Tell us your story.
20 years ago Tim Berners-Lee gave us the commercial version of Arpanet with the worldwide web. Our file storage was a portable zip drive that looked like a brick and could store a whole 1MB of data. At the same time I was just starting my professional career as a technical marketing administrator at the first Internet Service Provide in the UK writing the tech spec descriptions for things I didn’t know how to spell let alone explain!
But it was the start of a career that whether planned or not has been inherently involved with technology. I was at the forefront of wireless adoption – planning all the things we now all take from granted; followed by a role as the Global RFID lead within IBM. These and subsequent projects, have been from diverse starting points and have covered a variety of technologies that positively affect everyone’s life (even if they don’t know it).
More recently I have worked in the field of HR, talent and corporate responsibility where technology again plays a massive role from recruitment, to payroll, to employee satisfaction and more.
An old boss at IBM, Cheryl Shearer was an inspirational business leader who made me believe any role I was given was possible and to be honest I never saw technology as anything other than a ‘cool new project’ and ultimately a tool for making things happen.
What advice to you have to share with other women and young girls?
Technology will continue to shape the future and we need a diverse set of individuals to make sure that what is developed is right for humankind. With a raft of new technologies on the horizon (augmented reality, nano-tech, new logistic methods such as drones, disruptive technologies influencing medicine, to name but a few) the technology space is wide open for a new generation of input so why not female input? To be truly successful we need an inclusive mix of all people that are users of technology and have empathy to what the ultimate objective of a particular technology is. So why not step-up as a new career move and get more balance in the workplace at the same time – it’s ours for the taking.
Pass it on!
I attended a Silicon Valley comes to the UK (@SVC2UK) session at the end of 2014 and Margaret Gould Stewart (@mags), Director of Product Design at Facebook was an inspirational female technologist and what she said I would challenge all women to identify with.
Simply... Technology requires humanity – we need to understand what we ‘should’ be building. Technologies are simply tools – it’s people who transform things (like ‘paint’ in itself isn’t revolutionary right?!). Additionally we should encourage everyone to have an appreciation of humanities as much as encouraging people to get more involved with technology. Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society said “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.” We have to invest in science and technology but we equally have to invest in history, fine art, music, and philosophy to understand what is right and what is wrong and therefore what is actually going to matter.
The future is technology with a conscience!