it becomes almost impossible to get your foot in the door.A MOVIE OR BOOK THAT INSPIRED YOU AND WHY?The movie that inspired me the most was Hidden Figures. It was a movie based on the three African-American women who were the mathematicians behind the NASA space launch. Despite the racial discrimination and gender bias, they accomplished incredible things. There are a lot of women in history who are hidden figures that contributed significantly to innovations that history has forgotten or ignored.WHAT BARRIERS HAVE YOU PERSONALLY FACED SO FAR AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?I have always faced some sort of barrier where I have gone against the norm and someone says I can’t do it e.g. teachers or peers. What stopped me from listening to the negative noise was my parents’ support. Having a good support system at home is so important when making career decisions at a young age and I am lucky to have parents that have supported me every step of the way.PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT?My proudest professional achievement was teaching Code First Girls only a year into my tech career. It was both nerve-racking but also exciting that I could inspire women into the tech industry having only just begun my own journey. I would definitely encourage people to give back to the community even if you don’t feel like you know enough or it’s too early in your career.Thanks Fadumo! You absolutely rock!

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 76% of female students aged 12-14 years old thought they knew what skills were needed for a role in the tech industry | Interview with #GirlTech
WOMEN ROCK2022-07-18

76% of female students aged 12-14 years old thought they knew what skills were needed for a role in the tech industry | Interview with #GirlTech

What do you get when you fill a room with female students who are eager to learn more about the world of tech and some of the countries inspirational female leaders in tech? You get #GirlTech 💙Women Rock Ambassadors Andy and Hannah spoke with Suzie Bell – Project Manager at Ahead Partnership and Founder of #Girltech and Nicky Mikulla #GirlTech Ambassador to find out how the event was breaking the bias for women in tech.

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 Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors Part 3
WOMEN ROCK2022-07-12

Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors Part 3

For the final instalment of ‘Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors’  Alicia chats with Jenna, Charles and Steph about why they wanted to get involved in this movement, what diversity means to them and how they see the landscape of ED&I changing. Alicia started Women Rock to let folk have a voice and make a positive change in the tech industry by empowering the groups that don’t usually get the recognition they deserve.The whole of the Women Rock team feel so passionate about these subjects and we hope you enjoy meeting the gang on a more personal level! Each ambassador has a story to tell and this week we get a peek into the wonderful brains and lives of Jenna, Charles and Steph…Keep rocking!JENNA HEYES – CONSULTANTWHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?Diversity to me means equal opportunities for all no matter what gender, race, sexuality or religion. A human is a human, and we should all strive to be kind to each other. Diversity is what makes each one of us totally unique – who wants to be the same as everyone else? It’s our differences that shape the world, and when you create a diverse space, it makes the whole community a better place to be in.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?I would advise companies to think outside the box and not follow the typical norms and ways of doing things. A big one for me would be to use inclusive language in job adverts and on socials! Also, be consistent. Diverse talent won’t be convinced if there’s just one or two posts about diversity, and not really much to back up what you’re looking for.