The Women Connect team have spoken to a range of professionals who are absolutely smashing it in their current roles, have a read below. Women Connect hope to shine an important light on those doing incredible things in their respective industries. We See you was created to celebrate and express gratitude to those included in the list.

 

The 'We See You' campaign is here to bridge women, increase their visibility across tech and build opportunities for those wanting to explore the field. With Just 16.8% of people working in the UK tech sector being women, it would take 1m women being hired in to reach gender parity. We want to encourage more women to explore digitals workforces.

 

Our debut feature focuses on women in the tech industry, shattering stereotypes, opening doors, breaking, glass ceilings educating and inspiring.

 

For the women existing in tech, we see you.

 

#WeSeeYou

Who is Velisa?

Velisa is a Human Resources professional, founder of the community blackandHR and has been working in the HR world for the past 7 years currently working for one of the the big 5 tech companies. During her 7 years as a HR professional, Velisa has established a passion for championing diversity within the workplace, rooting for those voices which are not always heard to make sure they can get a seat at the table. Wherever Velisa goes, her aim is to bridge the gap between black working professionals and the corporate world. 

 

She prides herself on being for the culture and all things London. When Velisa is not being HR she loves a Brunch and a good Netflix series!   

 

What is about your industry that ignites you?  

"The Tech industry is like working towards a mission of what the world should be like and that gives me energy because it allows me the freedom to voice what the world can look like for people like me. I love the care that is shown with regards to employees you don't just feel like a number you feel like whatever you contribute will result in greater change which is fab!"   

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Who is Zena?

Zena works in the aviation industry as an aircraft mechanic, her work consists of fixing and maintaining aircraft flying out from Heathrow. She is currently specialising in avionics, which is a branch of engineering focused on aircraft electronic systems. She also enjoys music, art and connecting with other creative people.

What is it about your industry that ignites you?
"I like problem solving, when you finally fix something that you’ve been working on for hours, it feels good. In my field of work you never stop learning, each day is something different so it stays interesting."

What social customs do you wish would disappear?
"Apologising for things that are out of our control, although I think I do it without realising most of the time."

Who is Amina?

Amina is a writer, content creator and Software Engineer. She is also an ambassador for London Screen Academy. A sixth form which was founded industry leaders who were involved with the production of the Harry Potter series, James Bond and Paddington. She is also 1/3 of The Black Muslim Girl Podcast (TBMG) which is a space for Black Muslim girls to vibe, elevate, educate each other.

 

Amina says:

"Coming from a creative background I always thought STEM subjects and jobs would be mundane. However, since joining the tech industry, I have found that creativity is still important to building products and coming up with solutions. I love the feeling of being able to solve problems and the tech industry gives you lots of opportunities to do that."

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Who is Sapphire?

Sapphire is an Aerospace Technology Graduate of Coventry University. She started her journey with Kautex as a Graduate Development Trainee on an 18-month graduate scheme, rotating through the Quality, Continuous improvement and the new product introduction teams. Sapphire is currently a Product Engineer in the innovation department in Hengoed, Wales and I is studying her MSC in Computer Science part-time with the University of Bath.

 

We asked Sapphire who inspires her:

"My mom, Anne. She always encourages me to follow through with my dreams and supports me the whole journey."
 

Also, Charlie English. She was one of the first women to introduce me the world of engineering and show me that it is a place that women can thrive. Lastly, Charlotte Collins. She is a fantastic Assistant Professor who has inspired me to continue my academic journey. 

Who is Shabna?

Shabna is a 26 year old iOS Developer for a fashion retailer. Growing up, she was pulled between two of her passions - fashion and tech. Shabna love clothes, styling and everything fashion related but also loved developing websites and everything to do with apps. She managed to end up getting her first job as a Software Engineering Grad at Net-A-Porter and from then on, she was hooked and knew this was the industry for her.

How did you find your passion?

I actually started to learn HTML from Neopets (lol) then I joined a forum where there were a few girls who also had similar interests and with them I learnt a lot. I started a fashion blog when I was around 16 - and I started making blog websites for other bloggers. I really loved that I could be creative but also it was technically quite challenging too - and that's when I had a feeling that maybe I could do this as a job.

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Who is Jean?

