From primary school teachers to employers, rising stars, inspirational women and a lifetimes achievement, the first ever Scotland Women In Technology Awards Winners were announced last night.
The awards recognise an incredible range of dedicated people who possess the drive, commitment and passion to further the role of women in Scotland’s technology sector.
Over 100 nominations were received for the awards and demonstrated the incredible range of talent, experience, expertise and enthusiasm which is demonstrated right across the country, from the world’s biggest corporations, to some of the smallest classrooms.
Here are the winners:
Employer of the Year
(sponsored by Equate Scotland)
- Ayrshire College
- You Train
- University of the West of Scotland
- Sopra Steria
- Clydesdale Bank
- Winner: JP Morgan
For engaging in multiple women into tech activities including coding activities for young girls lead by JP Morgan’s female technologists, JP Morgan is in the top 50 employers for women and has engaged in partnership working with a number of equalities organisations
A spokesperson from JP Morgan said: “J.P. Morgan is honoured to be named Employer of the Year by The Scotland Women in Technology Awards. Creating a diverse work environment is critical to the firm’s success, and we are proud to be associated with organisations like Scotland Women in Technology that recognise and support the progression of women in technology.”
Inspirational Women in Leadership
- Gillian McGovern, Dundee & Angus College
- Ilana Munckton, Skyscanner
- Lauren Gemmell, Amazon
- Maria Gutierrez, Free Agent
- Marnie McCormack, JP Morgan
- Winner: Sharon Moore, IBM
Sharon leads the BCS women’s network in Scotland, has been recognised as one of the I Newspaper Scots women making their mark on London and one of Computer weekly’s top 50 women of influence and PWC’s top 10 digital disrupters in Scotland.
Gender Equality Champion
(sponsored by JP Morgan)
- Lindsay Law, RBS
- Sharon Forder, RBS
- Stuart Macdonald, Seric Systems
- Marian Edwards, HPE
- Talat Yaqoob, Equate Scotland
- Winner: Sjoukje Inge Sophie Ijlstra, St Andrews University
Sjouke has experienced first hand the gender discrimination that can occur in the technology sector. But took that experience and channelled it into supporting other women to learn coding and digital expertise. She is an ambassador not just in Scotland but in two other countries and is involved in a number of women into technology initiatives in her university and beyond.
Director / CEO of the Year
- Debbie Crosbie, Clydesdale Bank
- Gillian Docherty, The Data Lab
- Suzanne Doyle Morris, Inclusiq
- Liz McGettigan, Solus
- Margaret Totten, IA Cubed
- Winner: Jeanette Forbes, PCL Group
Jeanette founded the company of which she is CEO in 2000 after being made redundant in the oil and gas sector. She retrained in IT whilst working full time and raising a family. With just £100 she started her company, which now works across Australia, Singapore, Trinidad, Norway, Texas and Kuala Lumpur.
Primary Teacher of the Year
- Susan Sey, Aberdeenshire Council
- Janice Paterson, Wormit Primary
- Louise Foreman, Education Scotland
- Jill Sim, Rosebank Primary
- Winner: Ruth Burnett, Bishopton Primary
Ruth previously worked in STEM herself before becoming a teacher. She ensures all pupils are engaged in computing studies by organising Google expeditions and inviting technologists and engineers from the community in to talk to students.
Secondary / Further Education Teacher of the Year
- Toni Scullion, St Kentigerns Academy
- Chris Aitken, Wick High School
- Liz Dighton, Boroughmuir High School
- Winner: Kelly MacDonald, Harris Academy
Kelly has been leading the computing department in the secondary school for three years. She worked hard to open up the computing department to all pupils but particularly girls, which has had a positive impact with the majority of the school’s digital ambassadors now being girls.
Diane Greenlees, Head of Foundation & Graduate Level Apprenticeship, Skills Development Scotland said:
“We at SDS recognise the vital role teachers play in determining the future career paths of young people as they leave school. That’s why I’m delighted to sponsor and present the Secondary School Teacher of the Year award, which rewards the extra effort any teacher goes to in persuading young women to seek out the many great career opportunities in digital, technology and IT here in Scotland. With nearly 13,000 jobs available every year in the sector, we need young women – more than ever – to join and flourish in this industry, and teachers are instrumental in getting those talented young females into these jobs.”
