This inspirational all-day event welcomed over 400 delagates including entrepreneurs, innovators and senior figures from international organisations such as SAP, SSE, Lloyds Banking Group, T-Systems, Vocalink, BAE Systems and Accenture, as well as supporting partners techUK and Atos. Through keynote speeches, panel discussions and interactive masterclasses, delegates explored pressing topics shaping the current tech landscape, including how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping the future of work, diversity and inclusion in technology, reverse mentoring and women reshaping the IoT World.
Key themes that emerged from the event included:
- Human skills such as empathy, adaptability and emotional intelligence will be an advantage to women in the workplace as AI and machine learning develops further
- How there are now more opportunities than ever for women wanting to work in the technology industry - both on the technical side and in creative roles
- The need for senior women working within the technology industry to act as role models in order to inspire the next generation of female talent
- How education is crucial to ensuring diversity in the technology industry – from encouraging young girls to study STEM subjects, to ongoing mentoring programmes within businesses
- How by alleviating mundane and repetitive tasks, AI and automation will actually enable people to become more human, by giving back time for creativity, conversation and human interaction
A further 1500 delegates from across the globe – in countries such as Poland, India, Germany, Austria, Scotland and Northern Ireland – joined the forum through a live stream, supported by streaming partners Alexander Mann Solutions, Women in Business, BP, Fujitsu, FDM and Tesco. These delegates also had access to Sli.do - a web-based platform allowing them to interactively participate in the programme.
Opening the Forum were everywoman Co-Founders Karen Gill MBE and Maxine Benson MBE, who introduced Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-Founder of CognitionX - a market intelligence platform that simplifies complex information surrounding AI, making it accessible and easy to understand.
In her keynote speech, Tabitha addressed the opportunities AI presents in the workplace, particularly for women. As machines can’t be programmed to understand essential emotions such as empathy, human skills will become even more important in theworkplace– for understanding customers, developing new products and delivering new services. She also argued that voice activated technology will mean a move away from emails and text, and a return to verbal communication, making this an important skill for those wanting to succeed.
Tech industry leader Melissa Di Donato, Chief Revenue Officer, S/4 HANA Cloud at SAP gave her insight into what success in the tech industry looks like and how it can be achieved by and for women. Reflecting on her own journey, Melissa championed adaptability as an essential skill as new technology is developed and changes the way we work. She challenged the idea of a linear career ladder, and spoke passionately of how diversity within business is the key to innovation.
Melissa advised, “Take risks on people, choose people with different backgrounds – it brings diversity of thought, ideas and viewpoints. We all get the pay back from diversity.”
Melissa called for more female role models and mentors to encourage young women to pursue a career in technology, concluding “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
In addition to keynote speeches, the event featured a panel discussion on “Women in Tech - Changing the IoT World” featuring Tania Boler, Founder of Elvie, and Elenna Corchero, Founder & Director of Lost Values, who explored the many opportunities IoT presents. The panel discussed how the spending power of female consumers, which is often overlooked, presents a huge opportunity for women to develop innovative IoT products, spanning wearables, health and virtual assistance.
With the rise of AI and automation in the workplace, Inma Martinez, Venture Partner, Deep Science Ventures & Chief Data Scientist, Right Brain Future and Suki Fuller, Founder, Miribure discussed the human skills that businesses still need from individuals and explored the wide range of roles available to women in the tech industry, outside of core areas of coding and programming - from psychology to anthropology to design.
Further sessions around gender dynamics in the workplace were hosted by everywoman experts during a series of breakout Power Hours, which enabled delegates to document eight hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development).