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?If I could change one thing about the world, I would change greed. I think humanity have become obsessed with greed and money and ultimately, it’s destroying our planet and our society. We need to get rid of those ego’s of ours!WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?My biggest success to date is joining a company like SR2. I never thought I would be able to say I work for such an amazing company with incredible motives and morals. I never did that well at university and my confidence was low – but since joining I feel so supported and excited to see what the future holds!My biggest challenge to date is packing my bags and jetting off to Australia on my own at 18 years old! I ended up staying out there for two years and having the best time of my life – it grew me as a person and gave me so many life lessons. What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t grow you!IF YOU WERE A SONG WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?If I was a song, I would be Filthy/Gorgeous by the Scissor Sisters. No reason just an absolute tune! CHARLES HOSKINS – HEAD OF PERM (PUBLIC SECTOR LONDON)WHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?To me it’s creating an environment that means I get to have the opportunity to surround myself with amazing people from different walks of life. A place where I can learn and teach with them on a daily basis. It’s great!WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?Listen! More often than not companies fall into the trap of having a D&I statement on their website and it stops there. If you are only just starting to drive D&I, that’s okay! There’s so many people and groups that would love to help and educate you. So listen to what they say works/is right and most importantly follow it up with action 😊IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?Given my upcoming move to London, I’d like to make rent there cheaper 😂 But to keep it relevant, lets bin off close-mindedness! Without different opinions and a counter argument you cant learn. So keep an open mind with everything, you’ll be surprised what you’ll learn.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?Success: My recruitment career has taken me to some pretty cool places. Not just to a senior post at SR2, but it’s taken me around the world! A close second is my music career 😏Challenge: Learning to deal with life, particularly the rubbish bits. But got to find the positives and it makes you a better person coming out of it!IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?Ratamahatta by Sepultura because what the f**k is going on there!STEPH JACKSON – PRINCIPLE CONSULTANTWHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?Diversity to me is about celebrating differences and allowing them to all come together to create more of a varied workplace. No matter what skin colour, background, religion, gender etc… it’s about celebrating differences and accepting that we are all equal human beings in this world.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?To be as flexible as possible, if you’re getting diverse candidates applying who might not have every skill you’re looking for – why not have something set up in place to support those people to help them gain more experience and train them up, it’s important for companies to make that first step in making changes if they want diverse talent in their teams. Other advice I would give to be actually offer people the work/life balance they are looking for, that’s going to attract more candidates in general always.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?One thing I see so much of these days and would LOVE to remove from the world is this whole “cancel culture” thing – people are far too judgemental, and quick to slam someone for their mistakes or for getting things wrong. Nobody is perfect, and we should all be teaching one another with love… how great would a world be when we didn’t cancel people for their mistakes, but support them with patience and kindly explain a different point of view to them. If we all thought the same way it would be a very boring world. It costs nothing to be kind.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?My biggest success to date I would say was being able to purchase my first home, all by myself in the middle of 2020 right in the thick of the pandemic. It was something I always dreamed about, and so proud of myself for making it happen and still often pinch myself. My biggest challenge I would say was recently trying to get to Barcelona with an expired passport, and driving to the home office to beg for an emergency passport and getting on the next flight. Made it happen though! 😇IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?The Climb by Miley Cyrus, I love the words and I think they are something to live by.

