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Challenging the tech status quo: meet the women of Echo

November 26th, 2018 by Joe Lofts

From software engineers to CEOs, and everywhere in between, women have long played an integral role in the technology industry. However, only 17% of employees in the UK tech sector are female.

While this figure is staggeringly low, many within the male-dominated industry are making huge strides towards a more inclusive workplace. The inspirational women at Echo are a testament to this.

We talk to our female contingent about working in tech, bridging the gender divide, and empowering other women to follow their lead.

Pooja • Clinical Support Pharmacist

Why did you get into tech?

I think I’d always had an underlying interest in tech. When I heard about Echo I was instantly drawn to its potential to have such a positive impact on healthcare. I was looking for a new challenge and keen to be a part of something innovative, as well as applying my clinical and communication skills in a new environment. It’s also great to be combining clinical skills with learning technology skills. Every day is interesting!

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

So cliché but it is my smartphone! It’s what I mostly rely on to stay in touch and communicate with my friends and family around the UK and the world, using apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp. There are so many other handy apps for all sorts of things - totally Generation Y!

Who is your female role model in tech?

No one in particular, but I'm so proud to be working with some pretty awesome ladies at Echo!

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Raise more awareness of women who are excelling in tech, via media or holding large-scale events for example. Promoting mentor schemes for younger women in tech might also help to increase knowledge of available opportunities, and instil the confidence to move into and branch out in tech.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

I definitely see it expanding in areas that we probably can’t even think of yet! We just have to do our best to utilise it to its full potential.

 

Louisa • Software Engineer


Why did you choose tech?

I've always been creative in lots of different ways so when I discovered I could learn to code and actually build things with words, I was hooked! I love how pretty much anything is possible, and even the littlest of changes can make a big impact, so it's such a motivating and rewarding environment to be in. Every day is different and therefore it doesn't get boring!

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

It's my smartphone. WhatsApp and FaceTime are so important to me now - they easily keep me connected with my parents on the other side of the world. And the mindfulness Calm & Headspace apps work wonders too!

Who is your female role model in tech?

Abbie Hutty, a mechanical engineer who works on the ExoMars rover. She does lots of talks and workshops to help inspire others to get into the STEM field. I especially like her TEDx Talk on “why we need new role models in science and engineering” - she is an introvert who braves the stage to explain the value of realistic role models to represent the tech world.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

"You make your own luck." and "read about the growth mindset!"

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Introduce the different kinds of tech careers you can get into, early on in school. I didn't really realise that I could get into Software Development. It wasn’t until I randomly came across an article about learning to code that I even considered it.


 

Catherine • Finance Director


How did you get into tech?

A masters in chemistry and qualification as a chartered accountant has set me up nicely for the role of FD at Echo. I like logical, clever solutions to problems but it’s equally important to me to work for a company where I believe in the product and the direction of travel. Add in some lovely people with similar values and a G&T on a Friday and I’m sold on tech.

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

Oh, my smartphone without a doubt! Manages my life.

Who is your female role model in tech?

I don’t have one. It’s important to me that there is no box for women to have to be contained within so I take inspiration from anyone with the right values. The most recent one? A lovely young woman called Emma who called out the American government about gun crime after the recent Florida shooting.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Always do your best as no-one can ask for more and you spend too much time at work to do a job you don’t enjoy.

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Removal of the “boys club” mentality that can exist in businesses. Sending clear messages such as shared parental leave, flexible working, and networking that doesn’t involve a golf club.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

Evolving with us. Making life admin easy and quick so that you can spend your time on the things that matter.

 

Johanna • Product Researcher

Why did you get into tech?

Interesting question... my passion is problem-solving and Echo is trying to solve one huge problem.

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

App-wise...Shazam. I am forever falling in love with songs when I'm out and about.

What’s your funniest memory in tech?

The AOL dial-up tone; it will stay with me forever...

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Work hard, play harder.

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Overcoming the stereotypical view of the tech industry being dominated by men is a top priority.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

I would like to see a huge push towards technology being used to solve issues that have seemed too big to solve... with an ageing population, healthcare is a top priority for me.

 

Ana • Clinical Pharmacist

Why tech?

I wasn’t initially keen on joining a tech company but was really excited about how primary healthcare can be merged with tech into this beautiful product called Echo. It was about time for a change!

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

My smartphone! But app-wise, I couldn’t survive (literally) without Uber Eats at the moment. I would probably starve to death without it.

What’s your funniest memory in tech?

