WISE Awards

We are celebrating 20 years of the WISE Awards by looking back over our WISE Award Winners of the past 20 years, to see what they achieved and how their story developed since winning their award.

Role models, such as our previous winners, are an invaluable tool in our mission towards achieving greater gender balance in STEM. The WISE 20 have been chosen to reflect the diversity of experiences, accomplishments and challenges faced by previous WISE Award winners. Through the WISE 20, we want to tell even more stories and encourage further action.

We are not holding our WISE Awards in our usual way and are focusing on celebrating all the 1 million women who work across STEM in the UK. We ask everyone in STEM to get involved in the #1ofthemillion campaign.

"BE PROUD, BE BOLD, AND USE YOUR VOICE TO AMPLIFY OTHERS"


Amelia Gould Meng Ceng

Flet Naval Ships Combat Systems Director at BAE Systems

2017 WISE Woman in industry Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Exciting, challenging, impactful

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

My Physics teacher and my father

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t be afraid to say yes to a new opportunity – listen to those who believe in you

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Be proud, be bold, and use your voice to amplify others

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

That if they want to make an impact doing what they love while being creative, STEM is a great place to start.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Keep communicating, engaging to highlight role models or life stories of people overcoming obstacles or doing great things in challenging times. Lots of people are turning to Social Media and virtual networking now they are stuck at home, so we need to keep Diversity & Inclusion on the digital media agenda.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Highlight role models, provide mentoring opportunities, talk about the UK skills gap ad all the exciting industries that are seeking people with a STEM background to help drive prosperity

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

As companies seek to increase employees’ proportion of Working from home to reduce office costs, the STEM sector will become more virtual / digital which will be a great leveler and make it more inclusive. The virtual office environment takes away any issues with presentism and allows much better flexible working. The digital revolution will change many STEM roles, which will become much more driven by data analytics and AI – the critical skills will be creating the right models to do the analysis.

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"IF A NEW ROLE BOTH SCARES YOU AND EXCITES YOU, IT’S THE BEST KIND OF CHALLENGE TO TAKE ON!"


Jia-Yan Gu

Principal Engineer, NatWest at

2012 WISE Excellence Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Impactful, Evolving, Fun

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

The opportunity to be a change agent – to positively affect the way the world works and its future through new technology.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

If a new role both scares you and excites you, it’s the best kind of challenge to take on.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Have confidence that you’re in the right place and be unapologetically present in continuing to make the huge contribution that you’re already making.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

The STEM sector has no limits – your ideas and your skills are hugely valuable to help us solve important and interesting problems. Start with the first step, whether it’s a conversation with someone in STEM, signing up for a new course, or applying for work experience – you’ll discover a diversity of opportunities to choose from.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

COVID-19 has proven that we’re adaptable to working in new ways. We can focus on the opportunities that this creates for us to connect with more people using technology and bring people together to keep the conversation going and reach even more people.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Focus on inclusion. Inclusion is an action so operate with the principles of transparency, meritocracy and removing bias.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

Continuous innovation where everyone has a voice and can make a difference

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"YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE BY DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE."


Kathryn Boulton-Pratt

Former Assistant Head at GDST

2013 WISE Advisor Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Inspirational, Challenging, Rewarding

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

Both my O’ level & A’ level Chemistry teachers inspired my love of the subject and after sometime in industry I decided to share my passion for Science with young people through teaching.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

You can make a difference by doing something you love.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Have confidence in your own ability, keep learning new things and take the time to support / mentor other women in your field, especially those with less experience. Ask questions, for help, for opportunities because often if you don’t ask you won’t get. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want something else may result from your approach.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

There are so many opportunities available in the STEM sector, many of which you haven’t thought of, let alone considered. Take the time to try and find out about them because there will be opportunities for women with a variety of interests, allowing you to make a positive difference to the world we live in.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Embed the new ways of working introduced during the pandemic. More flexible working arrangements and reduced travel can create opportunities for those with disabilities or chronic illnesses and for working parents who may have had to take a step back from work due to childcare (unfortunately often women). Also, managers should insist on diversity within their project teams.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Start with young children; take activities into primary schools or brownie packs or sponsor STEM competitions that young girls will enjoy completing. Get them talking about environmental engineering, sustainable energy, bioengineering. Many of them want to do jobs that ‘help’ people but, even today, often their ideas of this don’t go far beyond the health service

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

It will continue to grow, as it has done over the last 20, and provide more exciting opportunities for all types of people. The number of women involved will continue to increase as more support and encouragement is now available. Employers must however continue to have policies that ensure equality for all and continue to strive to meet their targets.

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"HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF AND HAVE A CRAZY DREAM."


Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE

Scientist, Broadcaster and Honorary Research Associate at University College London

2006 WISE Science Communication Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Exciting, challenging, stimulating

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

Apollo moon landings, the Clangers, Star Trek, my parents

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Have confidence in yourself and have a crazy dream.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Let your voice be heard! STEM has been male dominated for years, more in some areas the others, but for better diversity to work all voices need to be heard.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

Join us in one of the fastest growing sectors of the job market. We have a deficit of STEM practitioners in the UK and jobs in these areas generally pay better than most and are also more robust in a changing market.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

As the public looks to science for solution, we need to emphasise the importance of getting the next generation of STEM practitioners to help solve future global crisis.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

We need to do a better job of making girls and women aware of the vast array of STEM jobs out there, and use more role models to show how women make a real difference in the field.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

Going from strength to strength. As other sectors fall foul of the increasing input of AI, the STEM sector will be embracing the changes and changing the market.

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"OUR GENDER EQUALITY NETWORK NOW HAS OVER 1,000 MEMBERS WITH MANY REGIONS HAVING THEIR OWN LOCAL GROUPS AND LEADERSHIP TEAMS."


Network Rail

Network Rail at Network Rail

2018 WISE Career Award Winner


Since winning the WISE Career Award Network rail has made improvements against the Women in Science and Engineering ten steps programme for building a framework for increasing gender diversity, moving from 14th to 9th in the rankings of 33 large organisations who took part.

We have refreshed targets as part of our Everyone Matters Diversity & Inclusion strategy for CP6 and are working towards 50% increase in gender diversity by 2024.

Our Anglia route piloted a returners programme in their asset protection and optimisation team. Workingmums.co.uk was utilised to advertise the scheme resulting in 5,000 views and 500 applications. Three women were successfully appointed to roles through the scheme. Other areas of the business are looking to roll this out.

Network Rail have also had a focus on attracting women to the organisation. In the Eastern region, colleagues collaborated with Women in Rail and other large organisations to pilot the Never Mind the Gap initiative. This targeted women who were either not in employment or looking for a career change into the rail industry. The initiative provided them with free training and a two-week work placement to re-ignite their careers and give them experience of what it is like to work in the rail industry. Women on this programme have secured roles at Network Rail. We are looking to roll out further this year.

We have introduced a social media campaign at increasing the number of females following Network Rail’s LinkedIn career page. Candidates who follow a company on LinkedIn are six times more likely to apply for a role with that company and more likely to stay within that company in the future. A LinkedIn campaign which targeted females across several professions ran for three months and resulted in 1,400 new female followers across target areas. This enabled Network Rail to nurture the new followers with engaging candidate-focused content that takes people further along the decision-making process to join us by really bringing the experience of working at Network Rail to life.

As part of a focus on Early STEM engagement Network Rail have created a national programme of competitions, workshops and events to interact with children aged 7-14 and rise their awareness of rail and STEM careers. We have met, or reached, over 150,000 young people in the last 12 months. We have also built and opened a dedicated STEMLAB in our Milton Keynes office, for schools to book STEM workshops (activities include my skills my life), and for us to train employees to deliver school activities and become accredited STEM ambassadors.

Network Rail are working as an industry to develop a careers portal, with access to role model interactions, careers information and materials that will be linked to curriculum learning and have joined Springpod, to allow college and UTC students to view our opportunities and ask questions

As part of the 2019 celebrations of International Women’s Day Network Rail showcased short videos of eight Network Rail women from various roles across the business to show the variety of opportunities available in our organisation. The videos featured on all our social media platforms and reached tens of thousands of people. The videos were also shown in our managed stations, where they could be seen by millions of passengers.

In 2019 Network Rail made a commitment to increase female representation in our apprentices up to 50 per cent by 2024. In the last year we have increased the number of female apprentices from 62 to 105. This is excellent progress, yet we know that there is more work to do in this area to meet our ambitious targets. We know that bringing in more female apprentices who are typically lower paid will increase the gender pay gap. That is why developing our women and ensuring they have opportunities to participate in initiatives and programmes that can help them progress is vital, so that in future we have more women in senior roles.

We have also introduced a career development programme specifically targeted at women in middle management already in the business. This offering was designed to feed the pipeline of female talent for future senior and leadership roles. We cannot rely on external markets to produce the talent we need to run a successful business. It is critical that we continue to invest and ‘grow our own’.

A key recommendation to address gender diversity in our operations and maintenance roles was to provide more adequate welfare facilities for females, because of the negative impact that limited or even a lack of appropriate facilities can have. In Wales a number of improvements have been made including the creation of more female toilets, lockers and a drying room. Work continues with further toilets and shower facilities planned. These improvements are vital because in March 2019 the Wales Region welcomed two female apprentices and a further three in September 2019. The continuing work to provide better facilities for all ensures that our welfare facilities are inclusive. Mobile Wellbeing units being piloted for frontline staff across the organisation and have been shortlisted for an award in the innovation category of the Rail News Award.

Network Rail has introduced high visibility maternity PPE for expectant mothers. This supports our aim of creating a more inclusive environment and diverse workforce where all employees can be safe and comfortable.

Our gender equality network now has over 1,000 members with many regions having their own local groups and leadership teams. The network was nominated for a Women in Rail Award in 2019.

