Kellie Kwarteng Named 2024 Rising Star Award Champion by WeAreTheCity

Kellie Kwarteng, a recruitment industry leader and champion for diversity and inclusion within the tech industry, has been named a 2024 Rising Star Champion by WeAreTheCity in their prestigious Rising Star Awards program, powered by Royal Bank of Canada.

As Founder and CEO of Halzak, Kellie connects diverse talent with inclusive tech companies. She also founded and hosts Elevate – Women in Tech, spotlighting inspirational stories to empower women’s ambitions in the tech sector via her industry recgonised podcast series, and the 2024 launch of the ElevateHER Leadership Mentor Program and community network for women and allies.

“I am truly honored to be named a 2024 Rising Star Champion by WeAreTheCity,” said Kellie Kwarteng. “This recognition highlights the important work being done to support and elevate underrepresented groups in tech. I share this award with my amazing co-founder and husband Michael Kwarteng of Halzak and the Elevate community.”

The Rising Star Awards showcase the incredible pipeline of female talent below management across the UK. This year’s awards received over 1,300 entries which were judged by an independent panel of over 40 judges. Additionally, over 10,000 public votes were cast.

The Rising Stars awards ceremony will take place on July 17th in London, celebrating all 100 winners alongside sponsors and judges.

For more information about the Rising Star winners, visit https://bit.ly/RSWinner24.

Elevate Women in Tech Launches New Community Newsletter

Elevate Women in Tech, a community dedicated to supporting and promoting women in technology fields, is excited to announce the launch of its new newsletter.

The newsletter will keep members and supporters informed about all of Elevate Women in Tech’s latest initiatives, events, resources, and success stories. Subscribers will get the inside scoop on upcoming programs, mentoring opportunities, networking events, and more.

“We’re thrilled to offer this new newsletter as a way to keep our community better connected and engaged,” said Kellie Kwarteng, Founder of Elevate Women in Tech. “There’s so much great work happening across our many initiatives and so much more to come. The newsletter will ensure everyone can easily stay up-to-date and inspired by the amazing work being done.”

The newsletter is free and open to anyone who wants to receive the latest Elevate Women in Tech news and updates. To sign up and subscribe, simply visit https://halzak.com/subscribe/ and enter your email address.

Don’t miss out on this exciting new way to plug into the Elevate Women in Tech community. Sign up for the newsletter today!

Elevate Women in Tech Proudly Announces Partnership with BCS, The Chartered Institute of IT

Halzak Elevate Women in Tech, the popular podcast series celebrating and amplifying the voices of women in the technology industry, is thrilled to announce a new partnership with BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

This collaboration with BCS, the leading professional body for the IT industry, is part of their “Bring It On” campaign aimed at inspiring and supporting women in technology careers. The partnership underscores the shared mission of promoting diversity, inclusion, and empowerment within the tech sector.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with BCS and their ‘Bring It On’ campaign though the sponsorship of the Elevate Women in Tech Podcast,” said Kellie Kwarteng, Founder and Host of the Elevate Women in Tech podcast. “This partnership not only aligns with our core values but also provides an exceptional platform to showcase the stories and insights of remarkable women in tech to the BCS member audience.”

Through insightful interviews and thought-provoking discussions, the Elevate Women in Tech podcast has become a trusted source of inspiration and guidance for women navigating the tech world. By sharing the journeys, challenges, achievements, and wisdom of accomplished professionals, the podcast aims to motivate and empower the next generation of female tech leaders.

“BCS’s sponsorship and support will enable us to amplify the voices of even more women in tech, highlighting their invaluable contributions and paving the way for greater representation and success in the industry,” added Kellie.

Listeners can tune in to the Elevate Women in Tech podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, YouTube and at https://halzak.com/elevate/ to hear inspiring stories, career advice, and engaging conversations from a diverse range of women tech leaders and professionals.

For more information about the partnership and upcoming episodes, please contact Kellie Kwarteng [email protected]

Follow Elevate – Women in Tech for all upcoming episode details

BCS – Bring It On

Elevating Women’s Voices: Our Podcast Shines in Top 10 Women in Tech Feature

We are thrilled to announce that the Elevate Women in Tech Podcast has been recognised as one of the top podcasts empowering women in the technology field. Our series was recently selected as #9 in the “Top 60 Women in Tech Podcast Episodes” by Feedpost.

