Virtual everywoman in Technology Awards applaud achievements of inspiring women in tech

The 11th annual everywoman in Technology Awards was forced to take place online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it remained a rich celebration of some of the field’s most exceptional female talent

The 11th annual FDM everywoman in Technology Awards took place online last night to great success, with organisers and delegates remaining undeterred by the complications of the pandemic.

From the virtual bar to the digital stage and the informative expo section, it was an action-packed virtual lockdown ceremony that celebrated some of the industry’s most exceptional talent. Organisers even sent hampers – complete with snacks, Prosecco, Ada Lovelace-style headband and other essential party supplies – out to finalists and attendees ahead of the evening’s event. What’s not to love about that?

Deriving from varied business backgrounds, the winners covered a range of sectors – including financial services, blue chip brands, academia and enterprise.

The coveted Woman of the Year Award was presented to Dr Asel Sartbaeva of the University of Bath, a world-leading, interdisciplinary chemist who combines cutting-edge expertise in mineral physics, crystallography, biology and chemistry to develop emerging and disruptive technologies to address problems in fields as diverse as green energy and global health. Her work on vaccine ensilication (stabilising vaccines without the need for refrigeration) is helping to prevent two million infants worldwide dying from preventable diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis and is at the centre of efforts to ensure low-income countries can access COVID-19 vaccines.

Three new categories, acknowledging C-suite talent and social enterprise were presented as follows:

  • Tech for Good Award – sponsored by RS Components, went to Amanda Obidike, executive director of STEMi Makers Africa who is upskilling thousands of young Africans with the tech skills to counter youth unemployment.
  • CTO/CIO of the Year Award – awarded to Wendy Redshaw, CIO of retail banking at NatWest Group, whose achievements include the implementation of innovative solutions at the height of the pandemic, enabling two million vulnerable and shielding customers to receive cash safely and securely.
  • Digital Transformation Leader Award – went to Dionne Haynes, chief architect B2B, BP who is central to BP’s Castrol business achieving US$1bn of revenue growth by 2025 and is integral to the company’s #bpNetZero ambitions.

In related news: Facebook partner with everywoman partnership to boost gender diversity in tech


The following women were winners in the tech leader category:

  • International Inspiration Award – won by Sofie Blakstad, co-founder and CEO of Hiveonline, a self-taught tech entrepreneur whose business helps women build wealth in rural communities without the need for a bank.
  • Academic Award – sponsored by VMWare, went to Dr Heidi Christensen, University of Sheffield, a passionate advocate of eradicating the old image of engineering and of women in tech becoming role models for school children.
  • Male Agent of Change – awarded to Hasani Jess, CTO of Simply Business, who has driven a cultural shift to embrace diversity, creating a higher performing organisation.
  • Team Leader Award – went to Louise Richardson, engineering director at American Express, whose mentoring and coaching skills have helped bring multiple departments together to achieve common goals.
  • Leader Award – sponsored by BP, won by Jessica Colvin, global head of vulnerability management and assessments, JPMorgan Chase, who is responsible for the business-critical cybersecurity function and who oversaw a reduction of seven million vulnerabilities whilst delivering US$2.5m in annual efficiencies.

Young and emerging talent was also recognised by the judges:

  • Apprentice Award – awarded to Prisha Bathia, digital marketing apprentice at EMEA Google Store, who used Tiktok to reach over 12,500 followers with whom she shared her experiences of embarking on an apprenticeship.
  • Rising Star Award – sponsored by SUSE, went to Frida Nzaba, a manufacturing engineer at Rolls Royce Plc, who began her career as an apprentice, subsequently achieving a first-class degree in mechanical engineering and who spearheads business-critical projects alongside her participation in the company’s Next Generation Women Leaders programme.
  • One to Watch Award – sponsored by Computacenter, won by Jana Jhaveri, founder and CEO of World Can Code, who, aged just 19, is running workshops to help her fellow students learn to code and web design.

Other winners on the night included:

  • Innovator Award – sponsored by American Express, went to Melissa Snover, founder of Nourished, which in the past year has launched the world’s first customisable and personalised 3D-printed nutritional product, investing over 100,000 lab hours and 18,000+ testing cycles in the process.
  • Entrepreneur Award – sponsored by Howden Group, won by Hannah Dawson, founder and CEO of Futrli, who, after nearly losing her pub business from an unexpected £40k vat bill, has created technology solutions that help over 63,000 small businesses avoid similar pitfalls.
  • Digital Star Award – sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, went to Dr Larissa Suzuki, Data/AI Practice Lead at Google, whose Ph.D. thesis was used to design smart city platforms for over 40 EU cities and who has strived to change the gender balance in tech and engineering throughout her career.
  • Software Engineer Award – sponsored by NatWest Group, awarded to Nelly Kiboi of American Express, whose is tireless in her efforts to encourage, train, mentor and develop new engineers and who herself displays a thirst for knowledge and passion for software development.

Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, commented: “During the past year everywoman, in common with many businesses, has had to leverage technology like never before. Our success with tonight’s ceremony is a direct result of the contribution that women make to this sector.

“Each of our winners demonstrates the critical role that technology has played over the past year and how continuing advancements are transforming, improving and saving lives. Their achievements are remarkable, and we welcome them into the everywoman family where they will inspire the talent that will follow in their footsteps.”

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