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 “I believe that diversity in the workplace not only produces more creativity and better engineering but supports a fairer society” Interview with Mhairi Hislop | Huboo
WOMEN ROCK2022-07-04

“I believe that diversity in the workplace not only produces more creativity and better engineering but supports a fairer society” Interview with Mhairi Hislop | Huboo

Meet Mhairi, a Software Developer at Huboo in Bristol. 2 years ago she was an Operations Lead for Dyson and hadn’t written a single line of code before, so Women Rock Ambassador Doug chatted with Mhairi about how and why she decided to jump into the wonderful world of Software Development – with zero experience!Her story is truly inspiring and if you are in the same boat as Mhairi was – where code was (quite literally) another language – read on to discover how to make the move!HI MHAIRI, THANKS SO MUCH FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US! CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH HOW YOU CAME TO THE DECISION TO MAKE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT YOUR FULLTIME CAREER AFTER HAVING NEVER WRITTEN CODE BEFORE?Yeah, so I would say that I’m very much a generalist and I’ve been lucky enough to have had exposure across a large breadth of different areas. My undergrad degree was originally in engineering and since then, I’ve worked in operations, programme management and strategy across several different sectors.My engineering background means that I am a data driven person, and with the exponential increase in the way we store and use data, I could see a lot of opportunity in expanding my skillset to keep up.The original plan was to do a part time masters in analytics whilst still working, but in 2019 I was made redundant along with a few hundred others as part of the Dyson Automotive project closure.Whilst at the time this was sad and unexpected – I spent about a solid week in the pubs of Bristol afterwards, I don’t mind telling you – it gave me a huge opportunity to stop and reflect on what I actually wanted to do next.I basically took all the things I liked about my previous roles – problem solving, data analysis and a need to improve an issue – and applied it to the kind of company I wanted to work for and the work I wanted to do.GOING FROM OPERATIONS LEAD TO WRITING CODE AS A SOFTWARE DEVELOPER MUST HAVE BEEN QUITE DAUNTING! CAN YOU TELL US YOUR STORY OF HOW YOU MADE THE MOVE AND TALK US THROUGH THE RESOURCES AND/OR COURSES THAT HELPED ON THIS JOURNEY?Of course. At the time, and this was just before COVID formally hit the UK, there were a plethora of online and in person courses available to learn software development. I chose a local Bristol based company, DevelopMe, after going along to an open night and being really impressed with the course material.Before enrolling I spent a lot of time on some of the free online resources available to get a feel for writing some front-end code. This was useful just to confirm to myself more than anything, that the idea I had in my head matched the reality of writing code.Unfortunately, when COVID hit, it obviously meant that we couldn’t study in person but the team at DevelopMe did an amazing job of turning the whole thing round to an online course in a very short space of time – they even sent us the beers and snacks!During lockdown, luckily, my plans didn’t have to change very much at all – I cannot say how thankful I was for that. Unfortunately, DevelopMe did not make it through the pandemic, but there are other similar options available.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE ELSE WHO IS LOOKING TO RE-TRAIN IN SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT? AND ARE THERE ANY RESOURCES THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF NOW AND WISH YOU HAD HEARD OF WHEN YOU WERE MAKING THE MOVE?Firstly, make sure you know yourself including strengths, the things that you enjoy and, more importantly, the things you don’t.Use the abundance of free resources online to check if you like writing code before investing any money. There are plenty of other jobs in tech that might be worth considering including UX/UI, agile project management, dev ops or product management.Once you’re as sure as you can be at this stage, and don’t worry if you’re not you’re not signing anything in blood, start looking around for courses that are going to suit what you want to do and can fit around your commitments.I should mention at this point, there are plenty of self-taught developers out there however, if you’re anything like me, it’s worth investing in course and a bit of structure that will fast track you and help you prioritise the retraining.There are loads of online courses available, some free, some have fees and some offer certificates. There are also several coding bootcamps around the country which offer part time and full-time intensive courses.These are a big investment and although they often offer finance options, there are a few tips I can share that may help you choose one:Check their offerings – if you’re looking for part time, some may only offer full time courses which might not work for youOften course organisers host open nights or offer calls/in person appointments. Make use of these to ascertain whether you like the people, are clear on the syllabus, and that it will fit round your needsTry and find alumni to speak to and get their opinions on the course. Often you can meet them at the open nights or tech meetupsLook at the jobs that you would like to apply for and check their requirements. Compare these requirements to any syllabuses you’re reviewing to check that they are going to give you what you needThere are finance options out there so make sure you review what’s available to you and your circumstancesThere are loads of in person meetups, online communities and slack channels for all sorts of areas in development. I’ve found a mixture of experience at these events, and everyone is there for the same thing – meeting people and knowledge sharing. It’s worth going alongI would also encourage you to poke around in your current workplace. There is a huge shortage of developers at the moment and, depending on the company, they may have resources available to help support your retraining in houseConsider internship options and non-profit organisations like foundersandcoders.com/ which support minorities and people who maybe wouldn’t get the access otherwiseWhen are coding take lots of regular breaks – sometimes stepping away from a problem for a bit can actually help your brain process itA masters or undergrad is also an option however, this can be the more expensive route, and