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14 Mar 2018

Smoothwall's Women in Tech Series: Claire Daniels

Claire Daniels - Head of Marketing

Did you know that women currently make up just 17% of tech jobs in the UK? As part of our Tech Inclusion Programme we want to address this gender disparity, encourage more females to consider a role in technology and celebrate the female role models here at Smoothwall. Which is why we’re running a series of interviews with our own women working in tech.

#1 Tell us a little bit about yourself, including your current role and what you like to do in your spare time My name is Claire Daniels and I’m the Head of Marketing at Smoothwall. I actually wear quite a few hats, as not only do I head up this department, but I’m also our online safety ambassador, speaking in schools both to teachers and pupils about the dangers of the internet and how to safe online. I’ve also been lucky enough to speak on TV and radio a few times about online safety, and on top of this I’m also the Tech Inclusion Programme Lead; running an initiative designed to get more women and girls into tech careers. In my spare time I renovate houses with my partner, so I’m quite into interior design but also fashion, and I love to shop! I also try to make me time by going to the gym, reading books, and having long baths. I’m an animal lover; I love my cat Harry and I’m a vegetarian, and have occasionally done some campaigning for animal rights.

#2 Briefly explain your career to date, including any pivotal moments along the way I completed a marketing degree in 2010 and luckily went straight into a marketing career. I’ve always enjoyed marketing, and have worked in a number of sectors including sports, interiors, manufacturing, security and tech. I’ve always been ambitious, and was always looking for my next step up the career ladder. My most pivotal career moments before working at Smoothwall have probably more been centred around my own ventures. I’ve set up and sold multiple companies, including a vintage clothing company and a nightclub events company.

#3 Did you always know that you would work in technology? Not at all. It wasn’t until my previous role, where I worked at a Google partner company, that I really got a taste for tech. I love how fast paced it is and the constant evolution and innovation. Getting a glimpse into how Google works really inspired me to want to work at a larger tech company, so I was really pleased when I got the position at Smoothwall.

#4 Women make up only 17% of all tech jobs in the UK, what’s your opinion on this? I think this is a crying shame. Evidence shows that a diverse workforce is the best workforce, and the lack of gender representation in my industry is shocking. It’s because of this fact that made me launch the Tech Inclusion Programme.

#5 What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry? As it is quite a fast paced and innovative sector, it is also a sector that is prepared to tackle social issues full on. There aren’t many other industries that you would hear making such public noise about gender diversity, and you can even rely on tech companies to lead other initiatives, such as around environmental or political factors.

#6 What has been your greatest moment of success? Getting nominated by my team as Business Role Model of the Year in the Women in IT Awards was a huge moment for me. Appreciating that other people recognise the effort you put into your role, and not only that but a judging panel agreed to shortlist you, is truly phenomenal. I’ll be eternally grateful for my two consecutive years nominated for this award.

#7 Who inspires you and why? Up until starting at Smoothwall, I have had a lack of role models in my working life. But the amazing people I work with constantly inspire me to do better. Alongside this, I’ve always been a believer in helping those who don’t have a voice - this is a key driver of my want to help animals - and therefore I’m inspired to make the world a better place for those who I can help.

#8 How do you strike your own work / life balance? I’ll be honest, this is something I still struggle with, but I’m not ashamed to say it. My job isn’t just something I do 9-5, it’s the person I am; I am passionate about it and therefore find it hard to turn that off. That being said, I’m at my most relaxed when on holiday or having fun with friends.

#9 What career advice would you give a young person who wanted to join the IT profession? Go for it - what have you got to lose? A lot of young people make their choice of employer based on the want to make an impact on the world. The tech sector is the place where you can do this.  

For more information on Smoothwall’s Tech Inclusion Programme, click here. Please comment below with any questions.

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