Jean is a Product Manager, working with a cross functional technology team to build applications from conception of ideas all the way to launch. HER role sits between business, user experience and technology, making sure that she knows what the most important thing to build next is and why. Jean started out as a software engineer and encourages more women, especially black women, to understand that there is a place for them in the tech industry. 

What social customs do you wish would disappear?

"Traditional gender roles. They limit human potential. Think of all the amazing work everyone could have done if given the chance."

 

What is about your industry that ignites you?  

I truly believe that technology's power can be harnessed for good. All of our lives have been transformed by technology, now imagine if it is built and used responsibly. The possibilities are endless and we can continue to truly change the world for the better. 

Who is Eneni?

Eneni is a robotic engineer with a growing passion in computer vision (how a machine "sees") that developed after winning the Santander Innovation Award at the University of the West of England, for her designs of a medication delivery drone. This propelled her into continuing this project as her thesis, testing the feasibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver HIV medication to Makoko, a riverine community in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

She is a big advocate of getting people from underserved backgrounds into STEM, especially women, and often runs robotics and coding workshops in West Africa that promote inclusivity, dispel gender stereotypes and provide international mentorship opportunities for budding engineers.

How are you spending your time during lockdown?

I have been trying my hardest to stay busy. Creating a routine for myself to give the day structure (when I sleep, when I do chores etc) rather than waking up at silly o'clock has proven very effective for me. Just as the lockdown was enforced I had left my engineering corporate role with the intention of teaching robotics to kids across Africa. 

 

With borders and airports now closed I had to change course quickly and figure out a new way to generate income. Having designed many apps and websites during university as a side-hustle, I decided to focus on this skill and transitioned into the wonderful world of freelancing. Most freelancers actually find clients online so being at home has worked out for me in that regard, but I guess you could say my other businesses that require in-person contact have slightly suffered. 

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Who is Laila?

Laila is a Software Developer at AllSaints, Founder of Code Collabs, a community to empower young people to learn how to code. Co-founder of Clamp Digital Agency, a digital powerhouse building digital solutions for consumers.

What social customs do you wish would disappear?

I feel like more employers need to get into the habit of creating beginner-friendly environments for people that are interested in tech so that they can feel more welcomed and less intimidated to avoid the 'imposter syndrome' that a lot of developers tend to suffer from. I've come across a lot of people that are interested in tech from completely different industries so I think all companies should work towards a more community-based culture and create events to inspire internal and external employees that are interested in a potential career-change.

 

How did you find your passion?  

I studied a computing module in sixth-form and it was more out of curiosity, I really wanted to challenge myself especially because at the time, it was and still is a heavily male-dominated industry. I wanted to do something different that I wouldn't normally do, I liked putting myself in uncomfortable situations because it always brought me into new doors that allow me to progress and make a difference especially in the woman in tech industry. So I studied it in university and I grew my passion for it ever since to help break boundaries and change the game!

Who is Siobhan?

Siobhan is an experienced analyst and solutions developer. She is skilled in cloud technologies, data strategy, analysis, performance measurement and impact evaluation. Siobhan also has a background in a variety of industries in the not for profit and corporate sector. She is a diversity and inclusion advocate and passionate about professional mentoring to bring a pipeline of diverse talent into technology. Siobhan lives in Nottingham with her husband and two children.

What is your favourite thing about being a woman?

It took me a while to come up with an answer for this. Not because there aren’t any good things about being a women (there are loads!) but it's taken me a while to be comfortable with the definition of “womanliness!!”. So I now believe the best thing about being a woman is that I can define it on my own terms. There is no one way of being a woman and I can be just who I want to be.

How did you find your passion?           

Passion is always applicable! Ha ha. I think I’ve always had it. A desire to do good in the world and make a difference. But I only found my voice in my early 20’s, I stopped keeping my opinions to myself and I was sick of being underestimated. I knew I had it in me to succeed and I decided to just go for it. I want to be an inspiration for my kids.

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Who is Jessica?

Jessica works as a Programme Manager in a tech startup that helps encourage sustainable tech entrepreneurship for young people. She also is the Founder of @bakedkurls the world’s first CBD infused, natural hair care line dedicated to kinky and curly hair textures. Jessica is passionate and an advocate for CBD, Tech, Hair Care, Feminism and Diversity.