A member of the Inspire Leadership Team were nominated for Inspirational Man of the Year at Women in Rail 2019 awards.

“The offer of flexible working is very attractive when juggling other commitments, whatever they may be. For Network Rail it is a great way to tap into experience. The idea of being able to return back to work, staying involved with my profession on a part-time basis, was very appealing especially with an employer who was actively seeking and supporting this.”
Rachel Thrower, Return to work candidate

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"AIM HIGH. STRETCH YOURSELF OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. EMBRACE OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW AND DEVELOP."


Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FRENG

Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University's School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing

2010 WISE WISE Leadership and Inspiration to Others Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Rewarding, exciting, challenging

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

A teacher at school who made it fun to ask questions and especially to ask questions he didn’t know the answer to.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

If something is hard don’t stop trying. And – if you don’t understand something ask! There will almost certainly be someone else in the room who doesn’t understand it and is immensely grateful you have asked the question.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Aim high. Stretch yourself outside your comfort zone. Embrace opportunities to grow and develop.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

What a great career! Exciting. Interesting. Lots of people interaction. Change the world.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

The pandemic has made us slice through to what is essential but it has also made is acutely conscious of what we really value in our working environments – the joy of spontaneous conversation, the creativity of being a team together in a room. It has forced us to work differently. All of this is acutely relevant to the diversity agenda.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

I am an engineer so I am going to answer this question from an engineering point of view. I chair ‘This is Engineering’ for the Royal Academy of Engineering. This is a campaign to encourage more young people to consider careers in engineering, especially those who might not have thought it was for them. It is a social media campaign which has now been going for three years with wonderful support from major industrial partners and from universities. We have had over 40 million video views of these short videos by young people in our target age group of 15-17 year olds and with almost equal gender balance. There is evidence that young people are thinking again about their career choices as a result of the campaign. What can organisations do? Support the campaign and the annual ‘This is Engineering’ Day!

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

We can change the world (and change it for the better). Just look at the pandemic – none of the vaccines work could be accomplished without scientists and engineers. None of the care for those acutely sick in hospital could be achieved without scientist and engineers. And look at the Climate Change challenge – scientists and engineers can really help the world to tackle those challenges.

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"DON’T EVER GIVE UP! IF YOU DON’T SUCCEED AT FIRST, TRY, TRY AND TRY AGAIN…"


Professor Yamni Nigam

Professor at Swansea University

2018 WISE Innovation Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Marvelous! Exciting! Rewarding!

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

An absolute curiosity and a love of science.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t ever give up! If you don’t succeed at first, try, try and try again….

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Persevere, persevere! You are awesome! You are an inspiration for other girls and women. But you may face barriers and walls – persevere! Find a way over, under or around them… seek help and advice from other women in STEM.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

You must choose to do what you think you will totally love. Do what absolutely excites you. Find that aspect of STEM – that something that makes you want to get out of bed every day! Find that thing.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

The issues of gender and diversity were/will always be very important – pre, during, and post COVID. The move to online meetings, interviews, and seminars is much more likely to highlight any issues and lack of gender and diversity since there is always a clear and visual representation. Any lack of diversity will be apparent for all to see and the need to address this will be evident.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

This is so important! I believe that STEM teachers in secondary education have a huge duty here. They should be the most interesting, inspiring and enthusiastic teachers ever! Once STEM interest has been created and ignited in young schoolgirls, they need to know that STEM studies and careers are cool! STEM Organizations, businesses, careers etc. must input into schools regularly at all levels to show how absolutely brilliant and amazing working in STEM can be this. We have to promote STEM as being cool – this is key.

What do you envision for the stem sector over the next 20 years?

Advances in STEM have become more technical and more innovative. They do and will impact hugely on every aspect of our lives. It will therefore become more imperative to inspire and drive interest in scientific developments and advances such as AI, so that younger girls can meet this challenge head on, and embrace being part of this scientific progress.

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"IF YOU WAIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE, IT WILL END UP LOOKING LIKE THEIR DREAM."


Renee Watson – The Curiosity Box

Founder at The Curiosity Box

2017 WISE Toy Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Wonder-filled. Purposeful. Curious

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

I was inspired by nature, and supported by my mum and some brilliant teachers

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Why not you?

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

If you wait for someone else to make your dreams come true, it will end up looking like their dream.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

I wouldn’t encourage people to join any particular sector. I would encourage people to be curious and to fill their life with the wonder that comes from looking at the world through the lens of STEM.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

By shouting with our actions, as well as our voices, until we are visible and heard. I committed this year to saying no to any speaking invitation where 50% or more of the other speakers where white men. I have a list of diverse women ready to send to any event organizer who fails to meet this threshold, if nothing changes I won’t accept.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Invest in/support things that build confidence and skills in primary schools.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

STEM as a sector in its own right will shrink, but instead, will increasingly infiltrate all sectors.

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"AS MEN, WE HAVE A DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY TO SHOW THAT WE CARE ABOUT GENDER BALANCE."