This honor is a testament to our mission of amplifying the voices, stories, and achievements of trailblazing women in technology. Through candid conversations with industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators, we aim to inspire the next generation while providing insights and strategies for navigating a male-dominated field.

“Being included among this powerful lineup of podcasts is incredibly gratifying,” said Kellie Kwarteng, Founder and host of Elevate Women in Tech. “It reinforces that we are making an impact by uplifting diverse perspectives and creating a platform for the remarkable women transforming the tech landscape.”

The Top 60 list curates the most insightful, engaging podcast episodes focused on empowering women in Technology, and to be listed as No.9 is something we are very proud to share.

We extend our gratitude to our listeners, guests, and the entire Elevate Women in Tech community. This recognition energises us to continue blazing new paths, raising awareness, and driving meaningful change for gender equality in the tech sector and beyond.

Interested in sponsoring or featuring in an upcoming episode contact Kellie directly to discuss further.

Follow us on Apple or Spotify to not miss an episode.

Unleash your Potential: ElevateHER Women in Tech Leadership Mentor Program

Halzak Elevate – Women in Tech Leadership Mentor Program –  ElevateHER Cohort 2

Is Now Open for Registration!

The 2024 Elevate – Women in Tech Leadership Mentor Programme – ElevateHER is a game-changing initiative designed to support 100 talented women poised to take their careers to the next level this year.

Why we created this transformative program?

Our mission is to Elevate women and girls in tech from the classroom to the boardroom”, with a laser-sharp focus on increasing representation of women in tech leadership roles. Through our sustainable program, we empower women to thrive in tech by levelling up and then “paying it forward” by supporting the next generation of women in the industry.

I CAN BECAUSE, SHE DID!

Who should apply?

To be eligible for the program you must:

Program Highlights:

How to Apply:

Applications for Mentors and Mentees are NOW OPEN!

The closing date for all applications is May 12th, 2024.

Cohort 2 start date: June 14th, 2024

Seize this opportunity and sign up today using the links below:

Mentee Sign Up: Click Here

I’m interested in becoming a mentor: Click Here


Are you interested in sponsoring this transformative Cohort? Reach out directly to Kellie Kwarteng for more details.

A heartfelt thank you to the mentors who supported ElevateHER Cohort 1, including some of the industry’s best women and men in tech from the following companies

Women in Technology – A long way to equality

Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a concept popped up in the 50s, when “women’s work wasn’t work” and “women’s intelligence wasn’t intelligence”. As Jill Lepore explained in her book “If/Then”, AI was created to be similar to the intelligence of men, excluding women, which still has consequences today.

When I interviewed her for the book “50 Women in Technology”, Dr. Rumman Chowdhury explained the decisions made 70 years ago still have a great impact today. “I try to put it in scenarios that people understand today. What if you’re denied a loan because you’re a woman? You don’t know that, but it’s because, historically, women were not even allowed to have credit. Let alone have loans. Their husbands or fathers had to sign for them. So, the data around women is quite biased. It’s even worse for people of colour,’ explained the expert in responsible AI.

Despite modern times having brought a change in terms of women’s access to technology and work opportunities in the field, statistics show there are still plenty of challenges.

A study published by the Fawcett Society in October 2023 shows that one in five men working in technology believes women “less suited to working in the sector” and that 43% of women working in technology think about leaving their role at least once a week.

Other conclusions show that one in three black women have been in a situation in which they have been assumed by colleagues to not hold a technical role and three out of four have experienced racism or other kind of discrimination at work. That was the case for Clarice P. . After her studies in the Navy she worked for a scientific instrument company outside of Chicago and, later, she went on to work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Despite her successful journey, there were challenges. “I know I wasn’t the first woman to work in that building, nor the first Black woman, but I think I was the first Black woman there who was a science-adjacent person. When I first arrived, many thought I was the new janitor”, Clarice Phelps explained to me when we talked. “There were a lot of misconceptions about what I was there when I first arrived. I wondered why people were assuming I was not a part of the scientific community. And I observed that when the interns would come for the summer, they wouldn’t be asked if they were janitors. The obviousness of it was a little discouraging”, continued the first Black woman to contribute to discover of a new element for the periodic table – element 117, Tennessine.

