Voted the best Diversity Event in 2018 at the Scottish Diversity Awards, this year’s Women in Tech Scotland conference covered the latest tech trends, career development tips, inclusive tech design and insights on how the tech community can help foster the next generation of Scottish tech talent.
Since its inaugural conference two years ago, the event has grown swiftly to become one of the largest global Women in Tech Event series. A host of inspirational tech leaders spoke at the event, sharing both their insights and career progression tips for women working in the sector.
Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, CEO of CodeClan, Eimear Martin, global head of command centre operations at BlackRock, Sarah Stenhouse, CEO and founder of Edinburgh-based start-up Oodls, and Wendy Redshaw, head of technology for personal banking at Royal Bank of Scotland, were among those giving talks.
A number of the day’s sessions explored ways in which industry can work to champion diversity and equality through a number of means such as communication, self-care, mentorship, network building, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and tackling the prevalent problem of impostor syndrome, which holds many women back from reaching their full potential.
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The importance of clear and effective communication was a recurring theme that threaded its way through all the talks. In particular, the need to not fear asking questions, to seek other people’s knowledge and to offer help to those who need it.
“Remember how difficult it is to be the only one of anything and make subtle interventions with your power to break that down,” said serial entrepreneur Vicky Brock. “Make specific offers of help” and provide job shadowing whenever possible she added.
By creating a space for open dialogue, both companies and teams can benefit from improved workflow, better outcomes, increased innovation and greater diversity. It also creates an atmosphere where women can confidently share their ideas and voice their opinions too.
To encourage this type of open environment where people feel empowered to speak, companies and bosses need to create the conditions whereby people’s contributions are respected and not dismissed offhand.
Eve Wallace, chief administration officer at Glasgow Technology, explained that team work is an empowered group of people working towards a shared goal. Modern challenges are solved by teams, not individuals, she added.
Searra Dodds, UX/UI design lead at Seawolf graphics, said: “Build diverse teams and draw on their experiences,” emphasising the point that diversity within the work space is necessary for success.
From communicating with a variety of stakeholders to leadership and helping get men within the tech industry on board with equality, solid communication can help women have an influence and space within the industry.
Therefore, the key takeaway of the day was how important dialogue is in order to affect real change within the industry, but also how it can help women to be their own strongest advocates.