On 21st September 2017 we welcomed over 200 of our brightest women for the inaugural Women in Technology, Engineering and Consulting. They were there to hear from female leaders from the world of business and connect with leading firms.
The day opened with a keynote from Cheryl Martin, a Partner at Premier Sponsor EY. She talked about how tech is changing, why that's so exciting and why this means you don't need to be technical to go into a career in the technology sector. She also discussed why the students should start building a network now and try to gain as much experience as possible to work out what they want to do.
The students then had a Skills Session from EY’s Student Attraction Advisor, Harriet Jones, with information including how tech is disrupting the world of business and how they could turn this into opportunity and growth at EY. Des O’Connor from EY talked more about digital disruption and how their customers are accelerating towards being digitally-enabled businesses. He ran through some examples of the exciting tech out there (including 3D printing, blockchain and AI) and how it’s already making an impact.
Students had the opportunity for informal networking with our partner firms from the technology, engineering and consulting sectors, including Premier Sponsor EY, as well as Accenture, Alfa, American Express, Babcock, Bloomberg, Capgemini, CGI, Citrix, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin, PwC, Skyscanner, Vodafone and Willis Towers Watson.
They then moved into three panel sessions to hear top tips for career success from female leaders at our partner firms. The insights included:
- Have confidence in yourself and don't be afraid to ask a question even if you think it's a stupid one - you'll only learn by asking.
- Take time out for yourself and review where you are regularly to ensure you're happy with the direction your career is going in. If you're not, be bold and make a change.
- University is brilliant for teaching technical skills but there's much less focus on soft skills. You need to start building up your network early on and move out of your comfort zone to learn how to adapt.
- Build an internal profile wherever you work, at all ranks within the organisation. Take time once a month to get to know someone you've not yet worked with.
- Travelling with work is a good rounding experience - you gain insight into how different cultures approach things which is important even when you're only operating in one country.
- Being a woman should not hold you back, it can sometimes be advantageous, but you need the right mindset - feeling you have as much right to achieve as your male counterparts.
The day finished with the Bright Network Awards ceremony, where the firms chose to reward Bright Network members who had achieved excellence. These bright women are going to be the ones to watch.