Monthly Archives: November 2010

Recognising female talent in your organisation

The search is on for the UK’s most inspiring women working in technology

I’m really proud to talk about this initiative.  You might recognise the Mobius strip logo above…  Avaya, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel and Microsoft have joined together to sponsor the Everywoman awards for Women in Technology.  Our initiative, which started in January 2008 has gone from strength to strength with amazing women in the team collaborating and working together to support and encourage the women in their companies through networking and best practice sharing.  

everywoman and Connecting Women in Technology (CWT) together with womenintechnology.co.uk have come together to launch the inaugural CWT everywoman in Technology Awards. The awards are now open for entry and seek to celebrate the most inspirational women working in technology   Here are the categories:

* Rising Star of the Year
This will be awarded to the woman aged under 30 who is excelling in her technology career, making a valuable contribution to her organisation. She is the one to watch.
* Business Leader of the Year
This will be awarded to the woman operating in a senior technology role within her organisation. She will be making a contribution to the strategic direction of the business.
Tip: This nominee need not hold the most senior IT role in the business, she may not be operating at board level but she will hold a senior management position.
* Team Leader of the Year
This will be awarded to the woman leading a technology team to excel in a way that contributes greatly to the company’s success.
Tip: The team need not be big but the achievements and positive impact the team have on the company’s success must be demonstrated.
* Innovator of the Year
This will be awarded to the woman designing, developing or implementing technology in an unconventional and innovative way, for a new technology application, architectural initiative or in a new environment.
* Entrepreneur of the Year
This award will go to an owner/operator of a technology business or business operating within the technology space. Her entrepreneurial vision and talent will inspire others to start their own technology related venture.
Tip: The nominee need not be the primary IT talent in the business but she will be leading the company to success through the successful implementation of technology.
* Inspiration of the Year
This award recognises an individual for their commitment to encouraging, advancing and/or championing the progress and development of women working in technology.
Tip: this could be an individual (male or female) working in an organisation, association or academia. Theirs could be a paid or voluntary role but their achievements in implementing programmes/initiatives that encourage, support and attract more women to technology warrants recognition.

There is still a misconception among many women that the IT industry is boring and uninspiring, seeing a career in IT as dull and monotonous and requiring only highly technical knowledge, with no call for skills such as team working, strategic thinking or creativity*. For too many women, this is still the thinking. (Source: The Training Camp Survey 2005).

The CWT everywoman in Technology Awards were launched to demonstrate that there are many opportunities for women in technology and some very inspirational, successful women working in it. This awards programme will shine the spotlight on these women, role models that will not only encourage more women to consider a career in technology , but also inspire more talented women to bring their skills and experience to technology companies. This programme will also show young girls the range of dynamic and interesting career opportunities that technology offers.

So if you know of an inspirational woman working in technology who you believe deserves recognition. Nominate her for an award.

And pass this on to others who know some amazing women working as unsung heroes in IT too Smile

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Facebook: just click to spread the worm

Facebook is a great tool to connect with your friends and find out what others are doing.  Its a great way to reach new people and recommend applications, games and link to cool sites  and videos.  Unfortunately there’s a massive downside to this openness.

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My good buddy Zack has an excellent post on the latest Facebook worm to infest Facebook users which, as Mike Butcher reports, claims to show you who has viewed your profile.  According to Sophos, almost 60,000 people clicked the link in a few hours.

We are social animals who want to connect more closely with our friends and acquaintances.  These are people we trust, so if they send us something that looks interesting, then we’ll click the link…

…And have our directories harvested to propagate the spammers message. 

I think that Facebook could do more to clarify the permissions needed for applications sand to have checkboxes on the “Allow” dialogue box so that we can decide whether to permit the application access

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This would bring control back to the user and prevent any rogue applications from harvesting any data that you don’t want it to.  It’s a small step towards privacy, as Zack mentions – but it doesn’t go far enough as many others can be fooled by an innocent message from our friends…

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Tweeting heat map

I like this.  Gareth found this heat map of a world of Tweets showing who is Tweeting the most at the moment. To be fair, the time this snip was taken at 7.30am the day after Thanksgiving, so the US probably aren’t very active.  It’s late in Australia so they’re in bed…

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But it’s late in the evening in Korea too – and they light up the map from the start – as do Indonesia who have contributed 25% of the tweets today (The UK are 3rd with 10% of tweets).  Interesting how Scotland is Tweeting more than the rest of the UK too – it must be all that snow up there today Smile

Thanks Gareth for the find. 

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Facebook and brand recommendations

Wow, a huge amount of Facebook pages get their fans from friends recommendations… It shows how powerful that peer recommendations are.  But having a compelling Facebook presence that is full of interesting content and updated regularly is important for the brand allegiance..  Once people have liked a brand page they also have expectations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And once there, fans expect more than downloadable coupons. Rather, they want to feel more like a VIP who can access exclusive content, information about new products and yes, promotional offers, before the general public can.

The desire to gain followers and fans sometimes overshadows the true business need for customer awareness and advocacy. Agencies are creating schemes to primarily increase the number of followers and satisfy corporate metrics but are not generating brand advocates and loyal business connections. Good social media marketing has nothing to do with follower count, but everything to do with conversation and peer recommendations.  And it’s never quite as it appears to be in the first instance…

Full story is here on Adweek and there’s a downloadable pdf of the results here.

