#tecHER2021 is a 90 min virtual event aiming to inspire women in the early years of their studies or careers. You will meet there tech experts – that happen to be women – from leading companies such as Volvo Group, Spotify, Aurora Tech and Microsoft, who share their journey with highs and lows, along with compelling advice. The event offers a chance to be inspired by Astronaut Abby’s trajectory towards outer space, to go behind the scenes of the creation of an electric, autonomous vehicles and to get insights into research on girls in technology and explore our unconscious biases.
Last, but not least, this event has been designed to create a space where women belong – vital to success, since we know that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are all areas facing a significant gender imbalance.
Watch the event below
This virtual event was recorded live on 26 October 2021.
Abigail Harrison dreams of being an astronaut – the first astronaut on Mars. Abby began speaking about her goals at just 13 years old, and has spent years working as a space ambassador and championing tech on social media to her over one million followers. At 18, she founded The Mars Generation, a nonprofit working to inspire kids and adults about space exploration and tech education. A rising star in her field, she holds a degree in biology from Wellesley College, has interned at a NASA-funded astrobiology lab, and has been featured in TIME, Forbes, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Glamour, Teen Vogue, the BBC, USA Today, and more. Abby believes that no one is ever too young, or too old, to pursue their dreams, and is determined to help as many young people as possible start reaching for their very own stars.
Ulrika Sultan is a PhD student at Linköping University. Her research is on how girls’ interest in technology can be maintained through to adulthood. Working with a techno-feminist perspective, Ulrika questions how educators and society can capture and encourage girls’ interest in technology, and the way that interest might affect their participation in the development of future society. She approaches an interest in technology as a matter of democracy, believing that it gives students the opportunity to be co-creators of the future on equal terms. Ulrika also teaches technology courses for future preschool and elementary school teachers. The courses are based on practical and theoretical knowledge of what technology is and can be, as well as how to boost students’ image of themselves within technical areas.
Hope P. Rush is an expert in strategic recruitment and talent direction, skilled in career development, leadership development and culture change. With previous working history at APAC, and iQor, her experience is broad. Focusing on inclusion and diversity, Hope says she is inspired by change and innovation. On what advice she would give to girls seeking a career in tech, she tells them not to allow tradition to limit their thinking. She stresses the importance of experimenting with new ideas and considering what appears impossible. That technology brings us together and makes us better. Hope says a little fear is healthy, because it comes from pushing beyond the comfort zone. Her final advice? Go for it!
Nazanin Nematshahi discusses modern leadership and the issue of diversity and inclusion from gender and ethical cultural perspectives. She stresses the importance mentorship and stakeholders, strong individual development plans and strong networking have in forging a path in the industry. She considers passion, drive and courage to leave her comfort zone, vital. Inspired by people who use passion and drive to make a difference, Nazanin admires leaders who take a stand around diversity and inclusion – those who really see how diversity can help create innovation. Among her tips to girls pursuing a tech career, is the advice to build a strong network with encouraging people. She says they should make sure lots of people know about their passions, to fight for what they believe in, and to not be afraid of putting good ideas into practice – particularly in increasing diversity!
Gabriella Ljunggren has succeeded in the area of data science at one of the world’s leading tech companies. She says it’s been important not to be afraid to take chances, and to have the confidence to embrace unknown situations. Gabriella believes women are in demand, and encourages girls to absorb that knowledge and let it drive them. She says a challenge in being a woman in data science has been having to adapt to a male-dominated culture, instead of the male-dominated culture adapting to women – something she hopes will change in the future.
Johanna Huggare has a rich working history within the different businesses of Volvo Group. Highlighting the topic of gender diversity’s importance in achieving sustainable development and solving global problems, Johanna is passionate about visibility and representation. Being visible, she says, is one of the most important contributors to her success today. Inspired by passion and engagement, the feeling of making a difference with brilliant people has been a driver in her journey. To girls considering a career in tech, she says to follow your heart, find your strengths and unique qualities, and leverage it!
With a degree in Computer Science and two years working for Volvo Group, Marielle Gallardo discusses the importance of role models in inspiring success. Meeting, learning from and connecting with those who inspire her has been important in her journey to where she is today. She also lists curiosity as being one of the most important contributors to her success. She says discovering new interests and passions through exploration is vital – even things that might seem hard or uninteresting at first. Marielle says resilience and confidence have also been important foundations for her success, maintaining a hopeful outlook and belief in herself and teammates. What advice does Marielle have for girls getting into the industry? Find a mentor or connect with people who can give insight into why working in tech is exciting!
Focusing on the importance of cultivating a diverse workforce that represents the world’s diversity, Nastasha Tan is driven to inspire other women of color in tech. She says while the tech industry continues to make progress on cultivating more diverse talent, it is still rare to see others like her in her work environment, and even fewer in leadership positions. Challenges that go hand-in-hand with this lack of representation include not knowing what opportunities exist for leaders like Nastasha, and the belief that they do not exist. She says that while she is just one person, she is motivated to push past doubt, and continue to learn and develop into a better leader every day, in the hope that she can change the status quo. A good leader, according to Nastasha, is confident in their own skin, no matter how different they might be.
Karen Lee’s career in tech was not planned. It was hands-on development of product and service development and deep interactions with customers that sparked her passion. She finds the opportunity to create from scratch and serve millions of users extremely meaningful and rewarding, and loves the creative and collaborative process blending people and technology – an interaction she calls beautiful and complementary. Karen wants females considering a career in tech to learn the business of technology and the various roles within organizations. She tells them not to be afraid to try new jobs and technologies but, most importantly, to take ownership of their journeys, not to wait for advice, and to never let anyone box them in.