DevelopHer Retreat: How we refreshed, reflected and refocused.

-Written by Laura Chung, Founding Member of DevelopHer –

2017 has been a busy year, for all of us. With our active lives, we’re all moving at a hundred miles an hour and before you know it the winter nights have come upon us and we’re already heading into the new year. At DevelopHer, we really wanted to take the time to just stop for one moment. To stop and to get our team together – out of this crazy London city – and think about what this year meant for us and how we can continue helping our community going forward.

This time we had together was invaluable, not only as a team but as friends who are all passionate about making a difference. For that reason, we wanted to share with you our weekend experience and what this means for our community:

  1. Re-fresh

We all need a time out now and again. With the wonderful hosting skills of Sally from DevelopHer – we headed to Hertfordshire for a retreat where we were greeted with food, wine, open fireplaces and the chance to show our best dance moves to disco themed vinyls.

On the Saturday morning, we started the day with a fresh autumn walk in the countryside followed by a Creative Art Therapy Session hosted by Lizzy Duncan from Make Some ArtThis session gave us a safe space using an array of art materials, providing an opportunity to be ourselves, unleash our creativity, think more broadly and to connect with each other through art making. Individually, we were given a puzzle piece to fill in – allowing us to use our brain in a creative way, without rules or restrictions. After our individual contributions, we pieced our artwork together and revealed a truly colourful, authentic and collaborative outcome. We also felt more focused, calmer and our minds refreshed for the rest of the day. A wonderful exercise, so thank you Lizzy!

  1.  Reflect

With our minds refreshed, we also took a moment to reflect some of our successes at Developher both personally and as a community. We’ve been blown away from the feedback and engagement of our members and this year has we had a number of highlights including:

  • Being nominated and shortlisted for We Are Tech Women 2017 Network of the Year
  • Partnering our 2017 events with General Assembly, LaFosse, Appnexus, Social Media Week, AI Tech World, Wonder Women Tech London, Moo, React, EveryWomen and Cass Business School
  • Emily, Eniko and Martyna from DevelopHer mentioned in the Guardian, Econsultancy and BBC NewsBeat
  • Sarah from DevelopHer nominated for We Are Tech 50 Women Awards and presenting at a TedX talk on ‘Magic and the Machine’
  • Laura, Ella and Eniko from Developher and Lauren Ingram from our DevelopHer mentoring programme shortlisted as The Drum 50 under 30 Women in Digital
  • Alessia from DevelopHer welcomed a new baby member to the community!
  • Spotting Iona Inglesby from our DevelopHer Mentoring Programme being nominated as The Progress 1000 list of London’s most influential people in the Evening Standard
  • Alongside 7 members of our DevelopHer team all starting new jobs and changing career paths!

The success stories we’ve also heard from our community during our events have also been overwhelming, and whilst our subject topics during our events focus on overcoming challenges and improving ourselves – we think it’s important we also celebrate how well we’re all doing and the great things we’re all achieving. So on behalf of DevelopHer – you truly rock!


  1. Re-focus

During our time, we also had a strategy session led by Rachelle Denton (Senior Creative Strategist Consultant at BBC) and Laura Colin (Strategy Lead at BBC) to guide us on how we think about 2018, our current aspirations and how we continue to elevate women in tech. We loved the way Rachelle & Laura thought and challenged us, and this session was invaluable, as we left feeling invigorated for what’s yet to come!

It was clear that there were key focus areas that we want to continue providing our community for next year, including:

  1. A 360 degree support network for women in technology for their careers
  2. Being part of the solution to change the inequality gap
  3. Enabling a community where members can provide each other a hand up

At DevelopHer, we’re full of energy and ambition for 2018, and while we continue to work on exciting opportunities to share with you guys, we would LOVE to hear from you on how we can help support your career path. So if we can ask for one thing, please do share with us your thoughts, ideas and feedback on how DevelopHer as a community can help you to continue progressing next year by emailing

If there is something we can take away from this weekend, it’s to be kind to yourself – give yourself time to breathe -and also make sure you celebrate each other successes.

We look forward to hearing your ideas, and can’t wait for 2018 – let’s bring it on!

DevelopHer’s Thoughts: The Googler’s Anti-Diversity Memo

-Written by Mai & Martyna, Board Members of DevelopHer –

As we reflect on how a Google employee’s memo caused up a stir in the tech world, it had the whole DevelopHer team talking. A software engineer at Google’s Mountain View’s campus claimed that biological differences between men and women were responsible for gender gap in technology. He criticised Google’s efforts on inclusivity and proposed suggestions on how to integrate women into software engineering better.