Zeb Farooq MBE, FRSA, CP APMP

Bid Manager at Jacobs

Winner of the WISE Man Award 2019


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Unfinished, Exciting, Fulfilling

Who/what inspired you to champion gender balance in STEM?

I am a Muslim and my faith inspired me to champion gender balance in STEM. Muslims are often portrayed negatively, especially in the treatment of women. As Muslims, we have an opportunity to make a positive impact.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Always find the time and opportunity to give; no matter how little and no matter how busy you are. Help others and give back more than was given to you. Helping others is a great way to help yourself.

What advice would you give to other men about the importance of gender balance in STEM today?

As men, we have a duty and responsibility to show that we care about gender balance. Not including half the talent of the planet (women) will never lead to success or a positive outcome.

What advice would you give to other men about how they can champion gender balance in STEM?

My simple call to action is:

If you’re already involved, then stay involved and get others involved too. In this journey we have a responsibility to encourage others to follow and bring people along with us.
If you’re not involved, then get involved. Be courageous, put your hand up and have a genuine commitment to do something about it.
Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

At all times, especially in times like these, it’s important to maintain focus on gender balance and diversity. At Jacobs, our Action Plan for Advancing Justice and Equality builds on our existing inclusion and diversity strategy. It sets actionable initiatives and measurable objectives, that include requiring senior leaders to:

Achieve and maintain stretched targets for gender balance
Sponsor and mentor two diverse employees, one of whom must be Black so that we build back responsibly.
What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

At Jacobs “we live inclusion”, and organisations that celebrate and promote inclusive cultures will ensure greater business resilience.

Organisations need to have an externally visible and energetic commitment to women into STEM. It should be treated as a core business goal with sponsorship at the executive level, and not a public image boosting exercise.

We need powerful and relatable role models across the entire spectrum of the organisation who are visible, active and accessible.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

The next 20 years in the STEM sector will see the Fourth Industrial Revolution skyrocket. The pace of change will be breathtaking and it’s vital that we are ready with the right skills and behaviours to embrace this.

I hope in 20 years the need for organisations like WISE will no longer exist because gender balance and inclusive cultures are woven into industry. We won’t be talking about Women in Science and Engineering because we will marvel at the PEOPLE in Science and Engineering!

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"BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN..."


Jackie Bell

Teaching Fellow in Equality, Diversity, Outreach and Public Engagement at Imperial College

2019 WISE Rising Star Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Unexpected, Exciting and Diverse

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I didn’t know how to get there, but I loved school and I loved learning. I guess it was my own passion for learning that led me down the STEM path and ultimately landed me a STEM career.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

You should never change your personality or values to ‘fit in’ at work. Be true to yourself and what you believe in and if the organisation is not right for you then it is absolutely okay to move on. Build up a strong support network (WISE can definitely help with this!) and find an employer that respects and values you.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

I’m not sure about advice, but I would definitely thank our #1ofTheMillion women in STEM for being the role models our young girls (and boys!) need to inspire them to take up STEM careers in the future.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

At school, I was warned that studying STEM-only subjects at A-level would be ‘too hard’ for someone like me (a girl). If you are given this advice, please ignore it. The STEM sector is ever-changing, and that is what makes it so exciting to be part of! Working in STEM you have a real shot at making a difference in this world – developing new technologies to improve the quality of life for millions of people – so if you’re passionate about making a change then the STEM sector definitely has a place for you!

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

COVID-19 and its effects globally have shed light on what many of us already knew – that there is a digital gender divide that is only getting bigger. Inherited biases, lack of access, and sociocultural ‘norms’ need to change, and women need to be better included in our now very-much digital world.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Organisations need to first reflect upon and address their own gender diversity before reaching out to schools and showing children what it is that the organisation actually does, and more importantly, how the children can contribute. Go out and show people how you’re changing the world, and when they see diversity and inclusion as a natural component of what you do, women and minority groups will want to work for/with you.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

We are seeing a dramatic change in how we use technology in our daily lives. I envision that with the increase in learning and working remotely, coupled with the medical advancements we are seeing in a world working together to fight a threat to humanity, more young people will become inspired by this and sectors will start looking towards a more inclusive, collaborative and compassionate way of working, in both their practice and in the technology they go on to develop.

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"YOU CAN BE PART OF A POSITIVE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT TO THE WORLD AROUND YOU..."


Eniola Fujamade

Technical Process Engineer at KBR

2019 WISE One to Watch Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Challenging, Transformational, Fruitful

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

My secondary school and my parents

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Build a network of both formal and informal mentors, seek opportunities to learn and share knowledge.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Everyone is significant in this momentous milestone of over a million women working in core STEM, continue to be the representation that other women need to aspire for STEM careers!

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

There is room for you, you are capable, you matter, and you can be part of a positive change and development to the world around you!

