Read the stories behind our tech stars featured in the WeAreTechWomen 2018 Awards.

Becky Walls – Software Engineer

Becky Walls - We Are Tech Women I studied Criminology and Psychology at university; I didn’t have any background in technology – I didn’t even take GSCE IT! In my final year of university I chose to study an optional module, ‘Cyber-crime’ and this is where my passion for working in the cyber-security industry stemmed from. The study of cyber-crime was new at the time, which meant it was hugely exiting! From that point on, I knew that I wanted to work in the cyber industry to gain the technical skills in order to prevent cyber threat/risk.
My first graduate job role was a Support Analyst for an online payments fraud prevention company. This was a small company which developed and supported applications for global clients, which allowed me to have a glimpse into the development lifecycle. At this time in my career, with no technical experience, I naively didn’t realise that the type of work I was involved in and the processes I followed, such as daily stand-ups, testing applications and raising defects, were all part of a wider development frameworks.
I wanted to gain a further understanding of the technologies behind the applications which is why I attended a Cyber-Security EXPO in the search of a company who would recognise my passion to work in the technology industry and support the development of my skills, which is when my career with BAE Systems started.
I successfully graduated a 6 months technical training programme gaining technical qualifications and developing skills in all aspects of the development lifecycle. I then applied my newly developed skills into Software Development, Data Migration, Technical Consultancy as well as to my current project, Application Support. When I think back to two years ago I had little technical knowledge or experience – now I’m responsible for and successfully supporting priority applications.
When asked why her work might stand out from the competition, Becky said:
“I am currently championing the implementation of Agile within my team. As well as my everyday BAU work of supporting secure applications, I am researching and trialling new ways of working. Taking on the role of an Agile Champion, I have completed Agile training and attended conferences to further develop my knowledge to share with the team and promote an Agile culture.”

Anna Whitmore – Senior Business Consultant – Central Government

Anna Whitmore - We Are Tech Women I currently lead the Communication and Engagement within a large-scale, crime prevention technology Programme in Central Government. With over 250 stakeholder groups, I am responsible for ensuring that the newly implemented technology is embedded and adopted within their organisations to ensure maximum utilisation and potential of the technology.
My previous experience includes the role of Lead Business Consultant on a cross-government collaboration project. Focussing on threat intelligence, this role required me to engage with a variety of stakeholders across Government to identify areas of best practice for collecting, sharing and utilising threat intelligence. Following on from these engagements, a paper was produced as a ‘playbook’ to support threat intelligence teams across Government. One of my key contributions was the potential benefit and importance that having a diverse threat intelligence team could contribute to, this innovative approach received high praise and has been an area for further research.
I consider myself as a valuable member of the company’s gender diversity network. Shortly after joining the company as a graduate, I led a series of collaborative events with the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), focussed on diversity within Consulting. The events drew over 150 plus people from more than 25 different consulting organisations. I ensured the events focussed on creating tangible products, including the MCA Diversity Charter, designed to hold organisations to account with regards to diversity and inclusion. I am also the Communications Lead for the Women in Cyber Security group and co-facilitated a gender diversity workshop with one of the company’s senior leadership teams focussed on creating a tangible action plan to make our workplace more inclusive.
When asked why her work might stand out from the competition, Anna said:
 “I am currently working on a programme delivering critical crime prevention technology on a national scale. As the Communications and Engagement Lead for all Police Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies, I help ensure that the newly implemented technology is embedded and adopted within all the 250 stakeholder groups across the UK. This is critical in ensuring maximum utilisation of the world-leading technology, delivering benefits and safeguarding the public”.

Claire Russell – Business Consultant – Central Government 

Claire Russell - We Are Tech Women As a History Graduate, I have not followed a typical route into a career in technology. However, the research, analysis and commitment required to complete my Masters are skills I have relied upon throughout my career and ultimately have led me to where I am today.
In my first full-time role, I did not anticipate that learning the front-end of a database would lead me to teaching myself how to code in order to support the IT department with analysing data to write KPI and metric reports. A year or so later I was the bridge between the business, the IT team and third party suppliers, turning business requirements into technology based solutions. This allowed me the opportunity to truly appreciate how technology fits into and supports business strategies as well as developing further technology based skills.
In January 2017, I joined BAE Systems Applied Intelligence as a consultant, securing a role working in cyber security, a completely new sector for me. It is complex and can be fast paced, unpredictable yet fascinating and absolutely my most rewarding role to date. I get to work with a great and incredibly diverse team and for clients that deliver critical services to the infrastructure and security of the United Kingdom. At the start of my career I had no idea that I would end up working in technology, let alone cyber security, but now that I am, I could not imagine doing anything else.
When asked why her work might stand out from the competition, Claire said:
“The threat of a cyber attack is prevalent to us all: be it an attack on a bank, a commercial business, or a Government department responsible for critical national infrastructure or the security of the UK. Working with clients to strengthen their defences and make their networks as impenetrable as possible is a challenging job, made even more so by the huge responsibilities my clients have to make decisions that protect our nation. Being able to contribute towards those decisions makes my job incredibly rewarding.”

Emily Hyett – Account Manager – Central Government

Emily Hyatt - We Are Tech Women I studied Physics and Astrophysics at University where I learnt to code and used Linux software for my project on extra-ordinary hydrogen emission of a galaxy, thought to contain a supermassive black hole. I found it fascinating that I could infer the presence of a super massive black hole 600 million light years away just by applying physics and technology to some measurements taken on Earth.
I started as a Graduate Technology Consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence in 2014 and within a week of joining was visiting high security prisons on behalf of the Ministry of Justice to assess the security of their IT estates. I was quickly promoted to Senior Consultant during which time I authored a business case to secure £320k CapEx technology investm ent for a client, led a Government Data Analytics project worth £280k and worked with a Financial Services CTO to define their new Technology Strategy, estimated to cost £1.3 billion to implement.
After being promoted to Principal Consultant I decided to take a sabbatical to put my technical consulting skills to use in a developing country. I flew out to Nairobi to work as Product Manager in a technology social enterprise start up. Whilst in Kenya I led the development of a live prototype for a new platform which connects informal sector workers to job opportunities. The mobile app is now used by Site Managers across Nairobi to employ some of Kenyan’s poorest people. Upon my return I started a new role as Account Manager, now solely responsible for the authoring, agreeing and securing a contract worth £2.6 million.
When asked why her work might stand out from the competition, Emily said:
“How many people can say that the work they’re doing directly supports British Nationals around the world, safeguards the UK’s national security and promotes sustainable global growth? There’s never been a more interesting time to work with Government clients. We’re facing a more complex, turbulent and uncertain world with the balance of power across Governments, multinational companies and tech giants constantly in flux. We’re helping a government client to become a more agile, expert and efficient organisation to rise to these challenges.”
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