Since major media companies reported the manifesto going viral a lot has happened: Danielle Brown, Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity and Governance publicly responded to it, reaffirming her belief in the company’s strategy for diversity. Many people have expressed their opinions about the issue, including female and male software engineers. DevelopHer also contributed to the BBC Newsbeats’ piece. It took several days for Sundar Pichari, Google’s CEO to release a statement confirming that the article’s author had been fired.

The DevelopHer Team wanted to share their opinions on the article and the events that followed.


Cloaking harmful statements with ‘on average’ and ‘this may imply’ does not make them scientific or acceptable. Many ideas expressed in the piece are largely based on conclusions of evolutionary psychology – a field that is often criticized for ignoring cultural context and leaping to conclusions with inadequate evidence, and previously used to justify claims that certain groups of people are inherently more intelligent than others. While humans have always used ‘science’ to explain why groups of people are better than others, science has studied these differences extensively and they are not biological, but mostly cultural.

Statements such as saying that women, on average, have more ‘Neuroticism’ are harmful as women could, as a very simple real life scenario, be given easier technical projects in their workplace which could harm their career progression as a result. It also ignores the fact that these are likely to be symptoms of our patriarchal society rather than the causes.

If all he was saying was simply that there are differences between the sexes then that would be fine, as the point of gender equality is to fix some of the points he raised such as the male gender role being so inflexible. However, we can see that he is in fact only framing points to support his view. Saying that women on average have a ‘stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men’ could actually be an argument for why more women should hold senior software engineering jobs that involve managing teams.

However, I also do think that Google should have offered a more public rebuttal of Mr Damore’s argument rather than dismiss him in the way that they did. For such an innovative company, they could have done even better and used it as a bigger opportunity to facilitate political discourse and counter being called an ‘ideological echo chamber’.



The article reads like it’s a mostly logical argument made by a reasonable and opinionated person. I feel like the author admits gender gap in tech is a problem. He seems to understand it’s an issue we can all tackle by discussing it honestly and openly, and by including men in the dialogue. And it’s great that he’s speaking up about it. Yet, it feels like there’s something wrong and dodgy about it which makes me very uneasy – because it’s all rooted in the wrong assumptions.

Gender gap is a result of social, NOT biological differences. He seems to have based his “science” on his own, shallow perception having forgotten that human brains (irrespective of gender) are capable of learning. Both hard and soft skills if we work on it. The problem, however, is that women are very often deprived of the opportunity to even learn and accept that career as a software engineer is an option. We are socialised into wanting a “feminine” job, because that’s what the society thinks we should do. Those differences he says are natural are in fact a result of the way we are brought up and exposed to the modern world.

I do, however, agree with the author that we need to be able to talk openly and honestly about gender gap, and not exclude men from the conversation. That’s why I was a bit disappointed he was fired so quickly. I would have liked a dialogue to start – an exchange of facts and opinions to educate people. I feel like he wasn’t given the chance to learn more and change his judgement. Instead, he’s been left angry and jobless. And it all got a little ugly.

Share your thoughts about the memo and the events that followed!
Let @DevelopHerUK know on Twitter or Facebook .

Changing Careers & How to Get a Head Start

– Written by Mai Vo, Board Member of DevelopHer-

Changing careers is always hard, whether you’re thinking about breaking into or across tech. But communities like DevelopHer are here to support you through this change, and can give you the opportunity to meet people and make new connections at our events.

For those of you who are just starting to think about making a move, we’ve asked a few inspirational women from our DevelopHer community to give us their best piece of advice for a career change. We’ve weaved their wisdom into a few common threads to share with you.

One of our DevelopHer mentors, Denise Jones, Technical Product Manager at, began her journey by realizing that she needed new challenges, then noting down what about her job she liked, what she didn’t, and what she’d like to do instead.  Sometimes all it takes to start a new career is wanting a new challenge. We think that’s a great place to start, alongside these top tips below:

1.) Prioritise the career change

Kristina Dimitrova, founder of INTERLACED, tells us to get our priorities right and work hard for the things we really want. It’s not all safe sailing but it’s worth it. Knowing the move you want to make is the important first step to focusing your career change.

If this is something you really want to do, make the conscious effort to dedicate [yourself] to making the career change.
– Julia Mitchelmore, Software Engineer at Founders Factory

2.) Talk to people

Surround yourself with the right crowd.

