WiT24: Breaking barriers, building bridges: Women in Tech

Booking Closed

Primary Sponsor


23 May 2024

Book Before

10 May 2024


DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre

About the Event

How far have we come?

How can we make lasting changes to the workplace?

How do we break those barriers and build those bridges?

In our annual conference we will explore how we can make the workplace, especially in an IT space, more friendly and accessible for women. Do we think we’ve made progress in the last 20 years or so? What changes have taken place for the better? What changes still need to happen? How do we engage people to make changes?



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Sarah Walmsley

Digital Learning Services Manager

Leeds Trinity University

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Samantha Ahern

Senior Digital Research Trainer

University College London

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Kelly Weber

Director Digital Strategy Mobilisation

University of Southampton

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Julie Walters

Digital Programme Manager

Swansea University

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Shireen Walker

Technology Programme Manager

University of Oxford

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Shireen has worked at the University of Oxford over eleven years in both contract and permanent roles. A former retail store manager, Shireen moved into IT 30 years ago and has worked in academia, government, and the public and private sectors. Shireen currently manages service streams in IT Services at Oxford, delivery projects such as telephony, backup and both cloud and on-site infrastructure. Shireen has recently completed a degree and Masters in Psychology and is currently researching her PhD at Birkbeck, University of London on childless/childfree women in the workplace.

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Rebecca Anderson

Lead Learning Technologist

University of East Anglia

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Rebecca has worked as a learning technologist for the better part of a decade, within both FE and HE. She is particularly passionate about using the power of technology to enhance the student experience and providing support to bridge the digital skills gap.

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Helen Parker

Digital Tools Support Specialist

University of York

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Helen, a Fine Art graduate, transitioned from a DT technician to HE, discovering her passion for IT at the University of York. Having worked in multiple roles within IT, her current position is a Digital Tools Support Specialist, maintaining systems and improving processes. In her spare time, she's renovating her home and tending to her allotment. Helen is Co-Chair of our Gender Equality in Technology group.

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Erin McWilliams

Research Systems Support Officer

University of York

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Erin is a Research Systems Analyst at the University of York, supporting academics in conducting research activities. With a background in Psychology and experience in research and IT, she has interests in design, technology and human factors. Erin is currently occupied renovating a house or lindy hop dancing. Erin is Co-Chair of our Gender Equality in Technology group.

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Sarah Kennedy

Assistant Director IT Services

University of York

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Sarah is the Assistant IT Director and has worked in HE for over 15 years. Her current role forms part of the IT Leadership team and is responsible for Service Delivery and Product teams.  From starting on the service desk to the leadership team, she is passionate about building inclusive, high performing teams and is the Sponsor of our Gender Equality in Technology group.

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Charley Bayley

Senior Business Analyst

University of York

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Charley's squiggly career path has taken her from secondary education, to the NHS and then through various operational and project roles at the University of York. She uses all her strengths and superpowers in her current role of Senior Business Analyst to lead technology enabled business change. When not working she is probably crafting or spending time with dogs.

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Katie Burn

Senior Business Analyst

University of York

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Katie has worked in Higher Education for over 20 years, and moved directly into IT in 2016 where she spent many enjoyable years gathering technical requirements and writing user stories. As a Senior Business Analyst Katie now leads technology enabled business change and is passionate about open conversations around mental health and wellbeing.

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Tilly Beech

Head of IT Partnering (Professional Services)

University of Bristol

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Tilly Beech has worked in IT for over 25 years in a variety of roles, and has a particular interest in digital inclusion, and empowering women.

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Stacey Downton

Head of IT Partnering (Research)

University of Bristol

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Stacey is new to Higher Education, having joined the University of Bristol after almost a decade in research and development. Stacey is passionate about feminism, particularly in the field of STEM.

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Kathryn Myhill

Deputy Director

Leeds Beckett University

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Kathryn moved to LBU after 12 years at the University of York. She’s applying her experience of building multi-disciplinary project and product teams to the new challenge of leading the Infrastructure, Business Systems and Support Services teams. Kathryn believes in radical candour, inclusive leadership and leaning out.

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Elaine Swift

Head of Professional Development Services


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As Head of Professional Development Services, Elaine is leading the development of new professional development opportunities for UCISA members. She has twenty years’ experience in leading digital organisational change and professional development for learning and teaching and professional practice. Elaine has worked strategically with key stakeholders in Higher Education to facilitate change in approaches to learning and teaching, digital capabilities, and the adoption of digital technologies at a local, regional and national level.

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Anna Artemyeva

Head of Education, UK/I


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Anna leads Google for Education across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Her role is to support education organisations so that they get the most out of Google technologies such as Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education. This includes, but isn't limited to, improving learning outcomes with the appropriate use of technology, providing teacher professional development training in tech, and making processes more efficient with innovative solutions. Anna has been in the Tech industry for 15 years, 10 of which she has dedicated specifically to EdTech, and has worked across various European countries.

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Grace Kelly

Head of Customer Success, UK/I


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Grace's background as an educator, both within the UK and internationally, gives her a deep understanding of effective teaching and learning practices. She leverages this expertise to help Google for Education customers across the UK optimise their use of tools, ultimately enhancing the student experience and boosting staff productivity.

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Kirri Watson

Head of Adult Education, UK/I


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With a background in adult education, Kirri is passionate about harnessing technology to improve student outcomes, inclusivity, and the overall learning experience. This passion has translated into her work supporting nationwide deployments of Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Over the past 6 years, Kirri has collaborated with numerous UK universities and colleges, empowering them to realise their vision for a digital future and unlock the transformative potential of technology.

Event Schedule

Night Prior


Drinks Reception

in Conference Foyer (for those who have booked to attend dinner)

Call to Dinner



in Park Suite (for those who have booked to attend dinner)



Registration and exhibition opens


Welcome and Introduction

Christi Hopkinson, Head of Service Operations, University of the West of England

The Comfort Zone, the Barrier to Ambition

Julie Walters, Digital Programme Manager, Swansea University


Refreshment Break

in Exhibition

What is it like working in a women-centred team - My experience!

Sarah Walmsley, Digital Learning Services Manager, Leeds Trinity University

Creating a Sense of Community to Facilitate Institution-Wide Technological Change

Rebecca Anderson, Lead Learning Technologist, University of East Anglia

Lunch & Networking in the Exhibition


Breakout Sessions


Travel Time


Breakout Sessions


Travel Time


Surviving and Thriving in the First 90 Days

Kathryn Myhill, Deputy Director, Leeds Beckett University

Refreshment Break

in Exhibition

If you want to go far, go together - the UCISA pilot Mentoring Scheme

Dr Elaine Swift, Head of Professional Development Services, UCISA

Closing Remarks

Christi Hopkinson, Head of Service Operations, University of the West of England

Conference Close