Empowering Women in Tech - Leeds International Festival

Empowering Women in Tech

Leeds International Festival 17 30 April 2017

The first Empowering Women with Tech event took place all day at Leeds Dock on 26th April 2017. An experienced line-up of female speakers discussed their diverse journeys into tech, and how they use technologies in their careers.

Innovation, creativity and disruption of the norms we accept are all down to one thing – diversity. The more different the viewpoints and approaches that people bring to the table, the more exciting and innovative our progress. The Empowering Women with Tech conference broke down preconceptions and misconceptions about women in the tech fields, and aimed to encourage more women to enter these industries.

Credit: Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE
Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE

The conference was chaired by Lauren Laverne, a multi-award winning broadcaster with twenty years’ experience in the broadcasting and music industries. She spoke about the launch of The Pool, a website for ‘women who are too busy to browse’.

Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE co-founder of award-winning social enterprise Stemettes.org. Discussing the future of girl-led start-ups, our society, past, present and future, and the role of women and girls in tech.

Susanna Lau (Susie Bubble) also spoke – an influential British fashion blogger, whose Style Bubble blog has become one of the most recognised blogs of its type, since she started it more than a decade ago.She discussed the Style Bubble journey and the obstacles she had to hurdle.

Emmy Lovell talked about her journey into the music industry, and how digital is changing the musical landscape. As Vice President of Digital for Warner Music Group, Emmy was well placed to let us in on her predictions for the future of the music industry in conjunction with the digital environment.

Debbie Wosskow OBE is founder of Love Home Swap and Co-Founder and Chair of AllBright. Wosskow is recognised as one of the most prominent serial entrepreneurs in the UK today, launching businesses across the areas of digital disruption, the sharing economy and female empowerment.

Natasha Sayce-Zelem is Head of Technology for Digital Trading at Sky. Getting into the nitty-gritty of life for a woman in a big tech firm, Natasha walked us through her career progression. An award-winning digital ‘geek’, she is also passionate about improving diversity in both the creative and tech industries. She was also the curator of the Technology strand of the 2017 Leeds International Festival.

The final speaker in the Empowering Women in Tech conference was Dr Sue Black OBE, an award-winning computer scientist, radical thinker, social entrepreneur and public speaker She founded the well-known and high-profile campaign to save Bletchley Park. A passionate advocate for women in tech, Sue founded BCSWomen, the UK’s first online network for women in tech, and #techmums, a social enterprise which empowers mums and their families through technology.

This range of women from different ages, backgrounds and social positions illustrated the range of routes open to women looking to a career in tech, and highlighted the particularly female propensities most suited to tech, as well as the value women can bring to this under-represented field.


This will be followed by a talk by Sebastián Gerlic and Maria das Dores de Oliveira (with interpreting from Dr Thea Pitman from the University of Leeds) about the communities themselves, their marginalisation by mainstream society and their struggle for cultural survival.