8 March 2018
It’s been an extraordinary day.
Walking into the auditorium at UKFast Campus this morning was a wonderful experience. The energy was astonishing. The room was packed as Kristina (UKFast Marketing Director) and Patricia (Head of Tech Manchester) took to the stage for #InOurOwnWords to celebrate International Women’s Day.
We heard from speakers including huge influencers like Naomi Timperley and former Apprentice Ruth Badger. We also heard from House of Coco’s Laura Bartlett and panels including Richard Gregory of Tech North, Emma Sheldon MBE and we heard from the Sweet Mandarin Tse twins.
The overarching theme: how do we listen and learn to bring true equality to the workplace?
Talking Women in Tech
Of course, the highlight of the day for me was seeing my wife, UKFast co-founder Gail Jones take to the stage. Gail has never been one to push herself forward to PR or speaking roles.
When we set up the business Gail was 21. She was new to the business world and reluctant to be a spokesperson, instead I was thrust into that role, having had 10 years or so in the business arena already. But, as today is International Women’s Day, Kristina and Trish persuaded Gail to share her side of the story.
Gail was a complete natural, as I’d expect, sharing the UKFast journey, how we lived off cereal, how we started UKFast and how she went from a chemistry degree to MD. I certainly don’t think that will be the last time you see Gail taking centre stage, albeit reluctantly.
What really stood out for me was the openness to change. You might look at the leaders of our country – the Queen, the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the head of the Met Police – they’re all female. But look at big businesses: not even a third of FTSE100 board members are women. Look at tech: only 17% of the workforce are female.
We need the energy and openness of International Women’s Day every day. If your business isn’t equal, today should come as an opportunity to ask the question – why? You’re missing a trick!