Vote: Who should be the 2023 Most Influential Woman in UK Tech?

The 12th Computer Weekly list of the Most Influential Women in UK Tech is now open for voting, giving readers and opportunity to express who they feel should be given the top spot.

Each year, the list of 50 women acts to make role models in the technology sector more visible and accessible in the hope that doing so will encourage more women and underrepresented groups to consider a role in the industry, and eventually lead to a more diverse and inclusive technology sector.

This year’s top 50 list has been whittled down from more than 650 nominated women by a panel of expert judges.

The winner of this year’s Most Influential Woman in UK Tech accolade will be announced at an event in London on 11 October 2023, planned in partnership with recruitment specialist Nash Squared, and sponsored by NatWest Group.

Hall of Fame

Alongside the top 50, each year the judges choose several women for the Computer Weekly Women in Tech Hall of Fame to recognise their lifetime achievements and ongoing contributions to the technology sector. This year’s additions have just been announced, bringing the number of women in the Hall of Fame to a total of 50:

  • Flavilla Fongang, managing director, 3 Colours Rule; founder, TLA  Black Women in Tech;
  • Clare Sutcliffe, co-founder, Code Club; community strategy consultant;
  • Janet Coyle, managing director business growth, London & Partners;
  • Tabitha Goldstaub, co-founder, CognitionX; executive director, Innovate Cambridge;
  • Wendy Tan White, vice-president, X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory; board trustee, Alan Turing Institute; member, Digital Economy Council.

Vote now

Computer Weekly readers can now vote for who they feel is the most influential woman in UK technology in 2023.

Click on your choice below and then on the “submit” button (or the arrow button on mobile) at the end of the list and your vote will be registered. Note that the list appears in a randomised order.

Voting closes at midnight on 7 September 2023.

Editor’s note: The final list of the most influential women in UK tech will be chosen by combining the decision of the judging panel with the votes of our readers. The combined reader vote will carry the same weight as that of one judge, and will provide the UK IT professional input into the order of the list. The editor’s decision on the list will be final.

The shortlisted 50 (in alphabetical order) are as follows – click on each name to visit her Twitter profile (where available):

Abadesi Osunsade, founder and CEO, Hustle Crew

In 2016, Osunsade founded Hustle Crew, a platform offering career development resources for groups who are under-represented in the technology sector, and she is currently CEO.

Summer of 2020 saw her start a new role as the VP of global community and belonging at consumer insight firm Brandwatch, where she spent two years focused on developing and sticking to inclusion practices for the firm.

Part time, Osunsade is a scout for venture capital (VC) firm Ada Ventures and until last year was an advisory board member for startup founder community Your Startup, Your Story.

Over the past few years, she has appeared on several notable lists, including the Financial Times Top 100 Influential Leaders in Tech, Tech Nation Top 50 Influential Voices in Tech and the Dots 100 Trailblazers.

Adelina Chalmers, founder and CTO, The Geek Whisperer

Chalmers founded The Geek Whisperer in 2015 to advise IT decision-makers on how to better communicate with non-technical members of businesses to drive better outcomes.

She is also the co-host of the Scaling, Failing & Prevailing Podcast, and has won several awards for her skills in public speaking.

Allison Kirkby, incoming CEO, BT; current CEO, Telia

With a long history of CEO positions, Kirkby has experience in running companies with a background in telecoms, and at the time of writing is soon to be the CEO of BT.

Her past CEOships have included TDC group, Tele2 and currently Telia, and she is also a non-executive director of Brookfield asset management.

Amanda Brock, CEO, Open UK

Amanda Brock’s role at Open UK sees her leading the sustainable and ethical development of open technologies in the UK, including technology such as open source software, hardware and data.

She also sits on the boards of both the Cabinet Office Open Standards Board, and US cyber security firm Mimoto, as well as acting as a judge for the CIO 100 Awards.

Anna Brailsford, CEO, Code First Girls

An entrepreneur and co-founder, Brailsford joined Code First Girls as CEO in 2019 where she works to encourage more women into the tech sector by providing software development skills and education.

She is also a board member for the Institute of Coding, where she is focused specifically on diversity and inclusion, and is a self-employed commercial and strategy consultant.

Prior to her work at Code First Girls, she co-founded and was CEO of performance management firm Frisbee, which was part of venture capital fund Founders Factory.

Anne Keast-Butler, director, GCHQ

The first female to head up GCHQ, Keast-Butler moved into the role this year after serving as deputy director general of MI5.

With a long career in security and defence, part of her previous roles have included overseeing the upkeep of functions that support MI5’s operational activities, and the launch of the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme.

Annika Small, co-founder, CAST (Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology)

Alongside her role as co-founder of CAST, Small holds several non-executive directorships in firms such as Wey Education, The John Ellerman Foundation, and Here (Care Unbound) all focused on making the world a better place.

Passionate about tackling social injustices, Small is also a regular volunteer, and was awarded an OBE in 2018 for services to social innovation and digital technology.

Anushka Sharma, founder, Naaut; co-founder, London Space Network

It’s not uncommon to see Anushka Sharma on the news, discussing technology, artificial intelligence and space.

Her firm Naut is designed to help provide innovation strategy to technology-based organisations with the mindset of the future being “multi-planetary”.

She also founded the London Space Network with the view of building a more connected “space community” in the UK.

