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Leading women in tech: Turing Fest edition

March 8, 2023

According to Tech Nation, only 19% of the tech workforce are women, with only 22% of directors being made up of women. 

Despite this, we’ve been honoured to welcome many inspirational, high-achieving and boundary-breaking women to speak on-stage at Turing Fest over the years. And, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, we’ve put together just some of the incredible women that have shared industry-leading tactics and insights at Turing Fest.

If you enjoy watching their talks and take something valuable away that you’re able to apply to your role, team or company then do us a favour and give them a shout-out on socials. Let’s champion women in tech together. 

Joanna Lord – How to Operationalize Growth for Maximum Revenue – 2017

Joanna Lord is an experienced CMO, board member, tech advisor and investor with over 18 years of marketing leadership experience. 

Joanna previously served as CMO at Skyscanner, where she helped scale the company to over 100m users a month. Prior to that, she was CMO at ClassPass, the monthly membership providing access to health & wellness facilities across the globe, for four years leading marketing, brand, creative and product marketing. 

In her 2017 talk – How to operationalise growth for maximum revenue – Joanna talks you through the many levers of growth, and how to organise your teams, processes, and channels to maximise growth. She gives examples of how the best companies in the world created growth engines and leaves you with tactics to bring back to your teams and beat out your competitors.

Who’s this for:

GROW: marketing and growth teams.

Emily Anhalt – Weaving Mental Health into the DNA of Your Company – 2019

Dr. Emily Anhalt is Co-founder & Chief Clinical Officer at Coa, providing expert-led mental and emotional fitness service for employees.

Emily is a renowned psychoanalytic psychologist, having spent the past decade working clinically with entrepreneurs, and conducted extensive research about how people can improve their mental and emotional fitness. She has spoken around the world about proactive mental health and emotional fitness, and has collaborated with some of the fastest-growing technology companies and VC firms in the world including Google, Asana, Github, Unilever, and Bloomberg.

During her talk – Weaving mental health into the DNA of your company – at Turing Fest back in 2019, Emily shared her thoughts on the state of the tech industry at the time, and how a universal understanding that for a company to be successful, its employees need to be emotionally and physically healthy. 

Stress, burnout, anxiety and, let’s face it, the universal pains of adulting, drastically affect the bottom line. There are plenty of apps and products that claim to help with this, but a true culture of prioritising mental and emotional health must be built from the inside out. 

In what was one of the top-rated talks of 2019, psychologist and founder Dr. Emily Anhalt explores the importance of supporting your team with their emotional fitness whilst giving practical, concrete tips for building a true culture of wellness.

Who’s this for:

LEAD: Founders, leadership teams, HR and department managers/heads of departments. 

Janna Bastow – Power of Product Pricing – 2021

Janna Bastow is co-founder of ProdPad, a software that helps product managers plan and deliver better products. Janna also organises ProductTank events around the world, including Mind The Product, a global community of product managers. She enjoys inspiring great product conversations by asking: “What problem are you trying to solve?”

After making her Turing Fest debut way back in 2017 with her talk – The power of product culture – Janna returned in 2021 to give her follow-up talk, The power of product pricing

During her talk, Janna highlighted how no one ever seems to talk about pricing, and yet it’s the key to whether your product succeeds or fails.

Sharing real-life examples from ProdPad, she shows how pricing is an extension of your product, something that can be experimented with in lean ways for truly profitable results!

You’ll hear about pricing vectors and packaging considerations for your product, and learn how to test and experiment in ways to maximise your learning by taking advantage of feedback loops and buying signals.

Stop underselling yourself and leaving money on the table! Unlock the power of pricing for your product.

Who’s this for:

BUILD: Product managers and teams, as well as marketing, growth and sales teams.

April Dunford – How To Craft a Story That Sells – 2022

April Dunford is the world’s leading expert on product positioning. She has worked with over 200 fast-growing technology companies to accelerate their growth through clear, compelling positioning. Previously, April has run marketing and product teams at a series of seven successful technology startups. Alongside this, she is a board member, investor, and advisor to dozens of high-growth businesses and authored the bestselling book Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get it, Buy it, Love it.

