From Ada Lovelace at Townley Girls Grammar to #girlswithgoals at Bishop Challoner Girls

I’ve just had a fabulous couple of weeks giving talks and being on panels in Manchester, London, Surrey and Oxford. I spoke at three schools: Surbiton High, Townley Girls Grammar and Bishop Challoner girls and met lots of really wonderful pupils and staff ๐Ÿ˜€

Great view on the train home from fab panel at the Civica conference

The first event was a panel at the Civica EXPO in Manchester. It was a great panel, chaired by Rory Cellan Jones. I somehow managed to take no pics ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Opening the new Ada Lovelace computing suite at Townley Girls grammar school


I was well looked after by the fabulous students at Townley Grammar ๐Ÿ˜€


Great to catch up with friends at Oxford Geek night

ย ย 

On stage at Oxford Geek Night


Speaking at #wintech16

The “Women of Silicon Roundabout” conference #wintech16 was a great conference aimed at women in tech. I listened to several really great talks and also gave one myself.

Catching up with fab Sophie Walker at Lady Val’s networking lunch

After a quick lunch I dashed over to Covent Gardne for Lay Val’s networking lunch. I’m so delighted that Sophie Walker (above) has been elected to compete to be London’s Mayor. I’m a strong supporter of the Women’s Equality Party which Sophie is representing.

“Dreams can come true” my keynote at Bishop Challoner girls school launching #girlswithgoals

Final stop for the day was Bishop Challoner school in Tower Hamlets. I gave a keynote called “Dreams can come true” for 100 girls and their parents at the #girlswithgoals event. There were several other speakers who were really great, plus singing from the extremely talented Nathalie Reid, dance and cheerleading too. It was a great evening. Hats off to the staff and students at Bishop Challoner for a fabulous evening.

Signing my book “Saving Bletchley Park” for pupils at Bishop Challoner

I really enjoyed chatting to the fab pupils at Bishop Challoner school

ย  All in all it was a whirlwind of a few days. I really loved meeting the children and talking to them about Bletchley Park, plus life, the universe and everything ๐Ÿ™‚

Apps World and Women in Tech

Had a great afternoon at Apps World conference doing a fire side chat with Martha Lane Fox about women in tech, UK tech heritage, digital up skilling, and the future global digital world and the role the UK should be playing. 


Deloitte CIO Dinner at the Royal Opera House

Wonderful evening last night with #womenintech friends at athe Deloitte CIO Dinner at the Royal Opera House. Thanks Rebecca George   


Digital Leaders 2015, a Doctor, a Baroness and a chat showย 

 I spent most of the day yesterday at 1 Whitehall Place at the Digital Leaders 2015 conference. I interviewed Martha Lane Fox on stage for half an hour about our digital future, women in tech, quotas, doteverything, and how to catalyse a digitally savvy workforce to ensure future success for the UK in the global marketplace. 

The audience liked our interview so much that many people suggested we should have our own chat show ๐Ÿ˜€ 

Let’s make it happen! Watch this space…


NESTA’s Crucible Alumni event at Science Gallery Dublin + Inspirefest kick off.ย 

I’m just back from a fabulous 6 days in Dublin. I was there organising 2 events at the Science Gallery Dublin and speaking at Inspirefest 2015.  


On Tuesday I met up with some Cruciblers, I’m chair of Crucible Alumni: 400 mainly science experts with PhDs and an interest in public engagement. We went on a great science walk led by Patrick Roycroft from Ingenious Ireland. It was excellent. Very entertaining and educational.  

Tuesday evening we spent at The Liquor Rooms, catching up with each other and drinking (4 pints of Guinness!) first time I’ve done that!  

On Wednesday we ran our Crucible #healthhack looking at cutting deaths by smoking by 50% to save 3 million lives per year. We had help from some great  experts. I was shocked to learn that smoking cuts about 16 years off your life. Shocking. My best friend Hazel died from lung cancer recently, she was only 56. 



We had some great discussions and came up with our top solution which we are excitingly going to execute soon. More I that in another post. 


A fabulous lunch was followed by our afternoon Crucible event #fullSTEAMahead a few hours of talks from STEAM experts. 

We were privileged to have Margie McCarthy from Science Foundation Ireland along to open the afternoon.

First speakers were Sinead Kelly, Jennifer Wickham and me talking about #techmums, what it is through to what it’s like to be a #techmum.   The afternoon was a smorgasbord of delightfully interesting talks from Cruciblers and keynote speakers. 


The subjects were so diverse from: BlackGirlsCode to rocket science and dinosaurs. 


All talks will be on YouTube soon. It was wonderful to also have some of our fab #techmums trainers come along to the afternoon ๐Ÿ˜€

I had a wonderful time organising the day with Polly Dalton, Denis O’ Hora and Paul Roach. They were fabulous to work with. 

In the evening we went to the Inspirefest speakers kickoff event at Farmleigh, a fabulous house in a park just outside Dublin. Here’s a few pics from the evening which was opened by conference chair Ann O’ Dea and the minister.   


I was delighted that several friends from all over were there too including the completely awesome Cindy Gallop. 

We Cruciblers ended the day with another few pints of Guinness followed by a kebab ๐Ÿ˜€

It was a fabulous memorable day, we’ve lots of content that will be up online soon and even more ideas on how we are going to change the world. 

