The 7th Digital Leaders 100 Awards 2019 is won by BAME women in tech

Written by Louise Stokes, Director, Digital Leaders

7th Annual Digital Leaders 100 Awards this year is dominated by BAME Women in Tech. We are proud of the independence and diversity of our judging panel, which selected these winners for award categories which do not have specific BAME or diversity categories. Our goal is to create role models, which reflect diverse and modern leadership and the markets that they serve.

No1 on the DL100 list and Digital Leader of the Year

Seyi Akiwowo, Executive Director and Founder, Glitch

Seyi is the Founder and Executive Director of Glitch, a growing not-for-profit advocacy, campaigning and training organisation that aims to end online abuse. Seyi has published several reports, spoken on various news outlets including BBC Radio London and Sky News. Seyi has spoken all over the world including Washington DC, Istanbul and Geneva. Seyi was invited back to Geneva to present at the 38th United Nations Human Rights Council on online-gender based violence.

Young Digital Leader of the Year

Andrea Rodrigues, Student at Ada. National College for Digital Skills

As a passionate programmer, Andrea strives to creatively solve problems. She is currently developing a Character Generator App to help artists hone their skills. Enthusiastic about inspiring others to start their own digital journey, Andrea teaches coding to primary schools and shares her advanced skills and insight tech conferences.

Founders Award for outstanding contribution to digital transformation

Leigh Smyth, Responsible Transformation Lead at Lloyds Banking Group

Leigh launched the first children’s range of computing products at Dixons, which led to a role helping to design and deliver the Government’s Home Access Programme. She then went on to shine a light on digital inclusion including helping to run the RaceOnline2012 campaign with then UK Digital Champion and now Baroness Lane Fox. Later helping set up Go ON UK

From there she joined Lloyds Banking Group, where with support right from the top she designed the largest Digital Advocacy network of Digital Champions known in the UK. Her latest projects include setting up the Index Reports on digital activity now in its 6th year and the Bank’s Manchester Academy.
Other notable winners include:

Smart City of the Year – Newcastle

From hosting the Smartest Street in the UK with Cisco, to partnering school children with Newcastle University researchers to measure air quality in their neighbourhood what’s smart about Digital Newcastle is how they’re driving open and transparent collaboration across the public, private and academic sectors to improve outcomes for people.

Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year – National Record Locator, NHS Digital

The National Record Locator, a new NHS Digital service, enables NHS clinicians to find patient information held by other health organisations. The first phase went live in November 2018, helping ambulance clinicians to access mental health crisis plans for their patients and provide them with better and more appropriate care.

HealthTech Innovation of the Year – Cancer Central

Connecting those diagnosed with cancer, their friends and family, with help, products and services

London, UK 20th June 22.00 BST: At an awards ceremony in Fitzrovia, Digital Leaders, the nationwide initiative for promoting effective, long-term digital transformation across government, industry and charities, has announced the Winners of the DL100 list for 2019.

The independent list recognises 100 people and organisations across the UK who are leading the way in digital transformation in all sectors across 10 categories

The 100 finalists that make up the list received over 18,000 votes and the opinion of 21 judges to put them into a final order.

Those tracking diversity will be pleased to know this year’s 20 Digital Leader and Young Digital Leader categories finalists is a balanced list with 11 women and 9 men of whom 5 are from BAME communities.

All 10 UK regions are represented in this year’s list, reflecting the national reach of the Digital Leaders Community. Outside of London and the South East, the strongest regions with winners were Scotland, the South West, Yorkshire and the North West.

Russell Haworth, Chair of Digital Leaders, said:
“The Digital Leaders 100 Winners 2019 once again highlights the progress in digitally transforming the UK. Our community of Digital Leaders have shone a light on the many hidden heroes, quietly getting on with the nation’s digital transformation. It is fabulous to see such a strong list from outside London this year reflecting our own inclusive national programme and the growing importance of digital transformation on companies irrespective of size or sector.”

Jacqueline de Rojas, President of Digital Leaders commented: “This is an important outcome for diversity and inclusion in technology. Being of ethinc origin myself, I am personally delighted to see Seyi acknowledged for her advocacy and leadership both at Glitch and on the global stage and Andrea for her passion and generosity in inspiring others into technology. Women hold up half the sky and these two BAME women are a fabulous reflection of the digital leaders we want to see.”

Robin Knowles, CEO of Digital Leaders, commented: “These are the awards that money can’t buy. A truly independent list nominated by our growing community of 100,000 and shortlisted by 21 independent judges before 18,000 votes put them into this final order”.

“There are few digital communities that can claim they have crowdsourced an open list with over 65% female representation in the top 100. Particularly as “Diversity” is not a category or even mentioned in the shortlisting criteria!

The 21 Cross-sector Judges for the DL100 2019 include:

Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet (Chair of Judges)
Emily Ackroyd, Director for Strategy & Engagement, Government Digital Service
Caron Alexander, Director of Digital Shared Services, Northern Ireland Government
Robin Christopherson MBE, Head of Digital Inclusion, AbilityNet
Tim Cowell, CTO, Civica Digital
Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK
Gillian Docherty, CEO of DataLab
Tim Ebenezer, Director of Digital at Foundation SP
Simon Hansford, CEO of UKCloud
Karen Lewis, Director of Communities and Inclusion and Digital Leaders’ Digital Champion for Wales
Yatin Mahandru, AVP, New Markets, Head UK and Ireland Public Sector at Cognizant
Emma McGuigan, Global CTO, Accenture
Alison Mckenzie-Folan, Chief Executive, Wigan Council
Rachel Neaman, Director, DigitalAgenda
Linda O’Halloran, Head of Digital Collaboration Unit, MHCLG
Jack Parsons, CEO, Big Youth Group
Maggie Philbin, CEO TeenTech
Lesley Seary, Former CEO, Islington Council
Elizabeth Vega, Global CEO of Informed Solutions
Nigel Watson, CIO, Northumbrian Water Group
Nick Williams, MD Commercial and Consumer, Lloyds Banking Group


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