Celebrating the most inspirational women in STEM
The winners of the 12th annual FDM everywoman in Technology Awards have been announced. The awards celebrate the industry’s most exceptional talent from the UK and beyond, and this year’s theme was People Purpose Planet.
The winners span diverse backgrounds from academia, enterprise, and financial services, from talented students through to high-performing entrepreneurs and CTOs.
The Woman of the Year Award was awarded to Eleanor Harry from Manchester, who is Managing Director at HACE (Data Changing Child Labour), which she started in 2020. Eleanor has been recognised with this award not only for her passionate work with HACE, analysing how Big Data might provide meaningful insights into the future of child labour, but also for her work advocating for female representation in tech.
The category winners are:
- ACADEMIC AWARD – presented to Professor Rachel Oliver, Professor of Materials Science at University of Cambridge, from Cambridge. Rachel is a materials engineer, inventor and spinout founder who also campaigns for equity in science and engineering research. Her passion was recognised in 2021 by the award of a Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering and her selection as an IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer.
- APPRENTICE AWARD – sponsored by SSE - awarded to Khadija Al-Selini, Software Engineer at IBM, from Manchester. Eager to break into the tech industry, Khadija challenged the status quo and undertook a degree apprenticeship with IBM, which rapidly equipped her with the foundations of technical leadership. This included contributions to a large banking client which resulted in securing $15m in revenue opportunities for IBM.
- CTO/CIO OF THE YEAR AWARD - sponsored by Accenture – awarded to Jacqui Lipinski, CIO, and Director of Digital & Technical Services at Royal College of Arts, from London. Jacqui has worked in several sectors around the globe for highly regulated, multi-cultural organisations including multinational FTSE 100 companies, small consultancy firms and establishing her own businesses. Alongside this, Jacqui has undertaken many voluntary roles, including establishing a support group for children with Type 1 Diabetes and starting support groups for teenagers.
- CYBER SECURITY AWARD - sponsored by Avast and a new category this year -awarded to Fay Sears, Cyber Security Supply Chain Assurance at SSE, from Havant. Fay investigates potential security risk caused by third party suppliers involved with the support of critical national infrastructure. Fay regularly volunteers at STEM events with a focus on introducing young people, including those who identify as female or non-binary, to cyber security; breaking down stereotypes, discussing alternative pathways into tech and working to ultimately close the cyber skills gap.
- DIGITAL STAR AWARD - sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group - awarded to Gigi Taguri, Director of Medical Technology at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, from London. Her specialist interest in digital healthcare started when she joined LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor as a GP in 2011. Now as the Director of Medical Technology, she combines clinical experience in digital medicine, NHS practice and expertise in User Experience to deliver tech that works for doctors and patients, by designing and building online consultations that are safe, effective, and easy to use.
- DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION LEADER AWARD - sponsored by Bupa – was awarded to Neeta Mundra, Financial Services Transformation Director at Salesforce, from London. Neeta has over 19 years of global banking and insurance experience and a deep understanding of technology and financial services. Alongside her role at Salesforce, Neeta is a non-executive director and on the board of Young Women’s Trust (UK), on the committee of Women in Banking and Finance (Head of Women on Board program), a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation, and recently won the “Exceptional Women of Excellence Award” at the Women Economic Forum.
- ENTREPRENEUR AWARD - sponsored by Howden Group - awarded to Joy Foster, Founder and CEO of TechPixies, from Fulbrook. Since 2015, Joy has led TechPixies on a mission to upskill women with social media in order to return to work, change careers or start a business. When the global pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, Joy set up and run multiple free training programmes to help women quickly upskill with modern technology. Since then, thousands of women have participated in the programme and it was featured in The Times.
- INNOVATOR AWARD - sponsored by American Express – awarded to Rubina Singh, Head of Ideation Delivery at British Gas, from London, who is passionate about creating a net-zero future. Rubina serves as a Board Member at POWERful Women, an Advisory Expert to the Solar Impulse Foundation, a judge and mentor to cleantech innovation competitions, and is an international thought leader, regularly speaking and publishing on solar, storage and EVs, including in IEEE and TechCrunch.
