Gill Cooke

United Kingdom

"There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made" ~ Michelle Obama

what do you do?

What is your favourite aspect of the STEM industry?

I believe that every career or role has a STEM aspect to it now, whether creative arts, marketing or fashion - all organisations and charities have websites, social media, blogs, apps and so in this day and age, every aspect of our lives have either science, technology, engineering or maths as an intrinsic part of them.

What is your typical day like?

Really varied, I have my day job but most lunch times and evenings I am either attending webinars, on calls with contacts or one of my mentees, or I am organising another event or reading a book for STEMconnext Bookclub. I'm also a mum, wife and a very loyal friend!

What do you feel, being a successful woman in such a male-dominated industry?

I feel proud to be a woman in tech and

I champion STEM careers for the future

generations. I'd love to see more females

and ethnic minorities in STEM especially in leadership roles. I founded STEMConnext and agreed to lead Women in Tech in order to help achieve this.

Do you have any other advice for women entering male-dominated fields?

Be your authentic self. The days when you had to hide your feminine side or your lifestyle are long gone. Be yourself and be proud and demand that people accept you for who you are. Its not about fitting in anymore but adding value and the more diverse a team are the more likely they are to deliver a product that is fit for purpose and for a wider customer base. A Deloitte study indicated that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments and gender-diverse companies are 155 more likely to outperform their peers (McKinsey & Company)

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I fell into technology by accident rather than by design. I always saw myself as creative and arts. I loved English and studied History at University and then pursued a career in TV production but my skills were very transferable to project management when I got a role at a Telecomms company and then I had to learn technical skills very quickly. As a project manager it really helps to have a basic understanding of the platforms and IT structure of what you are delivering. I never imagined that I would now identify as a "woman in tech".

Is there one thing you would like to see changed in your field? 

I'd love to see more diversity on boards - one in 7 of us in the world have a disability and yet we don't see disability at board level. We see very few women, LGBTQ+ even less ethnic minorities or neurodiverse on corporate boards and we need to be more open, accepting and diverse at the top. This isn't about putting white men down or not accepting them at all levels of an organisation but about rising other people up and mixing it up a bit.