April’s talk – How to craft a story that sells – was the highest-rated talk in 2022, and it’s easy to see why when you watch it back. 

We understand stories are a great way to connect with customers but few startups really take advantage of a good narrative to help them market and sell their products. Are you losing deals to competitors with clearly inferior products? Do your sales meetings leave customers excited or confused? Is your marketing closer to a feature list or a set of compelling reasons to buy? In this talk, April provides a framework that you can use to build a story that focuses on WHY you built what you built in a way that is differentiating, compelling, and most importantly, gets you business.

Having established herself as the leader in product positioning, April shared her steps to help you find the winning positioning, tactical advice to develop your sales narrative and hilarious tales of her trip to the toilet store (yes, you read that right) 🚽. You can come and learn from April at TF23 in June of this year. 

Who’s this for:

Marketing & growth teams, sales reps, and anyone looking to buy a toilet…

Meri Williams – Five Things I Wish I’d Known Sooner About Scaling Teams & Culture – 2018

Meri Williams is currently serving as CTO at Pleo, the expense management software provider, making it easier for workplace spending. An experienced CTO, Meri was previously CTO at Healx and Monzo bank before this. 

Meri’s career has spanned development, agile and product management, mostly in engineering leadership roles. She’s led teams ranging from 30 to 300 at places like Procter & Gamble, the Government Digital Service and a range of startups.

She’s a published author, international speaker, Chair of @TheLeadDev conference, and Tech Advisor for Kindred VC. She also holds board trustee roles at Stonewall (the UK’s leading LGBT+ rights charity) and One Goes Up (a micro-charity focused on helping young women in South Africa start STEM careers), as well as sponsoring Women & Enby in Technology scholarships at the University of Bath. 

Despite juggling an incredibly packed diary between her career and cause-driven activities (only some of which are listed above BTW), we’ve been incredibly fortunate to have Meri speak at Turing Fest back in 2018, and again in 2019. 

In her 2018 talk – Five things I wish I’d known sooner about scaling teams & culture Meri spoke about how in engineering we (rightly) talk a lot about how to scale our systems and our infrastructure. Yet some of our very hardest challenges come when scaling the ‘people’ side of things. How do you survive your team doubling, tripling or perhaps even a 10x growth in a short period of time? What does it take to grow fast AND retain the bits of your culture as a team or organisation that made you great to begin with? How do you know when to change how you do things, without just cargo culting? 

Having scaled a number of teams at different speeds, Meri will talk through some of the inflection points you’ll experience, how to navigate them, and reflect on all the things she wishes she’d known just a little bit earlier…

Who’s this for:

Founders, Execs and leaders within fast-growing startups and scaleups. 

Dr. Suzanne Brown – From the Inside Out: Mastering the Art of Emotional Fitness – 2021

Dr. Suzanne Brown is a speaker, consultant and founder of Emotionally Connected. Through pioneering a new way of working that bridges clinical psychology with elite performance, she works with companies that are invested in their emotional fitness and serious about reaching their next level of potential.

Her clients include CEOs, Olympic Champions, educational leaders and world record holders.

Giving the top-rated talk – From the inside out: Mastering the art of emotional fitnessat Turing Fest in 2021, Dr. Suzanne explores the concept of emotional fitness, which she defines as the ability to manage one’s emotions effectively in order to lead a fulfilling life. She discusses why emotional fitness is important and how it can be developed through various practices and techniques, including mindfulness, self-awareness, and positive psychology.

Sharing some of her personal experiences and insights from her work as a clinical psychologist, Suzanne provides practical tips for improving emotional fitness in everyday life. Throughout her talk, she can help both individuals and companies understand the importance of emotional well-being, sharing the tools that you can use to develop your emotional fitness.

Dr. Suzanne is joining us again at TF23 later this year, tickets for this year’s event are already on sale.

Who’s this for:

Founders, Execs and leaders.

As we mentioned, this is only a handful of the women who’ve shared their professional insights at Turing Fest over the past few years. You can discover more of the women making an impact in tech startup and scaleups via the speaker director, from product managers, growth leaders, founders and more, there are plenty more talks where these came from.  

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