One to Watch
- Catrin Markx, The Chartered Banker Institute
- Shannon Davis, Castledouglas High
- Cynthia Morel, University of Stirling
- Winner: Ellora James, Envirocache
The winner of the One to Watch award has a passion for coding, which has led her to start her own business, with a new app which will be launching next year. Ellora was awarded the “apps for good fellow of the year” in 2016.
Nominated by her colleagues in recognition of her contribution to the company, Alyssa started as an intern and quickly became such an integral part of the company. She has presented at national technology conferences and created many open source resources for fellow software engineers in Scotland and beyond.
Technologist of the Year
- Jude McCorry, The Data Lab
- Zhao Gao, JP Morgan
- Kirsty MacPherson, JP Morgan
- Carole Logan, Equator
- Jo Watts, Effini
- Winner: Caroline Kirkhope, Swiipi
Caroline excelled in computing subjects at school and became a web developer in her early 20’s, which included her single-handedly developing apps for the Apple Store. She has since moved into product development and was the first engineer hired by Swippi.
Technology Working Group
- Ladies of Code Glasgow
- RBS Women in Technology (WiT)
- Women Who Code Edinburgh
- BCS Women Scotland
- Winner: SmartStems
SmartSTEMS has inspired over 2000 girls to consider a future in technology and STEM careers through a group of ambassadors and volunteers. In just three years this network has gone from hosting one conference per year to 10 across 2017.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Sheila has had a varied career, which began in the Police, where she was one of the very few women patrolling the streets of Glasgow. Since then she has moved on and worked in IT roles in the public and private sectors for over 25 years. She is a founding director and COO of the FDM Group in Glasgow and has helped it rise to its prominence today, working to ensure gender equality at every level of the company.
Presenting the award for Primary Teacher of the Year, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“Improving skills, enthusiasm and knowledge of STEM at all levels of school, college and university and encouraging uptake of careers in this sector are vital to both Scotland’s society and our economic prosperity – this is the central aim of our ambitious STEM strategy for education and training that launched yesterday.
“Another key aspect of this is increasing female participation and closing the gender gap that exists within the sector. We are committed to tackling that imbalance and to challenging the gender stereotypes which contribute to it.
“It was a pleasure to present these awards to three very inspiring teachers who are doing a fantastic job in helping foster exactly the type of enthusiasm and passion for STEM subjects among their pupils that we need.”
Ray Bugg, the founder of DIGIT and a member of the judging panel for the awards said:
“The range of experience, expertise and enthusiasm which was apparent in the entries made judging a truly difficult process. However, what a wonderful problem to have.
“We know we need to do more to address the issue of diversity in the technology sector, but the Scotland Women in Technology Awards winners will go a long way towards demonstrating the progress being made and the commitment from people and companies in the industry to continuing to make the industry a better place for everyone.”
Talat Yaqoob, Director of Equate Scotland told DIGIT:
“It was a pleasure to present the award for employer of the year to JP Morgan, particularly as they are one of the employers partnering with Equate Scotland on our Women Returners Programme.
“Our vision of a technology sector where women want to work and where they strive, cannot be met without action from employers, so it was heartening to see so many organisations leading in this area. The level of engagement was so high that the judging panel awarded two commendations, so my congratulations to Clydesdale Bank and the University of West of Scotland too.”
Graeme Smith, Managing Director, Edinburgh Development Centre at Amazon commented:
“It was great to see such incredible talent recognised last night at the inaugural Scotland Women in Technology Awards which was a truly inspiring night of celebration and recognition. I’d like to congratulate all the winners and finalists, and hope their success will inspire more women to study technology and pursue technology careers in Scotland.”
Lynsey Campbell from Scotland Women in Technology summarised the success of the first SWiT Awards:
“These awards have been created to highlight the immense talent we have across the technology sector. Despite it being our first awards year, we have had over 100 nominations illustrating the demand for events like this to give Scotland the opportunity to celebrate women.
“This year’s awards have been a huge success and the backing of not just Scottish, but international companies, shows that the sector is eager to engage too.
“We know we have work to do to increase the number of girls studying computing subjects and pursuing these careers, but we hope that these awards, which will be happening annually, inspire girls to get into tech and encourage women to stay and progress to the top of the industry.”