Celebrating the Women of Level39: International Women’s Day 2022
8th March 2022
According to PwC’s 2021 report, ‘Women in Tech: Time to Close the Gender Gap’,
- 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice.
- 78% of students can’t name a famous female working in technology.
- 16% of females have had a career in technology suggested to them (33% of males).
- 5% of leadership positions in the technology sector are held by women
The systemic underrepresentation of females in the tech sector is attributed to several factors – this may include failing education systems, the media and subconscious gender bias (amongst many others). PwC’s report clearly shows that we have a long way to go before we see a significant shift in the narrative, however, we can all play an integral part in accelerating the progress through better education, endless support and encouragement – navigating more women towards tech careers.
The Level39 community is fortunate to host many inspiring female innovators, leading in the tech sector. We caught up with a few of them to hear their stories and offer insights to females, of all ages, to take their chance in tech.
Daria Sopelkina, Director UK, Room 8 Studio
Daria, a Ukrainian-born entrepreneur, wears many hats. As the Founder of tumchi, a personalised nutrition start-up, and co-Founder of DataMix, a software development studio, Daria’s career drive is one to venerate. In 2020, Daria joined Room 8 Group as a UK Director and became part of the Level39 community.
Room 8 Group is one of the largest independent game development and AAA art production companies in the world, with six worldwide locations, with a recent expansion in Spain, Romania, Poland and Serbia. Room 8 has worked on games in some of the world’s biggest franchises including Doctor Who, Monopoly, Angry Birds, The Walking Dead and Call of Duty.
Daria’s advice, “The technology sector can transform our world and it offers many opportunities for women. Maintain your values. Dream big. Take risks and don’t be afraid.”
Anna Berdnyk, Head of Sales, Room 8 Studio
Born and raised in Kharkov, Ukraine, Anna started her career as an International Relations Manager in Industrial Water Treatment and Paper Production. It was in 2015 when Anna changed direction and was offered her first job in Game Development, moving to Kiev to join Room 8 Studio as a Business Development Manager. In 2021, Anna succeeded the role of Head of Sales for the EMEA region and moved to London to continue her career at Room 8 Studio – a team which has a strong female lead and representation.
Anna’s advice, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Azahara Egea, Co-Founder & COO, Sync Money
Encountering an issue and building a solution is how so many great companies are found. This was the case for Azahara, who co-founded Sync. as a result of her own personal frustrations with traditional banks. Azahara quickly discovered a gap in the market for simple money transfers and made it a reality. Azahara and her co-founder Ricky have worked incredibly hard to build a strong brand and outstanding product, which delivers an all-in-one service that supports users with all their financial needs. The ultimate goal is to help customers budget, spend, and track their money in one place, offering a unique user experience as a money management platform with tailored insights. Sync money is exemplary of a progressive start-up led by women, and leading positive change in the Fintech sphere.
Azahara’s advice, “Always follow your heart. Be loyal and committed to your passions. It’s the only way to make your career not just a job but a lifestyle. We spend most of our time working, why not enjoy it?”
Rashee Pandey, Head of Partnerships and Growth, Innovate Finance
Thai-born-Indian, Rashee, is Head of Partnerships and Growth at Innovate Finance, the independent industry body that represents and advances the global fintech community in the UK. Rashee has been working in fintech since its nascent days in London, and prior to this Rashee led marketing and communications for high growth fintech’s including Bankable and Applied Blockchain, fellow Level39 members. She enjoys working with start-up teams as well as global financial institutions and is passionate about driving the voice of fintech and innovation globally. Rashee’s passion and drive to lead diversity is commendable and contributes to the positive shift in ED&I across the sector. Rashee is a member of a proactive working group of the Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce, commissioned by the HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Rashey’s advice taken from the Bhagavad Gita – “You are what you believe in. You become that which you believe you can become.”
Dia Thanki, Founder and CEO, Alchemy Machines
Dia is Founder & CEO of Alchemy Machines, a VC-backed, next-generation Conversational Intelligence startup. The company has developed a platform that transcribes, analyses & summarises industry-specific meetings, using cutting-edge Natural Language Processing, Speech Recognition & Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning.
Dia previously set up a music company & worked as an international recording artist, performing at high-profile events. She also spent several years as a Technical Programme Manager for various companies including Apple & Tech Nation. She is an alumni of Cass Business School & Cranfield University. After graduation, she trained for five years as a martial artist in Wing Chun Kung Fu.
Dia’s mounting success is often recognised with various awards and acknowledgments including winning Innovate UK grant funding and international trade missions.
Dia’s advice, “Working in the technology sector increases receptivity to innovation. When you’re surrounded by the best, you gain multifaceted technical skills and business acumen. It all starts with strong self-belief.”
Amber Cella, Co-Founder, Datatonic Academy, and CSR lead, Datatonic
After studying English at university, Amber began her career in a corporate sales role before soon realising that the corporate world was not for her. After moving to a smaller company, she reaped the benefits of experiencing different verticals within a business and had the luxury of autonomy over her work – very quickly, Amber made a big impact.
The pivotal career decision came when she took the leap to set up a new AI-driven technology venture within a business she had worked at for a few years. The founders needed someone who was “good with clients but also loved maths and data”, and who wasn’t afraid to learn on the job. Building a business from scratch allowed Amber to recognise her strengths as a COO, balancing multiple priorities.
In the midst of the pandemic, Amber moved to her current role at Datatonic, helping to explore new ventures within the business. This resulted in Datatonic’s new Academy which successfully launched in the summer of 2021 and has experienced rapid growth. Explaining why she finds her role so fulfilling, she says, “Building the road as you’re walking on it can sometimes be daunting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”.
Amber’s advice, “Be a radiator, not a drain. In your work life this translates to thinking about what you can give, not just what you can take. All too often I’ve sadly seen people desperate to take credit for other’s ideas or work and sometimes actively treading on others in their business or industry to get ahead. In my experience, trying to be a positive influence in your organisation, treating everyone with respect and taking the time to listen, mentor and lift others up not only feels good but pays dividends. A lot of the great relationships I’ve built in my career just being friendly and genuine have led to amazing opportunities and learning experiences, so I would advise anyone to take the time to help others where you can”
Maria Scott, CEO and Founder, TAINA Technology
Maria is CEO and Founder of TAINA Technology, a fully automated FATCA and CRS validation platform. Building TAINA has taught Maria just how amazing female power is. She has been incredibly lucky to benefit from advice, support and investment from phenomenal female role models, Vin Murria and Joo Hee Lee and, and at later stages, from Kara Buyn at HSBC. Maria strongly believes that when women support women, they are unstoppable – and we couldn’t agree more.
Maria is a strong advocate when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and much of this comes down to female role models at the very early stages.
Maria’s advice, “Women win with love, inclusiveness, hard work and we have no ego to waste energy on! We are also very lucky to live in an era where truly strong men are not threatened by our success, they are there to support us. To all the amazing, strong, inspiring, hard-working, and talented women out there – your time has come! Trust your instincts and go for it!”
Amy French, Director at Level39
“At Level39, we are proud to be home to so many inspiring female leaders in fintech, cyber security, green and sustainable tech, AI, gaming, life sciences and more. This Community Story aims to spotlight the growth and successes of our female innovators and we hope that the valuable advice shared will inspire and encourage the next generation of female tech talent.”
We are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and this year’s message to #BreakTheBias. Level39 continues to support women at all stages of their journey in tech through our events, activities, and curriculum.
To see how our Canary Wharf community is supporting International Women’s Day, please see online here.