I’d like to thank Polly, Denis and Paul for helping to arrange the day and Paul for filming the day. They were all fabulous. Thanks to the Science Gallery, to Ingenious Ireland, The Liquor Rooms, Ann O’Dea and Silicon Republic. To all the fab Cruciblers that came along, to our experts, our speakers and our audiences. It was a day I’ll never forget. 


Communities 2.0, Wales, Digital Inclusion

I had a truly awesome day yesterday keynoting the Communities 2.0 conference at the Cardiff Swalec stadium. I gave my talk “If I can do it, so can you” which is all about how technology and education have changed my life, helping me to bring my family out of poverty and into prosperity. I had so much fabulous feedback and met some really lovely people. The digital inclusion people in Wales are an absolutely wonderful bunch.

Communities 2.0 are just having their funding cut at a time when getting people online and tech savvy is becoming critical to lead an everyday life. It’s such a shame that all the good digital inclusion work, which has put Wales in a leading position in Europe, is now being scaled down.

Being in Cardiff was also a great opportunity to meet up with my fab new friend Aimee Bateman. We met when we both gave a talk at TedxClapham recently. I expect really great things from Aimee, what a superstar ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

I don’t think I’ve ever had so many lovely tweets from one event. Incedible support. Thank you Communities 2.0 and everyone at the #c2conf for all your interest and questions.


All in a day’s work

I had a great day today. Thanks to lots of wonderful people I had a really awesome day. 2 great meetings, I gave a talk at Twitter HQ and organised and spoke at an event at BCS Central London branch. Yesterday I spent the day in bed with awful cold/flu feeling absolutely dreadful.

What a difference a day makes. Incredible. Just got home at 1am feeling shattered but happy. Thanks to everyone who made today special: Julia Shalet, Mazi, Andy Piper and all at Twitter, Bryan Glyck and Kayleigh Bateman, Funmi Adeusi, Lucy Rogers, Anke Holst, Alan O’Donohue, Wendy Woo and Joan Lockwood.










Creating a bright future for us all – why women in tech issues matter

I was honoured to speak on a panel this afternoon at Portcullis House. Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah chaired an interesting discussion on women in tech which ranged from getting girls coding, to Ada Lovelace, to the digital revolution and a quick reference to Gamergate.
My main points were around the fact that we are now living in a global marketplace. Trade is no longer hampered by geographical boundaries as it has been previously. Most people in the UK are not digitally literate in a 2014 way, we are behind the times. There are so many people unemployed, that with just a small amount of training could get jobs using basic 2014 digital literacy. The government needs to put more resource into this area.

There is a big focus on getting girls coding which is great and needs to happen, but we need more urgently to consider how to plug the leaky pipeline of women leaving the tech industry mid career. We also need to create a corporate culture that welcomes tech savvy women back into the workforce. Too many talented tech women I know have left tech never to return, its such a waste.

Corporates need to make their workplaces more female friendly and be proactive in bringing in more women. There are many ways this can be done, and as has been shown previously this can make companies more profitable. Diversity means strength in so many ways.

I didn’t mention quotas of women on boards, but I think the time is right now to make this happen, change is not happening quickly enough for any real impact to be felt. Equal pay is something else that needs to be sorted out. We will never get anywhere until these issues are resolved.

The main thing we need to do is to take ACTION as a country. The UK if we get our act together has an opportunity to lead in the digital revolution as we did in the industrial revolution. But we need to move quickly and decisively. Our workforce needs to be upskilled, made tech smart, this is a mammoth but not impossible task. Let’s get started now otherwise we will be looking back in a few years time saying, if only we had acted more quickly….

As it is half term I took my 10 year old daughter along with me. We left a bit early so we could go and buy a pumpkin for her to carve for Halloween. Having children makes you think about the future in a different way. I don’t want my daughters to have lower pay than their male peers, I don’t want them to see their friends taking a break from work to have children, then finding it impossible to get back into work. I don’t want to see them struggling to make sense of a narrow minded and chauvinistic workplace.
We need to change our country now to make equality of opportunity a reality, if we do that and prepare our workforce for the digital age, we will have a fighting chance of being a world leading country into the future. If we don’t I hate to think what will happen. Standards of living will drop, a brain drain will occur, big contracts will go to other countries, individuals will become disenfranchised, it won’t be fun.

Millions of people have fought in wars and worked hard to make this country succesful, let’s not throw all that sacrifice away now because we are too slow to respond to change that’s obviously going to happen, and is in fact happening right now. Britain is a great country, I’m proud to be a part of it, let’s keep it that way. Making sure our people, our families and our companies keep up with the digital revolution means that all that sacrifice was worthwhile, we owe it to our ancestors and to our children. We’ve a short window of opportunity, let’s take ACTION and build a great future for us all.

DAVOS – Where are the women??

2 years ago Davos who say they are “committed to improving the state of the world” knew there was a problem with having so few women participating. Two years later in 2014 the figure is 15% female participation. That doesn’t sound like committment to me…..

Davos and WEF you are in a unique position of really being able to do something about this situation. You say you are committed to improving the state of the world. Having only 15% women participating means you will NOT achieve your aim.

Please be SERIOUS about your committment. Take bold, brave and dramatic steps to increase female participation. You CAN do it. If you need help I and many others will help you. You know where to find me…..