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Women lead in supply chain and social IT

By Retail Technology | Tuesday March 19 2013

A rising supply chain star and innovative social networking start-up leaders are among the winners announced in 2013 FDM everywoman in Technology Awards

The UK’s leading female IT experts recognised leadership and innovation among their peers at the FDM everywoman in Technology Awards today at The Savoy Hotel in London.

With women still occupying less than one in five of all technology positions according to e-skills (the UK Skills Council for Business and Information Technology), there is still more to be done to encourage women into the sector. 

Recent Focus on the Pipeline research, conducted by everywoman and recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions, highlighted that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) have the highest number (80%) of female middle managers who want to progress their careers. 

Encouraging equal opportunities

Sheila Flavell, chief operating officer and founder director of awards sponsor and IT services company FDM Group, added: “The FDM everywoman in Technology Awards are a fantastic platform to showcase and celebrate the efforts and successes of so many high-calibre women in such a male-dominated industry. 

She added that FDM’s dedication to supporting its female workforce and encouraging other women to pursue IT had seen its percentage of female staff increase to 23%, above the 14.4% industry average.

Taylor McGhee, IBM UK supply chain specialist apprentice from Port Glasgow, picked up Rising Star of the Year. Having joined the IBM Apprenticeship Scheme in 2011 at just 17 years old, Taylor charged with helping each area improve their business processes and is an active Social Business Advocate within the team. The judges commented that her boundless enthusiasm and phenomenal talent makes her stand out beyond her years.

Social networking success noted

Notably, three of the winners in the five awards categories also represented the growth in social networking enterprise. Jennifer Sheridan, founder and chief executive of Togeva from London, won Entrepreneur of the Year; Joanna Montgomery, founder and chief of Little Riot from Newcastle, picked up Innovator of the Year; and Deborah Gundle, founder and director of Netbuddy from London, was recognised in the Inspiration of the Year category.

Founded in 2010, Togeva is a Live Sharing Platform and application programming interface (API) for mobile devices that allows people to create and share digital content. Sheridan is responsible for many roles, including leading technology development and design, general accounting and managing the team. And she is actively involved in the start-up scene in Tech City/Silicon Roundabout. 

Interaction design company Little Riot, launched in 2010, is best known for its flagship product ‘Pillow Talk,’ which was originally created a university degree project by Montgomery. The innovative technology allows couples who are apart to listen to the heartbeat of the other person. Montgomery leads on product development and oversees the entire company operations, impressing the panel by her drive to raise funding and create a phenomenal brand.

Community outreach and hospitality 

Without any prior IT experience, the inspirational Gundle established Netbuddy in 2010 as an online social networking community and crowd-sourcing resource for parents and carers of children with learning disabilities. Since its inception, the site has received an average of 6,000 visitors per month. The judges noted that Gundle’s work reaches out to a community that otherwise, without Netbuddy, would be largely isolated.

Another winner Tamara Lohan, co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of Mr & Mrs Smith from London, has been running the successful travel website she established with her husband since 2003 after a disappointing experience with a hotel guidebook recommendation. As CTO, Lohan was awarded Team Leader of the Year in a small to medium enterprise (under 500 employees) for consistently championing technology as a key brand differentiator and masterminding an array of technical integrations, while leading and nurturing her team of loyal staff.

Lucy Dimes, Alcatel-Lucent UK & Ireland chief executive officer, won Leader of the Year in a corporate organisation (of over 500 employees). Woman of the Year was Eleni Antoniadou, Transplants without Donors co-founder and chief of science. And for the first time in its three-year history, a special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley.

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, commented: “The technology sector has demonstrated its commitment in the past few decades to embracing and nurturing its female talent and, we hope by celebrating these winners today, we can encourage others to follow in their footsteps.”