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

We have been part of a huge technological shift towards more efficient virtual communication and collaboration. Keeping diversity on the agenda will require intention and planning but people are more engaged online, so it is up to us to continue to provide opportunities and resources for this wider reach.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Organizations have the responsibility to mandate their processes to drive inclusion, provide opportunities for women in leadership and development and offer transparency about their progress and metrics. It is also important that they recognize and showcase female talent.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

In 20 years, the STEM industry will have expanded into new areas and the more space created, the more equity and balance we can achieve. I envision the objectives set out by institutions such as WISE will be met and become obsolete.

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"LEARN DIFFERENT THINGS FROM DIFFERENT PEOPLE…LEARN FROM EVERYONE AND EVERY EXPERIENCE"


Dervilla Mitchell FRENG, FIAE, FICE, FIEI

Executive Chair at Arup’s UK, India, Middle East and Africa (UKIMEA) region and board member

2011 WISE Inspiration and Leadership in Business and Industry Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Exciting, interesting and rewarding

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

My father was an architect and I wanted to be part of a team that created buildings really appealed to me

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

To learn different things from different people…learn from everyone and every experience

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Be yourself

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

It’s an exciting career where you can make a difference

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Through talking and action

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Give women great jobs and help them become great role models

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

A broadly diverse and inclusive industry

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"ASK FOR FORGIVENESS NOT FOR PERMISSION"


Tom Jones

CEO at Nuvia Ltd.

2016 WISE Man of the Year Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Equity – Acknowledge – Dialogue

Who/what inspired you to champion gender balance in STEM?

Meeting and listening to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo ABE talk about revitalising the Japanese economy after the Fukashima nuclear disaster. One statement stuck with me – Unleashing the Power of ‘Womenonics’ and tapping into the countries underutilized women resource.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Ask for forgiveness not for permission

What advice would you give to other men about the importance of gender balance in STEM today?

Organizations, and society, must change the conversations to change the culture and get the multitude of benefits that focus on the gender gap can have on improving the profitability and performance of any organization. Leaders must be prepared to talk openly, and reduce the stigma, to help address future gender balance.

As of June 2019, only 7 women held a CEO post in the FTSE 100 and only 5 in the FTSE 250.

What advice would you give to other men about how they can champion gender balance in STEM?

Make the workplace more balanced; understand and counteract unconscious bias, highlight role models who demonstrate positive behaviours and proactively, educate and actively engage with primary school-age students and promote a more flexible and creative approach to job roles.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Equity is different from equality and the COVID-19 global pandemic has demonstrated this. We have some unique challenges and must treat people as individuals, look after health and wellbeing and continue to provide everyone with the same opportunities to grow.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Organisations, and society need early engagement with schools and teachers from primary school age upwards. If we invest time in schools, this will begin to reduce the unconscious bias which will open more career choices. We must encourage STEM ambassadors to actively engage with students.

Organisations should also promote flexible working and should be prepared to take a risk and give people opportunities to leverage diversity of thought and drive change in their leadership teams. If we don’t think differently, our outcomes will be the same.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

With the increased use and implementation of Big Data and Digital Transformation within businesses and particularly across Science and Engineering, undoubtedly the future will be very different over the next 20 years.

Companies, and society, will need to embrace and fully utilise these digital changes to improve performance. Our future children will need to be integrated into the machine and learn to ultilise the digital eraWhat three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Equity – Acknowledge – Dialogue

Who/what inspired you to champion gender balance in STEM?

Meeting and listening to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo ABE talk about revitalising the Japanese economy after the Fukashima nuclear disaster. One statement stuck with me – Unleashing the Power of ‘Womenonics’ and tapping into the countries underutilized women resource.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Ask for forgiveness not for permission

What advice would you give to other men about the importance of gender balance in STEM today?

Organizations, and society, must change the conversations to change the culture and get the multitude of benefits that focus on the gender gap can have on improving the profitability and performance of any organization. Leaders must be prepared to talk openly, and reduce the stigma, to help address future gender balance.

As of June 2019, only 7 women held a CEO post in the FTSE 100 and only 5 in the FTSE 250.

What advice would you give to other men about how they can champion gender balance in STEM?

Make the workplace more balanced; understand and counteract unconscious bias, highlight role models who demonstrate positive behaviours and proactively, educate and actively engage with primary school-age students and promote a more flexible and creative approach to job roles.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Equity is different from equality and the COVID-19 global pandemic has demonstrated this. We have some unique challenges and must treat people as individuals, look after health and wellbeing and continue to provide everyone with the same opportunities to grow.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Organisations, and society need early engagement with schools and teachers from primary school age upwards. If we invest time in schools, this will begin to reduce the unconscious bias which will open more career choices. We must encourage STEM ambassadors to actively engage with students.

Organisations should also promote flexible working and should be prepared to take a risk and give people opportunities to leverage diversity of thought and drive change in their leadership teams. If we don’t think differently, our outcomes will be the same.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

With the increased use and implementation of Big Data and Digital Transformation within businesses and particularly across Science and Engineering, undoubtedly the future will be very different over the next 20 years.

