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Five women in tech to watch at GeekGirl Meetup Conference

Five women in tech to watch at GeekGirl Meetup Conference

This Saturday one of our favourite networks by and for women, GeekGirl Meetup, is hosting its 5th annual conference.

The confluence of technology and ethics is this year’s hot topic, and we’re excited to head along and hear the insights of some of the most inspiring women in the industry. Here’s a little introduction to five of the speakers: our women in tech to watch.

Ellie Hale, Digital Fellowship Lead at CAST

Photo: CAST


A girl after our own hearts, Ellie Hale started her career in communications. Hale now heads up the Digital Fellowship at CAST, the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology. CAST is driving the growth of tech for good by working with investors, non-profits, social enterprises and government.

CAST’s Digital Fellowship is a programme which helps non-profit leaders learn the fundamentals of tech and digital innovation, helping charities embrace digital and put it at the heart of their work.

Jillian Kowalchuk, Founder and CEO of Safe & The City

Photo: Jillian Kowalchuck


Jillian Kowalchuk runs the upcoming app, Safe & the City – a tool to help women navigate safer walking routes. With an aim to help eliminate sexual harassment in London, we’re interested to see what’s on the horizon for Jillian when the app launches soon.

Camilla Hayselden-Ashby, Product Lead at fieldmargin

Photo: filedmargin


Camilla Hayselden-Ashby is the Product Lead at fieldmargin, a platform elevating the future of farming and making farming more efficient. The app is a mapping tool providing a visual record of a farm, upon which farmers can draw maps, make notes and leave messages for their team – even without internet connection.

Devika Wood, Co-founder of Vida

Photo: Vida


Vida, a company harnessing technology and investing in high quality, in-home carers for the elderly and disabled, was born from Devika Wood’s very personal experience growing up. Having lived from the age of 10 with her grandmother, who lived with dementia and epilepsy, Wood witnessed the impacts of a “lack of continuity in carers”. Vida aims to solve this issue in the sector, leveraging tech to provide personalised, expert care through their carer matching and care plans.

Devika has an impressive background in both technology and healthcare, having left school at 18 to work for Google, subsequently working as a breast cancer research scientist at Imperial College London, followed by stints at Babylon and Healthcare Australia.

Scarlett Montanaro, Co-founder of CRACK + CIDER



A rough sleeper once said to Scarlett Montanaro and co-founder Charley Cramer: “People don’t give me money because they think I’ll spend it on crack and cider.” Fed up with campaigns encouraging the public not to give rough sleepers money, but not offering another solution, the pair created CRACK + CIDER, an online shop where people can buy useful items for the homeless.

To disrupt or to be disrupted: The top speakers to watch at Disruption Summit Europe 2017

As the age-old adage goes, either move with the times or get left behind. However, this year’s speakers at Disruption Summit Europe are taking this one step further – trail-blazing innovation in technology and business at break-neck speed.

With two unique conference tracks – Disruption and Innovation – running simultaneously during the day, and over 50 speakers representing every possible industry out there, this year’s event looks set to be one of the most exciting yet. There is a lot of hype out there around the likes of Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, with every other company claiming they’re ‘disrupting’ the status quo with this tech in their chosen industry. However, we’ve picked out our top speakers at the event who we really do think are changing the landscape of their field and wider society.

If you like the sound of our choices and want to talk to us about taking your PR to the next level, drop us a line by commenting below or sending us an email. We’ll be heading to Disruption and would love to meet you there!

Tina Woods, Founder of Collider Health

Tina brings to the stage years of experience in the medical industry, having established her own medical education consultancy helping pharma and other healthcare companies educate doctors on numerous issues.

She recently founded Collider Health, to spearhead new thinking and action in the medical profession as traditional healthcare companies struggle to innovate fast enough in the face of unprecedented technological advances. A passionate advocate for socially-driven collaborations with all types of businesses, expect pioneering ideas to come from her panel.

Priya Lakhani, OBE and CEO of CENTURY Tech

Founder of CENTURY Tech, Priya is responsible for bringing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to teachers and students. Launched in October 2015, the platform uses AI to create a truly personalised learning environment for students – a genuine step-change in the approach to using technology in the classroom. Not only does the AI-enabled platform adapt and learn with students, it also provides invaluable real-time insights for teachers.

