Lessons From Award-Winning Women in Technology

Lessons From Award-Winning Women in Technology

A common characteristic that many  successful women share is that they visualized their path and succeeded in their own unique ways. Based on the advice of ten phenomenal women who have created remarkable careers for themselves, here is a list of ten pieces of advice that you don’t learn in school.

It is not necessary to be an expert

Priya Lakhani, founder and CEO of CENTURY Tech speaks on her experience as an entrepreneur, sharing that she built her business based on her understanding of a problem and striving to discover a solution to fix it. She advises never to hold yourself back, “I built an AI platform, and I know nothing about coding or technology, although I do have an introduction to Python in my handbag. So, I don’t think women should shy away from starting something just because they don’t know absolutely everything about that career. It’s just a really great journey to go on. Go for it!”

You do not need to be  tech-savvy to be a successful entrepreneur

Some people may still believe that one needs to be a technologist to be successful in our digital world. In fact, Emily Forbes, the award-winning founder and CEO of Seenit pursued her collegiate education in arts before founding the startup. She says, “I think it’s a common misconception that people from an arts and creative background wouldn’t be able to set up a commercial tech company, but I think that’s completely wrong, the training I had at art school enabled me to think bigger, break down barriers and not be afraid to disrupt.”

Get to know your unique talents

“To be successful, you must first reflect on your unique talents,” says Christina Scott, CTO of News UK, who won CIO of the Year award at the Women in IT awards in 2016. She adds, “the fact that you are uniquely different is a big advantage you enjoy and will find working to your advantage.” Her main piece of advice to budding entrepreneurs: “Recognize what you bring. Anyone can do it if they have the desire and passion.”

Understand your roles and responsibilities

Lindsay Ratcliffe, the Director of Customer Experience at HomeServe, and the winner of the Inspiring Specialist award says: “There have been times when I’ve gone into organizations, and they’ve had specific roles, specific jobs, and they’ve tried to shoehorn me into those because they’ve not necessarily known what to do with me. And actually, I’ve resisted really hard; to say, ‘no, this is the breadth of what I do, this is the value I bring, this is what I can deliver’. Keep true to the core of you.”

Cater to your audience

Amanda Neylon, a digital services delivery director for the U.K.’s National Healthcare System, asks herself everyday how she makes the best use of technology to help her patients. Whether you run a business or charity, harnessing passion, being practical and making the right decisions are the key factors that will decide your success. According to her, “It always comes back to ‘Who’s your audience? What do you need them to do? What do they want to do? How do you use technology to do that?”

Overcoming obstacles

Bénédicte Autret, who works with many British publishers and news agencies, as well as the Benelux Union advises, “Try to remove those inside voices that hold you back and grab the opportunities as they come. Try to remove the barriers and take a risk.” Sticking to her own advice, Autret shares that she has a ‘personal advisory board’ which supports her during times of need. Talking about the board, she says, “Whenever it comes to making big decisions in my life, whether it is career led or personal life, I have three trusted people from different backgrounds that I go to and we evaluate whether I’m making the right decision.”

Everyone starts somewhere

Claudia Arney, the self-proclaimed “non-executive director” for Aviva, Halfords, Derwent London, and The Premier League offers, “One piece of advice I’d give to people wanting to move into a non-executive role is get board experience somewhere; start smaller, join the board of charity, join the board of governors of your local school, join the board of inspectors of your local prison; do something that’s useful and that talks to you and your passions, and that will give you board experience. That is your leg up to the next one, and the next one, and the next one. Just start.”

The reward of taking risks

When you are about to make a significant change in your life, there will always be people who do not support you. Kate Bradshaw, VP of digital strategy for the international division of Scripps Networks Interactive says, “Many people told me, ‘you won’t like it when you go off into the commercial world, it’s going to be tough for you.’ And it was tough. But the reward of taking the risk and pushing yourself to somewhere where you are quite uncomfortable is hugely beneficial… even if it doesn’t feel like that at the time.”

Grab the chances to have some fun

Zoe Cunningham, actress and managing director of tech company Softwire shares, “What really works for me is that I feel really in charge of my own career and my own choices, which is very empowering and it makes everything much more fun. If you are choosing to do something and enjoying doing it, is a different experience from if you feel you are forced to do it.”

Enjoy every moment

Life is to be lived to the fullest. Tara Hein-Phillips, managing director of Vestar Consulting says, “Live your life, follow your passions, do what interests you, read books, go to the theater; do things that expand your mind and open your heart!”