Even in what should have been a clear high point in Clarice Phelps’ career, there was a feeling of exclusion. “There was a celebration luncheon and my supervisor asked me if I was going and I didn’t know it was happening”. On the day, “there was a lady at the door making sure your name was on the list, so, I told her my name, and she said she didn’t have it there. I was eventually able to get in. (…) As I walked to see where my seat was, I didn’t see my name anywhere. There was also a big screen that included the names of everyone who had contributed to the element 117 discovery at ORNL, and I didn’t see my name up there either!”. After a few years, telling me this, Clarice Phelps chuckled. At the time, though, she was “really upset” and it was also “embarrassing”.

Clarice Phelps’ case is far from an exception. The same numbers compiled by the Fawcett Society show that 72% of women in tech roles have experienced at least one form of sexism at work. This includes being paid less than male colleagues and sexist ‘banter’ (22%) and questioning of their skills and abilities (20%).

Prejudice and undervalued skills

Researching about this topic for 50 Women in Technology I came across a lot of situations such as these, not only among the pioneers from 100 years ago whose work was only truly appreciated much later or that even though it was evident, was never recognized (as is the case of Lise Meitner, nominated for 49 Nobel prizes without ever receiving one).

Nowadays, it’s worth looking at people such as Gretchen Andrew. When she graduated, she got what could only be considered a dream job – a position at Google, in Silicon Valley. Still, she wasn’t happy and eventually quit. Since then, she has used technology to create art. At 35, she is known for her bold projects using AI and a lot of creativity. Being a young woman, when I interviewed her, she explained a lot of the challenges she had to face before being taken seriously.

“I was trying again so hard to be taken seriously and, once again, losing this game because there’s too much of a disconnect between what people expect of someone who looks like me and the technical power of the work I was making. My surname is Andrew, so people kept asking who was this Andrew that I collaborated with and if he was the one who did the technology side of my work”.

The list of examples goes on. Emily Holmes, Psychology professor in the University of Uppsala in Sweden, Neuroscientist and Psychologist talked about the first conference she ever participated in. “At the first conference I did somebody asked me whose girlfriend I was and I had to say ‘no, I’m presenting”.

Erica Kang, founder and CEO of “KryptoSeoul”, pointed to another challenge – harassment. “I like to dress up. I like to style myself, but when I do that, and I go to a gathering they look at me like a model you can play with. I got a lot of that kind of sexual harassment from day one”.

Katalin Karikó who was awarded the Nobel prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2023 was let go by the University of Pennsylvania for not getting funding for her research. That same research allowed for the development of vaccines again COVID-19.

Another field in which women are still a minority, both as workers and consumers, is the videogame industry. Sheri Graner Ray, CEO and founder of Zombie Cat Studios spoke about her experience as the only person who asked the question “what if the player is a woman?”

“I naturally asked people ‘What if it’s a girl playing this?’ I thought that way. I asked ‘Why isn’t there a girl character for me to choose from?’ At first, they laughed. Then, they got annoyed at me. After that, they started having design meetings and not telling me where they were”.

The future

Having interviewed 27 women who work in different fields of technology there’s a clear trend: although it’s no longer as difficult to gain access to the field compared to 50 years ago, progressing in the career or getting funding is still harder for women than for men. Perseverance, patience, and resilience are words often spoken.

These difficulties can help explain what was written by The Guardian about a week ago. A study by “Teach First” shows that 51% or parents from a lower socioeconomic background said they believed their children were unlikely to go on to a career in STEM.

When asked about the obstacles their children might face, parents referred to a lack of confidence, few role models in the STEM field and a general feeling that their children “don’t see it as subject for somebody like them”.

