What some of the BCSWomen Scotland team got up to on International Women’s Day 2019

Sharon Moore MBE, CTO Public Sector, IBM

I started the day at IBM’s IWD celebrations, and after an introduction where we celebrated achievements of women across our company in the UK, we then got thinking about a Design Thinking session we ran earlier in the year to help us engage more men in the conversation about inclusion. We learned about the benefits of different minority groups getting together, which made me think about my presenting style: I usually have a lot of images in my presentations, and use them for effect, but they’re only going to be effective if my audience has the ability to see them properly.

I then headed to Atos in London, as I had been honoured to be asked by them to speak at their IWD event. I spoke about why would all benefit from #BalanceForBetter, discussed unconscious bias, and then shared themes and lessons learned from my career. If I was going to pick one point from that I’d say that “Courage not confidence” would be top: too often we strive for some sort of holy grail of confidence, but actually we need to find courage instead to just take that step, do that thing, say that point that’s been on our mind. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? I suspect something not too bad at all. And what if we did do that thing? What if it changed our career? What if it felt good? What if we changed the behaviour of people around us? Let’s focus on what we could do, not what could go wrong.


Sjoukje Ijlstra, Software Engineer, J.P. Morgan 

I spent this year’s International Women’s Day at Scotland Women in Technology’s conference with everywomanUK. I was lucky enough to win two tickets the day before so I invited a co-worker to join me. Together we enjoyed a morning of panels and fireside chats on topics ranging from ‘EQ vs. IQ’ to the hype around blockchain and how we can use it for good. I particularly enjoyed learning about adopting a growth mindset because this really resonated with me at this early stage in my career. Always believe you can keep learning!

In the afternoon we received an inspiring talk from a professional coach. Her message was to set your values to live by and work accordingly towards predefined goals. The sky’s the limit!

At the end of the day I went back to the office and spent the evening doing what I love most: teaching women how to code with Code First: Girls. I had my session teaching CSS with a code-along. We celebrated the day with some pizza and wine.

In the end, the best feeling for me is empowering other women to take the step into technology.


Caitlin Clark, Senior Consultant, Sopra Steria

At Sopra Steria’s office in Edinburgh we were hosting an afternoon event with keynote speaker Dr Sally Witcher OBE, CEO of Inclusion Scotland. We learned about the work that Inclusion Scotland does as a Disabled People’s Organisation, how social barriers prevent inclusion and Sally shared her pearls of wisdom regarding the co-design and co-production of services. A truly insightful and inspirational woman and perspective.

I was then asked to present and I took the opportunity to reflect upon my lessons learned as young woman joining the technology sector. I discussed Imposter Syndrome and shared a story about a very cool lady I came across recently; Beverly Bass, the first female Captain for American Airlines. Look her up!

To close our event, a colleague of mine shared her journey into technology. She was one of a few females studying computer science at School and University and felt there was a lack of female role models during those stages and this is why she is so passionate about reaching out to young girls and boys about careers in technology and STEM.

Lunch, cupcakes and chatter followed as we all reflected upon the afternoon.


Lindsay Campbell, Information Security Governance Manager, Standard Life

I spent 3 days celebrating International Women’s Day this year.

An early start (for me) on 6th March as I travelled to Everyman Glasgow to participate in the Everywoman event hosted by SWiT (thanks for the sweeties) which was a fab event broadcast live from London in the morning, with live sessions after lunch.  There was just enough time for a quick glass of wine and some networking before getting the train back to Edinburgh.

The 7th March involved some lunchtime mentoring and consultancy on Information Security certifications for some women interested in moving into Information Security from IT.

And finally, on 8th March  I spent the afternoon catching up with the #SheLeadsTech online community, with a box of chocolates and a caramel skinny latte to celebrate International Women’s Day (no wine though as I was in the office!).