Last week we attended ‘Women of Silicon Roundabout’ at Tobacco Dock in London. This annual event has rapidly become a highlight of the digital calendar and this year it was bigger and better than ever.
Tobacco Dock in Wapping was the perfect venue for this thought-provoking and interactive event. We loved hearing from so many successful women (and men) working in tech while networking with over 1,200 like-minded individuals. We were impressed that the event was now on an even bigger scale with a truly eclectic line-up of speakers and a mind-boggling mix of workshops and technical talks. The only frustration was trying to squeeze everything in!
Faz Aftab, Director of Business Development & Partnerships at ITV Online delivered an inspiring talk in 2016, so it was great to hear her deliver the Chairperson’s Introduction for this year’s event. This was followed by Milena Nikolic from Google UK presenting a compelling business case for diversity in the workplace and explaining how her organisation is taking active steps to cultivate inclusion. Josh Bottomley from HSBC then shared some fascinating insights into how digital technology is rapidly changing the world of retail banking. Another highlight was Jody David talking about how she managed to rise to the role of SVP and Global CIO at PepsiCo while going through the ups and downs of raising her own family. Other speakers included thought leaders from J.P. Morgan, PwC, Amazon and Capital One.
As well as the keynote speakers on the main stage, there were a variety of panel discussions, technical talks and workshops. We had to divide and conquer in order to attend as many sessions as possible. There were personal development sessions on subjects as diverse as taking charge of your life-work balance (note the order of importance there!) and learning how to market yourself. The group sessions were great value as they included panelists from companies such as Adidas, Dyson, ASOS, LinkedIn and Expedia discussing topics like ‘supercharging your career’ and ‘the art of mentoring’.
The ‘Tiny Talks’ provided a more intimate setting and a greater opportunity to interact with the speakers. We particularly enjoyed Mia Shannon from Barclays demonstrating how large corporates can enable employees to feel digitally empowered and engaged. At the other end of the scale, Samantha Perry from CarWow explored how a bootstrapped start-up can attract the best digital talent in competition with the corporates and tech giants.
The organisers, Maddox Events, did a really great job with all aspects of the event. The venue was perfect, everything ran like clockwork and all the staff were super-helpful and friendly. Most importantly of all, the quality and range of speakers ensured a thought provoking and inspiring day. Once again we have been inspired to think differently about a range of topics affecting women working in technology. We can’t wait for next year’s event!