Do you think tech is FUNNY?! Do you think this is a joke? Just kidding… when I first started working for Echo I thought that one of our teammates was a bot who was posting random messages on our internal chat. It turned out that he actually works remotely. I am still in doubt…

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Work hard and stay humble.”

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Motivation in a certain field has to come from early stages and this means interventions have to be done within the way society presents role models to young girls. It’s not all about dolls, pink tees and glitter. Parenting has also an important role here. However, I am glad to see that little by little these stereotypes are being broken.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

Powerful smartphones, online GP consultation, cars being sent out in the space… I don’t know what’s next but I am all buckled up!


 

Bansri • Clinical Admin Team Lead

Why work in tech?

Tech companies have a more creative approach to work than traditional organisations and often provide breeding grounds for innovation and invention. (Yes, I am talking about Echo!). When I realised I was able to apply my skills to such a field I felt addicted to my job!

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

My smartphone - especially the apps that connect me to the social media world and let me have relationships with friends and family all around the world.

What’s your funniest memory in tech?

When patients realise we are actually human and not robots!

Who is your female role model in tech?

ALL the women at Echo.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Dreams don’t work unless you do.

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Overcome the stereotype, encourage diverse leadership and develop a passion for tech with an early awareness of opportunities available in the tech field. Possess the same confidence as men when it comes to women in tech.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

A virtual reality?


 

Amelia • Senior Operations Associate

Why did you get into tech?

I got into tech because it's the future! Advances in technology are making so many people's lives easier while extending the scope of what's possible even further than we ever imagined. It's great being at the forefront of something that will really make a difference to so many lives.

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

My MacBook. I use it for everything, every day!  

What’s your funniest memory in tech?

When the internet would cut out whilst my mum was on the landline. I'd be so upset, but looking back now it’s quite funny.

Who is your female role model in tech?

I don't have one! But being surrounded by strong women every day at Echo has taught me a lot about the kind of woman I want to be.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

To control the controllables!

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

I think by encouraging, educating, and providing both sexes with opportunities to enter into the tech world from a young age. There really is something for everyone in technology and it’s important to let people know about it.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

That's a tricky question... judging by the momentum that technology has gained in my lifetime, the opportunities for technology in the next five years are limitless. I hope that we can develop ways of making technological services accessible to everyone, especially in healthcare.

 

Syafiqah • Customer Experience Team Lead

What caused you to work in tech?

I'm a creative person and very much into computers and stuff. I think I just like how technology has improved the lives of so many people and it's great to actually be a part of a company that's using tech to do just this.

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

Definitely my smartphone. A handy little piece of technology!

Who is your female role model in tech?

I don't have one, but after working with Echo I would say all of us!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

"The worst they can say is no" and also "YOLO!"

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Even now I have the idea of tech being a "men's world" But technology should be introduced to girls rather than women.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

Something like what they have in Black Mirror - an embedded camera in your skull to record what your eyes see in real life.

 


Raquel • Fulfillment Team Lead

Why did you get into tech?

I like the way tech can solve problems in an innovative, dynamic way and make life easier. People of all levels of knowledge can take advantage of it and I love how it has turned into something more and more accessible.

Which piece of technology could you not live without?

Apple TV - watching things on demand is the best way to catch up with all TV shows, movies and YouTube videos I love on my big screen at home.

What’s your funniest memory in tech?

When I had to turn off the internet connection so my mum could use the telephone at home - am I too old? Haha.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

"It's more important to have fun on the ride than to make to the final destination."

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

Definitely AR/VR!


 

Emma • Senior Product Manager

How did you first get into tech?

I accidentally fell into working in technology when my company at the time restructured. I pretty quickly realised that I loved working collaboratively to build things.  Solving problems with technology for humans in the real world is complex, unexpected, and so satisfying when it goes well.

What needs to happen to attract more women to tech?

Working hard to overcome unconscious bias when it comes to hiring and evaluating employees. Often people use the excuse "but we just want to hire the best people" - when really the definition of "best" is part of what reinforces the biases that exclude women from technology jobs.  Changing this story means shifting the culture from focusing on "coding ninjas" and "marketing rockstars" to valuing different types of people with different backgrounds.

Additionally, it's important to spread the message that a diverse workforce brings new perspectives which are critical for solving complex problems - and avoiding groupthink. There are now many research studies which have proved this, but they are not too well known.  

52% of the world is made up of women, so not having them represented in building the technologies we use every day means we get stuck with a very narrow view of the world which we need to consciously pull ourselves out of.

Where do you see tech going in the five next years?

Starting to go truly mainstream, inclusive and global.




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Echo is an inclusive employer that celebrates diversity. If Echo is somewhere you could see yourself, visit our careers page.

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