Friday the 8th of March is International Women’s Day.

In December 2018 I won the Top 100 Women In Tech Award and the awards process got me thinking about all the amazing women I have met during my journey in the tech sector. We have all had different experiences and have different recipes for success. The Government in the U.K is pushing hard to increase the number of women in the Tech sector and rightly so as diversity is vital for innovation, problem solving and for viewing risk.

So to celebrate International Women’s Day we have interviewed a selection of amazing women who are doing great things in the tech sector. They are all from very different industries and have all had very different journeys. We enjoyed talking to them so we hope you find it inspiring!

Tell us a bit about what you do and your journey up till this point.

I work in EasyJet’s Information Security GRC team. We are responsible for governance, risk management and compliance, which includes supplier assurance. I studied accounting at university and then qualified as an internal auditor. I spent 10 years working in audit and risk management roles, and then got an opportunity to move into information security. After that I was hooked!

What are the 2 most enjoyable things about your current role?

The most enjoyable thing is meeting people from across the organisation with completely different jobs than me. I believe it is very important to understand the jobs of the people I need to give advice to, so I make time to learn about their fascinating jobs! At EasyJet that means everyone from the Operational Control Centre, cabin crew as well as engineers who work overnight.

The other thing I really enjoy is that things are always changing in the field. Projects that we would not have considered 18 months ago suddenly become viable.

What would be your top tip for women and young girls wanting to get into your area of work?

Take all opportunities that come your way! The opportunity that came across my path was a role I knew I could do, but I had no experience in the field, I had to really emphasise my transferable skills! Look out for internal opportunities and build relationships – it always pays off in the end.

Antonia Natova

Information Security Specialist- Facebook

Tell us a bit about what you do and your journey up till this point.

I am part of the InfoSec team in Facebook and I work as a Security Program Manager. I joined Facebook in June last year. When the initial call from the FB recruiter came at first, I wasn’t event considering changing jobs. At the time I was towards the end of my maternity leave and a new career was not something on my mind. However I remember thinking “ I really want this job” and I couldn’t let this amazing opportunity slip away!

What are the 2 most enjoyable things about your current role?

And here I am ,nearly a year later from a thorough interview process. I enjoy my current role so much! What I love the most is the people – I am blessed to work with incredibly talented and professional team. Facebook ‘s culture and its company values are definitely the key for shaping up an amazing working environment.

What would be your top tip for women and young girls wanting to get into your area of work?

Taking the chance when it came along was probably the best career decision I have made up to date. Even though the time was not right, the opportunity was! If you want to get into InfoSec and Project management, don’t be afraid to take well calculated risks. It’s a very enjoyable role and there is never a dull moment in the life of a PM!

Robyn Weatherley

Programme Manager - Mishcon de Reya LLP

Tell us a bit about what you do and your journey up till this point.

I am Programme Manager for MDR LAB – Mishcon de Reya's in-house accelerator programme. Originally aiming for a career in Law, I started at Mishcon de Reya as a Paralegal working in the Real Estate department and quickly progressed to working for the Managing Partner. While working with senior management (and mainly because I kept complaining about certain ways of doing things), I started to help our CSO on projects around how Mishcon de Reya can better utilise technology to make processes more efficient. I quickly realised my passion and skills didn't necessarily lay in the practise of Law, but instead in a more forward thinking environment that would allow me to challenge the archaic nature of the legal world and pay heed to some of my frustrations. I helped set up from scratch our accelerator programme, MDR LAB, which has now run for two successful years and is about to go into its third.

 

What are the 2 most enjoyable things about your current role?

I firstly love working with early stage startup companies. They are shaping our future across all industries and it's fascinating to see what tomorrow might look like. Their drive and enthusiasm for what they are creating is infectious and you can't help but be impressed by their ability to challenge the status quo. It's inspiring to work with companies who have taken that leap of faith and it's rewarding to play a small part in that journey. I secondly love seeing how working with startup companies impacts our wider business and people's attitudes to technology. Working with these dynamic, disruptive companies encourages a cultural shift from people accepting working practices because 'that's the way we do things' to a willingness to play around and engage with technologies that can potentially have a real impact. It creates a safe space for people to try out products and meet the people behind them, which is engaging a future generation, beyond the early adopters, of tech interested employees.

What would be your top tip for women and young girls wanting to get into your area of work?

Find a mentor or a role model – this could be somebody in your day to day life or someone in the public eye who has done great things. It's an unfortunate reality that not everybody starts on a level playing field, but by having somebody who has already proven themselves as an exception to the rule, who can inspire and serve as an example, can really help influence our actions and motivate us to make the most of opportunities.

Anna Delaney

Editor, TEISS

Tell us a bit about what you do and your journey up till this point.

I’ve spent ten years in broadcast journalism working for ITV, Levant TV and Resonance FM. Currently I am the Editor of TEISS (The European Information Security Summit) - an online magazine for the cyber security community. My role varies from writing feature interviews with industry leaders to making weekly podcasts, from curating the website to reporting on location video shoots.

What are the 2 most enjoyable things about your current role?

I love the fact that no day is ever the same - so I am constantly learning, and I get to meet brilliant people. There’s a good deal of travel involved too.

What would be your top tip for women and young girls wanting to get into your area of work?

Connect with people across all industries and trust your gut - it’s the friend you wished you had listened to. Don’t wait for people or opportunities to come to you - show an enthusiasm to learn and collaborate. As much as people will say “be ruthless” or “it pays to be bitchy” - I don’t buy that. It really pays to be well-mannered and friendly - people want to collaborate with people they like. What’s the point otherwise?

Posted in interviews.