The fourth annual Women in IT Awards, the world’s largest tech diversity event, brought together 1,200 industry leaders last night for a stunning ceremony in London.
The awards, organised by Information Age in partnership with Amazon Web Services, serve to showcase the achievements and innovation of women in technology and identify new role models in a sector where female representation stands at only 17%.
Baroness Martha Lane Fox, founder of Lastminute.com and board director at Twitter, delivered the evening’s keynote speech, telling the audience that a more diverse technology workforce is key to achieving a successful Brexit.
“I’ve been in the Lords today listening to a very interesting and long debate about our withdrawal from the EU and whatever you think about the issue it is certainly true that we’re going to have to map a different kind of future with different kinds of partnerships,” she said. “Unless we are using all of the talents in a sector that is one of the most rapidly growing in our country, I don’t believe we have a chance of being as successful as if we are continuing on the path we are at the moment.”
The life peer, who became the youngest female member of the House of Lords when she joined as a crossbencher in 2013, said the technology industry will never reach parity between men and women at the rate it is currently moving.
“That is a sobering and dispiriting thought,” she added. “Diversity of thought leads to better products and services, more relevant solutions, a more empowered workforce and a better society. It is so important.”
The awards were held in Grosvenor House Hotel on London’s Park Lane and were hosted by TV presenter Maggie Philbin, who revealed 19 winners chosen from over 700 nominations. Ben Rossi, editorial director at Vitesse Media and founder of the Women in IT Awards, opened the event by referencing the much-publicised mistreatment of women across multiple industries in the last year.
“We also currently have a leader of the free world whose own treatment of women has halted much of the progress, certainly from a public affairs perspective, that has been made in recent years,” Rossi said. “But when it comes to driving equality, history has dictated that sometimes we have to take two steps back before we move forward again, and that in times of adversity people always come together and move forward stronger.
“When we launched this event four years ago, I would never have thought that four years on its goals would be more relevant than ever. But amidst all of the current division in the world, tonight we can enjoy the hope and inspiration of being among 1,200 of the UK’s most talented technology professionals who believe wholeheartedly in the power and value of diversity.”
The Women in IT Awards is the flagship event in an ongoing Information Age campaign to tackle technology’s diversity problems. Information Age has also launched a US edition of the event in New York, and runs two further diversity events in the UK: Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders Today, a careers fair for female university students, and Future Stars of Tech, which identifies and promotes the industry’s top female career climbers.
The Women in IT Awards are sponsored by headline partner Amazon Web Services, premium partners Salesforce and Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, diversity partner BMC Software, recruitment partner Frank Recruitment Group, as well as Accenture Security, ADA College, Auto Trader, Barclays, Browne Jacobson, Ciena, DocuSign, Expedia Affiliate Network, Informed Solutions, IQVIA, KPMG, NatWest, NFU Mutual, Rolls-Royce, SAP, Schroders, Sky Betting & Gaming, Tech Talent Charter, TeenTech and Worldline.
ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR – sponsored by NFU Mutual
Jacqueline de Rojas, techUK
BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Barclays
Sam Mudd, Phoenix Software
BUSINESS ROLE MODEL OF THE YEAR – sponsored by BMC Software
Sally Bogg, Leeds Beckett University
CIO OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Amazon Web Services
Alison Davis, The Francis Crick Institute
DATA LEADER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by TeenTech
Katia Walsh, Vodafone
DIGITAL LEADER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by KPMG
Helene Stanway, XL Catlin
E-SKILLS INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Accenture Security
Good Things Foundation
EDITOR’S CHOICE – sponsored by Information Age
Marta Raper, NHS Digital
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Expedia Affiliate Network
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Yoox Net-a-Porter Group
Kim Nilsson, Pivigo
FUTURE CIO OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Frank Recruitment Group
Floriana Molone, London School of Economics
GLOBAL LEADER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Schroders
Yasaman Hadjibashi, Citi Global Consumer Bank
GRADUATE OF THE YEAR – sponsored by NatWest
Sarah Binney, Softwire
INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Informed Solutions
Leanne Kemp, Everledger
RISING STAR OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Rolls-Royce
Jessica White, Oakbrook Finance
SECURITY CHAMPION OF THE YEAR – sponsored by DocuSign
Emily Biggs, Digital Shadows
TRANSFORMATION LEADER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Auto Trader
Sarah Trickett, HMRC
WOMAN OF THE YEAR – sponsored by Salesforce
Sheila Flavell, FDM Group
YOUNG LEADER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by IQVIA
Kerry Townsend, PXtech