Dr. Anna Lukasson-Herzig, an engineer with a PhD in Process Automation, whom I also interviewed, spoke about how the lack of confidence girls might feel starts in childhood. “It’s essential do dispel the stereotypes and biases that persist in educational settings. Often, girls are told that they can’t excel in tech or mathematics. The way mathematics is taught in schools tends to be male-oriented, with predominantly male tech teachers, inadvertently discouraging girls. It’s crucial to encourage young females to recognize that their abilities are not the issue; rather, it’s the way these subjects are presented to them that needs to change. The tech itself is not the barrier”.

Interested in purchasing 50 Women in Technology: https://www.aurorametro.com/product/50-women-in-technology-book/

This article was written by Ines Almeida of Aurora Metro:

Inês Almeida has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and during her degree she worked at a local radio station, interviewing people from several fields, including technology. After graduating, she moved to Macau SAR (China) where she worked as a reporter at first and progressed to become editor for a local newspaper. During the six years she worked in Macau, she covered events such as an annual “Start-up Weekend” for women in technology and the launch of two new State Laboratories (one for the “Internet of Things and Smart Cities” and another for “Sciences of the Moon and Planet”).  She also had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of tech giants such as Tencent and DJI in Shenzhen (China) and to interview some of the companies’ executives. In September of 2021, after working in China, she moved to London to pursue a master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Roehampton which she completed, with merit, in 2023. She currently works for Aurora Metro and Supernova Books.

2024 Elevate – Women in Tech Leadership Mentor Programme

We are excited to announce the launch of the 2024 Elevate – Women in Tech Leadership Mentor Programme! This initiative aims to support 100 talented women ready to take their careers to the next level.

This is a 6-month mentorship opportunity starting in 2024. So if you’re an aspiring tech leader eager to move into management or a seasoned tech specialist seeking new challenges, this programme can help you get there.

To be eligible, you must have at least two years of professional experience and be committed to developing your tech career in 2024.

Ready to elevate? Here’s how to get started:


I am looking for a Mentor: Click Here

I’m interested in becoming a mentor: Click Here


Please also feel free to share our Elevate – Women in Tech group on LinkedIn and our Podcast series!

8 Strategies to Enhance Gender Inclusivity in Job Adverts

In the ever-evolving landscape of the tech industry, fostering diversity has become not just a goal but a necessity. Companies that value innovation and aim to meet the diverse needs of their customers understand the pivotal role that a diverse workforce plays. However, in their quest to attract a more inclusive talent pool, many organizations inadvertently alienate underrepresented groups through outdated and biased job descriptions.

At Halzak, we specialize in guiding start-ups and tech companies toward redefining their processes and connecting with highly skilled technical talent from all backgrounds. We believe that crafting gender-inclusive job ads need not be a cryptic endeavor. In this article, we present 8 tips to revamp your job listings, making them more engaging, informative, and above all, inclusive.

This is more than just ticking diversity checkboxes; they are about creating an environment where every individual feels valued, welcomed, and empowered to thrive. In an era where diversity is not just an aspiration but a necessity, these tips are your roadmap to building a tech workforce that mirrors the vibrant society we live in today.

8 Strategies to Enhance Gender Inclusivity in Your Tech Job Ads

  1. Commit to Diversity: Highlight Your Diversity & Inclusion Efforts

If your company is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion ensure that this is clearly communicated on your careers page/job adverts.

Express your dedication to building diverse and inclusive teams and emphasise that you’re an Equal Opportunities Employer. Back up your claims with staff diversity statistics to demonstrate your commitment.

2. Career Pathways Clarity: Share Information About Progression Paths.

Transparency regarding career progression pathways is crucial. Share a clear career journey within your company to help candidates envision their future with you. Real-life case studies featuring a diverse range of employees can make this vision more tangible.

3. Mind Your Language: Use Inclusive Language

The language you use in your job ads sends a powerful message to potential applicants. Avoid gender-specific pronouns like “he” or “she”; opt for inclusive pronouns like “they” or “ideal applicant.” Replace terms like “businessman” or “saleswoman” with “business person” or “salesperson.” Words like “ninja” or “wizard” can be off-putting, so steer clear of them. Consider using a Gender Coder tool to identify subtle biases in your job ads.

4. Reconsider “Must Haves”: Rethink Job Requirements

Move away from the traditional checklist approach when crafting job descriptions. Work closely with hiring managers to identify the three to four key requirements essential for the role.