not always necessary. They also tend to be slower moving in updates to syllabuses due to the long-term nature of the course. Having said that, if this is your chosen route, there are some very relevant degrees out there particularly in analytics.Ultimately, it’s about learning how to learn and using transferable knowledge to apply it to a new problem. Try not to get too attached to one language as, I know everyone says this but it’s true, once you’ve learned one and the premise of object-oriented programming, you can apply that knowledge to any other new OOP language.Some of the resources I have used or can recommend are:Training and free resources:codecademy.com/ – Free and paid for courses in most languagesstackoverflow.com/ – Q&A forum which usually finds itself at the top of google searchesdeveloper.mozilla.org/ – Excellent documentation and resources for developerscoursera.org/ – Online free courses by University Professorsedx.org/ – Opensource courses governed by Harvard and MITfreecodecamp.org/ – Opensource educational communitycodewars.com/ – Coding challenge site for all levelscodepen.io/ – Website full of front-end examples and ideasPaid online subscriptions and courses:pluralsight.com/ – Courses on everything from data analysis to front-end but expensivelaracasts.com/ – Excellent resource for PHP and Laraveldatacamp.com/ – Resources for analytics and dataudemy.com/ – Multiple courses on almost everything CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR FIRST ROLE IN TECH? WHAT DID YOU LEARN? AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE ELSE WHEN SELECTING THEIR FIRST ROLE IN TECH?Trying to get my first role in tech was tricky for me as it was right in the middle of 2020 and the pandemic. My role was in small start-up on the side of a more established business offering a product that was overcame some challenges raised by the pandemic.We worked as close-knit team of four to build a platform allowing self-employed trades people to manage and conduct virtual assessments, quotations, billing and invoicing completely remotely through a web app. We also partnered with banks to allow these clients to offer finance to their customers through using this platform.The small nature of the team meant that I was lucky to be thrown in at the deep end and got the opportunity to actively contribute large portions to the first version of the web app. The other side of this was that we didn’t have the resource for proper feature tests or QA before deployment, so I didn’t get a lot of exposure to certain areas within software development.The main piece of advice I would give to any junior is that the interview process is as much for you as it is for your potential employer. As a junior, it’s important you get the support and training required progress to higher level. Sometimes people can be optimistic on what taking on a junior developer entails, and don’t have the structure to support them. I’ve had friends leave their roles due to this so I’m aware that I was very lucky in my first role.FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE, HOW IMPORTANT IS DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE?The system and society under which we work is inherently unfair, and prejudiced against anyone who doesn’t fit into very strange narrow norms that we’ve created for ourselves which can be seen in the data.STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) is still very much a male dominated area. As of 2019 in the US, women represented under a quarter of people who worked in computing and less than 15% in engineering. Black, Hispanic and Asian people made up less that 40% of workforce in tech .Whilst in the UK, according to a 2020 report from The British Science Association, only 27% of the STEM workforce were female, 11% were Equality Act disabled, and at that time 65% of the workforce were white men .This means that in terms of design, there is huge potential for blind spots and discrimination to be built into our apps, algorithms, machine learning models and products from cars right through to breast pumps.A lot of us have benefited from the privilege we’ve inherited, but at the expense of others. To change and challenge this, we need to educate ourselves on the privilege we have and become part of the solution. This can be anything from challenging toxic behaviours in the workplace right through to getting actively involved in STEM initiatives that support underrepresented minorities.Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed by Men by Caroline Criado-Perez, is a great read if you want to learn more about gender data bias in particular.I believe that diversity in the workplace not only produces more creativity and better engineering but supports a fairer society.WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS AN ESTABLISHED CAREER AND WANTS TO MOVE INTO TECH BUT IS A BIT APPREHENSIVE ABOUT HAVING TO START ALL OVER AGAIN?To be clear, I didn’t have any family commitments and as I mentioned before, I was made redundant, so I didn’t have to make the decision on whether to leave my current job – my current job no longer existed. This made it a lot easier to take the leap.I just threw myself in and did a full-time intensive course as a result but there are part time courses, funding and finance options available to help lessen the financial constraints. As mentioned before, ask your current workplace – they may have resources to support your career goals.I love learning and I’ve always felt like I had more to learn in whatever role I’ve been in, however, even with that mentality, I’ve still found it very humbling starting again. Be prepared to be a learner again, to ask questions and most importantly fight off the imposter syndrome. Be kind to yourself, no one else is expecting you to magically know everything after a year. Even senior developers, all the good ones anyway, will tell you they have lots to learn. When you’re in software you’re never done learning, which keeps it interesting.Play the long game. I took a pay cut to start again. I did a check with my outgoings to make sure I could afford to live, but I’ve had to make some serious lifestyle adjustments.Whilst experience in other fields helps, ultimately a company is paying for your knowledge in software so depending on where you are in your career, you may have to take that pay cut. The opportunity for progression that this kind of career can offer however, can make up for that – I’ve already started to close that gap.FINALLY IS THERE A QUOTE, MANTRA OR ATTITUDE THAT YOU LIVE BY EVERY DAY?Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Total cliché but it’s true in my head…Thanks Mhairi! You #ROCK!