Jess Williamson, Director at Techstars, tells us that it’s best to spend time talking to other people who have made significant changes, and to ignore those who are limited in their thinking or making us feel stuck on one identity or skillset.

Julia Mitchelmore, Software Engineer at Founders Factory, reinforces this message and suggests going to meetups, attending events, speaking to people in the industry and asking them to show you their work and take you through their day-to-day process.

If you’re jumping out to do something on your own then Hannah Mirza, Global Head of Media Partnerships at Mediacom, advises you to choose your partners and team carefully and to find people you can trust. The people you surround yourself with should question you, challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone for all the right reasons.

Remember to ask the hard questions and learn from people’s mistakes!

Speak to anyone who is passionate about their career. Ask them how they deal with setbacks.
Roslyn Scott, Founder & CEO of MobiCycle Ltd

3.) Be resourceful

We live in a digital age where knowledge can often be found as long as you know where to look.

Julia from Founders Factory advises us to read blog posts, articles and any material that we can get our hands on. Then take an online ‘Intro To’ course on a site like UDemy or Coursera. If you want to move into a programming role, start writing your own code, ask questions on Stack Overflow and learn through doing.

Jess Williamson, Director at Techstars reminds us that it’s key to start going to relevant industry events or meetups, soak up insights, teach ourselves lessons on YouTube/Wikipedia/online, and to stay confident.

We agree that confidence is key and the more you learn the more confident you’ll be, so don’t let the journey ahead deter you!

4.) Reframe your story

No previous experience should be wasted as there will always be some transferrable skills that you can bring over from your current job into your desired one.

Figure out how to tell your story in a way that somehow makes sense for the next thing you want to do – whether it’s re-framing the work you’ve done, focusing on lessons you’ve learned in different past positions, or conveying what sparked the new direction.
Jess Williamson, Director at Techstars

5.) Gain experience

Sharon Anne Kean, Product Director at Bloom & Wild, advises us to get some experience in the area we want to move into, and be prepared to volunteer at first. Do whatever it takes to get actual experience as this is pretty much always what potential employers will be looking for when you interview for your next role. Be humble and mindful when taking a step back – it may mean taking on responsibilities that you feel are trivial or beneath you, but applying your experience to making a success of this will help you learn fast and accelerate in your new career.

A final word of advise from Roslyn, CEO of MobiCycle is that we may want to change careers not because there is anything wrong with the industry, but because of the people within it.

 “If that is the case, you may benefit from working in your industry in a role that introduces you to people with different work habits.”

So remember, prioritise the career change, go talk to people, be resourceful, reframe your story, and get that experience out of the way! It may seem like a hard road ahead, but we’re here with you every step of the way and wish you the best of luck!

If you’re interested in networking at our future events, so you can get a head start, keep an eye out on our event page.


Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

– Written by Sarah Rench and Laura Chung

“We all live some version of Option B, so we should make the most of it”

On the 24th June, a few of the team members from DevelopHer attended an Intelligence Squared panel event featuring Sheryl Sandberg, CCO at Facebook, Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Activist for Female Education and Founder of Malala Fund and Adam Grant, American Author and Professor at University of Pennsylvania. The event theme was based around discussing ideas from Sheryl’s new book Option B and addressing how we can better face adversity, build resilience and find joy.

The panel explored the idea that everyone experiences some form of ‘Option B’. Whether it be experiencing loss of a loved one, loss of a job or changes to our health. However, rather than questioning whether or why these things happen, the discussions focused on how we face them when they do happen. Loss, pain and even stress can be a sensitive and somewhat silent topic at the workplace. However, we learnt there are open and expressive ways to cope with this.


In 2015, Sheryl’s husband, Dave Goldberg, suddenly died at the age of 47. Sheryl and her two young children were naturally devastated and this was still apparent when she explained this story at the event. When Sheryl was talking with a friend about the “first father-child activity without a father” they discussed a plan for someone to fill in. However, Sheryl stated “but I want Dave”. This is when her friend embraced her and said “option A is not available. So let’s just kick the sh** out of option B”.

From Sheryl’s devastating happenings, both her and Adam Grant worked on her latest book to explore the idea of coping with adversity, studying stories from different people, including Malala Yousafzai, who have recovered from hardship, both personally and professionally. “These people did more than recover, many of them became stronger”.