Arfah Farooq, scout, Ada Ventures; founder, Muslamic Makers; community manager, Big Society Capital

An expert in diversity, inclusion and community building, Farooq co-founded Muslamic Makers in 2016 as a networking group for Muslims in tech, design and development.

As well as a freelance diversity and inclusion consultant, Farooq is a scout for Ada Ventures with special interest in edtech, healthtech and fintech and a community manager for Big Society Capital.

She has an extensive background in digital and artificial intelligence in both the private and public sector.

Beckie Taylor, CEO, co-founder, TechReturners

Taylor co-founded TechReturners, where she is currently CEO, to give skilled individuals who have has a career break the opportunity to connect with firms and help them back into mid-to-senior level tech roles.

She is also co-founder and CEO of The Confidence Community, which aims to provide resources, training information and events to give people more career confidence. Taylor is co-founder of community WIT North, and co-founder of ReframeWIT.

Bev White, CEO, Nash Squared

As CEO of Nash Squared, White heads up the global firm which provides IT recruitment, technology solutions and leaderships services out of 36 offices across the world.

White has a long background in the tech sector, having previously held roles as CIO and director of IT, as well as completing a degree in computer science.

Bina Mehta, chair, KPMG UK

In her 30 years at KPMG, Mehta has had many responsibilities, including building the firm’s focus on trade and investment, and helping scaleup clients to access financial support.

She is now chair of the organisation, and this year was awarded an MBE for services to UK trade and investment and supporting female entrepreneurs.

Bindi Karia, venture partner, Molten Ventures

Karia has spent much of her career in and around the startup ecosystem, most recently as a venture partner for venture capital firm Molten Ventures.

For five years, she led BizSpark in the UK (now known as Microsoft Ventures), concentrating on early-stage technology businesses, as well as being responsible for working alongside venture capitalists and angels on behalf of Microsoft.

She sits on many industry advisory boards, including CognitionX, Humanity, Bootstrap Europe SCsp, The Work Crowd and Wrisk.

Charlene Hunter, CEO and founder, Coding Black Females

Hunter founded Coding Black Females in 2017 to help black female software developers meet each other and network. Alongside her work at Coding Black Females, Hunter is a software developer.

She is an advisory board industry representative in University of Essex Online’s computing department, is technical director at SAM Software Solutions, and technical director at full-stack and front-end training organisation Black Codher Bootcamp.

Previously, Hunter was lead software engineer at Made Tech, and held roles such as senior software developer, lead Java developer, app developer and technical consultant at various firms.

She was named a Computer Weekly Women in UK Tech Rising Star in 2020.

Christine Ashton, non-executive director, RBS International

Christine Ashton is non-executive director at RBS, a role she took on in 2020, joining SUSE as its CIO shortly after for a year and a half stint.

She has held several CIO and CDIO roles, including at firms such as BG Group, SAP, Thompson Reuters and Transport for London.

From 2001 to 2008, Ashton held senior IT positions at BP. She is a fellow of the BCS, has appeared in the Computer Weekly UKtech50 list several times, and has won several awards for her work in technology.

Claire Thorne, co-CEO, Tech She Can

Thorne is co-CEO of Tech She Can, a charity aimed at increasing the number of women in the technology sector, as well as a venture partner at Deep Science Ventures and diversity and inclusion advisory board member for the Institute of Coding.

She has a background in the education sector, previously holding roles as director of innovation strategy for the University of Surrey, and executive officer to the vice-president (innovation) at Imperial College London.

Clare Barclay, CEO, Microsoft UK

Barclay has been with Microsoft for more than 10 years, holding several roles including director of SMB, general manager of small and mid-market solutions and partners, and COO.

She is now CEO of Microsoft in the UK, responsible for the firm’s product and service offerings in the region.

She volunteers as a board member of the British Heart Foundation, and a non-executive director at CBI.

Deborah Okenla, founder and CEO, Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS)

Named a Computer Weekly Rising Star in 2020, Okenla is founder and CEO of Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS), a community for startup founders aimed at making the startup ecosystem more diverse.

She is an advisory panel member for IT services firm AND Digital, and an advisory board member for not-for-profit Coders of Colour.

Okenla is also an advisory board member for The No.10 Innovation Fellowship Programme, is part of the Atomico Angel Programme 2021 and a is on the Telecoms Supply Chain Diversification Advisory Board for DCMS’s Digital Economy Council.

Prior to her current role, Okenla led engagement and groups for Google for Startups and was previously membership manager at co-working space Huckletree.

Elizabeth Varley, dealmaker – Global Entrepreneur Programme, Department for Business and Trade

Currently a dealmaker for the Department of Business and Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, Varley supports and mentors the programme’s tech founders and scaleups.

She is a serial founder, having founded tech entrepreneur community TechHub, editorial agency Online Content UK and acted as a founding steering committee member of the DigitalEve women in technology organisation in the UK.

Varley sits on many boards, and is an adviser for lawtech firm Legal Geek.

Emma Wright, director, Institute of AI; director, Interparliamentary Forum on Emerging Technology; Partner, Harbottle and Lewis

With a background in law surrounding telecoms, the internet and media, Wright now uses her expertise as director of not-for-profit The Institute of AI, as well as non-executive director of Playfinder and partner at Harbottle & Lewis, heading up the tech, data and digital group.

She has worked in the tech sector for over 20 years. Her team at Harbottle & Lewis is comprised…

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