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“You need to know yourself, understand your strengths and weaknesses and what you actually enjoy doing” Interview with Gina Fielding | Basekit
WOMEN ROCK2022-06-22

“You need to know yourself, understand your strengths and weaknesses and what you actually enjoy doing” Interview with Gina Fielding | Basekit

This is the second time Natalie has sat down to chat with Gina Fielding because she continues to ROCK in the IT and tech industry! We have followed Gina’s journey closely and her career is going from strength to strength, so we are always excited to hear about her next chapter…GINA, GREAT TO HAVE YOU DOING ANOTHER WOMEN ROCK! LAST TIME WE SPOKE YOU WERE WORKING AS A SOFTWARE TEST ANALYST BUT HAD YOUR SIGHTS FIRMLY SET ON TAKING YOUR CAREER DOWN THE PRODUCT MANAGEMENT ROUTE, WHAT WAS IT THAT ATTRACTED YOU TO PRODUCT MANAGEMENT?Product management is a wonderful mix of technical and creative. You are involved in every phase of the product development process; from research to design to development to launch.Product management is about building products that solve a problem for people. This means talking to customers and learning about their goals, motivations and barriers. I want to build products that people love.I am a process driven person so I enjoy the design and development phase because you are translating the identified problem space into usable solutions.WELL, YOU CERTAINLY HAD A CLEAR DRIVE AND VISION AS YOU’VE MADE THAT GOAL A REALITY AND HAVE BEEN WORKING AS PRODUCT MANAGER FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS AT BASEKIT! HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE TRANSITION AND WHAT SKILLS HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE MOST USEFUL?There are some similarities between Software Testing and Product Management so it’s not uncommon for a Product Manager to have a background in Testing. This is because a good Software Tester is process driven, inquisitive and they think outside the box which are all skills a good Product Manager has. So the transition into Product Management was not a difficult one as I already had these skills.I CAN IMAGINE YOU’VE ALSO LEARNT A LOT OF NEW SKILLS ALONG THE WAY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IT TAKES TO BE A GREAT PRODUCT MANAGER?To understand the solutions they should build, Product Managers need to use product discovery tools and frameworks, such as using qualitative data analysis to make evidence-based decisions instead of decisions based on personal opinion.A great Product Manager is a leader. They get the best out of teams by using good processes, and innovative tools and techniques. They encourage an environment where people feel empowered and can be their most creative. Product Managers also need to be able to work across teams. For example, working with Marketing to create messaging for the product.A great Product Manager never stops learning. And that means looking outside of their workplace, picking up tips from others in the industry. They are regularly looking to deepen their knowledge and explore new tools. They also share that knowledge with others.SOMETIMES IT CAN BE DAUNTING TO TAKE THE LEAP AND CHANGE YOUR ROLE, WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO ANYONE CONSIDERING GOING DOWN A DIFFERENT CAREER PATH?I am thoughtful about my career, looking at how to progress and what next steps to take.You need to know yourself, understand your strengths and weaknesses and what you actually enjoy doing. You have to accept that you are going to make mistakes and learn from them. I went into automation testing because I thought that was the next step for me. But it did not play to my strengths and I did not enjoy it.Product management is a passion as well as my job. I think it’s important to love what you do. I love challenges and I love to learn.WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT BASEKIT DID TO HELP SUPPORT YOU WITH YOUR CAREER PROGRESSION AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU THINK COMPANIES CAN BE DOING MORE OF TO HELP WOMEN?I have always been good at identifying gaps in processes and thinking of ways to bridge them. BaseKit’s Development team has always supported me and has been open to my ideas. The team has allowed a lot of experimentation which has really paid off and our team works more efficiently than ever.I made it clear to BaseKit when I interviewed for the Software Tester