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In 2018, we attended WOSR and were impressed with the number of amazing women in attendance and the great speakers. As we are currently actively hiring, we thought it was an ideal place to have a stand (and some amazing goody bags!!!) showcasing all the great jobs we have at Bluefruit. On Tuesday, Caitlin Gould, Business Development Director here at Bluefruit, gave the talk “Why Maternity Discrimination Sucks (For Everyone)”.

We also thought it would be a good chance to show off other tech jobs in Cornwall and reached out to a number of other Cornish companies to see if they would like to come along. We got great support from the local tech community, including Aerospace Cornwall who understood what attending and exhibiting at this event means for Bluefruit’s growth plans. We are excited to now have 70 new women in tech on our mailing list and number of talented people interested in roles at our company.

WOSR is one of the biggest tech conferences for women. It’s a great place to learn about technology trends, diversity and inclusion, plus advice and guidance on how to have a successful career.

There was an amazing array of talks at WOSR this year. Here’s a little of what we learned from spending time with some of the brightest minds in technology today.

The life-changing potential of quantum computing

Jane Orne, Software Engineer, went to “What Will a World Powered by Quantum Computing Look Like?” presented by Natasha Norris, Head of Security Engineering at Photobox. 

“The talk looked at the potential benefits and risks of quantum computing,” Jane explains. “It made me want to read into it more because, although in the early stages at the moment, it could be life changing for AI and prediction software. Another thing to think about is the security risks quantum computing creates, including its potential to more easily break secure encryption keys.”

Confidence boost

Jane also went to “Confident Speaking for Women” delivered by Sarah Palmer, Director European Business Development at PowerSpeaking, Inc. The workshop aimed to help people develop their communication skills for work. 

“How you use body language and communication styles can improve how you communicate in a business environment,” Jane highlights. “It encouraged us to set a goal and mine is to do a presentation/workshop at a conference in the future.”

Collaboration that works for everyone

Gilly Swift, Finance Administrator, went to “Introducing a Collaborative Environment that Works for Everyone” presented by Annie Hou, Head of Data Science at Sandtable. The talk looked at the ways Sandtable had moved from a siloed environment to a “fully collaborative environment”. 

“This seminar resonated with me the most,” Gilly says. “I’ve already been in touch with Annie Hou to ask about the tools they used to improve collaboration and communication at work. I hope to feed these tools back to Bluefruit to help improve our culture and communication. What was also important was understanding that these processes and tools are continual and quite unique.”

Inclusion and representation

Culture is a huge part of any business, but it can cause issues around representation and inclusion. Gilly attended “Mindset Shift Igniting Inclusion Through Allyship“, presented by Chris Burgess, Global Vice President of Expedia IT, and Rehana Nanji, Programme Manager – People Engagement at Expedia Group. 

“Focusing on representation often means not focusing on the culture or the environment. If cultures and processes don’t change in response to new people, it can’t be representative for everyone,” Gilly points out. “Privilege is an earned/unearned advantage given by society to some, but not all,’ Chris and Rehanna explained in their talk. We all step in and out of the continuum of privilege. To be allies, we need to understand and be aware of our own privilege to create inclusion.”

Get real about Virtual Reality (VR)

Sarah Nash, Software Test Engineer, checked out “Beyond Gaming: The Reality of Virtual Reality” presented by Oliver Kibblewhite, Head of Special Projects at REWIND. Many of us would be forgiven for thinking that VR is about videogames, but as Sarah learned there’s a lot more going on with VR than meets the eye. 

“It was a very interesting talk about the current state and potential future of virtual reality,” Sarah recalls. “VR is not just for gaming and entertainment, but for education and training. The talk showed how VR is a lot more advanced than many people who (like me) are familiar with its gaming uses, give it credit for.”

Maternity discrimination under the microscope

On Tuesday, Caitlin Gould, Business Development Director here at Bluefruit, gave the talk “Why Maternity Discrimination Sucks (For Everyone)”. The talk came from Caitlin’s own experiences and highlighted why maternity (and paternity) discrimination is detrimental to the tech sector:

“At the moment in the UK over 77% of women face maternity discrimination within their workplace. This is a huge issue and something that is critical to address in the already gender unbalanced tech sector. It was great to be able to highlight this issue as well as issues facing fathers and other parent groups. The conversations I had with people after my talk were also very interesting and it’s given me a number of great ideas on what we at Bluefruit can continue to do to make the company a great place for everyone to work”

Until next year

Women of Silicon Roundabout showed us a lot of what’s on people’s minds as they pursue careers in tech now. There was a great deal of interest in how pursuing a tech career in Cornwall is possible. 

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