What’s InnovateHer all about?
Our mission is to get girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls. Only 19% of the digital tech workforce in the UK is female, compared to 37% across all sectors and we want to change that. By making the tech sector more equitable, by increasing diversity across the industry and creating more inclusive workplaces.
Our journey began in 2013 as Liverpool Girl Geeks – a community with a goal to create gender equality in tech. We quickly saw that stereotypes are so entrenched that to deliver real change we needed to work with girls still at school. So in 2017 InnovateHer was born.
We currently work with students in under-resourced schools in Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire with plans for expansion into new regions. We collaborate with industry partners like The Co-op, Liverpool Football Club, BAE systems, Sony Playstation, and The Very group to provide services to schools for free and we also help the industry identify ways to improve their EDI practices to help them better attract and retain young talent.
How do you support businesses to become more inclusive?
Whether they are at the start of their EDI journey or have a fully-fledged strategy, we can support them through training, networking events, and opportunities for their teams to engage with the next generation through our ambassador scheme.
We have three core packages that we offer businesses depending on their aims. When a partner joins, we do an EDI Health check – an online workshop that helps us to assess where a business is at when it comes to recruitment, culture, fairness, representation, and leadership. I like to see us as chief encouragers! We help businesses set objectives, and then keep them accountable to this throughout the year.
You’ve recently been on Gather’s Beyond programme – why did you decide to join it?
We’ve taken lots from Gather programmes in the past, the collaborative and practical approach really works for us. The Beyond programme in particular enabled us to work with a coach over a number of months, who gave us a practical steer through a series of workshops that catered directly to our specific business needs. The coach that we were matched with aligned with our values and felt part of our team too, which the team and I really enjoyed and appreciated.
How has Beyond helped you as a leader and InnovateHer as a business?
It helped me to truly listen and step into the headspace of my team, something I think leaders don't do often enough. Creating a safe space for people to be vulnerable, open and honest with each other is something I try to cultivate, but through Beyond, I was also able to participate, which is something I appreciated, as it helped me to really connect with the team.
As the current CEO I design and set the ambition for the organisation and lead the team and the support of our business coach really gave the confidence to fully embrace leadership and lean in to the experience.