I mentioned back in May that I had been nominated for the We Are The City rising star award. Well… I won! There are 100 rising stars over 20 categories, mainly industries that are male dominated, including tech.
I am so proud and shocked to have made the list. I am just happy someone thinks I could be a role model to others looking to come to industry and could be considered a “rising” star on my way to leadership. As I continue to develop my technical abilities I am encouraged by this that I am able to mentor others and take the lead in projects. As you can see, I was quite excited!
On Wednesday 12th July me and my wee mum headed down to London to attend the awards party. Being a developer, we don’t get a chance to get dressed up nice and feel glamourous very often, so I got my most Audrey Hepburn style dress and pearls on! Held in the News UK building, the view over London was impressive and the event was even more impressive. If I wasn’t already inspired and motivated in my career before the event, I certainly was after!
We heard from Vanessa Vallely, Managing Director of We Are The City to kick off the night, explaining why she started the organisation and encouraging us to be proud of our achievements and speak out about them.
We also heard from keynote speakers keynote speakers, Heather Melville OBE and Funke Abimbola MBE, previous rising star champions winners. They discussed the importance of diversity and us having the platform as role models. They left us with the wise words: “You are the captain of the ship, driver of your destiny, and master or mistress of your fate.”
Now, on to the awards… The tech category was at the end of the first half so I had 9 other categories to sit through and repeat to myself “please don’t fall on stage, please don’t fall on stage”. It was great to sit with the other ladies in the category and the tech judges too. I always love hearing what other people in industry are doing as it can be so different for each person!
So up we went on stage, I got my award and gave my mummy a wave. Most importantly, I didn’t fall … and relax! I could enjoy the rest of the night, the awesome entertainment by a choir and the lovely desserts (hello macaroons!).
The event was really inspirational, it’s great to see kick ass women doing so well in their chosen career. Yes it’s tough some days in work, I do get fed up of “you don’t look like a developer”, having to work twice as hard to show I know what I am talking about, “are you a project manager?”, “have you checked with someone technical”... but I have managed to use this as motivation to do better and prove people wrong. If taking parts in events like this can help change this, then I will be happy to do all I can. Also, y’know, any excuse to get dressed up and go to a fancy party.
A massive well done to all the ladies on the top 100... keep kicking ass! And to everyone else in tech, let's keep encouraging women to join us and hopefully make their way to leadership. I do hope that one day the gender gap won't exist and future generations will think it was crazy we needed events like this. But for now, let's keep celebrating powerful ladies and wear our most fabulous dresses.
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