March 7, 2022

Women in Technology: International Women’s Day 2022 Special

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Women in Technology: International Women’s Day 2022

Meet the phenomenal women across Trustmarque who are changing the face of technology.

This year we pledge to #BreakTheBias by celebrating women’s achievements within Trustmarque, raising awareness against bias within our business and championing equality. The 2022 mission set by International Women’s Day strives to forge inclusive work cultures where women’s careers thrive and their achievements are celebrated.

Despite decades of workplace inequality in the tech industry, things are taking a (albeit very subtle) turn in the right direction. This is of course hugely long overdue. Recently Deloitte Global has predicted that in large technology organisations, women will represent up to 33% (up from 31%) of the workforce by the end of 2022. This 2% increase, although small, is still a significant shift in our strive for progress.

But as you look around your office or at the faces logged into a Teams call, there is still plenty of work to be done. That’s why we have called on some of the phenomenal women across Trustmarque to discuss how their careers in technology have impacted their lives and what they would like to share with young women embarking on a career in technology or those looking to change sectors.

Empowered women, empower women.

Ewa Lemarechal – Strategy Planning Director and transformation powerhouse

How did your career in technology begin?

When I completed MSc in Operational Research I wanted to ensure I work in an industry where I can apply cutting edge techniques to optimise business performance.

In 2001, when I graduated, technology businesses understood value add of investment in analytical resources, systems needed to process vast amount of data and ongoing training needed to attract skilled OR professionals.

That is how I started at Freeserve straight after graduation – the first pay as you go internet provider in the UK. I even remember, their package was called ‘No ties’ for dial-up connection! Of course, then broadband came along and the rest was history. It was an environment with a start-up feel, very nurturing where curiosity, challenge and thinking outside the box was encouraged. I never looked back!

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

I remember I used to be proud of a complex Python code or implementing a data warehouse solutions for customers but I think my most fulfilling time was consulting for the public sector organisations to help them address real challenges. Working with London borough councils on how we can protect children more effectively, how can we attract investment in the area, how we address challenges in adult social care, not only from provision perspective but also around social isolation and mental health. Technology underpinning all the programmes is allowing for cost efficiencies which can be reinvested in people on the ground to connect with communities and do the bit no technology can replace.

“I think it is important for children to have women as role models. My children see their mum go to work, they see her success, and they ask what happened at work today. We discuss our daily challenges around the dinner table as a family – after all, school is their workplace, so we are all in the same boat.”

Ewa Lemarechal – Strategy Planning Director

Ewa Lemarechal – Strategy Planning Director

How do you juggle your career with being a mum?

I always saw my professional and family life complementing each other, never in competition with one another. I focus on my family when I am with them. I may not be there every day but the time we do spend together is quality family time.

The current workplace and remote working situation allows for more flexibility and fewer compromises with regard to family life. I can see my daughter play football on Friday afternoon but then can log in later in the evening to catch up. It is nice to see my daughters using examples from my workplace to discuss in class, or even using things we discussed to inspire them. I remember I worked on a customer project around homelessness and discussed it with my 4-year-old daughter at the time. As a New Year resolution this year she started Go Fund Me campaign to support Centrepoint, a charity that aims to reduce homelessness for young people in the UK. I’d like to think maybe I planted a seed during our discussions when she was younger.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Onwards and upwards. 5 years is a long time, for me, health and happiness are most important. A big part of my happiness is professional fulfillment. I want to see Trustmarque grow to become a UK Champion, leading the Value-Added Reseller Market within 5 years. I see myself in a driving seat of transformation and business change, being instrumental in getting us there so that’s my goal!

Nida Ali – Partner Marketing Manager and creative campaign planner 

Tell us about how your career in IT began:

In 2011 I joined Capita IT Services and that’s when I initially grew an appeal within the fast-paced and innovative world of IT. Since then, I have focussed on increasing my industry awareness and have particularly used my efforts in understanding various vendor technologies, solutions and how I can effectively ‘GTM’ with them.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

I am proud of all the relationships I have made in my career. I am a strong believer in building relationships, learning from people and their experiences. I have been fortunate to work with some truly inspirational individuals, from who I have been able to grow and develop.

Even though I don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas I am a huge fan of the festive period and I decided to go big in my last campaign of 2021, where I devised an interactive 12 days of Christmas advent quiz, sent 250 various festive prizes, and an iPad to one ecstatic winner. It was a brilliant end to the year!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Ideally, I like to have concise and effective goals, once I achieve them, I plan my next move accordingly. I am on track to expand my network and my marketing capabilities by exploring a variety of methods to help me grow the Trustmarque brand.