Companies, and society, will need to embrace and fully utilise these digital changes to improve performance. Our future children will need to be integrated into the machine and learn to ultilise the digital era

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"I ENVISION A WORKPLACE WITH BETTER GENDER BALANCE AT ALL LEVELS..."


Temilolu Danso

Graduate Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover

2015 Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarships Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Insightful, challenging and inspirational

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

I always had a keen interest in Science and Maths, and when I was thinking about which university degree to study, my dad advised to consider Engineering. This was my first exposure to it, and I haven’t looked back since.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Say yes to new opportunities.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

My advice is to never forget your passion and drive for STEM, and to do what you can to address the gender imbalance to help future generations.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

If you are interested in Science, Technology and Maths, consider studying/working in STEM. There are so many opportunities and it could lead to a very fulfilling career.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

We need to do our best to keep these conversations flowing. Although COVID-19 brings challenges, there are also unique opportunities where we can now reach wider and impact more people. An example of this is through virtual events where a person’s geography is no longer a barrier to be able to attend.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Organisations can highlight women doing amazing things in STEM. They should also provide support for said women and do their best to tell their stories.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

I envision a workplace with better gender balance at all levels, and more women in senior decision-making positions within organisations.

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"WINNING HAS HELPED BY GIVING ME A LITTLE STATUS IN A WORLD WHERE MY SKILLS ARE NOT RECOGNISED..."


Barbara Jones

Director at StrawWorks Ltd

2009 WISE SET Discovery, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award Winner


I have been training women in manual trades since 1996. With my co-Director Eileen Sutherland, I set up the School of Natural Building (SNaB) in 2014, which offers training courses on real building sites for both men and women. I am sought after internationally to speak and teach because of my ability and experience in teaching, encouraging, and empowering women into manual work, specifically natural building. I have developed an empowering and inclusive way of teaching practical skills on building sites that many say is transformative, and this style has been adopted by many other trainers. It is one of the reasons why we are so successful at attracting women into the sector. I am very proud to say that we had our first 8 graduates in 2018 from those who followed the SNaB curriculum, 7 of them were women, and in the School, 62% of our students are women. We have a successful way of encouraging and empowering women into natural building.

Winning the WISE award has helped by giving me a little status in a world where my skills are predominantly not recognised or valued. It is hard to be heard as a woman in such a traditional ‘man’s’ world.

In 2020 over a million women are working in core STEM! What do you think will happen in the next 20 years to the gender balance in STEM industries? Is there anything you plan to do to support it?

Whilst the first sentence is true, I am very disappointed that in my own field of manual trades, which I began in 1980, the numbers of women working on the tools has not changed at all in 40 years. It was 1% then and it is still 1% now.

I have had a long and very satisfying career in manual work, and in running my own businesses as well as continuing to do practical work. It is a great job! But the stereotypes against women following in my footsteps are very off-putting and the barriers that existed in the 1980s are still there, if not worse, as there are now no routes to training that are free.

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"IT’S NOT A FAD. DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT MEANS BETTER OUTCOMES FOR ALL AND THE BOTTOM LINE! KEEP UP OR GET LEFT OUT!"


Costain, Costain Women’s Network

Represented by Mary Sutherland-James at Costain

2018 WISE Employer Award Winner


Represented by Mary Sutherland-James

What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Whirlwind, Unexpected, Exciting

Who/what inspired you to strive for gender balance in STEM?

Myself? Seeing that I was not represented by the obvious lack of balance and diversity. It’s the morally correct thing to do for the next generation

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Feel the fear and do it anyway
Admit when you don’t know and ask lots of questions
Network!
What advice would you give to other companies about why gender balance in STEM matters today?

It’s not a fad. Diversity of thought means better outcomes for all and the bottom line! Keep up or get left out! Generation Z actively look for diversity statistics and will pass by companies that aren’t diverse and vibrant. If people believe that their company cares about them, they’ll care about the company and put more in.

What advice would you give to other companies about how they can champion gender balance in the workplace?

Show they care – own and respond
Get senior leadership actively involved
Take feedback seriously and be seen to be reacting to it
Create safe spaces and acknowledging that people’s experiences are valid
Encourage men to be aware of and acknowledge over-speaking and interrupting
Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

Keep talking! Talk about the female experience during COVID-19 and issues that many will/could have faced (domestic violence, caring responsibilities, unpaid work, redundancies (79% of redundancies because of COVID are female), reduction in promotion and development opportunities).

Keep promoting online events and cis/trans female only spaces.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Consider how they advertise roles/jobs
Consider where they advertise roles/jobs
Profile women in their organisation (not parade!)
Share real stories
Showcase exciting things; tech, good news stories, networks etc
Show how the industry is changing
Going in to schools, specifically girls school
What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

Technology at the forefront – potentially leading to less emphasis on being macho/dirty etc
More young people – leading change
50/50 gender balance
Greater general inclusion as a result of more visibility of diverse people

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"EMPLOY THEM, INSPIRE THEM, LOOK AFTER THEM, AND PROMOTE THEM EQUALLY..."


