Meet the ladies showing future generations how successful women in technology can be…
Just 26% of people working in the tech industry are women, which is why we need strong role models. Women who’ve made digital their day-to-day and proved that while we may be outnumbered now, women have a very important role to play in the future of the sector. So if you’re considering a career in digital, these are the women you need to watch.
Anna Sutton, Co-Founder and CEO at The Data Shed
After 15 years working in marketing, where she was using consumer data rather than analysing it, Anna decided to take the plunge and create the tools that so many marketers were missing. Working with her partner Ed Thewlis, she founded The Data Shed, a consultancy that helps businesses eke every little bit of value out of their data. She recently co-founded Data FoundHer, which aims to put diversity at the heart of the new data economy.
Mel Selvon Ellyard, Innovation District Super Connector at Capital Enterprise
Mel has a background in growth management. Over the years, she’s worked with financial giants like FT, Reuters, HSBC and Grant Thornton, as well as universities and local enterprise partnerships. She’s currently at Capital Enterprise, the UK’s startup experts, where she’s been tasked with bringing their innovation district vision to life. In 2020, Mel founded Include Me, a community platform for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
Jennifer Anderson, Central CTO, Northern Europe at Atos
Jennifer is a great role model for future female leaders. She started her career as an engineer in San Francisco, before moving back to the UK where she’s taken on a string of high profile CTO roles, first at financial technology company Incuto and now at digital transformation leaders Atos. As well as progressing through the ranks, which is an inspiration in itself, Jennifer now speaks at female-led events like the Women in Tech Breakfast.
Sarah Baker, Head of Technology for News & Entertainment at Sky
With a biochemistry degree safely under her belt, Sarah side-stepped into digital, starting her career as a test analyst and working her way up through the ranks at the NHS, William Hill and Sky Betting & Gaming. She moved to Sky in 2015, and has since been promoted to Head of Technology for News & Entertainment, a position that lets her champion gender diversity and drive innovation in equal measure, while acting as a role model for new recruits.
Gwen Diagram, Head Of Engineering at Glean
Gwen’s career has been wonderfully diverse. She’s been a Scrum Master, a DevOps Engineer and an Engineering Manager, working for companies like Monzo and Sky. She’s now Head Of Engineering at Glean, an exciting Leeds scaleup that has revolutionised note taking for learning. Outside of work, she organises a twice-yearly conference, Leeds Testing Atelier, and steps into the spotlight as an international keynote speaker at at conferences like AgileTD.
Sarah Tulip, Senior Director – Head of Northern Delivery Centres at Cognizant
After years working in operations and digital transformation at companies like AQL, EY and BJSS, Sarah moved to Cognizant, where she heads up their Northern Delivery Centres. She’s Co-Chair of their Women Empowered Network, which focuses on creating and expanding opportunities for women within the organisation, and Co-Founder of WiLD Digital, a community-led initiative that encourages minority groups to consider a career in digital.
Rebecca Fitzgerald, Director of Data at Yorkshire Building Society
Rebecca is a stalwart of the Leeds digital scene. Over the last 24 years, she’s worked her way up through the ranks of Yorkshire Building Society in a career that’s seen her move from Project Manager to Director of Data, working across financial crime, technology delivery, digital transformation and more. As a leader, she champions diversity, mentors female colleagues and proudly acts as an ally for neurodiversity.
Elsie Ijorogu-Reed, Business Intelligence Manager at Capita
Data is Elsie’s speciality, but it wasn’t always that way. She originally studied banking and finance, but after struggling to find a job, decided to retrain in systems engineering. The rest, as they say, is history. She now has 22 years of industry experience, as well as an MBA and a master’s degree in information management. In her current role, as Business Intelligence Manager at Capita, she leads a team of data analysts on PCSE projects.
Sally Bogg, Head of Service at NHS Digital
Sally is a highly respected member of the Leeds tech scene, with extensive experience in digital services, but her route into tech was far from conventional. She became pregnant at 17 and left school, only to return years later to complete a degree in computing. That led to roles in IT services and support, helping her to bag her current position. As Head of Services at NHS Digital, she helps develop industry-leading user support services.
