Posted on December 13, 2016 by staff

Women blazing a trail in tech: From Camisotti to Hodgson


Everyone acknowledges that the lack of women working in technology is a problem – but coming up with solution is far from clear-cut.

According to Deloitte Global, by the end of 2016 fewer than 25 per cent of IT jobs in developed countries will be held by women.
Research in the US found that women in IT are 45 per cent more likely than men to leave in their first year.

However, according to a 2014 study among UK firms, half of all companies hiring IT workers said that only one in 20 job applicants were women.

The media has a huge part to play in tackling the problem – which is why we tasked Katherine Lofthouse with putting together an inaugural ‘100 Women Role Models of Tech’ list.

She sifted through more than 200 names before settling on the final list.

“The key criteria was women who hold roles in technology and have been actively in getting other women into tech,” she explained.

“Tech is such a broad description we’ve included everyone from tech entrepreneurs to women involved in the traditional field of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, maths).”

Lofthouse invited a pool of respected names in tech to nominate people for the list and researched each nominee, contacting a number directly.

“We’ve listing them in alphabetical order rather than in importance because it’s very subjective,” she said.

“Although these are our 100 women role models of tech, there are others who haven’t been included. The list celebrates the enormous contribution that women make to the tech sector.”

All 100 will be featured on our website this week. Today we run through those with surnames from C to H.

Camisotti, Cristiana.

In her time as an entrepreneur Cristiana Camisotti has co-founded several companies, most notably the technology jobs fair Silicon Milkroundabout. She hails from a product design background and reportedly has a new start-up venture in the pipeline.

Celestial-One, Saasha & Cook, Tessa.

Saasha Celestial-One is co-founder and COO of OLIO, an app which connects people to share surplus food and reduce waste. She started over a dozen micro businesses in her youth and co-founded My Creche while on maternity leave in 2012. Her co-founder and CEO Tessa Cook started her working life helping on her family farm and since then has worked at companies as diverse as Dyson and Wonga UK.

Cheshire, Emma.

Emma Cheshire is co-founder and CEO of Sheffield-based tech accelerator, Dotforge, where she was responsible for raising the initial investment funding of £500,000. She is also founder of the Germinate Consultancy for the Arts.

Climer, Naomi.

Despite having ‘no specific interest in engineering’ at school, last year Naomi Climer became the first female president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Starting out on the BBC’s graduate training scheme as a broadcast engineer, she has also been director of ITV Digital and run Sony’s start-up Media Cloud business in LA.

Chong, Alexandra.

Alexandra Chong is the founder of Lulu, a female-only app that allowed women to rate men; she was also CEO of the app for six years before a brief stint as the president of dating network Badoo. She left the company in July 2016 and is now a board director for wearable tech start-up Chairo and an advisor to medical app MedShr. She is also a former tennis champion.

Cochrane, Nikki & Tyler, Kathryn.

Nikki Cochrane is co-founder and co-CEO of Digital Mums, which offers online training and flexible jobs for mothers, having cut her teeth on social media and digital and innovation at advertising agency M&C Saatchi. Her co-founder and co-CEO Kathryn Tyler drew inspiration for the company during her time working alongside the REAL Projects programme, which was funded by the Gates Foundation.

Cockerton, Claire.

Claire Cockerton is founder of financial tech innovation company Entiq, a serial entrepreneur and prolific in financial service circles. She was also founding CEO of Innovate Finance, which works to promote FinTech start-ups.

Coutu, Sherry, CBE.

Sherry Coutu’s accomplishments within tech are wide-ranging and include the roles of entrepreneur, non-exec director, investor and advisor. She was awarded a CBE for services to entrepreneurship in 2013 to acknowledge her work in the industry.

Creed, Shirley.

Shirley Creed is global corporate secretary at Dell and has been a core team member of Dell’s Women’s Network in the UK since 2009. In 2015 she was named the Most Inspiring Leader across the company’s EMEA Employee Resource Groups.

de Alwis, Amali.

Amali de Alwis is CEO of social enterprise Code First: Girls. She is a commissioner for the Doncaster Education and Skills Commission and a mentor on Start-up Direct as well as for the CWEIC’s Commonwealth First programme.

de Rojas, Jacqueline. 

Jacqueline de Rojas is something of an institution within tech, and is currently the President of IT trade body techUK and area vice president of Northern Europe for Citrix. She will be joining accountancy software group Sage to lead their business across Northern Europe this autumn.

de Rycker, Sonali.

Sonali de Rycker is a general partner at Accel and a board member of a number of tech companies. She led Accel’s investments in high-profile names including Lyst, Spotify and Wonga.

Dee, Hannah.

Hannah Dee has spent the last nine years building up a dedicated industry fan base as head of the BCSWomen Lovelace Consortium conference, the UK’s main conference for female undergraduates. She is also a senior computer science lecturer at Aberystwyth University.

Depledge, Alex, MBE.

Alex Depledge is co-founder and ex-CEO of domestic cleaning start-up In June 2016 she was awarded an MBE for services to the sharing economy. Alex stepped down as CEO to take on an advisory role after negotiating and leading a merger with German cleaning giant Helping, and is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Index Ventures.

Di Donato, Melissa.

Melissa Di Donato is area vice president of sales at cloud computing company A passionate philanthropist around STEM initiatives and a mentor for women and girls, she is now an advisor at Astuta.

Drinkwater, Sarah.

A journalist in a past life, Sarah Drinkwater is now the head of Google Campus London and sits on the board of Code First: Girls, which helps young women upskill for tech roles.

Flavell, Sheila.

As COO of IT services provider FDM Sheila Flavell is the company’s most senior woman, a lead for its Global Women in IT initiative and a mentor. She launched the FDM ‘Getting Back to Business Programme’ to support and encourage women back into the workplace.

Forbes, Emily.

Emily Forbes’ entrepreneurial side was seen early on, when she would charge phones at festivals in exchange for footage to then sell back to the event’s organisers. Her video collaboration company SeenIt puts this experience to good use, turning mobile phone users into film crews for brands.

Forster, Debbie.

Debbie Forster is co-CEO of Apps for Good, which teaches young people to create apps that will impact their lives. In cooperation with Capgemini and the Tech Partnership, the company – under Debbie’s co-leadership – launched the TechFuture Women’s Network.

Gibson, Janine.

Former deputy editor of the Guardian Janine Gibson took over the helm as editor-in-chief of the UK site for internet media company Buzzfeed. During her 17 years at the Guardian she launched its US website, where she was instrumental in the coverage of the Edward Snowden revelations.

Graham, Caroline.

Caroline Graham works at Barclays and is leading a large regulatory change programme within the Investment Bank. She is also co-founder and editor of WeAreTheCity India and spent three years from 2012-2014 in India as head of location change.

Harding, Baroness Dido.

Moving through senior roles at the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco, Dido Harding is now CEO of TalkTalk, a Conservative peer in the House of Lords and a trustee of digital charity

Heber-Percy, Tamara, MBE.

Heading up the development team for hotel booking website Mr & Mrs Smith, CTO and co-founder Tamara Heber-Percy has been instrumental both in taking Smith around the world and in developing its bespoke booking technology.

Hodgson, Christine.

Christine Hodgson is the UK chairman of IT service supplier Capgemini and also chairs the company’s UK Sustainability Board. She also leads the Capgemini UK Women’s Business Network and is involved in several initiatives to help young people prepare for the world of work.