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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Wharton

Co founding Woman in Tech North East

When I joined the tech industry from the museum sector in March 2020, I knew no one. The pandemic had just sent the world into lockdown so there were no in person networking events or conferences that I would have attended to get to know people.

I knew the stats when it came to the gender breakdown in tech and the challenges that presents so I looked for a community in the north east that specifically supported women in tech. This community didn't exist, so when the opportunity came up to be part of creating something from scratch I knew it would be a side hustle worth investing my time and energy in. I joined forces with Professor Sue Black from Durham University, Rachel Pattinson and Jen Wood from Newcastle University and Dr Elena Gorman to launch the community with the aim to bring together women (or those who identify as female or non binary and would feel most comfortable in this community) who already work in tech or are curious about joining the sector to learn and support each other over coffee and cake.

In our community we have technologists, data scientists, cyber security specialists, marketers, researchers, designers, project managers, people and culture advisors, and many many more job roles. To date, we have organised a range of events at different locations, days of the week and timings to try and be as inclusive as possible. From fireside chats, to keynote speeches to panel discussions they have been a wonderful catalyst for forming connections and new relationships. We have attracted some incredible speakers and topics we have discussed include how to build networking confidence, career journeys and tech for good.

One of the best copywriters I know, the incredible Dawn McGuigan wrote an article about the group for High Life North Magazine which gives even more insights into the aims and aspirations of the community. Read the full article here.

A brief timeline of the journey so far includes

  • April 2022 - Launched Women in Tech North East as an online community on Linkedin

  • June 2022 - Hosted our first (in-person) networking event in Newcastle facilitated by NetKno

  • November 2022 - Hosted our second (in-person) networking event in Gateshead in partnership with Aspire Technology Solutions

  • March 2023 - - Hosted our biggest (in-person) networking event in Newcastle in partnership with Credera

  • May 2023 - Expanded the organising committee to reflect the growth within the community to include Ramla Lipstein and Loujane Alasi

  • June 2023 - - Hosted our fourth (in-person) networking event in Durham in partnership with Waterstons

  • July 2023 - Planning for our next events in September 2023 and January 2024 and looking forward to seeing the membership exceed 1000 people.

If you're not part of the community then you can join here or find out what happened at our last events on our YouTube Channel here.

The community is just over a year old so I'm super excited to see what the future holds. We are having some really interesting conversations with regional and national businesses who are just as passionate as we are about creating a more diverse workforce in tech. If you would like to know more about the community or work for a company interested in co-producing an event then reach out to one of the community organisers on LinkedIn or get in touch here.


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