Dawn Bonfield MBE CENG FIMM FICE FISTRUCTE FWES

Director at Towards Vision

2015 WISE Diversity Campaign Award Winner


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Interesting, varied, rewarding.

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

At the start of my career it was about learning about how things work, what they are made of, and how to make things better. As time went on it became how to influence change and speak up for what I believed needed to change.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Follow your passion. If things aren’t right, then find something else.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

Put your energies into the things you believe in. Speak up when you need to, and don’t be frightened to represent who you are and what you think.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

We need you! The world is facing some real challenges right now and we don’t have enough representation from women. We need your thoughts, your views, your experiences, your energies. And you can influence the world from many different disciplines, not just STEM – and you can also join in at any point in your career. The challenges we face need a multi-disciplinary focus and to make sure that our solutions are accessible by all, we need everybody’s involvement. STEM opens so many doors.

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

This is certainly a challenge, and we know that we must do everything we can to stop ourselves from losing some of the ground we have made up recently in terms of gender equality, and the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda. We need to keep the pressure on and ensure that women are represented in these decision-making roles, and challenge the system where they are not.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Employ them, inspire them, look after them, and promote them equally. Set targets, accountability for action, and change to a more inclusive culture. Less talk and more action.

What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

I think that there’s no turning back on our quest for more equality – we have been collectively awakened to this now – on all fronts – and will only make progress. We have found our voices and will use them to ensure that we are at the table where progress is being made on the bigger global issues that we face.

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"WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE THAT #1OFTHEMILLION, 1OFTHE2MILLION AND 1OFTHE3MILLION..."


Dr Marily Nika

Speech AI Product Manager at Google

2015 WISE Influence Award


What three words sum up your STEM journey so far?

Bumpy, Wondrous, Fulfilling

Who/what inspired you to join the STEM sector?

My mother. She studied maths when that was absolutely not the norm. She is my role model!

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Hope is not a strategy. Dreaming is not a strategy, but dreaming is fuel. You have to do the work, and there are no shortcuts for this work. If you have a strategy and a goal in mind, and if you have the ‘fuel’ to keep going, that’s when things start to fall in place.

What advice would you give to women who are #1ofTheMillion working in STEM today?

That it is time for them now, to give advice. We have a responsibility to make that 1 of the million, 1 of the two million and 1 of the three million, until we are too many to count. And the way to do this, is by supporting each other, mentoring the younger generation, showing them the way, and inspiring them through success and challenge.

What advice would you give to women and girls to encourage them to join the STEM sector?

If you want an interesting, fulfilling, challenging (in a good, “never-bored” way) life, STEM is for you. Working in STEM is like having a hobby you love with everything you’ve got and getting paid for it!

Given the unique challenges we face due to COVID-19, how can we keep gender balance and diversity on the agenda?

If anything, now it is easier than ever to take part in gender balance and diversity! Conferences are now all remote, they have widened the audience, reach, lowered the costs. Communities are flourishing, opinions, everything online – we need to keep joining and engaging in communities, if a community we are interested in does not exist, go out there and create one! This topic is as strong as ever and I am proud to be involved in such initiatives as much as I was pre-COVID-19.

What can organisations do to increase/inspire more women into STEM?

Spread the word! It’s AMAZING To work in STEM
Showcase women working in STEM that are relatable. To enable women to feel that they can also do this.
Show the way give tools, and resources (courses, mentorship) to educate
What do you envision for the STEM sector over the next 20 years?

The STEM sector in the next 20 years will have technologists, scientists, programmers, managers – and by that, people will picture either a woman, or a man. There will no longer be the notion of ‘woman programmer’ or ‘female technologist’. This sector will be even more fascinating than ever. With Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality stepping in.

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"I WANT TO ENGAGE WITH ORGANISATIONS TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN INDUSTRY AND ACADEMY FOR WOMEN..."


DR. Bhavagaya Bakshi

NHS GP, Co-Founder at C The Signs

2017 WISE Technology & Engineering in Health Award Winner


Despite there being huge cultural shifts to enable more women to apply to medical school, there are huge attrition rates and challenges for women in medicine. It can take twice as long for a woman to complete her training, with little flexibility if she chooses to have a family. The gender pay gap is widening and the representation of women in senior leadership or board positions needs to be improved.

I am passionate about giving back and about using my experience, my challenges, and my learnings to help support mentor and guide the future generation to challenge the status quo, put themselves forward, and to feel that they could venture into any industry and succeed.

I have a strong desire to inspire and motivate women in medicine to be entrepreneurs and innovators, to feel confident to take an idea forward and to succeed in enacting change, growing a company. Or alternatively being an intrapreneur, leading change within their departments, innovating locally and taking on leadership positions in their organisations.

There are several key principles that I have learned over the last 10 years that I would share and educate women, in particular, building resilience as a core skill, having a peer network to support and learn from, to continue to always challenge the status quo and not be scared to say no. To put yourself forwards, and to not be scared of failure but embrace it, as a key step towards later success.