We’ve included our key learnings from the event:

How to help those dealing with adversity:

  • Show that you are there for them
    “Sometimes we are too scared to do the wrong thing, so we don’t do anything. Sometimes just showing up and being there is enough” (Sheryl)Helping those dealing with adversity is not easy. We are inclined to be respectful and sincerely acknowledge their loss by saying “Sorry for your loss. Let me know how I can help”. Sheryl points out that sometimes actions are louder than words. Being there in person, or face to face for someone who is dealing with loss, even if they say they don’t want you there, can mean a lot more than sending a message.“We have a social responsibility to be there (…) be with people, to sometimes cry with them. In our culture this is important for all communities.” (Malala)
  • Encourage to talk about it
    “Sometimes the times we need people to talk the most, are the times we speak the least.” (Sheryl)
    This speaks for itself, people experience harder pain when dealing with it by themselves. Opening and encouraging those to talk out it, even if it is difficult can in fact be more reassuring than not mentioning it at all.

Discover small ways to find hope:

  • Write down 3 moments of joy at the end of the day
    “Joy is something we have to take for granted and we can’t just celebrate the big stuff. It’s the little things we celebrate in our lives. So I write down 3 moments of joy at the end of every day. Prior to this I use to worry about the things that had or would go wrong. By doing this becomes my focus. I think this has changed my life.”
  • Accepting the situation and being positive for the future
    “It’s good to be hopeful and positive. If you are hopeless you waste your present and your future” (Malala)
    After Malala regained her speech and memory after her attack, she told herself and now others, that know whatever situation you are in, no matter how hard it is, you must believe things will get better. Malala emphasized that we have to accept we have stressful times, whether big or small, and we will get through it.

We know personally and professionally, there’s a lot going on in our lives. It’s the small steps in finding hope and being positive, that can help us grow as individuals and be stronger in the future. If you have any interesting topics that you would like to see DevelopHer address for future events and help us grow as individuals, please let us know


5 Actionable Tips For Effective Networking

– Written by Anna Abrell

Networking can be a very powerful facilitator of career progression, but how do we know whether we are networking resourcefully?

To help our community learn more about the best networking methods, we recently held a breakfast panel discussion in June around “How to network effectively,” sponsored by Moo and Sprinklr. Two of our board members were joined by two industry heavyweights who have many years of seasoned networking experience und their belt. On the panel (from left to right):

  • Eniko Tarkany-Szucs, DevelopHer board member and Solutions Consultant at Sprinklr
  • Sophie Dermaux, DevelopHer board member and Senior Account Executive at Hotwire PR, who was chairing this discussion
  • Hannah Mirza, Global Head of Partnerships at Mediacom
  • Kata Bleyer, a digital leader with a background at Coca-Cola and AllSaints

We were reminded that networking isn’t just about getting to know new people – it’s also about benefitting from existing connections, co-workers and hobbies. Below we’ve outlined five actionable networking tips that emerged from the discussion.

  1. Have a game plan

This applies to attending networking events. Kata Bleyer recommended: “Be prepared. Do your homework and think of some talking points beforehand.“

Prior to the event: Read the attendee list and identify interesting people. Then check out their LinkedIn profiles to see what their interests might be. Use this information to plan some conversation points.

At the event: When it comes to approaching a person that you have planned to speak to, Eniko Tarkany-Szucs advised that you shouldn’t be worried about coming off as overbearing. Simply walk over and start talking to them. After all, “Everyone has the same struggles. Making the first step to talk to someone feels intimidating, but is easier once you actually do it.”

After the event: Kata mentioned that she swears by her ‘little black book’, which she uses to remember people she has met. Keep track of whom you’ve met, along with a line or two about what was interesting about them, and follow up after the event.

  1. Use LinkedIn as your personal website

Our panellists all agreed that LinkedIn is a great tool for networking. Hannah Mirza pointed out that you should leverage LinkedIn regardless of whether you are looking for a new job or not: “Don’t just use [LinkedIn] as a CV – use it as your own personal website.” Our panellists’ main tips:

  • Make sure all of your information is always up-to-date.
  • Write articles about topics for which you have specialised knowledge or passionate opinions.
  • Delete rewards that you earned a long time ago, if you haven’t received any new ones since – no one will be interested in rewards from ten years ago, for instance.
  1. Mingle with your co-workers

The relationships you have with co-workers can have a significant impact on your career. To really benefit, you need to do more than just get to know people in your immediate team. Hannah Mirza noted, “You can only get so far if you focus on your immediate sphere. Go out and talk to people in other departments.”

Knowing what people in other departments do, and being able to ask them for help, can go a long way. So-called informal networks form when people from different parts of an organisation connect, and research has found that these networks can have an extensive impact on performance and innovation.