A genuine thought leader in the education sector, Priya’s talk is guaranteed to make you take a second look at how children are educated today and the role that technology has to play in their learning journey.

Dr Louis Rosenberg, CEO of Unanimous AI

Widely regarded as a prolific inventor, Dr Rosenberg created the first immersive Augmented Reality system in the world, “Virtual Fixtures” in the early 90s at the US Air Force’s Armstrong Labs. Since then, he has been granted 350+ patents on AR, VR, AI and human-computer interaction.

He founded Unanimous AI to pursue his interests in both collaborative systems and human-computer interaction. A genuine visionary, his talk on “the rise of the human hive mind” is sure to be an eye opener into where we really are in terms of AR, neural machine learning and how such technologies are impacting humanity.

Nicholas Oliver, CEO & Founder of

The ultimate question in today’s data-driven world is “who owns the data?”. Founder of, Nicholas Oliver is putting ownership back in the hands of the people by giving individuals near absolute control over the access, use and value of their personal data. One of the first definitive responses to this 21st century question.

With experience spanning commercial and strategic innovation for Fortune 50 companies and start-ups around the world, audience members keen to hear about the future of Big Data will be in for a real treat.

Glenn Wilkinson, Cybersecurity expert and formerly of SensePost

Hacking has become a serious business, with those on both sides of the fence making immense strides in terms of advancing cyber technologies. A widely renowned cybersecurity expert, Glenn worked for SensePost, SecureData’s elite consulting arm known for its impeccable track record in frontline cybersecurity.

With predictions telling us that it takes 284 days for a company to realise they have been hacked, it’s never been more important for businesses to understand and mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. From Glenn, expect to hear an honest depiction of the current cybersecurity landscape as it stands for consumers.

Luciana Caravahlo Se, Bus Dev and Partnerships at REWIND

Before joining REWIND, Luciana channelled her passion for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to help build the Realities Central London – an innovation space, academy and incubator for AR, VR, MR and AI.

Incredibly passionate about using tech for good, she harnessed her knowledge of AR/ VR to also co-found Unfold Inclusion in XR, a social impact venture to improve VRAR opportunities for underrepresented groups in the industry. Luciana’s talk is not one to miss for the social enterprising of you amongst the audience!

Bindi Karia, Innovation Expert & Advisor, Super Connector

Having worked with and around technology start-ups for her entire career, Bindi is a master at connecting the dots between founders, corporates, the government and investors. She honed her skills as a consultant at PwC and a corporate at Microsoft, and recognising the great impact entrepreneurs have had on her over the years she is currently focused on building a ‘Boutique Advisory’ to help connect individuals and companies across these platforms. Her talk is guaranteed to be filled with gems of knowledge from someone who has been there and got the entrepreneurial t-shirt.

Dear Theresa, love from Tech

Dear Ms May,

It’s us, the tech world. We know you’ve been busy recently, what with your whirlwind prime ministerial campaign and now moving in to your new home at number 10. We know against the current political backdrop, it’ll also be a while before you get a chance to read this – from the looks of things, you’re going to be quite preoccupied steadying the boat as the country contemplates its future role within Europe and beyond.

But as a sector full of budding start-ups and pioneering entrepreneurs, we’d be lying if we didn’t tell you we’re nervous. Banks and investors are already pulling funds out of the UK left, right and centre, and Berlin is waiting in the wings to snap up our talent. It may simply be a matter of waiting until the dust has settled to find out what the real impact of this upheaval has been, and we are a resilient bunch, but it’s a sad fact that some of us will not survive this.

We’re always up for a challenge, and we’ll work hard to keep our economy thriving and ensure the UK stays at the forefront of technological innovation for generations to come – but we need your help. A few promises to allay fears while you tackle some of the bigger fish will do just fine.

Image courtesy of Kristoffersonschach on Flickr

Image courtesy of Kristoffersonschach on Flickr

Please, reassure our talent

It’s no secret you’ve been vocal about your views on immigration as former Home Secretary – you were strict with foreign students applying for work visas here and have considered high entry requirements for those from outside of the EU previously. Then again, you were also instrumental in developing the Tech Nation Visa Scheme.

