Over the course of the past two days we had the opportunity to attend this years ‘Women in Tech Festival Global’. Which was unsurprisingly, held virtually this year as a result of the ongoing COVID restrictions.

Despite these obstacles, Computing and CRN managed to put together an event that enabled women to share their experiences, advice, and raise awareness of challenges the STEM industry is yet to overcome.

This year the festival focused particularly on empowerment, development and management. Over the two days, it became fundamentally clear that we all have a part to play in tackling the gender diversity deficit. Whether that be through reviewing recruitment processes or looking into how we inspire the next generation, we all have a responsibility in some way or another.

Day 1.

Day 1 kicked off with the founder of ‘Loveday Wellbeing’ Hannah Loveday, who highlighted the importance of self-care and mental health during these particularly challenging times. A very fitting start to the festival, we had the opportunity to practice mindfulness and meditation. Hannah helped us to understand the value of taking the time to look after ourselves and our mental wellbeing, which in turn helps with performance in the workplace.

Throughout the course of the day we were exposed to a range of professionals, charities and businesses within the STEM industry. From Vinita Marwaha Madill’s talk on ‘Landing the First Woman on the Moon’ to panel discussions on ‘White women as allies’. The common denominator throughout the day was that all speakers had a strong sense of duty. Not only to inspire the next generation of young women, but to also redefine the stereotypes that are usually associated with working in the STEM industry.

Day 2.

With our minds refocused after another session with Hannah, we went straight into ‘Building your Personal Brand’ with the brilliant Roberta Lucca, Co-Founder of Bossa Studios. The session provided guidance on publicly documenting your journey whilst also gaining online visibility. Roberta emphasised the power of Social Media and gave her 5 top tips to building your personal brand which we have highlighted below…

5 Top Tips on Building your Personal Brand:

  1. Have a goal
  2. Make it dead simple
  3. Learn from the masters
  4. Consistency is key
  5. Respond and build relationships

The rest of the day allowed us to continue conversations with leading professionals within the industry. It was clear at this year’s Women in Channel awards that many nominees felt that there was a lack of girls interested in IT at school, with 90% of all Computer Science graduates being male. Distributor ‘Westcoast’ underlined the importance of getting young girls into IT. We heard from Westcoasts Managing Director, Alex Tatham. As the only male speaker at the festival he was a strong advocate for inspiring the next generation. He encouraged us to think about how we can personally become role models for future females in the IT industry.

Final remarks

Following a very busy few days, taking in different discussions and words of wisdom we asked #TeamC what resonated with them most after the event…

“To know that other women in tech face similar hurdles, hear about their personal experiences and how they tackle the stereotype in the industry head on”

“That there are hundreds of women who have had similar experiences to me, and it’s great to know that there is a way forward. There are opportunities to progress out there in the Tech Industry if you really want to”

“There are loads of opportunities from WIT, and lots of things available to us to develop and grow. I think the push on mindfulness and making sure to switch off and look after yourself outside of work”

“Something that resonated with me in particular was Eleanor Tiermans opening remark at the start of the festival. She said “Let’s redefine pink!” that instead of pink being a mark of oppression we can move forward to is being a mark of respect”

A huge thank you to everyone involved in bringing the festival together, particularly during these strange times. Here at Cameo we can’t wait to put everything we learnt into practice and ultimately create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.