Happy International Women's Day!
To celebrate, we asked a few fantastic women in tech: “Who has inspired you to succeed in your career?”
Ali Hover, Lead Developer
“I’ve recently been inspired by computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, because she seems like a bit of a badass.
Women like her have enabled me to have a career in computer science, without being immediately looked down upon or made to feel out of place. It's important that people like her have been pioneers in the tech industry. They have put up with all sorts of disadvantages just to prove that women are just as good as men in STEM fields, and they inspire me to do the same.”
Amy Sadler, Production Manager
“I’ve been inspired by two sets of people in my life...
I have 2 half sisters that are 30 years older than me. They both have excellent jobs. One sister has been super successful in software sales and currently is in an influential position for Oracle. My other sister is a lead designer for the John Lewis and Waitrose stores. Therefore, growing up with them being successful, they have made me feel like I’m not limited in what I can do as a woman. My Dad, although very old-school in some ways, was very pro women in senior positions in business. He worked for IBM for about 30 years from around 1950 and was extremely focused on encouraging women to take on senior positions.
Secondly, at my first real job out of uni, I worked in an agency where 60% of the Directors were female. Again, showed that I can be just as successful as a woman in the industry!”
Poppy Heap, Marketing Executive
“I’ve always been inspired by the women in my family who all work in extremely different fields, defiant of any gender roles. Amongst them, there is a Doctor, Farmer, Sports Instructor, Writer, and Senior Manager! They taught me that building strong relationships with people and working hard can get you anywhere.
A couple of years ago I also learnt about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson: the first African American mathematicians at NASA. Women like them are the reason why we have the freedom we deserve today. While I will never experience a struggle like they did, they remind me that despite your current situation, you can never take “no” for an answer. Keep turning up and, eventually, things will change.”
Sacha Crowther, Content Executive
“Growing up, my mum managed an engineering company; she exercised unquestioned authority amongst a bolshy, overtly masculine cohort. But, in doing so, she always maintained a sense of fun and undeniable style. I’m inspired by all women who go forth proudly into a “man’s world”, not changing themselves to fit the mould and never believing that they don’t belong.
Only recently I discovered one of my tech heroines: Ada Lovelace. An unrivalled genius who far predated the technology that she made possible. Often overlooked, it was Ada Lovelace who realised the potential for automated calculations, algorithms and computer processing. Although women may still be a minority in the technology industry, let’s remember that the world’s first computer programmer was female!”
Katie Pointon, Head of Client Services
“I can't say any women in tech inspired me as such, because I didn't know I wanted to work in the tech industry. I hadn't even considered it! However, in the sports journalism field (my degree subject), I met Vikki Orvice when I was 16. She was an amazing woman and founder of Women in Football.
She was one of the first female sports journalists and always campaigning for women in sport. Vikki inspired me to pursue journalism and showed me how to handle working in a male-orientated industry. Her influence actually helped me to apply for my current job in such a male-dominated field. Sadly she passed away recently, but she truly was an amazing lady and a modern day hero for someone who loved sport and writing.”
Christina Nobbs, Account Manager
“All through my career, I have drawn inspiration from CJ Cregg from The West Wing. In the show, CJ is the only woman working in a senior role at the White House. She's smart and witty and has the respect of all her male peers, basically because she is amazing at her job.
When I started my career I decided I was just going to emulate her. Although I was quite surprised to find that, in the real world, not all men can handle a sassy comeback from a woman quite so well as the characters did in the show!”
June Gil, Advertising Manager
“I had a lecturer when I did my Erasmus in Wales, and he was one of the most inspiring lecturers I’ve had while I studied. His name is Daniel Chandler and he's well known for his work in visual semiotics. He’s very interested in the visual semiotics of gender and advertising and has written two books on the subject, which are used on Semiotics courses at universities.
But while this is impressive, he was the nicest, most encouraging person you could ever meet. His classes were fascinating in a way that only someone who loves what they do can bring about and I always felt like I could contribute to them (unlike in the other ones in my Erasmus, as it was the first time I studied in a different language abroad and I was in the politics department which is pretty hardcore in Aberystwyth). He used to meet us (his students) for coffee after his lectures, and you could tell he had a real passion for what he did. He'd worry if people didn't speak in class, and tried to make the atmosphere as welcoming as possible so no one felt like they couldn't contribute. He is also gay and spoke very freely about his partner, which was not very common.
Whilst not specifically in tech, Daniel really inspired me to not coast in my career, to care about what I do and to try to help others who might not feel very confident, as well as getting me used to speaking to a perceived male figure of authority with self assurance because he was so approachable.”
If someone has inspired you, please share your own hero below!
Want to work with this inspiring bunch? Check out our careers page.