THE Northern Echo is week is paying homage to North-East and North Yorkshire women in technical roles who are actively working to make the region's tech scene more inclusive. Here are six women in tech you should know about.

  • Angelika Strohmayer, PhD human-computer interaction and founder of

With a background in education and criminology, Angelika Strohmayer quickly became interested in technology and how it marginalises different groups in society. Now, she uses tech to engage with vulnerable groups like domestic abuse victims.

She is working with a North-East charity to capture the stories and voices of people whose problems are exacerbated by coronavirus in a project called Sewing Through the Pandemic.

The woman hopes to embed minicomputers and sensors into pieces to better tell the stories of victims in an exhibition.

Four years ago, Ms Strohmayer also set up a feminist collective for people in technology and academia, holding regular meetings to explore challenges faced by women in both sectors and how to move forward. has gained traction through lockdown, with international participants joining its virtual coffee breaks each Thursday.

Ms Strohmayer said: "It's really there to help us do better and build a community on principles we want to see, that will hopefully leak into our fields.

"Technology needs to be caring, reflective and participatory. Women in tech is really important but it is not enough. We need diverse people in important roles not just in token diversity initiatives. Black women, non-binary people, people of mixed ability – we need to make sure we are genuinely inclusive."

To get involved with, message the group on Twitter.

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Louise Burke says she looks to innovate across all aspects of the council but was excited to update the classroom structure, which often hasn't been changed in hundreds of years, leading her into the education technology space (EdTech).

Previously, the innovation manager owned an engineering company alongside completing an MBA.

While advocating for more collaboration, accessibility and viability for tech across the North-East and North Yorkshire, she said: "Almost my entire career prior to North Yorkshire Education Services was spent in very male-dominated, engineering and technical environments.

"It’s never phased me as I was always pretty ambitious and just wanted to get the job done. My experience has taught me the importance of diversity in the workplace, as a woman I feel almost a sense of duty to help smash the glass ceiling for women in technical roles.

"It’s a real privilege to be part of the council – we have some incredible highly skilled women in technical roles across the organisation; I’m proud to be a part of it.

"Our commercial director Claire Preston is an inspirational leader and huge advocate for women in tech. I’m proud to work with her. Along with my colleagues, we share a vision and that’s incredibly important in great leadership – you need your team on side. It’s really important to me to promote diversity across my team and wider."

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  • Lisa Reed, director of data platforms at Sage

Lisa Reed started her IT career more than 20 years ago when a temporary IT contract became permanent. First in database and administration, application technical support and business intelligence roles, the woman now leads technical teams.

Ms Reed has taken part in women's talks and is a member of various women in tech groups that look at attracting female talent and developing careers in technical roles.

The woman, who say the biggest challenge she's faced in technology is her own self-doubt, said: "There were times when I haven’t spoken out in large meetings for fear of saying the wrong thing or looking silly – as women, we are often our own toughest critics and battling yourself can be exhausting.

"Now though, with diversity and inclusion being high on the workplace agenda, and people really understanding the value of diverse thinking, there is more being done to promote female talent and the value they can bring to teams.

"We have come a long way but there is still work to be done. It starts with attracting talent into technical roles and breaking down any perceived stereotypes or blockers to development.

"Recent recruitment drives have shown that the sector can get a high number of female applicants to roles, such as data analyst, but less applying for data scientist or engineer and developer roles. I personally would like to do more to ensure that the awareness starts as early as possible in schools and universities about how rewarding a career in tech can be why diversity is crucial for success."

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  • Emma Reilly, co-founder and chief technical officer for Myndr

Emma Reilly is a technical co-founder and CTO of the mental health and wellbeing app Myndr, and was previously a front end developer.

The woman saw a gap in the market for an AI-driven mental health and wellbeing app after struggling for over a year on a waiting list for endometriosis support, after already suffering with depression and anxiety.

Now, she hopes Myndr will pave the way for the North-East becoming a leader in Mental Health Innovation.

She said: "Our service is for anyone but I do personally think those feeling as though they have lost control and connection during this lockdown will find our tools most useful.

"The way Myndr is made with empowering individuals in mind means that we can support them in identifying issues, exploring different ways they may solve these problems and guide them to choose what solutions they feel will work best for them to move into a plan of action.”

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  • Catherine Ramsdale, senior vice president of technology at PragmatIC

Catherine Ramsdale of PragmatIC says her degree was heavily male dominated but this eased as she went to study a PhD in organic electronics, where there was a mix of culture and ethnicity.

The woman, who has worked in the flexible electronics sector for 15 years, praised the firm's flexibility in terms of work and family life balance.

She said: "There are still things to do to make STEM more diverse overall, we need to be repositioning how we portray sciences at school.

"History gives the impression it’s all about the individual doing great things, but really it’s actually about teamwork. Teamwork is most effective when there is diversity of thinking, having a range in people’s personal thoughts and experiences is imperative to success in a company, and of course women are a part of this.”

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  • Arwen Duddington, chief operating officer of ZeroLight

Arwen Duddington, as as COO of cloud-based visualisation company ZeroLight, ensures the firm is always investing in future talent and says it is very mindful of encouraging more females into the tech industry.

Working alongside NE1 with local schools, and via the ZeroLight Graduate Academy with local colleges and universities, Ms Duddington promotes opportunities in the tech sector and encourage girls to aspire to be the ‘best of the best’ in STEM careers.

The company also hosts open days in their award-winning studio 'Live Works' , welcoming cohorts of students to talk to the team and to learn more about potential opportunities.

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