A Hewlett Packard Study found that men apply for jobs when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, while women tend to apply only if they meet 100%.

Hence, focus on including only the truly essential skills. Be open to considering candidates with non-traditional backgrounds, such as bootcamp graduates, rather than exclusively requiring a Computer Science degree.

5. Salary Transparency: Be Transparent About Compensation

Transparency about salary in job ads sends a strong message that you value candidates based on their skills and experience. Moreover, in some regions, such as eight U.S. states and the UK, pay transparency is legally required to combat pay inequities. By disclosing the salary upfront, you eliminate uncertainty for candidates and set clear expectations.

6. Highlight Your Benefits: List Comprehensive Benefits

Beyond salary, your benefits package plays a crucial role in attracting diverse talent, especially women in tech. Highlight benefits that resonate with underrepresented groups, such as holidays, paid leave, fertility & family-friendly policies, maternity leave, childcare assistance, and flexible or remote work arrangements. Showcase your company’s commitment to well-being with mental health support, fitness initiatives, and employee resource groups.

7. Outline the Process: Provide Clear Expectations

Give candidates an overview of what to expect during the interview process. A well-defined process ensures consistent treatment of all candidates, sets clear expectations, and aligns everyone internally on their roles in the process.

8. Broaden Your Outreach: Cast a Wide Net

To reach diverse talent pools, partner with diversity-focused tech organisations and job boards that cater to your target audience, including women, non-binary individuals, and people of color in tech. Your job ads serve as the initial point of contact with potential candidates, so diversify your approach to attract a broader talent pool.

In an era where diversity isn’t just a buzzword but a driving force behind innovation, these strategies are your blueprint for success. They’re a testament to your company’s dedication to leveling the playing field and embracing the richness of diversity.

But this is just the beginning of the journey. To truly make a difference, we urge you to take action today. Review your current recruitment practices and embark on the path to change. If hiring women in tech aligns with your organizational goals, consider connecting with us to explore advertising on our Elevate – Women in Tech job board. It’s a platform dedicated to providing direct access to women in tech at every career stage, from entry-level positions to boardroom roles.

If you would like to connect with one of the team today to discuss how we could support you further feel free to connect with our Founders Kellie or Michael

8 reasons why women leave tech jobs and careers

Tech Talent Charter in partnership with Attest recently shared their Attrition in Tech – Why women leave tech jobs and careers report. This report sheds light on why women are leaving tech jobs at higher rates than men. Though concerning, the report provides an opportunity for companies to review their values and talent strategies.

The report highlighted 8 key findings:

  1. One in three women are planning to leave their tech job.
  2. One in four women who left a tech job in the last few years left for a non-tech job.
  3. Only one in six women who have been in their tech role for more than a year are planning to stay.
  4. Four out of five women said that dissatisfaction with their career development impacted their decision to leave their tech role.
  5. Work-life balance was ranked the most important factor in women’s decisions to leave their tech role, often linked to challenges managing caring commitments.
  6. Women in tech with flexible work arrangements had significantly higher retention.
  7. Nearly 40% of women agreed that caring commitments influenced their decision to leave their tech job, but only 11.4% of them actually left the workforce to do this.
  8. Pay dissatisfaction is one of the top factors motivating women to move jobs, and was often linked to the cost of living crisis and childcare high costs.

The report sends a clear message to tech companies – a call to action must be taken to evaluate and create inclusive cultures where women can thrive.

Partnerships with specialized recruitment firms like Halzak, who share these goals, can aid recruitment and retention efforts. Their mission to connect companies with diverse tech talent makes them well-positioned to help build the welcoming environments women and underrepresented talent need to thrive.

Interested in learning more about Halzak reach out to the founding team directly to discuss how we can support or introduce you to our Elevate – Women in Tech Community

Michael Kwarteng – Founder of Halzak & Elevate – Women in Tech Community

Kellie Kwarteng – Founder of Halzak & Elevate – Women in Tech Community / Podcast Host

Halzak is proud to support Tech Talent Charter as one of their 827 company signatories who are committed to driving greater diversity and inclusion in tech

Demystifying Software Engineering: A Guide for Women in Tech

Software engineering remains a male-dominated field, but the need for engineers continues to grow as technology evolves. For women considering this career, here’s what you need to know.

