As a new BCS member I was really pleased and excited to be invited to the second BCS Women Scotland Kickoff event, held at IBM’s Edinburgh office. The evening was attended by women from many professional and academic disciplines, including my very own university, and so we kicked off with some speed networking before settling down to the evening’s guest speaker, Sharon Wallace.
Sharon has forged a successful career for herself in sales through direct selling company The Pampered Chef and delivered a really inspiring and lively speech on women in leadership. She talked about her own experiences in the workplace and how she learned from them, good and bad, to set up and run her own business after starting a family. She is quite rightly proud of her achievements as she has worked hard towards her goals despite the prejudice (some men just don’t seem to understand why a woman would ever want to continue her career after having kids *rolls eyes*), referencing McKinsey’s thought provoking Women Matter research and Simon Sinek’s great TED Talk on leadership. I remember watching Simon’s talk on Youtube a while back and it always gives me a lovely glow when someone references a video or paper I’ve previously encountered myself!
After a yummy supper we were treated to a talk on the development of the smart city, in particular Glasgow’s fuel poverty (or “affordable warmth”) project by our host Sharon Moore, who works for IBM as an industry architect. After watching a video of a little girl called Paige showing us around her damp infested flat in a BBC documentary, Sharon spoke of IBM’s involvement in the project, discussing the obstacles in reaching as many affected people as possible in both the affluent and poorer ares of Glasgow and the technology and techniques used to overcome these obstacles. The project recently won £24m of investment from the government which is a welcome financial boost to the project. It was interesting to see how the idea of the Internet of Things (I know it’s a Wikipedia link but it’s a good article, I promise!) helped to develop this project in particular.
The talk was followed by cake and networking, where I got chatting to Chelsea Sievewright, who as it turns out was also at November’s Target Jobs event and remembered me from the queue for the toilets, of all places! I even swapped my business cards with a few folks and made several good contacts. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and highly recommend you go along to the next BCS Women event held in your area.