Hannah shared an example of a colleague of hers, who set out to network across the business as soon as she started her new job. This helped her settle in quicker and be promoted faster.

How can you get to know other people in your company better? Hannah’s tip was to simply approach people you haven’t met yet, and ask them if they’d like to grab lunch with you. If they can’t do lunch on that day, just put a date in the diary for another day.

  1. Get active

Our panellists pointed out that networking doesn’t just happen at networking events or in the office. Many work discussions also take place outside of work, and being part of those conversations can be very beneficial.

Find a hobby that you enjoy, and which you can do together with colleagues or at which you can meet other relevant people. Often, these can be sporting events. Kata Bleyer’s hobby is cycling, and she shared with us that attending cycling events has been great for networking.

  1. Nurture existing relationships

So you’ve made lots of great connections through work and through your networking efforts – don’t forget to nurture them. One piece of advice that came out of our discussion was to look back every few months and get in touch with people whom you haven’t seen in a while. A quick catch-up coffee is a great way to nurture a relationship and to find out what your network is up to.

We’d like to thank everyone who attended the event and our generous sponsors Moo and Sprinklr. If you missed this event and would like to come along to our next events, sign up to our newsletter and we’ll keep you in the loop.

If you’d like to speak at one of our next events, please sign up to our speakers list.


Breaking into Digital Media: Inspiring Stories from Female Pioneers

The digital industry is a dynamic, exciting and constantly changing landscape, so there is no surprise that jobs in digital are hugely desirable and sought after. These digital changes aren’t just a reflection to how businesses adapt to evolving internet behaviours, but now more than ever, women are paving their way in the traditionally male-dominated industry.

We’ve already seen The Drum making more of an effort to celebrate the young trailblazers in Digital and encouraging those aspiring to enter the industry. However, according to The Candidate, there are nearly twice as many men currently working in the digital sector than women. Of course, there are various reasons to why this is the case, and at DevelopHer we believe one way to overcome this is by inspiring women to break into digital media via the power of sharing connected stories of  digital pioneers.
So we share with you four inspirational ladies, and their background on how they entered Digital Media with a top tip for you to get ahead in your digital media career.

  1. Hannah Mirza, Global Head of Media Partnerships, MediaCom

    hannah mirza
    “I started my career at an American start-up as the seventh UK employee.  When you come in low in the ranks you can quickly become a Girl Friday, dabbling into whichever area they needed that week from sales, to creative, to marketing, office supplies to managing data.  I wanted to break that mould and move to a more corporate role where my skill sets in digital would be more developed so made the switch to media agencies.  I kept the entrepreneurial spirit I had learned in the start-up in this new environment, looking at how we could build business, or in this case departments of the agency in emerging areas. Looking back across now several companies I have successfully built seven departments from scratch for local and international agencies across Paid, Owned and Earned media.  Most recently for Mediacom I am leading a new division for digital transformation and Innovation consultancy.  Pairing blue chip client briefs with start-ups taking me full circle back to my beginnings”

Hannah’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media: 

  • Dedicate time in your work week to the trade press and read a diverse set of industry and broader technology literature to stay current.  I get most of my strategic ideas from the most unexpected places and I put this down to that time.
  1. Louise Tullin, Vice President of Marketing, Unruly louise tullin “After studying English Literature at Uni, I applied, by chance, for a job a tech PR agency in Reading. This was before the iPhone was invented and had no idea how ubiquitous technology would become. After moving to a London Tech PR agency working for the world’s biggest tech brands, I jumped in-house. I oversaw international PR across 12 countries for the world’s largest privately held backup and recovery software vendor. I then headed to Unruly, a little-known video and tech company who has just raised $25 million in Series A funding. Five years on and the company has been acquired by News Corp for £114m and we’ve just been shortlisted for the Best Strategic Marketing Campaign at the Chartered Institute of Marketing Awards.”

Louise’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media:

  • Take control of your own destiny: While it’s great to take advice from your boss, mentors and family, only you can take charge of your own career. When you’re starting out that might mean doing lots of work experience in as many different places and roles as you can. Sometimes the hardest part can be figuring out what you actually want to do! Hands on experience is the best way to decide that. Then keep learning. Study a course at night school or online, read titles like The Harvard Business Review, ask to do a role exchange within the commercial team of your company so you can really get a good feel for what your customers wants and needs. Finally, learn how to code! I never did and really wish I had!