position that my aim was to become a Product Manager. BaseKit hired me with the understanding that I wanted to progress my career and supported me in doing this by allowing me to take on Product Manager responsibilities and implement process changes while I was a Tester. My value was recognised and I was quickly promoted to Product Manager. I think many tech companies still hold on to overly hierarchical forms of management, even small companies like BaseKit struggle with this. This can hinder creativity and makes the business less innovative. This hierarchical approach can shut women out as senior teams are often still very male. For a company to be innovative they must be willing to take risks and experiment with new ways of working. Innovative ideas can come from younger and diverse team members who have had a different experience.YOU’RE QUITE PASSIONATE ABOUT ENCOURAGING MORE FEMALES INTO THE TECH INDUSTRY, WHY DO YOU THINK THERE ARE SO LITTLE IN TECH?I would say the three main causes are problems with gender stereotyping (e.g. boys are better at technology) so that girls do not consider tech as an option for them; a perception of a programming ‘nerd’ culture which can appear male however I have never found it to be like that and finally a lack of female role models in tech.SO, WHAT WAS IT THAT ORIGINALLY GOT YOU INTO TECH?I got into the tech industry because I developed an interest in filmmaking, so I gained skills in camera operating and video editing software. I also learnt to work in teams and organise projects. This helped me get an apprenticeship in Digital Marketing when I was 18 for a software company making assistive technology for people with disabilities. I would visit our customers and record them interacting with our technology and talking about their experiences.Seeing how the technology helped our customers in such a significant way made me want to move into software development. My understanding of development teams was limited. I did not know about the many other roles that made up the team, such as Product Managers, Designers, Testers. Once I understood what a Product Manager’s role was, I realised that Product Management was my calling.NOW YOU’RE IN THE TECH WORLD, WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET ACROSS FOR WHAT IT’S LIKE AND WHAT DOORS CAN IT OPEN?I don’t feel like tech is viewed as creative by people outside of the industry. So I want to get across how fun and creative tech is and how you can be more valued in tech than you are in other creative industries. You don’t need a strong background in technology to get in – we all have transferable skills. There are a whole variety of jobs and once you are in, it is easier to move around and learn what you enjoy doing.WHAT MORE DO YOU THINK CAN BE DONE TO GET MORE WOMEN INTO TECH?I think our education system is dated; as a result we rely too much on people discovering technology for themselves. I think we should be offering more apprenticeships in tech and promoting apprenticeships in schools. Companies should look at how they could take on and support apprentices. We need more female role models so companies should focus on retaining their female staff and promote appropriately. When I go for interviews, seeing a diverse senior team is encouraging.THIS YEAR’S IWD THEME WAS BREAK THE BIAS. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT BIAS IT IS THAT YOU’D LIKE TO BREAK AND WHY?I want to break the bias against women requesting a good starting salary and future pay rises. Part of the problem with the pay gap between male and female employees is the ‘ask gap’. Women can often feel uncomfortable asking for a good salary, worrying about coming across as pushy in negotiations and anxious about their work, whilst men are more comfortable in asking for a higher salary and are less fearful of a backlash.If women ask for a low starting salary the problem compounds as the starting salary is then used as a measure for future pay rises. There is a lack of understanding about this in senior management who may themselves perceive pay expectations in a gendered way. I would like to encourage tech companies to know the worth of their female employees.AND OF COURSE, LET’S FINISH BY SHARING YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE…“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou Once again you have totally ROCKED Gina! Thanks so much for speaking to us again and we cannot wait to see your next chapter!

