Nine females have been commended for their passion and dedication to the tech sector by being crowned winners of the 2014 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards.
The annual awards aim to address the issue of attracting more women into the tech sector and retaining more female talent. This year's winners were announced during a ceremony at the Park Lane Sheraton.
Wendy Hall took the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as a computer scientist and for being one of the most influential women in IT. The judges of this award recognised Hall as a role model through her work in the industry, her pioneering spirit and her passionate championing of women in the tech sector.
In her acceptance speech, Hall said: “Computing is too important to leave it to men. The lack of women is as much a man’s issue as it is a woman’s, because there is an unconscious bias everywhere.
“Men have to make a sacrifice – when you’re asked to speak on a panel and you see it is an all-male panel, question where the women are and sacrifice your place for a female speaker instead.”
Maxine Benson, co-founder of everywoman, said with 44% of technology CEOs expected to increase headcount in contrast to 23% across all industries, it is imperative that more women enter the sector.
“The organisations involved in the awards are the forward-thinking companies that are already committed to that, and the women we are celebrating are role models whose stories and achievements will open the eyes of more young girls to realise that studying Stem [science, technology, engineering and maths] subjects can lead to an exciting, rewarding career,” she said.
2014 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards winners
Woman of the Year – sponsored by FDM Group
Torie Chilcott, founder, CEO Content Division, Rockabox, from London.
Chilcott said: “I want my daughter to grow up knowing she can do anything she wants and for my son to grow up and see everyone he meets in work as equal.”
Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent
Alicia Navarro, CEO and co-founder, Skimlinks, from London.
Judges presented Navarro with this award for her “exceptionally hard work and the speed at which her company has grown”.
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Innovator of the Year – sponsored by Ocado
Vicky Brock, CEO, Clear Returns, from Glasgow.
Judges said Brook was deserving of such an award because she is “solving a real-world problem and being a fantastic tech pioneer”.
Inspiration of the Year – sponsored by VMware
Sue Black, founder and CEO, Savvify, from London.
According to the judges, Black is “extraordinarily selfless" and "does what she does because it matters".
Leader of the Year in a corporate organisation – sponsored by BP
Katrina Roberts, vice-president – global network and international consumer technologies Europe, American Express, from Brighton.
Judges said Roberts is “driving change in the pipeline of young people”.
Rising Star of the Year – sponsored by Alexander Mann Solutions
Anne-Marie Imafidon, enterprise collaboration strategist and head stemette, Deutsche Bank and Stemettes, from London.
Imafidon was described as having “the X-Factor and lit up the room as she walked in”.
Startup Founder of the Year – sponsored by Salesforce.com
Elizabeth Clark, CEO, Dream Agility, from Manchester.
Judges said Clark was chosen because she is “keen to become an ambassador of getting women into IT”.
Team Leader of the Year – sponsored by Vodafone
Diana Kennedy, head of strategy and architecture, enterprise systems, BP Plc, from London.
Kennedy was described by judges as: “Unassuming, impressive, authentic, incredible, humble and a great role model.”
Attracting more women into IT careers
Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer and founder director of FDM Group, said the company was "thrilled to be able to partner with everywoman once again and to support it in its mission to encourage more women into IT careers".
“FDM is fully committed to helping more women further their careers in this rewarding and creative industry and opening the pipeline for future talent. With an increasing need for IT skills throughout the UK across all sectors, it is vital that we make technology female friendly and actively encourage women to pursue IT as a career path,” she said.
Julian David, CEO of techUK, said: “TechUK is delighted to support the 2014 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards. One of the biggest challenges for the UK tech sector is attracting appropriately skilled employees. We need a greater representation of the working population to join UK tech companies and help support the continued growth of the sector.
“In particular, we need to work hard to attract smart, skilled women who are not currently attracted to the sector and communicate the career opportunities in tech that are open to all. TechUK will remain focused on attracting great women to the sector, retaining them and helping them to flourish and succeed.”