What is software engineering?

In short, it’s using engineering principles to design, develop, and maintain software products and applications. This involves everything from requirements gathering to programming to testing and deployment.

Software engineers use specialized skills like coding and problem-solving to bring software projects to life. They collaborate cross-functionally and iterate based on user feedback.

Types of software engineering roles

There are various career paths under the software engineering umbrella. Common roles include:

Frontend engineers – Focus on user-facing design, UI, and UX. Know HTML, CSS, JavaScript.

Backend engineers – Work on server-side application logic and integration. Know languages like Java, Python.

Full-stack engineers – Handle both frontend and backend systems and components.

Security engineers – Apply security principles to build resilient systems and prevent cyberthreats.

DevOps engineers – Bridge the gap between dev and IT teams to optimize and automate deployments.

Each role leverages unique technical skills while providing opportunities to deliver impact.

Bright Future Ahead: Software Engineering Job Outlook for Women

If you’re considering software engineering, the job opportunities are expansive. Software engineering roles are expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.

Driven by rapid technology innovation and rising demand for software, engineering roles are expected to see massive growth worldwide in the coming years. In the US alone, software engineering hiring is projected to increase 26% over the next decade.

Tech hubs in countries like the US, Canada, UK, Germany, and Israel have substantial openings today. And location matters less for those open to remote work.

Hot fields like fintech, e-commerce, healthcare, and emerging technologies all need software engineering talent to keep advancing. And emerging technologies like AI and machine learning are creating new high-paying roles.

With the massive demand, women have incredible potential to shape the future of software. Diverse perspectives lead to better products that meet the needs of all users.

Why women belong in software engineering

The industry needs diversity of thought. Women provide invaluable perspective into how end users interact with software.

Female engineers are proven to excel at collaboration, critical thinking, communication, emotional intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving. All strengths are needed to develop great software.

Discrimination Still an Obstacle

While progress is being made, women in software engineering still face discrimination. In one survey, 34% of women said discrimination and gender bias are top barriers today. Pay inequality also persists, with female engineers making 89 cents to a man’s dollar in the same role. There is still work needed to improve corporate cultures and promote equality.

How to get started

  1. Try out programming through free online courses to see if you enjoy it. Many women come to coding later in life. It’s never too late to start!
  2. Consider a coding bootcamp. This skills-focused training can equip you with fundamentals in months rather than years.
  3. Pursue formal education. Relevant degree choices include computer science, software engineering, information systems, or computer engineering.
  4. Get experience through open-source projects, internships, or freelancing. Build up work samples and connections.
  5. Attend hackathons and workshops. These allow you to network, learn new skills, and work on projects.
  6. Don’t be intimidated to apply for roles you want, even if you don’t meet every requirement. Transferable skills from other fields have value.
  7. Find mentors who can advise you and amplify your voice. Having advocates provides confidence.

Dealing with Failure and Rejection

When learning to code or pursuing software engineering roles, expect failures and rejections. The key is building resilience to keep persevering through setbacks. Reflect on what you can learn from each experience. And remember – you are capable!

Opportunities for Work-Life Balance

Many software engineering positions offer schedule flexibility and remote work options suitable for moms. On-site childcare and extended parental leave policies are becoming more common as well. Though balancing family and career is still a challenge, the field offers many possibilities to make it work.

Career Growth Tips for Women

There are many paths to advancing as a female software engineer. You have to be your own advocate!

Resources to Connect with Women in Tech

Surround yourself with a community! Conferences, networks, and groups like these provide the encouragement, role models, and connections all women in tech need.

The software engineering field needs women. Bring your talent, drive, and unique viewpoint – the future needs you!

HALZAK

Halzak we are dedicated to building diverse and inclusive teams across the global Tech community and bridging the gender gap.

If you are a Women in Tech looking for support in a career move then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss this further

If you are an organisation looking to impact diversity within your team we are here to support you. From reviews of current hiring efforts to managing your hiring process contact us today to discuss further.