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Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors Part 2
WOMEN ROCK2022-06-07

Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors Part 2

Continuing with our ‘Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors’, founder, Alicia chats with Aoibheann, Jamie, Eleanor and Ben about why they wanted to get involved in this movement, what diversity means to them and how they see the landscape of ED&I changing. Alicia started Women Rock to let folk have a voice and make a positive change in the tech industry by empowering the groups that don’t usually get the recognition they deserve.The whole of the Women Rock team feel so passionate about these subjects and we hope you enjoy meeting the gang on a more personal level! Each ambassador has a story to tell and this week we get a peek into the wonderful brains and lives of Aoibheann, Jamie, Eleanor and Ben…Keep rocking!AOIBHEANN – SENIOR CONSULTANTWHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?Diversity means that everyone feels represented and comfortable bringing their entire selves to the table.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?As a data recruiter, I’m obviously going to suggest figuring out a user-friendly way of collecting and making sense of diversity data of people already in your company. If you don’t know what groups aren’t represented in your teams, it’ll be super tough to know where to focus your efforts on balancing the scales.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?The list is long, but based on my walk to work this morning, if cat calling was a thing of the past that would be fabulous.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?Making the career switch from radiology to recruitment!I still often pinch myself that instead of rolling up to an A&E night shift and grabbing my Xray machine, I get to support awesome tech for good companies scale their teams 😅It’s probably my biggest challenge too, but definitely the most rewarding!IF YOU WERE A SONG WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?‘You Can Do It’ – Caribou 🕺 JAMIE – SENIOR CONSULTANTWHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?An environment whereby everyone regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity gets paid and treated exactly the same (in line with their job and responsibilities obviously). Having views and opinions from people from different backgrounds surely only enriches experiences, which can only be a positive thing.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?Do more than just have a token gesture about D&I on their career page. I’ve seen some amazing websites when searching for people to interview for Women Rock that breakdown the diversity in their teams into gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. Even if it’s not where you want it to be, you can include a target diagram along with it to demonstrate it’s something you genuinely care about.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?Not D&I related, but it would have to be to stop fu**ing up the planet so much. You can have the most diverse workforce in the world but if there’s no world to enjoy it in, then there’s not much point.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?My son.My son.But in all seriousness, my biggest professional achievement would be my £100k month. For sure.My biggest challenge would have been the 14 months I spent as a stay-at-home dad looking after Cooper. It sounds crazy but that sh*! is hard! I’d take a 100 hour work week anytime.IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?This has literally taken me over a week to think about.Bob Marley – Three Little BirdsNot for any real reason other than it’s the song I used to sing to Cooper to get him to go to sleep. It’s also a kind of a family motto song “don’t worry about a thing, cuz every little thing is gonna be alreet”.ELEANOR – CONSULTANTWHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?Diversity to me is all people, regardless of background, race, age, gender, being allowed to thrive and be their best, true self. We are all held back by stereotypes and bias and it’s sad when you think about how much untapped potential and talent is out there because of these arbitrary and pointless structures society has in place! However, things have changed a lot and continue to shift in a positive direction so it’s good to appreciate how far things have come.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?My advice would be to ensure that you are offering benefits such as flexible working so that people from all walks of life can consider your company. I read something that said that the 9-5, 5 days in the office working week came about because men who did that had a wife at home running the household, who took care of all the life admin, freeing men up to work in this way. Things aren’t like that anymore, and people struggle to fit their life in around work, meaning they aren’t 100% on top form in either their personal or work lives. At SR2 we have so much flexibility, the long lunches, late starts and homeworking policy, which has been revolutionary to me and now I can’t imagine working any differently. When a company gives you flexibility and trust in this way it’s an acknowledgement that people have priorities and responsibilities, and that acknowledgement will result in a diverse workforce.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?The world that we live in is so horrendously unequal, from gender inequality to the hoarding of resources to wealth disparity. There are more than enough resources on earth for every single person to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. I would change this inequality but also change people’s attitudes to it, because we don’t have to accept society as it is. I really love this line from a Philip Larkin poem ‘we should be careful of each other, we should be kind, while there is still time’, which sums up how I feel. It doesn’t have to be this way and another world is possible.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?My biggest challenge was working in the public sector as it stifled my activism and was making me miserable. You spend most of your time at work so when you’re unhappy in that environment it impacts every other part of your life. Now I’m out of it I can see how unsuited to it I was and how happy I am now in comparison 😊My biggest success in life is 100% my friendships! I’ve been friends with the same people all through school and university and even though we all live different lives and are busy in our own way we are still so close. I feel most like myself when I’m in their company. They are my greatest achievement in life, and I feel very lucky 😊IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?These Days by Nico, just because it’s followed me around in life and I always go back to it. BEN – SENIOR CONSULTANTWHAT DOES DIVERSITY MEAN TO YOU?Having a varied team of people where it doesn’t look like you’ve pressed Ctrl-C & Ctrl-V X 100 times, and then creating an environment where people feel they can be themselves.WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO COMPANIES ON HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST DIVERSE TALENT?Work out what is essential to you as a business and focus on that. I have heard a lot of companies where they have a great feeling about someone, but they don’t match every criteria on a list of 20 things. I would say it’s better to find someone who smashes your top 3 requirements than scrapes the bottom 17.IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?Forgoing the obvious ones, I think if more people were working for the right companies the world would be a better place. As I walk over Tower Bridge & London Bridge when I walk to / leave work I would say 90% of people are trudging. Thinking about my own journey I am the happiest I have ever been and a big part of that (there are others!) is that I love what I do, I think it’s hard to feel fully content if you hate your job.WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE & WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO DATE?Looking at my great friends and family I think they are all the ‘bees’ knees’ which means I must be doing something right as they can’t all be wrong! Imposter Syndrome! Shout out to our own Sophie Eadon for helping me realise what it’s called. Particularly having been at a couple of companies where things maybe haven’t worked out, you do start to doubt yourself when things aren’t going right.IF YOU WERE A SONG, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU BE?Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell – No justification just an absolute banger. Could try and spin it as being about overcoming obstacles, but I’d be lying, it’s just a tune.

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