  1. Kate Newton, Search Insights Manager, Microsoftkate newton“I started my digital career in 2000, a year after graduating from university having first initially worked in the classified ads section of my local free newspaper, and then contracted at the Office for National Statistics processing employment survey data. During this time, I was conscientiously looking and preparing myself for my dream role as a junior web developer, so I could be in the best possible position for when that job finally arose. Since then my career as evolved from being a web developer, to becoming a content creator and online journalist before moving to London in 2004 and embarking on a career in search engine marketing. My core belief and motivation is that I only do work which I find interesting, which challenges me intellectually and creatively, and that I’m genuinely excited and passionate about doing.”

Kate’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media:

  • Be kind to yourself: if you are embarking on the first 6 – 9 months of your new digital career you are going to be on a steep learning trajectory. You’re going to have days of extreme highs but also lows; when you’ll feel frustrated and wretched because you made a mistake – and you will make mistakes. Hold your hand up and own your mistakes and learn from them. Listen, observe and practice – you’re going to learn about 70% of your new role from doing the job and the other 30% from mentors and formal training. Nobody expects you to be an expert from day one, and neither should you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for feedback, and never apologise for feeling silly or stupid for asking your questions. Be kind to yourself, remain positive and open-minded and keep a healthy perspective on your growth and development. You’re doing great!
  1. Cathy McCarthy, Vice President of International Marketing, comScore cathy mcarthy
     “After graduating with a Marketing degree in the US, I started out in market research at Information Resources (IRI) then when client side to Dole Foods as a Marketing Manager. With dual citizenship in hand, the lure of working internationally never left my mind. So I took the plunge and moved to Belgium in my 20’s and then to London 6 years later and have lived in the UK ever since. After many years in traditional marketing, I had my first foray into digital at Capital One UK where I was given the responsibility to look after marketing campaigns for their non-card products.  At the time, I didn’t know anything about digital marketing but I learned quickly with our partner, a performance network.  The experience paid off and I enjoyed working with the team so much and getting my head around their technology that I joined the team as EMEA Marketing Director, helping to explain the world of ad tech to marketing managers just like me.  Now I look after international marketing for comScore and continue to be fascinated by digital trends that make our industry such an interesting place to work”

Cathy’s top tip for breaking into Digital Media:

  • You’re never too old to learn something new: With over 10 years invested in traditional marketing, I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to learn a new skill in digital marketing. I took the opportunity, kept asking questions and never looked back. My advice is to raise your hand and take a chance, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks and it will mean you’re never bored in your job.

Digital Media is one of many careers our community, mentors and speakers are part of. If you’re interested in more inspiration tips and career advice across the different tech industry, sign up to our newsletter here for more motivating articles.

Written by Laura Chung

6 Ways a Mentor Can Accelerate Your Coding Career

This guest blog is written by Designli

Learning to code is a lot of fun, but it can also be fraught with stress and confusion. Having the assistance of an experienced mentor to help you navigate your journey is invaluable. Mentors can provide a means of achieving your career goals.

Here are six ways in which a mentor can help you accelerate your career in technology.

1. Help in Avoiding Pitfalls

Mentors can provide valuable advice on ways to avoid common pitfalls. After all, your mentor was once a pupil, and there is a good chance that they have encountered some of the same issues that could hinder your progression. A mentor may be able to foresee problem areas and prevent you from making the same mistakes they made. When you are working with a mentor, not only will they be able to answer questions, but they will also be able to help further by showing you how to implement any changes that are needed.

2.  Motivation

Let’s be honest, a lack of motivation is something that plagues all of us from time to time. A mentor can provide the motivation you need to get back in front of the editor. Some mentors may put together study materials and test projects, to ensure that you are continuing to progress.

3. Customised Learning

One of the disadvantages of learning in a coding classroom setting is the lack of individual attention. When working with a mentor, you can discuss both your short-term and long-term goals, and together create a customised plan for achieving success. This can really help you identify and focus on the areas that will aid you in the future.

4. Help with the Unknown

Coding languages can be mysterious, and at times, downright confusing. Even if you have only been coding for a short time, you have probably encountered issues that seem to have no cause. When you are unaware of the origin of the problem, you may be left wondering where to begin solving it. A mentor can help demystify unknown errors and explain them in a way that is easy to understand.

5. Career Advice and Connections

The best career advice comes from someone who is currently working in the field, and coding mentors are no exception. If you are looking for advice as to which career path is right for you, and more specifically, which languages and software you should focus on learning to achieve your goals, there is no one better to ask than your mentor. Not only can they offer career advice, but there is a chance that they will have connections in the industry that could help you land a job.

