“Ask for change”, “Be authentic”, and “Seek support while supporting others”– leaders in technology share expert advice to help empower women in the workplace

on October 16, 2020
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Influential women in technology share advice for industry peers at an event to launch Samsung Pioneers – a long-term programme by Samsung UK to address the issue of gender equality within technology and empower female talent at all levels

LONDON, England – 16th October 2020 – Samsung UK has announced its commitment to championing greater gender equality within the UK technology industry by launching Samsung Pioneers. Taking the form of an event series, Samsung Pioneers will act as a platform to bring together the UK’s most influential technology thinkers and advocates of women in technology to discuss and address the issues facing female talent across the industry. Led by Samsung UK, the programme will create an opportunity for a single unified voice to champion women in tech, bringing together brands, industry and non-profits to share advice, guidance and advocate for necessary change.


The first Samsung Pioneers event – a virtual interactive panel discussion and Q&A held on Ada Lovelace Day – took the form of an open and honest discussion between our speakers and audience on their personal views and experiences as women in technology. Topics covered included a conversation on progress made in gender equality over recent years, existing and potential challenges facing women in the industry, and how COVID-19 has exacerbated underlying issues for women in business.


“Most women within technology have experienced a challenge or discrimination at some point in their career due to their gender. This clearly needs to change as we watch the world demand a level playing field for all. Inequality in the tech sector must be addressed if we are to create a digital future that works for everyone and it is heartening that a brand with the scale and authority of Samsung is not only supporting the cause but actively pushing for change,” said Jacqueline De Rojas – President of TechUK. “The greatest threat to diversity is the belief that someone else will fix it. It is therefore incumbent upon us to play our part – the smallest of actions, kindness and encouragement or piece of advice from those who’ve ‘gone before’ can make the biggest of differences.”


Tess Smillie – Vice President, People Team, Samsung UK, Ireland & Europe HQ said: “Working women are facing more challenges than ever now; balancing and juggling even more demands in work and life, which this has been further exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact on homes and families. Progress towards equality has clearly been made, yet when you look at the stats, the slow pace of change is baffling when the line between business success and equality is so clearly tangible.


As a brand we don’t want to let all the unpredictable pressures of 2020 defocus efforts. We want to work with others in the industry to ensure momentum is not lost and if possible, to add pace. At Samsung we have the passion, reach and resources to help change the narrative in the UK. Samsung Pioneers is our platform to do this, and this event is the first step in our long term commitment to foster positive change.”


As part of the event, our influential women in technology were asked to share their top tips and most essential advice to help empower women within the industry to succeed and avoid any bias or challenges they face in progressing their career:


  • “Be authentic: I lacked the authenticity and value system that now informs everything I do. Life is a lot simpler when you are being your authentic self because under pressure, the real you always shows up.” – Jacqueline de Rojas, President, TechUK


  • “Failure is not an option – There is only success or learning. Look for the miracle in every situation because there is always one if you are prepared to look hard enough.” – Jacqueline de Rojas, President, TechUK


  • “Embrace your femininity. Don’t shy away from being a woman. Be loud, proud and confident in your ability to bring a different skill set and perspective. Never apologise for who you are.” – Tanya Weller, Director of Samsung Showcase, KX


  • “Collaborate with other women in tech, aim to become a job creator rather than a job seeker, mentor the next generation when you can and get involved in your local community to give insight on how accessible the world of tech can be.” – Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and CTO, BrightSign.


  • “Seek out others to support you and offer your support to others. There is so much value and power in shared experiences and learning through others. It can be as basic as having someone to talk with or to listen.” – Tess Smillie, Vice-President, People, Samsung Europe HQ, UK & Ireland.


  • “Be comfortable in your own skin. You will be most successful if you approach any task, challenge or opportunity in your own style and manner. Of course we all need to take on board feedback and guidance in order to grow, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of doing that that in a way that feels natural to you.” – Tess Smillie, Vice-President, People, Samsung Europe HQ, UK & Ireland


  • Develop your own purpose – think about what you stand for. Make sure you develop and maintain your network in and outside of your business and maintain it throughout your career. And don’t let the doubt niggle – say yes to opportunity! If your boss or whoever is giving you a new opportunity and they think you are ready, you are ready!” – Sharon Hegarty, Marketing Director, Samsung Electronics, UK & Ireland


  • “Surround yourself with people who inspire you and never be afraid to try something new – we learn so much by experimenting! Attend as many events as possible, and actively and positively engage on social media – there are some fantastic communities out there to meet like-minded people, share ideas and experiences, and potentially collaborate too!” Professor Sally Eaves, Forbes Technology Council, Senior Policy Advisor


  • “Look for a mentor and always reach out for support from those in the business and tech space you want to be in – and on that note my door on or offline is always open to chat and give advice“ – Professor Sally Eaves, Forbes Technology Council, Senior Policy Advisor


  • “Don’t wait for someone else to ask the important questions and if you have a strong belief or idea, don’t hesitate in bringing it to the table. What’s the worst that can happen? You get told no? You also might get told yes, a thousand times over. Ask for the promotion, ask for the salary review, ask for change.” – Nida Choudhary, Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager, Samsung Electronics UK & I


  • “Embrace being your own champion. We all crave approval and acceptance but nobody else has the power to lift you up greater than you do yourself. Do not let yourself be undersold by anyone; most importantly, yourself!” – Nida Choudhary, Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager, Samsung Electronics UK & I


Samsung is committed to gender equality and championing women throughout their education and careers with a range of programmes including its Back to School initiative, where employees visit schools to discuss the benefits of a career in technology, Code Camps and partnerships to provide support and education to women in the workplace with platforms including Global Diversity Practice and Everywoman.


This is underpinned by Samsung UK’s wider commitment to diversity and inclusion – which in the coming months will include a business-wide programme including a third party assessment of existing diversity processes, training in conscious inclusion, workshops for senior leaders, colleague resource groups and diversity and inclusion resources for all colleagues including webinars, internal events and online training.


As discussed at the event, the importance of technology in allowing both a remote and a flexible working approach is more important than ever. Samsung is leading the way in equipping people with the innovations they need in working life, including the Galaxy Note20 series which features an all-day intelligent battery with super-fast charging for hours of power in just minutes and hyper-fast and ultra-low latency 5G – powering both work and play.




Notes to Editors:

  • The inaugural Samsung Pioneers event took place virtually with a panel consisting of Jacqueline de Rojas, President, TechUK; Hadeel Ayoub, Founder and CTO, BrightSign; Sharon Hegarty, Marketing Director, Samsung Electronics; Tanya Weller, Director of Samsung Showcase, KX, Samsung Electronics; and Nida Choudhary, Senior Strategic Partnerships Manager, Samsung Electronics; hosted by Professor Sally Eaves, Senior Policy Advisor, Forbes Technology Council


About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

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