Melissa Hale of OnePoint Consulting Ltd joined us as a guest at our Ada Lovelace Day Inspiration Breakfast on 10th October. She enjoyed the event so much, she wrote a blog about it, and she’s generously allowed us to share it here too! Thanks Melissa.
Read on to see what she thought…
In the fast-paced world of technology, it’s often easy to forget the incredible accomplishments of women in the industry. Digital Her, a programme run by Manchester Digital, is changing that narrative by showcasing the achievements of women in tech and facilitating their entry into the field. On the 10th of October 2023, I had the privilege of attending their Inspiration Breakfast, an event that left me inspired, motivated, and connected with fellow professionals in the tech sector.
The fact that this event was held on “Ada Lovelace Day” was an extra bonus, Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, was a visionary mathematician and writer known for her pioneering work in the early days of computing. She is often regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. So having the event for women in tech on this day was just the cherry on top.
The event kicked off with a room full of brilliant women from all corners of the tech sector, all gathered to hear from remarkable keynote speakers. Each speaker shared their personal stories and influences, offering valuable insights that resonated deeply with the audience. It truly was an inspiring inspirational breakfast.
- The first talk was by Zoe Gould of Deloitte Digital. It was an excellent way to kick off the event with a nod to the hit Barbie film (existential crisis Barbie that is) and how we could all relate to feeling that way at one point or another. Pressing further as we enjoyed our croissants and coffees to say that it’s okay to make mistakes and we should give ourselves more grace and embrace the learning opportunities they present. It sparked some very interesting conversations about how we all could be kinder to ourselves in those moments and how that would impact positively in the workplace for ourselves and for others.
- The second talk was by Nadia Johnson of Quoria. It was lovely to see a software engineering director speaking so fondly of their time rising through the ranks from apprentice to engineering director. I especially enjoyed her emphasis on networking not for “profit” as such but to genuinely form connections with like-minded and wonderful people. These experiences exist for us to connect as people and learn and grow with one another. The idea that we should foster a community within the tech sector for our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us was something I have taken away from this event.
- The third talk was by Missy Muñoz of GFT UK. After a lovely break to refill our coffee cups we were invited to write a personal accomplishment upon the inspiration wall (which was a genius idea and looking at all those different sticky notes from all these wonderful women was honestly a highlight of the event for me) we got to hear about how tough love and resilience made this talented and successful woman who she is today. It was a very personal talk and it resonated with me as someone who had changed careers not too long ago and was raised with a similar ethos of accomplishments being a currency for “being worthy”. Missy invited us to discuss how we would approach a younger relative, would we use tough love or not and why? It prompted some interesting answers. I personally enjoyed the idea of a fellow table-mate who suggested there was a middle ground between cheerleading and tough love, more akin to a coach who pushes you but also gets you an ice cream when you’ve succeeded. I liked that idea.
- The fourth talk was by Lisa Wood of Naimuri. Lisa had the honor of rounding off the talks for the event and she did it wonderfully. She also referenced the Barbie movie in her talk, which just goes to show how influential it was with its narrative. The idea that we should be our authentic selves and cherish the things about us that make us unique. We all have individual strengths, and we should use them to come together and celebrate what we can do, rather than trying to fit ourselves into boxes “because we should”. Her unapologetic authenticity was inspiring in itself, and she painted a very positive image of how teams can be structured and supportive of one another. She asked us to consider how we can be more authentic in the workplace and that was a very good topic to round the morning off with.
In conclusion, attending Digital Her’s Inspiration Breakfast was a remarkable experience that left me feeling motivated and inspired. The event showcased the incredible accomplishments of women in the tech sector, emphasizing the importance of resilience, self-compassion, and the pursuit of excellence without fear of imperfection. Moreover, the unexpected references to the Barbie movie added a touch of creativity and relatability to the talks.
For professionals in the tech industry, especially those in the Manchester area, I highly recommend keeping an eye out for Digital Her events in the future. They offer not only valuable insights but also a supportive community where you can connect, learn, and grow alongside other talented women in tech. So, if you ever get the chance to attend a Digital Her event, don’t hesitate. It might just be the dose of inspiration and networking opportunities you’ve been looking for in your tech career journey. After all, together, we can break barriers, shatter glass ceilings, and pave the way for a brighter future in the world of technology.