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MD Tech Leader Talks - March 2024

Manchester Digital's latest Tech Leader Talks event, sponsored by Slalom, brought together an impressive panel of female tech leaders to celebrate International Women's Day on Thursday 7th March 2024.

Chaired by Catherine Wilks, Client Partner at Slalom, the engaging discussion covered pressing topics like inclusion, the impact of generative AI, and advice for the next generation of talent. Catherine was joined on the panel by Doreen DiSalvo, Head of Brand and Communications at Hilti Northern Europe, Chi Chi Ekweozor, Founder and CEO of Attendist LTD, and  Jess McKenna, Head of Product Design and Research at BT Etc. 

Starting with a discussion on inclusion, the panel emphasised going beyond just representation to true belonging. Doreen DiSalvo stressed the importance of advocacy, mentorship and sponsorship to uplift underrepresented groups, whilst Jess McKenna advocated creating smaller, safe spaces where people were unafraid to speak up and could ultimately thrive.

Addressing Manchester's status as a tech hub, the leaders cited the city's talent pipeline from top universities, thriving creative scene, sense of community, and connectivity as major draws for businesses. The panel reflected on the changing landscape for tech events in the city, with Chi Chi Ekweozor sharing how the pandemic sparked a shift in how we approach events. All agreed on the value of in-person gatherings, but they need to be worth your time and you need plenty of notice when booking so that it fits around your schedule.

The emergence of generative AI prompted a lively discussion on both its potential to augment productivity and innovation, as well as the fears around workforce disruption. While tools like ChatGPT are rapidly evolving, the panellists agreed human ingenuity, emotional intelligence and in-person collaboration remain irreplaceable.

To round off the discussion, the tech leaders imparted wisdom to young professionals entering the industry amidst these tectonic shifts. Their advice included prioritising passion over paycheck, being resilient but unafraid to fail, finding mentors, saying yes to new opportunities and leaning into your unique strengths.

We’d like to offer a huge thanks to Slalom for sponsoring and hosting our March Tech Leader Talks event. If you’d like to pick up a conversation with Slalom  - their MD Caroline is happy to chat:

For more upcoming Manchester Digital events, keep checking our events page.

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