6. Real-World Experience

While studying can prepare you for many situations you may face in the real-world, there are times when unique obstacles arise that do not have a concrete solution. Coding mentors can provide you with real-world examples of challenges that you may be forced to overcome, so you will be confident in a similar situation.


These were just a few reasons to consider using a mentor to help further your tech career.   If you are interesting in being mentored (whether you’re have a technical or non-technical background), read more on DevelopHer’s speed mentoring events.
You can also sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about future speed mentoring events during the year.

Why we should aim to be brave and not perfect: Learning through role models

Do something that scares you.

Fake it till you make it.

Embrace failure.

We’ve all heard these expressions so many times that they’ve become almost meaningless catch phrases rather than pieces of advice. They’re also much easier said than done, especially for women.

Do you recall ever wanting to do something but holding back because you thought you weren’t good enough? Have you ever tried something new and immediately stopped, thinking you were bad at it? And then of course, never attempted it again?


Reshma Saujani, the Founder of Girls Who Code, had similar thoughts about herself. As a Yale Law School graduate, she had always wanted to serve the public, but was afraid to take the first step. Finally, in 2010 at the age of 33, she decided to run for Congress. She was the first Indian-American woman to do that. She launched an election campaign, which for her felt like  jumping off a cliff but in fact she was set for victory.

The end result? She lost. Big time. It was a loss she referred to as “humiliating”. But it taught her a lesson, and it wasn’t one about failure – it was a lesson in bravery.

It became clear to her that very few women take a leap of faith and pick a career that they’re unsure of. Many of us go for roles that we know we are going to be good at, as we’re always worried that we’d under-deliver. We also very often think we lack the knowledge or the natural ability to accomplish something. Reshma understood that the desire to be perfect is instilled in girls from a young age and we grow up thinking that multiple attempts at something are a defeat.

“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.” – Reshma Saujani.

She had given an inspirational TED Talk about how the quest for perfection (not lack of ability) is responsible for the gender gap. By pursuing her desire to serve the society and help increase women’s share of the computing workforce, she founded Girls Who Code. Reshma thought that alongside teaching girls problem-solving, team work and confidence, programming would help them learn that imperfection is okay. Coding is all about trial and error; it’s hard, but extremely rewarding. It emphasises the importance of perseverance and self-belief.

Since 2012 when Girls Who Code was established, they’ve taught over 40,000 girls and operate in all 50 states of the U.S. They have partnered up with many Universities and major IT companies that support the program. But most importantly, they have given thousands of girls new-found confidence in their own ability and potential.

“..when we teach girls to be imperfect, and we help them leverage it, we will build a movement of young women who are brave and who will build a better world for themselves and for each and every one of us.”

At DevelopHer, we’re in awe of Reshma, who has done so much to help elevate women in technology. The way she’s mitigating the gender gap issue is just genius – she teaches girls the in-demand skill of programming and, at the same time, equips them in self-belief. Since losing in the first election in 2010, she’s founded a successful non-profit and ran as a Democratic candidate for New York City Public Advocate in 2013.


If there is one learning we can tell you to do based on Reshma’s experience is  –
Do something that scares you.
Because you can, and you will!

If you’re interested in also inspiring others and doing something out of your comfort zone, sign up to our speaker list here.

Written by Martyna Maron

International Women’s Day at UK Parliament

Last week, DevelopHer celebrated International Women’s Day on the 8th March at the House of Parliament, as, Sally Freeman and Sarah Rench from the team were invited to the Women in Parliament IWD event to listen and encourage others on how to be #BeBoldForChange.

During the event, we heard from a number of incredibly bold women who all aimed to fight for equality whether in or outside the Parliament and whether these changes be in our workplace or just in our day-to-day activities. These inspiring women, all mothers, were also tackling the art of balancing and fighting against the stereotypes.

We wanted to share with you the key highlights from these role models and how we can all think about being bold and making change.

  • Mims Davies, MP – and the first in her family to enter higher education
    – As Parliamentarians it is their our duty to mitigate against injustice

    Davies addressed the issue with the lack of MPs who are women. For many decades, female MPs made less than 5% of the total, but since the 2015 general election there are currently 195 female MPs (29%) out of a total 650 members of parliament. Despite there being more female MPs than ever before, Davies emphasised that we still need to reach 50% so we are really hitting quality and ensuring we’re paying the way for the rest of society.

