On Wednesday 15th Jan, I was lucky enough to go along to the Tech Talent Charter annual breakfast event for the very first time. Working for Spinks, a signatory of Tech Talent Charter, I already knew a little about their work to drive diversity and inclusion in tech. However, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the amount of insight and knowledge I received that morning!
I arrived at the Gherkin bright and early to take advantage of the networking opportunity (and also the tasty breakfast!) I started chatting to quite a few new and familiar faces before being directed upstairs for the main event.
There was a definite buzz in the room as everyone took their seats and the event kicked off with an intro from Debbie Forster CEO of Tech Talent Charter (also winner of the Most Influential Women in Tech award). Debbie shared an upbeat video showing the work and success of TTC’s work in 2019 – with a very catchy soundtrack, might I add! A great opener before introducing the first panel to discuss ‘How far we’ve come’ with diversity and inclusion.
The panel consisted of:
George Brasher, Senior Vice President & Managing Director at HP
Kirsty Keck, Chief Product Owner for Tech Talent at Nationwide Building Society
Hema Marshall, Small Business & Inclusion and Diversity Officer, UK & Ireland at Cisco
Ross Woodham, General Council, Privacy & Data Protection Officer at Aptum
Lots of key takeaways from this discussion, and a great insight into how larger tech companies are taking action to bring greater diversity and create inclusive cultures.
Some really great points raised, definitely gave us some thoughts to discuss during the quick break as the second panel got ready.
The second panel started shortly after to discuss ‘Where we are now’. The panel consisted of:
Lexie Papaspyrou, Annual Report Project Lead at Tech Talent Charter
Dania Lyons, Customer Engagement Manager at Spinks
Elaine Quinn, Director of Corporate Affairs at Nominet
George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation
Now if anyone saw me applauding very enthusiastically and taking a load of pictures, it’s because my colleague/friend Dania was on the panel, and I felt like a proud parent at their child’s first school assembly!
Lexie shared some findings from the Tech Talent Charter annual report on Diversity in Tech, which was a key driver in the discussion. Here are some of my takeaways:
Dania also mentioned the work that Spinks does to educate the tech community and create a forum in which everyone can discuss and share initiatives. You can subscribe for #YouEqualTech updates here. (I admit, this is a shameless plus, as I’m a Co-organiser of #YouEqualTech events!)
Really interesting to hear snippets from the report. Keep reading, I’ll be sharing the link to the report towards the end of this post!
Panel three took the stage shortly after, to discuss ‘Where we’re going next’. The panel consisted of:
Jacqueline de Rojas, President at techUK
Russ Shaw, Founder at Tech London Advocates
Jennifer Standish, Engineering Academy Manager at Sky
Gill Wylie, Enterprise Transformation Director at Lloyds Banking Group.
"Inclusion and diversity should be an integral part of your company growth strategy. Therefore, if growth is priority, so is inclusion and diversity".
Personally, this really opened my eyes to the ways we can make to work together and make an impact within the whole industry. There is a lot to do, but small changes can make a tremendous difference.
We were then introduced to the Keynote Speaker for the morning, Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
There was a real sense of excitement in the room as we listened to Nicky share the five key principles for the government to make tech more accessible:
1. We will be a pro-tech government in all we do.
2. The benefits of tech will be spread more widely and fairly, creating opportunities across the entire nation. All businesses will be given the right tools to adapt to digital tech and all adults will be given opportunities to upskill for free.
"If we don’t open the door to underrepresented groups, we will be robbed of the diversity of thought which creates cutting edge innovation".
3. Drive growth through pro innovation regulation, which will increase demand for digital products and services.
4. Ensuring online spaces are safe and secure for all. A cyber security campaign will be launching this year.
5. Commitment to a free and open internet.
I left the event with a load of ideas in my head of the changes I can make in my own role to promote inclusion for all.
A HUGE thanks to Debbie Forster and the Tech Talent Charter team for hosting such an engaging event, and continuing the crucial conversations on diversity and inclusion (or should I say, inclusion and diversity!).
Now for the important bit – all the resources you need to help shift the dial on inclusion and diversity, and transform the tech industry.
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