One of the Tech Women Celebration 50 - women changing the ratio of the tech workforce
Joanna Drake is CIO of The Hut Group (THG) and has developed a career which began with building platforms to demo 3D modelling software and progressed via helpdesk roles and service delivery management. It's all built on a love of fixing things.
"I love problem solving," she says. "I love really big issues that other people would probably run a mile from."
Now CIO of a large, complex and dynamic organisation, Joanna is practicing those skills day in day out. She is also committed to building diverse and inclusive technology teams - mainly because she believes that its the most successful, and ultimately the only sustainable approach.
"I always talk to the team about inclusivity. We must build a culture that includes everyone because if we don't, we'll hire people from different backgrounds and not be able to retain them. Everybody in a team needs to feel that they have a place and a contribution to make."
Joanna is committed to making tech more diverse, not just in terms of gender but also in terms of the socio economic backgrounds of those entering the industry. To this end the Women in Tech Group at THG works with the charity Tech She Can, which is dedicated to providing relatable role models for school age children, and provides learning resources for all age groups. THG is involved with the Tech She Can Champion program, whereby they visit schools to inspire children from all backgrounds about the possiblities of a tech career. She comments:
"This is where we fix it - at the beginning. It fits in with our work in schools and it's a big part of our sustainability strategy. If young people can hear about what a great career tech is from people that don't all look or sound the same, they'll be able to more easily imagine themselves in one."