  • Maria Miller, MP – Chair for the Women and Equalities Committee
    – We need more women into Parliament to have a stronger voice where Parliamentary decisions are made

    Miller discussed the importance of scrutinising the government and driving equality. Many MPs have pushed through policies relating to cross-government equality strategy and legislation, transgender equality, sexual harassment prevention and action in schools, women’s health, tackling the gender pay gap and many others. As we start to see progress in these areas, there is a lot more to do and support for these areas.


  • Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, MP – Previous accomplished lawyer
    – Nothing has come to a women’s agenda without a fight. It doesn’t matter which party you join, it just matters that you join

    Sheikh like many of us in DevelopHer believe equality means ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favourably on the basis of their specific protected characteristic including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.


  • Baroness Dido Harding of Winscombe and Chief Executive of Talk Talk
    Businesses need to be like rugby teams – they’re made up of different shape, size and looking employees.
    “Leading a diverse team can be harder than leading an identical team. It requires an acceptance of difference to get the best out of different people”.

    Baroness Harding commented that we are all unconsciously biased and it’s important that this is considered when we are building and managing teams. We need to accept that we are all unconsciously biased, in order to challenge and overcome it. A key lesson Baroness Harding also embraced was the importance for working fathers and male role models who also fight for equality in order for change to happen.


  • Fiona Cannon,  Director of Inclusion and Diversity at Lloyds, responsible for diversity and inclusion initiatives for 90,000 Lloyds employees and 30 million customers. Cannon was awarded the OBE in 2011 for services to equal opportunities and also recognised as a Working Families Pioneer by Working Families in 2009.

    – We are starting to challenge conventional wisdoms

    Cannon explained how Lloyds took bold steps in publishing their goal to increase the number of C-suite women to 40% and the importance of more women in positions of authority in all sectors. One approach to change in the workplace is to address that existing business models don’t always meet the needs of employees anymore and that we need to be investing in ‘local hubs’ for work. It’s important to adopt agile hiring or flexible working – and to start breaking the traditional 9-5 office based way of thinking in order to bring benefits for all parties: for employees, companies and clients.


If there is one key learning we could take away from this day of empowerment – is that change is starting to happen and we need to make sure we join work together to ensure change continues to increase equality in our day to day. Never underestimate the power of role models (female or male) and how this can help you be bold not just for now but for the future.

To read more about our Parliament experience, read ParliaWOMENtarians and the importance” by Sarah Rench from the DevelopHer team.

Keep up to date with our current adventures make sure your follow us on twitter @DevelopHerUK and Instagram.

Time to celebrate with The Drum’s 50 Women under 30 list

At DevelopHer, we’ve been popping the bubbly as 2017 brings some wonderful news to the DevelopHer team and community. This year, The Drum announced a list of the 50 women trailblazing through the digital industry before reaching the age of 30. With the results recently released, we’re so proud to see not one, not two, but three of the DevelopHer team had made the list this year! Not only that, but a member of our mentoring alumni also made the list too!

We wanted to congratulate every single woman who applied and got nominated. It’s encouraging to see the level of female talent that are making their marks in the tech and digital world, and also the hard work our team and community have done so far. We’d thought we’d share highlights of what inspires the nominated DevelopHer list.

Well done ladies, and we only hope more of our community make the list next year!


Laura Chung, DevelopHer Board
Regional Product Marketing Manager for International markets at comScore

  • What one piece of advice would you offer someone entering marketing today?
    Curiosity is a great starting point for any career progression, so I would advise someone starting out to never be afraid to push themself to learn more and to ask questions. Marketing in some aspects requires mastering the art of multi-tasking. If you are on top of everything, it gives you enough time to find the challenges that really excite you”

Ella Roche, DevelopHer Board
PR and Outreach Manager at The Honey Partnership

  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
    I see myself as managing director of the Honey Partnership US. We’re a fast growth business and I’ve been running Chinese and US accounts since I joined. I have a supportive management team and excellent mentoring.”

Eniko Tarkany-Szucs, DevelopHer Board
Senior Partner Manager, EMEA at Sprinklr

  • Do you believe diversity in the industry is changing for the better?
    I think there is a push for change and there are a lot of great organisations out there. Generally, I think there needs to be more women in leadership positions and/or male dominated fields who are prepared to mentor and serve as role models to other women.”

Lauren Ingram, DevelopHer Mentoring Alumni
Marketing Manager at 360i

  • What is your biggest career achievement to date?
    Moving to Berlin. I didn’t have a job offer, I just knew I wanted to work in the bustling tech scene there. So I bought a plane ticket and I sent a tweet to a chief executive of a startup I wanted to work for and went for it.”

Read more about our awesome DevelopHer team here and how you can get involved with DevelopHer.