- LEADER AWARD - sponsored by Twilio - awarded to Sara Jones, Mobile Operations Director at BT plc, from Almondsbury. Sara has been working in the Mobile Telecommunications industry for over 20 years, moving from Design Engineering roles into Senior Management. On top of her demanding role maintaining and operating the EE Mobile Network 24/7, Sara is a STEM ambassador, Early Careers lead for BT, Aleto Mentor and a key member of the BT Diversity & Inclusion team. She is passionate about inclusive recruitment, leading key workstreams with multiple schools, colleges and charities encouraging girls from all backgrounds into Technology careers.
- MALE AGENT OF CHANGE AWARD - awarded to Darren Miles, Chief Information Officer at Centrica, from Windsor. Darren is leading an international team at a time of immense change within the organisation. Most recently Darren has been recognised in this year’s CIO Top 100 in the UK. Darren has said that the real congratulations go to everyone in the Digital Technology Team for their outstanding hard work in keeping colleagues across the business connected so that we could service our customers.
- ONE TO WATCH AWARD - sponsored by Computacenter - awarded to a girl aged 11-18 who is actively encouraging girls to study STEM subjects at school-level or making waves in the tech space, went to Lea Button, first-year Computer Science Student at The University of Sheffield. She is particularly passionate about cybersecurity and achieved an A* in computer science A-level. Alongside her academic achievements, she is also passionate about supporting other young girls in exploring careers in technology and has created a scheme of work to introduce cybersecurity to girls at her secondary school.
- RISING STAR AWARD - sponsored by SUSE - awarded to Tulika Agarwal, Assistant Manager at KPMG, from London. Tulika works within the Technology Strategy practice and building her specialisation to become an Operating Model SME. Alongside her work she has great passion for improving opportunities for women in technology and is a workstream lead within the ITs Her Future team at KPMG. Through this program she has worked with 300+ students in London and aspires to build expand the reach of this program all over the UK.
- SOFTWARE ENGINEER AWARD - sponsored by NatWest Group - Awarded to Kim Diep, Software Engineer & Tech Coach at Tech Returners, from London. Kim creates and delivers programmes to help underrepresented people refresh and upskill in Software Engineering. As a Tech Content & Workshop Creator & Mentor, she helps people engage with technology in fun and practical ways. She is passionate about creating things for tech education and loves sharing her experiences with the community to encourage others to learn and grow in their skills and confidence.
- TEAM LEADER AWARD - sponsored by Fujitsu - awarded to Jess Majekodunmi, Director, Human Sciences Studio at Accenture, from Dublin. Previously, Jess’s career had zig zagged across continents and sectors. Currently at Accenture, Jess spends her working hours asking ‘why?’, ‘how?’ and ‘so what?” about people, society, and technology, and is a published essayist and board member of the Irish Writers Centre and co-founder of Beyond Representation.
- THE TECH FOR GOOD AWARD - sponsored by RS Components – was awarded to Kavitha Krishnamurthy, PMO Team Leader at Cognizant, from Chennai, India. She holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering and enjoys working in a team setting that utilizes common goal definition, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. Kavitha likes to share her professional skills with the wider community as she feels what we do with what we know makes a whole lot of difference to the self and to the society.
There has been a slight uptick, year on year, in the number of reported tech roles held by women, from 25% to 27%, and this is only expected to increase to 29% by 2030. Although their numbers are on the rise, women still only account for 10% of leadership roles in the industry. It’s estimated that to achieve gender parity in the technology sector in the UK, one million women need to be hired and that this shift would benefit the economy by £2.6bn. Research has also shown that gender balanced boards lead to better decision-making, curb excessive risk taking and ultimately bolster a company’s bottom line.
Maxine Benson MBE, Co-Founder of everywoman comments: “The FDM everywoman in Technology Awards are both a recognition and a celebration of the impact women are having on the technology industry worldwide. Each winner is a role model whose accomplishments will inspire future generations to pursue a career in tech. Their remarkable achievements showcase the vital advancements technology is making towards saving, transforming, and improving lives, while also positively impacting the planet and ensuring the future of tech grows ever more diverse and inclusive.”
Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer of FDM Group comments: “As businesses across Britain rebuild, reboot, and focus on growth, the crucial role that women entrepreneurs and innovators play in the recovery cannot be underestimated. A continuing challenge the tech industry faces is showcasing more female role models to inspire and encourage future generations to choose a career in tech. The FDM everywoman in Technology awards shines a spotlight on the next generation of female digital talent. The technology industry played a critical role in helping the country through the pandemic and is driving economic recovery. Now it’s up to all of us to go the extra mile to inspire, encourage and recruit more women to join us in this exciting journey.”