The researcher from UCL Computer Science received the award for her work bringing computer science and technology to the public in general, and women in particular. Sponsored by FDM, the everywoman tech awards celebrate the women creating, advancing and deploying technology across the UK’s growing industry.
Categories include Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Rising Star of the Year and Team Leader of the Year, and recognise women in a variety of roles, including scientific innovators, rising stars within technology businesses, founders of tech start-ups and IT leaders in FTSE100 companies. They aim to uncover role models and stimulate more women to enter and stay in this growing industry.
Dr Black, a Senior Research Associate in the Software Systems Engineering group at UCL Computer Science, was nominated in the Inspiration of the Year category, sponsored by VMWare. Other nominees for the category included Isla Kennedy, Analyst for Accenture, Belinda Parmar, CEO of Lady Geek and Little Miss Geek, and Claire Vyvyan, Executive Director and General Manager for Public and Large Institutions for Dell UK.
As well as founding BCS Women, a female wing for the British Computer Society, she is known for her work campaigning to preserve Bletchley Park, the historic World War Two codebreaking site, and her dedicated use of social and web-based media for this purpose. This experience is described in her crowd-funded book, ‘Saving Bletchley Park’, which broke records with the speed of its funding. Other projects to promote computer science and technology include the <goto> foundation, helping change public perception of technology, and most recently techmums, providing hands-on workshops and support on tech issues to mothers in inner city areas. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Computer Society.
Dr Black said:
“I’m delighted to have won this award. There are so many fabulously inspiring women in tech that I feel honoured to have been chosen. Winning the award means so much to me because it shows me that the things I really care about – technology creating disruptive change for good, and empowering people to achieve their potential – is something that many others care about also.
Our #techmums initiative is changing mums’ lives for the better in Tower Hamlets. We aim to take it across the UK this year, and international in 2015. We help mums to join the digital revolution by demystifying areas like app design, web design, social media and coding, enabling them to change their lives and their families’ lives for the better.”
The day included a roundtable discussion with senior leaders and influencers of global technology organisations to discuss initiatives that attract and retain female talent, looking at successes that have been achieved within organisations in order to build a best practice solution, before moving to the awards ceremony. It is hoped that celebrating the achievements of the award winners will be a positive step towards communicating the opportunities for women within this fast-paced, ever-changing industry.
Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman comments, “With 44% of Technology CEOs expected to increase headcount, in contrast to 23% across all industries, it is imperative that more women enter the sector. The organisations involved in today’s Awards are the forward-thinking companies that are already committed to that and the women we are celebrating are role models whose stories and achievements will open the eyes of more young girls to realise that studying STEM subjects can lead to an exciting, rewarding career.”