Beyond medical school, I have been discussing with the medical women’s federation to talk about engaging more women in entrepreneurship and technology. During my time on the kings20 accelerator program I have supported other younger students, women and to support them in entrepreneurship and have many younger female students who I mentor. I want to engage with organisations to bridge the gap between industry and academy for women, to help educate them and raise awareness of career choices, as well helping to support them with building key life skills, resilience, building confidence and empowering them to know they can do and achieve anything.

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"BEING GIVEN THE AWARD FOR DIVERSITY WAS A VERY POWERFUL ENDORSEMENT FOR OUR APPROACH..."


Maggie Philbin OBE

Broadcaster and CEO at TeenTech

2012 WISE Communication and Outreach Award Winner


I was very honoured and delighted to receive the Outreach and Diversity Award where in your words I was ‘ singled out as not only exceptional but as a force in working towards diversity and a better gender balance in STEM industries’. I’ve promoted diversity since first joining Tomorrow’s World in 1982 – and done my very best to showcase strategies which make a difference both in terms of gender balance and social, ethnic and disability. I co-founded TeenTech in 2008 to reach out to young people as I had become increasingly aware of the way science and technology was being taught often seemed remote from real world applications . From the outset, our programmes were powerful in reaching those who most needed to understand not only the opportunities in science, technology and engineering but their own potential for really enjoying their roles. I didn’t want to preach to the converted and TeenTech was set up as a way to help those with no prior serious interest in science, tech or engineering to understand just how many opportunities there were in those sectors.

Since receiving the Award TeenTech has grown from a reach of 3000 students per year to 15,000 face to face and over 75,000 reached through resources, videos and our website. Our programmes now reach young people from the age of 8-19 and we provide workshops in schools, innovation days on company sites, large scale festivals and year-round award programmes for Primary (TeenTech City of Tomorrow) and Secondary (TeenTech Awards)

The focus is always on providing inspiration , skills workshops and a network to schools where it is most needed. Our festivals are attended by over 50% girls and our Award programmes enjoy over 60% female participation. In 2016 I was named the most influential woman in UKIT and also awarded Digital Leader of the Year for this work. I’ve also received nine honorary degrees and in 2017 was given an OBE. However I am most proud of the students themselves and my brilliant, highly committed team at TeenTech who work so hard to help whole school communities better understand the fast changing world of science, tech and engineering.

We have a strong reputation for building effective, long lasting relationships between schools and local, national and global organisations, especially for students whose social or ethnic backgrounds may mean they lack a network of contacts or informed parental support. We currently use the Social Mobility Index produced by the Social Mobility Commission to identify local authority districts where support is most needed.

We work collaboratively across the UK with a network of industry partners focusing on disadvantaged communities and promoting our core values of inclusivity and diversity.

People often remark upon the diversity of our participants which often bucks the trend – for instance, our TeenTech Awards programme has been consistently successful in encouraging diverse participation. In 2018/9 270 schools participated in the TeenTech awards programme. 1098 girls and 633 boys submitted work to the TeenTech Awards programme.

873 students were from schools in the top 30% most disadvantaged areas according to the Indices of Deprivation 2019 data. Of these, 613 were from the top 20% most disadvantaged areas and 90 from the top 10% most disadvantaged areas.
We noticed a clear relationship between areas where we have TeenTech large scale events and focused Innovation Days in place to inspire and give schools confidence to participate.
On June 24that The IET the 73 teams and individuals reaching the final comprised 108 girls and 65 boys. Of these, 13 teams were from schools situated in top 30% most disadvantaged areas.
There were 28 girls and 16 boys in the 23 winning teams and 7 of the winning teams were from schools situated in the top 30% most disadvantaged areas. The Teacher of the Year was from a school in top 20% most deprived area.
We’ve now run programmes long enough to be able to see impact over time. Schools are crediting TeenTech with impacting the number of students choosing STEM subjects – for example Notre Dame in Greenock said that over 5 years of engagement with us they’d seen an increase of 300% and had subsequently set up an Engineering Department in the school due to demand. Another reported increase of Physics GCSE uptake from 43% to 87.5 over 3 years.

We also share our learning at conferences and with government so they better understand the tripwires – which are not always obvious. One of the most gratifying developments has been the way girls who have benefited from our programmes have been so keen to act as TeenTech Young Ambassadors to inspire not only other Primary and Secondary students to follow in their footsteps but to inspire companies, universities and government to better engage.. One of our TeenTech Young Ambassadors was awarded a British Empire Medal for her work in 2019.

I was incredibly proud to receive the award and it certainly give me confidence to continue to develop our programmes. One of the reasons was that our approach had always been to run mixed gender events as we believed everyone needs to be part of the change-making process. I always remember reading one account from a boy who said he’d learned two things from TeenTech – firstly the importance of teamwork and secondly that girls ‘were really good at tech’. Being given the award for diversity was a very powerful endorsement for our approach and I remain incredibly grateful for the nomination and the award.

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