Written by: Emily on November 7, 2018Tags: Careers, Inspiration, Role Model, Women in Tech
Who am I? Why am I here? What will I do? No, I’m not having an existential crisis, I’m talking about what it’s like to work with InnovateHer! I’ve just started working with the team, so here’s a little bit about me to help us get to know one another…
I’m Laura Gordon, 32, a woman in tech and currently working part time as Programme Manager for InnovateHer and Head of Operations for an IoT company in London
I’ve been working in North West and London based tech startups, education companies and community organisations for the past 7.5 years. I’ve had many roles within these companies and particularly enjoy early stage startups where I think you can solve problems and really have an impact in how a company evolves. I wasn’t always a woman in tech, I started my career as a evolutionary biologist working in genetics and conservation and after 7 years I made my move to the startup world. I’m still not quite sure how it happened but it relied on me making the most of opportunities, meeting inspiring people and being eager to learn and transfer my skills.
For the past few years I’ve been wanting to find ways to create impact within my local community and contribute towards missions that I believe in. Whether that be through the book I am writing on Collective Wisdom, the community events I ran as part of Dream Builders Manchester, or the programmes I created to positively act upon work cultures. I’m driven to make a difference and so I am happy to be getting the opportunity to be part of InnovateHer with their mission to inspire young girls to get into tech and choose their own path, thereby helping to improve the gender balance in tech.
Once I met the founders Jo and Chelsea it was clear there was a synergy with our values and approach and I couldn’t wait to get a chance to work with them on their mission and help grow their presence in Manchester.
I’ve been hired as the Programme Manager, we’re a small and dynamic organisation so we’ll be working on lots together but in general I’ll be overseeing all aspects of the programme delivery across Greater Manchester schools. We’re starting with 10 schools in 2018-2019, but growing in numbers pretty quickly!
Part of my job will be to find, train and support the paid industry tutors and volunteers to help run our 8 week courses aimed at getting girls into tech (let us know if you’d like to be a volunteer or tutor here). I’ll also be raising the profile of InnovateHer and their mission in Manchester to attract community support, sponsors and partners (follow this link to find out more about how you/your company can get involved). I’ll also be liaising with schools and working to make the course content even more engaging for our girls.
In my first week I got to head out to meet the team in Liverpool (another city I love after living there through my postgrad years). I quickly found out that InnovateHer has a great history, it’s grown from passion and to satisfy community needs. First as Liverpool Girl Geeks whose events and training continue to inspire and connect women in STEM to this day, and over time to further target the issues affecting women in tech through the community network. It became more apparent to Chelsea and Jo that to increase diversity in tech there was a need to address the ‘leaky pipeline’ which led to the inception of InnovateHer, an innovative 8 week industry led programme for girls aged 12-16. Read more about InnovateHer’s story here.
Despite being a small team of just 3 people based in Liverpool (Emily, Jo and Chelsea) they have grown quickly to start encompassing more regions and schools across the North West, hence their need for a Programme Manager in Manchester (me).
Their Liverpool office is based in the Baltic Triangle and it’s a place that is attracting digital creatives across Merseyside (read more about the Baltic triangle here). It’s perfect setting for creatives full of listed buildings, shipping containers, graffiti art, co-working spaces, great coffee and only a few minutes walk from the river.
As I write this sat in Manchester’s Federation Building, I’ve worked for InnovateHer for just 3.5 days and in that time I’ve also attended a session in a school. It was amazing to see the content, tutors and students all engaged and has got me excited to begin working more in depth on the programme materials and training.
It’s a dynamic company with a big heart and an engaging mission that’s at the heart of nearly every woman I’ve met in STEM fields. We had our first team meeting this morning over Skype as a virtual team, it was great to smile, plan and hear all the great events and initiatives we’re involved with. I can see there’s a huge amount to do, lots already done or underway and lots to plan and organise to make the next phase of InnovateHer successful. It’s an exciting point at which to join the team and I am eager to get started and make an impact.