What we ask is that you consider the position of our current EU entrepreneurs and employees facing an uncertain future – they need to know that they remain welcome and that they can continue to develop their businesses and careers here for the long-term. Even with the best will in the world, we simply don’t have enough STEM graduates coming through the system to keep up with demand, so we must embrace foreign talent.

Reconsider the Snooper’s Charter

You put the Investigatory Powers Bill forward with good intentions to help tackle threats to national security – that in itself is, of course, no bad thing. But when that is coupled with authorising the state to bulk collect UK citizen’s personal data across every digital device they own, it’s something that few technology companies would condone or indeed want to be a part of.

Technology is a sector filled with unknowns, mysteries and jargon – the least we should be able to promise our users or customers is that their privacy is secure with us.

Allow us to abide by EU standards

In a similar vein, Europe is very particular about the way their citizens’ data can be used and stored due to privacy concerns – something that led to the collapse of the Safe Harbour arrangement last year and is bringing its replacement, the Privacy Shield, under intense scrutiny.

If the UK leaves the Union, the legislation will no longer directly apply – but unless we abide by the same standards, we will experience many of the same challenges currently being faced by the US and it could take years for us to rebuild these relationships. We’ll find ways to cross borders of course, but it’s just one extra hurdle.

Encourage diversity

Your gender shouldn’t define you – you’ve worked hard to get to your position and are extremely qualified for your new role on the global stage. Yet there’s no denying that you have navigated what is an extremely male-dominated sector, and for many, will represent a world of possibility as one of the few that ‘made it’.

Technology is an industry that faces similar challenges in diversity, all the way from the classroom, where few young women are opting for STEM subjects, right through to the boardroom. Help us reach minorities and let them know they all can and are very welcome to take leading roles within the digital economy.

We know you want to just get on with the job, so we won’t keep you any longer, but we hope you’ll take these requests into consideration to give the industry the best tools with which to face the fight ahead.

We wait with bated breath,

Yours sincerely,


You can read an abridged version of this letter in City AM’s Letters to Editor, 15/07/16

How to pitch to business journalists

Britain has a rich tapestry of media outlets catering specifically to a business audience. In addition to the business pages in the likes of the FT, Times, Telegraph, Standard and City A.M. there are a whole host of dedicated business magazines and websites all keen to share interesting success stories and advice with their audience.

It's essential to understand what journalists need.

It’s essential to understand what journalists need

Many companies when starting out choose to do their own PR in a bid to drum up some media interest. We deal with the business press (both national and specific) on a daily basis and hear the same answers time and again when we ask what they want from PRs.

With this in mind here are a few key tips on what business journalists are looking for, in order to maximise the chance of a piece being used:

  • Be thorough – It sounds so simple but know who you’re pitching to and what they’re writing about. If someone focuses on green businesses and you’re sending a release about a new runway the delete button will be hit faster than you can say ‘bad pitch’
  • Be selective – Journalists are busy and simply don’t have enough time to sift through a mass of information on a business. Be selective in which information you choose to put forward – top detail first followed by a couple of supporting points is a good way to give them a flavour without bombarding them
  • Be honest – Company owners love to talk about their business and quite frankly if they didn’t they would be in the wrong business. However, it is important to realise that what is interesting to you is not always of interest to journalists. Be honest with yourself when selecting your key points and ask, “Does this pass the ‘so what’ test?”
  • Have stats on hand – Telling someone your business is great is the same as a waiter telling you everything on the menu is great. With journalists more pressed for time than ever before you have to tell them immediately why you are great, supporting this with impressive figures. If you say sales are growing say by how much or what percent, talk about staff growth, turnover figures, future projections etc.
  • Be open – If a journalist responds with more questions don’t shut down. They clearly want to explore making the story fit and you need to work with them to make that happen. Many have hundreds of emails a day pitching ideas so be happy you’re over the first hurdle and give your all to make the story stick.
  • Provide pictures – Again due to time and budget constraints many publications simply can’t send a photographer out for every story they do. Invest in a high-quality creative shoot and show the journalist in your pitch that you have images to support the story. This fills more space on the page for them (making their job easier) and makes their magazine and or website look better. It’s a win-win.

If you’ve tried the above and are having no luck then why not speak to The PHA Group’s E&B team? We deal with these journalists every day and are confident we will find a way to generate some powerful coverage in Britain’s top business titles.