8th March 2016
Happy International Women’s Day. Gender diversity is a big focus at Virgin Media and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved to date – in 2014 we increased the number of women in leadership roles to 29% while making good improvements in other areas of our business. For example, we had our highest proportion of female graduates ever with 53% of the graduate intake being female. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year I was asked to share a bit about the everywoman in technology award I recently won, so here goes…
At the end of 2015 I found out I had been nominated for the FDM everywoman in Technology, Engineering Award. It was a huge surprise as I never expected any of the activities I do to be award worthy even though I really enjoy the work I do. I’ve always aimed to work on projects which inspire me from the technical through to my voluntary work to encourage the next generation to think about a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Getting women into STEM roles is also a big focus for Virgin Media; click here to find out more.
In early 2016 I was so pleased to hear that I had been shortlisted to be a finalist for the award and had been invited to the interview stage. In the interview, I was asked about the STEM work I have done with Engineers without Borders and the work I currently do with the WISE Campaign. I also got the opportunity to put my media training to the test; all shortlisted finalists had to record a video with a brief statement of what they have been nominated for.
I found out I had been successful at the interview and was a finalist when on the train to Stockport for a meeting with the Mechanical and Electrical team at Virgin Media, it was one of those moments where I had to read and re-read the email over and over again before messaging family and friends in excitement.
I was definitely nervous in the lead up to the final awards evening so I tried to push the award to the back of my mind. I also knew that whatever happened on the night I was proud to be a finalist and that even though winning would be fantastic, I was lucky to get this far. Needless to say, on the day of the awards I was so nervous… I even brought a new dress at lunch time.
The event itself was inspiring, we heard from the founders of eveywoman, Maxine Benson and Karen Gill before tucking into our dinners, they have achieved a lot since the start of everywoman in 1999. During the ceremony I enjoyed watching the videos we recorded in the interviews and listening to the winner’s speeches which were really interesting and motivational – especially the one to watch category, which included two very talented young girls already teaching and excelling in coding.
Before I knew it, it was the Engineering Award category. It was such a shock to hear my name announced as the winner and I could barely form a sentence as I collected my award! Luckily we had all been briefed to prepare a speech - I spent the time thanking everyone, Virgin Media, the sponsors, family, friends, colleagues etc… all those who have supported me in my career to date as I wouldn’t be here without them.
I was thrilled to win the award and love that I work for a company that supports me and other women to succeed in their careers. As I mentioned, Virgin Media has already done a lot of great work on gender diversity and getting women into STEM roles and will continue to champion these important issues through one of our five big sustainability goals; our People Goal, which aims to nurture an engaged workforce which represents the diversity of our customers and communities.