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Inspiring and believing

I get asked about what inspires me, and how I got to the point in my life right now.  Why I’m considered as an inspiration to others too.  I’ve been reflecting on why I’m perceived as a success and what components will make others successful too.

That’s hard. 

We live our lives the way we live them.  We don’t tend to follow others lives in any great details.  We do what we do and we make the best of what we have don’t we?  But I think a lot of us don’t have any self belief.

Karen writes a great post about believing in yourself that really resonates. How your beliefs change everything. Can change everything for you.  I honestly didn’t believe I could run.  My friends laughed when i mentioned it to them.

But over time, I believed I could actually do it – and I did run.  Although without looking at the photos its hard to believe that I actually could do it.

I believed that women were entitled to do the same jobs as men.  So I went to sea.  For a look at some of the tatty old ships I sailed on have a look at my Ships to Chips presentation on Slideshare

So perhaps that’s why I’m considered an inspiration. 

I believe that anything is possible – if you believe in yourself enough. 

All you need to do is start to believe… Smile

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Looking at the Gender pay gap

I’ve been having a look at the Modern Muse site again and trying to encourage other women to sign up to become muses to try to address the skills gap and the gender pay gap.  I’ve talked a lot about the Gender pay gap, the last event I spoke at was in Athens.  Sometimes the hysteria over gender pay can be explained by the jobs that women do.   The gender gap in wages (women’s wages are on average 17 percent less than men’s) is partly explained by the fact that women tend to work predominately in stereotypical ‘female’ occupations.  There are some interesting findings in these reports..

Gender appears to be a more important differential than social class in accounting for differences in career aspirations. Boys are more likely to expect to work in engineering, ICT, skilled trades, construction, architecture, or as a mechanic. Girls are more likely to expect to work in teaching, hairdressing, beauty therapy, childcare, nursing and midwifery.
Despite girls’ success at GCSE, three-quarters of women still end up in the five Cs of employment – cleaning, catering, caring, cashiering and clerical. Explanations for this trend include the stereotyping of subject choices at school. Inflexibility in work means that once students have gone along a career path they find it difficult to change.
Two in 10 young people (18 percent or approximately 700,000 young people in England) say they have not had enough information and advice to make the right choices about their future.
Source:
Staying on Report, June 2009

And it doesn’t seem to be more exciting for students at university either..

Final year university students are very pessimistic about their career prospects as the economic crisis worsens. More than 90% of final year students thought that employers would cut their vacancies and half of student job hunters had little confidence that they would find a graduate position after university.
Source:
The Graduate Market in 2009

So that’s why its so important that all of the talented women you know, register themselves as a Muse, to try and change perceptions about equal roles, equal pay, and equality in general.  So, if you know an inspiring woman, get her to register as a muse.  You can get involved from a business – or educational perspective too. Its worth inspiring the next generation.

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Modern Musings

Books are like buses aren’t they?  Nothing for ages and ages, and now 2 come along at the same time Smile

So what am I talking about?

Well, in addition to having my own book published, which is making me feel amazing, I’ve actually been featured as part of another book and initiative called Modern Muse which has just launched.

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Modern Muse has been launched by Maxine and Karen (above) from everywoman.  everywoman has a dream to excite, inform, invigorate and motivate more than a million young women and girls* about business and entrepreneurship over the next 3 years. The Modern Muse project is about inspiring the next generation through showcasing the achievements of today’s business women.  This book showcases 100 such women and I’m one of them.

The 100 women therefore were chosen because individually they each had a great story to tell and collectively they represented the rich diversity of British business success.
These founding Modern Muses come from different backgrounds, educational paths, industries and job roles. Their stories tell of many different journeys to success. They encompass a vast range in age, region, ethnicity and come from all walks of life. Somewhere amongst these 100 stories, Karen and Max hope any girl who reads the book will find something that she can relate to and will recognise in some of our women the characteristics and traits she has, and see how they played a role in the achievement of their business success.

The long term ambition of everywoman’s Modern Muse is to accelerate the number of women running or leading businesses by 100,000 in the next 10 years.

The UK is suffering from a female ‘role model’ shortage, yet we know that there are thousands of wonderful women from different backgrounds, educational paths, industries and job roles who can demonstrate the varied and exciting career options that many girls do not get to hear about. Coupled with our belief that Britain is a great place to nurture talent and showcase diversity, now is the time to put out a powerful call to action that will help gather and drive momentum to make a real and sustainable difference to young women and girls in the UK.
We will do this by defining a new kind of Modern Muse for our age, one that will inspire the next generation – women with wit, dynamism and energy to take up the mantle. It is all about shining the spotlight on business-wise, strong and responsible female role models to inspire the next generation. This campaign is about dreams, aspirations, ambitions and opening girls’ eyes to the potential of business as a way of having a fun and fulfilling life, meeting exciting people, and being more in control of your destiny.

Although everywoman is driving the project, bringing about change on this scale requires all women coming and working together – Modern Muse is all about showing the power of what that can achieve.

The project is supported by a website www.modernmuse.co.uk and Muses will be able to create a profile, share stories, register their activity and log how many young women and girls they have engaged with.  If you’d like to become a Muse, register your profile on the site to inspire others…

I’m totally delighted to have been choses as a founding Muse and hope that my Ships to Chips story will inspire some other young girl to pursue her dream Smile

 

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