Women in Tech Awards 2023

  • The Women in Tech Awards recognise women who innovate, challenge and embrace technology, showcasing inspirational individuals who have achieved great success within the sector.

    A host of exceptional women working in Northern Ireland's tech industry were celebrated at the 2023 Women in Tech Awards, sponsored by VANRATH, which took place on Thursday 25th May at Belfast's Europa Hotel. Over 300 guests from all business sectors came together to recognise and reward the innovative individuals who have achieved great success within the local tech sector, which now accounts for more than one in seven jobs in Northern Ireland, according to Tech Nation.

    The gala awards evening, hosted by Sarah Travers, honoured several amazing women who together have pushed forward the boundaries of what’s possible across the broad spectrum of technology. We caught up with some of the winners who gave us their thoughts on winning their categories.

    The Tech Advocate of the Year, sponsored by Fujitsu, celebrated a woman working in tech who has set up and delivered initiatives outside of their formal role, internally and externally, for their organisation to support women and encourage more women into tech in the last 12 months. This was won by Claire Nixon, Director at Realtime Recruitment.  ‘’Winning the Women in Tech Advocate of the Year award was a real honour. There were so many fantastic nominees and so many women in NI who are helping to build inclusive environments and empowering other women to thrive in technology. These awards serve as catalysts, inspiring others and raising awareness about gender equality and diversity in the technology sector’. ’

    The Outstanding Woman in Tech Award, sponsored by VANRATH, recognising an outstanding leader in the tech sector was won by Colette Kidd, Chief People Officer at Kainos. ‘’I am deeply honoured to have been recognised as an Outstanding Woman in Tech at the WIB NI Tech awards. This award recognises the hard work of my team and the continuous support that I have received throughout my career within Kainos.  In the tech industry, there is work to do to achieve gender balance but through organisations such as WIB, companies supporting the development of women and through showcasing role models we can inspire future generations.  Events, like the WIB Tech Awards, are a critical platform for the tech industry to showcase our amazing talented women in NI’’.

    The Tech Team of the Year category, sponsored by Realtime, looked to celebrate a Tech team led by a woman who has delivered innovative and business transformational solutions to a company, and was won by Joanne O’Doherty and Jackie Crooks from Kinsetsu. ‘’As two female founders, passionate about customer experience and using technology to make a difference, entering awards wasn’t on our radar.  When our team entered us and we were shortlisted for the Tech Team of the Year, it was quite the surprise…but to attend on the night and then win the award, we were totally blown away. It did feel great to get recognised for the graft, hard yards and hours that we and our entire team commit to every day, driving forward innovative technology for our customers.  We have always been advocates for girls in STEM and we hope that others can see that entering awards is worthwhile, not for yourself but to show others around you that with the right team, the right vision and 200% commitment,  you can achieve what you set out to do, and remember there is no I in team!”.

    The C Level Woman of the Year award, sponsored by PwC, celebrated a C-level woman who has led an organisation and demonstrated innovation with IT excellence and was won by Faye Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer at Vyta. On the night, she also picked up the Green Impact Award, sponsored by Danske Bank,recognising a woman who has worked to ensure that sustainability is at the very core of their business through the development and/or delivery of a product or service that is making a positive impact with regard to net zero and climate change.‘’It was amazing to have been recognised alongside such a high calibre of other women in tech and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to help drive inclusivity for women in the industry. I'm also very proud of what we do to help businesses be more sustainable and was honoured to have been recognised for the positive impact of our work’’ 

    Finally, the Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by Allstate Northern Ireland, to celebrate a female leader or founder of a technology, digital or e-commerce start-up that has demonstrated excellent growth in the last 12 months was won by Laura Haldane from SciLeads. ‘’I am delighted to win Entrepreneur of the Year and would love to go back to teenage me to tell her because that’s all she wanted to be when she grew up! I love going to these events and meeting fellow female entrepreneurs because otherwise, we can be quite difficult to find as we tend to be quietly working away in the shadows on our projects. Meeting likeminded women has meant I can grow my network and we can bounce ideas off each other’’.

    Speaking about the event, Women in Business Managing Director Lorraine Acheson said: “Once again the Women in Tech Awards proved to be an outstanding night of celebration. We recognise the increasing importance of the Tech sector for the NI economy and it’s critical to shine a spotlight on the incredible pool of female talent working in the sector, who are too often under-represented.

    I also want to recognise David Collins, Managing Director of First Derivatives, who won the Award for Male Advocate of the Year sponsored by Version 1. It’s essential that we have male advocates and allies such as David to champion diversity in the Tech sector and this is fast becoming a very competitive Awards category”.

    Following the Awards, Women in Business brought together the winners for a celebratory lunch , sponsored by Version 1, at the Waterman. This event provided an opportunity for the winners to reflect on their journeys and success and provided a springboard for long-lasting connections.

    The next Women in Tech Awards will be held on Thursday 23 May 2024 at the Europa Hotel.

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