EVERYDAY SUPERSTARS

Celebrating women who have a passion for technology and digital, inspiring the next generation to dream bigger.

Imaginify was a ... Digital Design Creator

Kit works in the private education sector, motivated by an urge to change people’s lives.

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FACTFILE

1

I’m an Apple Distinguished Educator, one of only 20 appointed in the UK in 2017, and only a couple of thousand of us worldwide.

2

I’m a girl guide leader, with over thirty girls in my unit doing everything from crime scene investigation to charity cake baking and campfires each week.

3

I love to sing and am a member of a small a cappella choir of 10.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I work in the private education sector to create digital resources, chiefly, multi-touch books (eBooks). The school I work at is 1:1 iPad with students 7-18, and aiming to create a digital learning backpack that meets the needs of students. I also teach key stage 3 computing.

How did you get into that?

I’ve always enjoyed working in the education sector more than in commercial industry. There is a moral satisfaction and pride in knowing you’ve made a difference to someone’s learning rather than someone’s bank balance. I’ve previously worked in a further education college in Learning Technologies, helping teachers include technology in their teaching and learning, and although I didn’t realise at the time, it was one of my happiest years in employment.

I graduated from university with a first in Internet Computing from the University of Hull, and initially joined a small company as a web developer, but tried on many ‘hats’, which is to be expected in a small team. The company moved into new territories in augmented reality, but it wasn’t smooth sailing, so I had to move on, which was for the best.

I’ve been in my current role for about 18 months.

Do you have a mentor or anyone who supports you?

I have a fantastic mentor, who is both a Director at the School and Head of Department. He has been incredibly accommodating and supportive which made an enormous difference. My role is fairly unusual, and although I’ve been a self-starter, the suggestions, encouragement and advice has made a tremendous difference. I doubt I would have taken on so many challenges without the support network behind me, both in my mentor and in my colleagues.

In the past I’ve been lucky to work with other great mentors (often chaps, due to the gender balance) but it’s not always been the case. I hope in future I’ll fulfil the role for others.

WHO INSPIRES YOU?

The energy and enthusiasm of the young women I work with at school and in Guiding keep me inspired daily. It’s always someone’s first time to try something, discovery of a new skill or interest. Reminds me not to get set in my ways and keep learning. Outside of this it is educators, both in my own workplace and more distant. I’m always inspired by a good Tuesday evening #ADEchat (Apple Distinguished Educator Twitter chat). I’m more inspired by someone like me than someone in the popular public eye. 

What do you wish you'd known 10 years ago? What difference would knowing that have made?

10 years ago I was finishing my degree, and I wish I had known my interest in computing would remain firmly linked to education, rather than becoming demoralised in the corporate world. Beyond that, things worked out ok despite my decisions, and the exploring and challenges I faced in my teens helped shape me.

What are the best things about being a woman in an industry dominated by men?

To have my voice heard as an equal. Women in the industry environments I have worked in have often been in telesales, administration, finance and other non-technical roles. Although I could overcome stereotypes and differentiate myself, the overall perception that women were best in those roles making the tea, or in PR is still ingrained in some management views. Sadly, it is also ingrained in some client views where my decisions on a project could be disputed, but if backed up by a male colleague, would only then be accepted.

Thankfully, in the education sector, I no longer encounter this quite so noticeably.

What advice do you have for girls or women considering a tech role?

Don’t be afraid to not know. There are many routes to a solution, and not all of them will have been invented or available by the time you get into your role. Focus on your skills rather than your knowledge – technology moves so quickly you need to adapt, and the skills of breaking down a problem, researching and collaboration will always be invaluable. Enjoy discovering.