Yasmin De Nardo, Head of Connected Technology Academy at KPMG UK
Yasmin’s background is in people. She’s helped tech giants like NHS Digital, Accenture, Jet2 and Sky Betting and Gaming to fill their talent pipeline. The secret? A holistic approach that begins with schools and continues all the way through to university and post-education. She’s now Head of Connected Technology Academy at KPMG UK, as well as a WiLD board member, and last year, she was a ‘North Women in Tech Excellence’ finalist.
Helen Baron, Head of Technology for Sports Products at Sky
From software engineering to solutions architecture, Helen has spent the last 16 years developing her craft at Sky. She was handpicked to take Women in Leadership training in 2018 and stepped up to manage her Solution Architecture team shortly after. It wasn’t long before she landed the role of Head of Technology, putting her in charge of the entire Architecture & Engineering house, and she’s recently moved over to Sports Products.
Zandra Moore, CEO of Panintelligence
Zandra Moore is co-founder and CEO of Panintelligence, one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies. She started her career in HR, but when she had children, she wanted more flexibility, so she opened her own software solutions company. Panintelligence was originally one of her clients, but she bought it out in 2014 and has helped take it to new heights. Zandra is also a founding member of Lean In Leeds, No Code Lab and Data FoundHer.
Lianne Potter, Head of SecOps at Asda
Lianne is an award-winning, self-taught software developer and cybersecurity analyst. When she’s not fighting to keep Asda’s customers and data safe from cyber-attacks, she’s a regular public speaker who shares her unconventional route into tech and advocates for diversity, equality and accessibility in digital spaces. Lianne never loses sight of the people behind the technology and is on the board of WiLD Digital.
Tanja Lichtensteiger, Head of Software Engineering at BBC
Tanja was born in the Philippines, where at the age of just eight, she discovered her love of coding. That passion has turned into a career, one that has taken her up through the ranks of Leeds Beckett University and Sky Betting & Gaming to her current role as Head of Software Engineering at BBC. Not only has she made the Northern Power Women Future List, but she’s also won a coveted FDM everywoman in Technology Team Leader Award.
Amy Stow, Head of Operations at Shift.ms
Amy works at Shift.ms, a digital charity that provides peer support to young people with Multiple Sclerosis. She started as Community Engagement Manager, but quickly moved up through the ranks to become their Head of Operations. She’s responsible for the delivery of their strategic priorities, including the development of their digital peer support product, but also takes the lead on diversity, inclusion and the overall wellbeing of the team.
Megan Lipp, Head of Development at Ahead Partnership
Megan doesn’t have a background in tech, and yet, she’s making huge strides to close the skills gaps and encourage young people from all backgrounds to peruse a career in tech. How? Through Ahead Partnership. She brings together businesses and schools to inspire the digital leaders of the future, including holding a dedicated Girltech Leeds event targeting young women. Oh, and she’s also a WiLD Digital board member.
Penny Hindle, Product Owner at Lhasa
Unlike some of the other women on this list, Penny did take a conventional route into tech. She studied A-Level computing and did a degree in computer sciences before moving into a software developer role. It was then that she realised product was her passion. She’s currently working as a Product Owner at Lhasa, where she defines strategy and vision. Penny is passionate about diversity and works as a mentor for Code First Girls.
Rachel Skelton, Product Owner at Covéa
Rachel joined Covéa Insurance as a junior software engineer in 2019. She worked her way up through the ranks, acting as team lead for early careers, experience and community and digital transformation, before transitioning into her Product Owner role. Now a WiLD Digital board member, host of the Leeds Front End meet-up and a popular tech speaker, Rachel is an active member of the Leeds tech community and a visible role model for women in the industry.
Cat Colquhoun, Innovation Project Manager at National Pathology Imaging Cooperative
Cat has had an interesting career to date. After completing a PhD in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, looking specifically at innovation in medical and biological engineering, she joined Grow MedTech, where she helped academics to secure investment, find the right people to work with and commercialise their research. Now she’s joined National Pathology Imaging Cooperative as they set out to help NHS Trusts to digitise pathology.
Deb Hetherington, Head of Innovation at Bruntwood SciTech
As Head of Innovation at Bruntwood SciTech, Deb designs and delivers business growth support for companies in Platform’s Tech Hub. She’s a strong voice in the community, championing diversity, and is one of the co-founders behind WiLD Digital. Her background as an Innovation Manager at Leeds Beckett University helped her to build a vast network in the digital community, one she harnesses as a Leeds Tech and Leeds Digital Festival board member.