Who are the top three women who have influenced you the most?

Madam CJ Walker, Rihanna and Lena Waithe.

What social customs do you wish would disappear?

Downplaying our achievements as women, it is something we do a lot by habbit. For example 'I just started this little business' or 'I just landed this small job in Tech'. We need to be loud and proud about our achievements because honestly who else will?

What is your favourite thing about being a woman/non-binary?

Since I am a black woman, I just love how versatile our natural hair is. We have the choice to do so many beautiful hairstyles with our hair that are so unique to us. On Monday I could be wearing a wig, and on Tuesday I could have my natural hair out in a high puff. The list goes on!

Who is Siobhan?

As an artist and designer-maker used to working with her hands, Siobhan had apprehensions about working with machines. Yet, from the day she wrote her first line of code, her interest piqued and she couldn’t shake it. Now further along her path, which pivoted in 2018 when she got the opportunity to take a coding internship, Siobhan is actively questioning how to blend her interests in art, philosophy and programming.

If you could jump into a pool full of something, what would that something be?
Compassion!

The current global situation has brought various things into focus and a need for more compassion is one of them. I’m working on being kinder to myself and much more honest about my emotional wellbeing. I’m also aware that I could quite easily be living an utterly different life. I wonder how I might acknowledge this with empathy and with action?

What is it about the tech industry that makes you love it?
One of the key things is the fact that it touches so many other industries. We are using technology in exciting ways every day to solve lots of different problems, such as health, social issues and education. The interesting challenge is to strive for these solutions to be favourable for rather than detrimental to as many groups as possible.

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Rachelle?

Rachelle is a creative business growth professional with 12 years of experience in digital advertising, tech, and marketing. Rachelle has worked at early-stage start-ups, within high growth tech and at the Top 3 largest advertising companies in the world: Omnicom Media Group, Publicis Groupe and currently Growth Director at Wavemaker in the WPP Group.

What is your favorite thing about being a woman?

My favourite thing about being a woman is the innate power that is within me. I believe that all women have it, mine is no more than the next woman. I particularly admire my ability to be strong and soft, firm but kind. I grew up feeling as though I had to be strong. I have learnt to utilise my strength where it is needed, whilst appreciating that vulnerability and honesty do not make me weak. Sometimes your strength can lie in the smallest of actions, thoughts or decisions.

How did you find your passion?

I am a Life & Career Coach and founded my company WYLD Coaching which stands for Where You Learn & Develop. I help women to be intentional about thriving in life and developing success in their careers. I have been Coaching for just under 2 years, Coaching found me! Through connecting with a Coach and working with her on my goals, values and beliefs. It became clear that whilst I had been in the industry for some time, I wanted more and to be able to make more of an impact. 

Who is Cleopatra?

Cleopatra is the founder of her own creative agency ART-I-C-U-LATE connecting designers and artists giving them a platform to express and freely promote their work. CPFN - Content creator on Youtube (CPFN) Talking all things design, lifestyle and beauty. Changing standards within the beauty community and empowering people through my channel and Instagram. A creative by the mind, designer by heart whose sole purpose is to live and inspire.

What social customs do you wish would disappear?

Tokenism- I can't stand that companies only hire females, and other ethnicities just for a quota base rather than people's academics, experience and creativity. We should not be seen as a checklist but just as people. The world is missing out on great creatives and academics just because we are not given the chances to be great and break barriers beyond our measures.

What do you love about the Tech industry?

As a black woman to be working in the Tech industry makes me feel greater. I love that I can create work that's technical, fun and creative. Contributing to peoples everyday lives and making a small impact in their lives, I love that I can inspire others and the youth that you too can be working in the tech field no matter your gender or ethnicity or peoples projections on you and aim high we are all as smart as others if not beyond. The fact that black people not getting as far as other peers in architecture especially as only 0.9% of architects are Black in the UK and the lowest rate of "successful" designers are Black women. Which is crazy it's disheartening to me, however, in the same breathe this ignites me that I was able to push beyond boundaries as I graduated university my 'Part 1 Architecture' degree and now starting in the industry as freelance designer encourages me to go above and beyond and be an amazing designer for myself and help inspire those of the same background as me.