 

Nida Ali – Partner Marketing Manager

“Being a working mum I have to have discipline and approach tasks in a methodical manner. I think the fundamental way to success is by being extremely organised.”

Nida Ali – Partner Marketing Manager 

Zoe Dronfield – Healthcare Client Director and domestic abuse campaigner

How did your career in technology begin?

I have always had a keen interest in solutions that save time and tech is an enabler of efficiency, if done right.  I began my career specifically in tech working for a smallish IT company that developed an application that reduced the time it took to process a criminal record check.

Now part of Trustmarque, I enjoy providing hardware and software to solve a problem for the NHS or nurturing full transformation programmes with public sector customers.

Can you talk to us about the Domestic Abuse Bill and your campaign work since we last spoke?

One campaign which gained huge traction was to have serial perpetrators of domestic abuse and stalking added to the current Violent and Sexual Offender Register (VISOR) framework.  Currently, serial offending of this crime is not monitored meaning there are gaps in the information at the fingertips of police working on the frontline. Technology will be key to this.

“Since being almost murdered in 2014 I have been on a compelling journey to make changes in our justice systems.  I was failed quite terribly and from what I could see from being a layperson inside the system, there were failings that could have been avoided with some fairly simple data sharing methods.”

Zoe Dronfield – Healthcare Client Director

Zoe Dronfield, Trustmarque’s Healthcare Client Director

In my case my perpetrator was a serial offender, known to police however when I made the first 999 call, they marked me as a standard risk due to his previous offending information not being flagged.  They just needed to join the dots and this is what the VISOR register was created for however is not being used for this type of crime.  Serial offenders are the most dangerous type, hence my campaigning in this area.

So, since my ordeal I have campaigned a lot, I have been a regular commentator in the media, delivered talks at conferences to professionals, police, courts, colleges.  I’ve been to the Houses of Parliament many times, had many meetings with MPs and Home Office officials and have pushed for laws to be tightened where I have seen loopholes or lean sentences.  In April 2021 the Domestic Abuse Bill was finally given Royal Assent and this means that for the first time in history there will be wide-ranging legal definitions of domestic abuse which incorporates a range of abuses beyond physical violence, including emotional, coercive or controlling behaviour, and economic abuse.

What’s next for your domestic abuse campaigning? 

We now need to ensure that the law is used and those with the ability to use the law understand how to use it correctly so crimes are recorded and managed appropriately.  Technology will play a huge role in this too.  I have offered my support in this area to ministers in Government and I also currently sit on the Victim and Witness Engagement Group at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) supporting court reform.

However, this is not job done!  This is the start.  Please sign the petition.

Gemma Walsh – Lead Manager Operational Improvement and Mental Health First Aider at Trustmarque 

How did your career in technology begin?

I’ve always been interested in tech, from the excitement in getting our first family PC, to supporting neighbours with all things digital, tech has always been interesting to me.  I joined Capita back in 2007 and spent the next 12 years as Procurement Operations Manager, going from managing a subset of divisional outsourced customers to merging with the Computerland business and providing IT hardware and software for all of Capita and its customers.  This was such a varied role, from learning about and quoting every category of IT, lifecycle management, customer and change management to helping design e-procurement tools and all of the associated processes.

Gemma Walsh - Lead Manager Operational Improvement

“Having been a people manager for so long, I was acutely aware of the need to have a better understanding of what people are dealing with behind the face we sometimes put on in the work environment.”

Gemma Walsh – Lead Manager Operational Improvement and Mental Health First Aider

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Making the decision to focus on the aspects I really enjoyed in my previous role and that it was OK to not enjoy everything! Oh, and gaining my L4 Improvement Practitioner qualification, most of which was completed whilst working, home-schooling my daughter, and multiple lockdowns!

How is your Mental Health First Aider role going?

Being a MHFA has changed a lot since the move to remote working, you can’t so easily rely on obvious visible cues to know when to step in, along with my direct reach to individuals outside of my normal work circle being more limited.  I now do my best to help support other people managers in their approach with their teams, or by offering an impartial ear, as well as being able to signpost and give support where needed.

Thanks to our phenomenal women in technology for inspiring others and helping us to #BreakTheBias.

Strike the IWD 2022 pose and share your #BreakTheBias image, video, resources, presentation or articles on social media using #IWD2022 #BreakTheBias to encourage further people to commit to helping forge an inclusive world.

Find out more about International Women’s Day 2022

Written by Julia Bluckert.