Honoured to be in the 101FemaleFounders of Tech List
I’ve always been a geek, a tech-head and love learning about others who are geeky too, so it was an absolute honour to be included in the 101 Female Founders of Tech list at the start of this year.
You can follow the chat online at #FemaleFounders101
My bio in 3 lines reads what I spend my most time doing at the moment…
Liz Hardwick is co-founder of DigiEnable, a digital training & SEO services company.
She designs and delivers tech-based and online marketing workshops, and regularly speaks at events across the UK.
Liz is also chair of the UK Women’s Equality Committee for BECTU and one of the organising team for Women in Tech North UK.
I’m proud to be surrounded by some amazing women, some who I’ve admired from afar for many years. Some have just started out, and others have grown their businesses to global and multi-million pound sizes, but all of them seem to have a few key things in common.
Down to Earth
The ladies I’ve been able to meet in person at different events over the years, have always been down to Earth and approachable, which probably goes quite a long way towards being…
Happy to Support Others
Some as part of their actual business like Anne-Marie from Stemettes, or for others being a mentor either formally through schemes such as the Founder4Schools that one of the ladies in the list, Sherry, setup (something I've been part of for a few years), or just informally through their own networks. What an inspiration!
Visible Role Models for Change
I’ve seen a handful of these ladies speak at events in person and they’ve always been fantastic role models, not only amazing at what they do business wise, but also really great in their presentations and delivery. When event organisers say “we couldn’t find any women to speak”, really that’s just being lazy now, check out this list for some ideas!
Sadly the publication and it’s owners and editor have come under a lot of scrutiny and negativity of late as an event they were organising went badly wrong on the diversity and equality side (#DEA2017), which has to me, tarnished the feeling of pride being involved in this list. I had got to the point before the list was fully announced, of deciding whether to not even mention it at all, but online promo from others halted that.
From what I have read of the event, that was met with national and international press coverage, I can see a massive case of unconscious bias, and I hope that the responses have gone some way to opening their collective eyes. We've been talking about why there's a lack of women in tech, personally I have at events for 7 years, and very little has change. Is anyone actually hearing us? Or is it all just lip service?
I've decided to stop talking at events on the topic of Women in Tech or Diversity in Tech, because I've done that, and it's seems to have made little difference, so now I am a women in tech, who has pledged to be visible and talk about tech and digital and SEO and productivity, and cool geeky tech things, because as a face of diversity in tech, I can help be the change rather than keep just talking about it. As you probably know I'm not one for just saying things and not following up with actions. Take the SM4W13 conference we organised, that proved a point, because event organisers, were (and are still saying in some situations) they don't know any non-male speakers to talk at events, so we did a conference with awesome female speakers and workshop leads and they weren't just women for womens sake, they were women, business owners, senior managers, really awesome at what they do and great at speaking to large audiences about it! There's a list of 20 women in digital right there in Lancashire that could talk at your next event!
Regardless of if there's still negative karma about the magazine's brand, it’s in my opinion still a fantastic list of amazing women, and I am excited to watch the progress of these women in the coming years. Sounds like some people might need to go and hear these ladies speak sometime!
A big thank you to Katherine Lofthouse who seemed to be the lady behind the scenes for the 101 list and kept us all up to date as the process went on. It's a shame she isn't credited online or named in the magazine, only a photo of I'm guessing Katherine, based on her other articles in the magazine in the print edition. A bit of a faux-pas there too I'd say.
I hope that the list is unbiased and taken at face value for the achievements and inspirations the women on this list are.